Protecting the Planet With Style
Dax and Milo may be old dogs, but they are wagging their tails for the new trick, er, brand, that has been created with their names front and center.
Enter Montecito mom Amanda Tenold, who is as 93108 as they come. She grew up on East Valley, playing tennis at Knowlwood and attending Montecito Union School (where I first met her, in Dr. Sorensen’s Kindergarten class circa 1980-something).
Things have since come full circle.
“I grew up in Montecito, and now we live in my husband’s family home that has been in his family since 1940. You can say we have deep roots in Montecito,” Tenold said.
Tenold is an executive assistant for an international safety consulting company. She and her husband, Rich, have two boys, Brennan (9) and Greysen (8).
And it’s because of her two boys that Tenold felt the need to create her company. It started over the very mundane task that every parent knows: making school lunches.
“I have been making my boys lunches for more than nine years now. One morning, I realized I was using two, one-time-use plastic bags per kid per day,” Tenold said. “That was 20 bags per week. Twenty bags a week (for) 30 weeks equals 600 plastic bags. That is not helping our planet. I felt the need to look for reusable snack and sandwich bags.”
So, she decided to create a better mousetrap. She started researching fabrics and prints, designs and styles in 2018 and 2019. She was excited to establish a new brand and a new product and was working with a graphic designer in December 2019.
Then COVID hit. Ahhh, COVID.
“Of course, as soon as COVID hit I put everything on hold,” Tenold said. “I couldn’t focus on ‘Dax and Milo’ and manage our kids on Zoom school, and do my full-time job”.
Fast forward to October 2020, and the kids (thank you, Montecito Union School), went back to in-person learning, allowing Tenold to return to her passion.
“After a little research, I found a food-safe, medical grade fabric for the inner lining. Durable, sustainable, economical,” Tenold said. “The liner would need another fabric to protect and prettify the outside, so I got very excited when I realized I could use my weird passion for fun cotton prints to make the bags look cute and playful and personal. It was all coming together!”
The company officially launched online in June 2021 and Tenold is excited about the future:
“I have so many different ideas. I want to make bags in different sizes and create different reusable products”.
All the bags are made by-hand locally, and so the quality is strong.
“I realized early on that I am not a sewer, but I do everything else,” Tenold said.
In addition to sourcing the fabrics and creating the style, she wanted them to be easy to use and clean.
“These bags are meant to be washed and dried in the washing machine. I don’t have a lot of countertop space in our kitchen, so I didn’t want to have bags that needed to be air-dried,” Tenold said. “Plus, I have found over the years that silicon bags get moldy if they are not completely dry — and no kid wants to eat out of a moldy sandwich bag!”
She had to do her due diligence to make sure her product would work for moms, but also would be easy enough for kids to use on their own.
“I looked at so many options. Zippers are more costly on the manufacturing end, which would make the bags less affordable,” Tenold explained. “My choice ended up being plastic snaps. They are clean, reliable, and easy for little hands to open and close.”
The other perk of Dax and Milo is the snap button versus Velcro.
“Velcro bags tend to fray and fall apart, especially if you wash them multiple times. Plus, stuff (crumbs, lint, hair) will stick to Velcro and that is just gross,” Tenold said. “You don’t have to worry about that with our bags as plastic snap buttons won’t wear and tear.”
So why not name the brand “Brennan and Greysen”?
“We love our boys, but Milo and Dax were our first ‘children.’ At 13 and 14 years, respectively, our miniature Dachshunds were our first babies,” Tenold said. “They both are always right by my side and so I wanted to make sure they got credit for being such a special part of our family.”
Now, with her company launched, Tenold is happy to reflect on what makes Montecito special.
“My perfect day in Montecito is having lunch with family and friends. Our favorite spots on Coast Village are Los Arroyos, Mesa Burger, Jeannine’s, and Renaud’s. I also like to wander into Mate Gallery at the Montecito Mart for inspiration. There’s just something about an old nautical flag meets a seersucker napkin. It’s the perfect West Coast meets East Coast vibe.”
Tenold hopes that people will find her bags not only functional but fun.
“I am all about convenient. I love that this is a product you can get behind because it is good for the environment, and it can be reused and repurposed. Whether it is taking snacks to the beach or those school lunches we will be making come August,” Tenold said.
“Dax & Milo is meant for kids and parents alike.”
You can find Dax & Milo locally at Lemondrop in the Upper Village and online at www.daxandmilo.com.