Sue Burns, Baabaazuzu co-founder, lead designer and CEO, can thank her husband’s laundry accident for her upcycled garment line. Her husband mistakenly put her favorite wool sweaters into the dryer, and rather than come to tears, Sue dismantled her beloved wears and transformed them into her now international brand.
Baabaazuzu came to be in late 1993 after Sue Burns, a gifted graphic designer, cut up the shrunken remains of her favorite sweaters, pieced the fragments together and made jackets with matching hats for her two young daughters. Once the phone began ringing in high demand of her upcycled creations, Sue sought her opportunity to develop an eco-fashion house in Lake Leelanau, MI.
To make the vision a reality it started with a Sears Kenmore sewing machine stationed on their dining room table, Sue and Kevin—whom Sue taught to sew—launched Baabaazuzu as a line of unique, one-of-a-kind sweaters, jackets and hats for children. A year later there was a popular demand from women wanting the signature Baabaazuzu style in their size—Sue turned her business from children’s apparel to women’s to suit the market.
Baabaazuzu has been recognized as a Michigan 50 Company to Watch, as well as featured on national television, while actress Sean Young wore multiple pieces while competing on ABC’s reality TV series, Skating with the Stars; and as Cari Cucksey the host of HGTV’s Cash & Cari sported Baabaazuzu’s fingerless gloves.
Born in Leelanau County Michigan and worn without boundaries, Baabaazuzu can now be found in nearly 600 retailers across North America, Canada, Japan and South Korea.
Often replicated, but never duplicated, particularly Baabaazuzu’s mittens, the company continues to expand their line—adding new products each year. To keep differentiating themselves, Sue and her team conduct product development meetings, where they forecast fashion trends and cater to their consumers’ needs. Sourcing raw materials that are made in the USA have also posed challenges—Baabaazuzu continues to use components that are made here in the states.
As of 2012, Baabaazuzu expanded to cater to a new audience—Men. Baabaazuzu enjoys providing men with upcycled accessories—hats, mittens, fingerless gloves, slippers, scarves and messenger bags.
No two pieces of Baabaazuzu are ever alike. Each is lovingly handcrafted of 100% vintage materials, reclaimed and transformed into a beautiful wearable. Every piece is an inspired original. Just like the person who wears it.