Posts tagged "Baby Gifts"

A Conversation with :

Aimee & Christina of Tiny Crane

By - POSTED Sep 14, 2015

A Conversation with: Aimee & Christina of Baby Boutique Tiny Crane

Los Angeles-based online boutique (and Estella retailerTiny Crane was founded by two former colleagues and now moms, Aimee and Christina. Knowing how difficult creating a baby registry can be, the two decided to create a store that offered all the items baby would need, all in one place. Tiny Crane’s selection includes clothes, accessories, toys, & nursery essentials that are all high-quality and safe yet still modern and beautiful in design. Parents will be sure to find items they can trust while also discovering new and unique brands at the same time. Read on to hear more about Aimee and Christina’s background, their favorite baby products at the moment, and funniest parenting stories…

1. Tiny Crane sells high quality and safe baby products that are also unique and beautifully designed. Where do you find these brands and are there any new ones you’ve discovered recently that should be on our radar?

Aimee: I had my first exposure to baby products when I was pregnant with my daughter Lucy. I have really supportive and wonderful friends that guided me through the vast world of baby products. They told me what worked for them and what I needed and did not need. Luckily my friends also have great style, so they were able to recommend clothing brands and accessories as well. As you start looking at baby products on your own you start to find parenting blogs and social media accounts of people that have a similar aesthetic or lifestyle as you. I find a lot of products through social media. And I love looking at smaller designers and handmade products on Etsy. A really great clothing brand that we love is LA based Ultra Violet Kids. I actually have one of the designer’s shirts from when she designed women’s apparel, so naturally I love the baby clothes she designs. Another line we are excited about is Rouxroo from Brooklyn, NY. They make really cool baby products in bold, bright colors. Everything is organic and they support socially responsible and ethical business practices.

Christina: All of my friends started having babies around the same time so there was definitely a dialogue among us about which products we just discovered, thought were cool, wondered if they were really necessary, etc. I had really bad insomnia during my pregnancy, and in the middle of the night I would read pregnancy forums and research strollers, car seats, clothes, toys, etc. It became a joke with my friends because eventually there was no baby product I hadn’t heard of. I found a lot of my favorite products via blogs and social media. It’s really incredible how many new brands I found on places like Instagram! I love Oli & Carol toys because they are made from a sustainable rubber, are non-toxic, super cute and they donate toys to children around the world who can’t afford them. I’m also a big fan of our wooden teethers from Maple Landmark. My daughter and I were in a parent and me Montessori class and I would go home and research every brand in the classroom, which is how I found a lot of great wooden toys. Maple Landmark is a small company in Middlebury, Vermont and the teethers are made from Vermont maple, have absolutely no finish and are really great for teething babies or as a grasping toy.

Tiny Crane Baby Boutique

2. Best and worst parts of being your own bosses?

Aimee: The best part is having the flexibility to spend time with my daughter. She is still small so I cherish every minute I have with her. The other great thing about being my own boss is having the ability to create a company as I envisioned it. It feels good to create a store that helps parents by making shopping for baby products easier and exposing parents to products from smaller designers that they might not have discovered otherwise.

The worst part is being a full time mom while running a business. It is sometimes difficult to manage my time and I end up working late nights and not having much personal time for myself. But I do not mind it since my time is devoted to two things that I have always wanted….a family and my own business.

Christina: I agree with what Aimee said. My daughter is 2, and I don’t want her to think I am constantly glued to my phone or computer. We both go stir crazy if we are cooped up inside all day so we tend to wake up and get out of the house even if just for an hour. That leaves early morning or late night to work, and I go to sleep fairly early so I work in the mornings while Aimee works at night (usually). The best part is having the freedom to spend time with my daughter and help create a site that we both wish had existed when we were pregnant.

3. For customers looking for that perfectly unique baby gift, what would you recommend?

Aimee: We definitely recommend the adorable rattles from Estella! The Organic Baseball or Football rattles are great gifts for baby boys. And every baby should have a Pretzel rattle. The Pretzel is not only cute, it is also great for grasping by tiny hands.

Christina: When I buy a baby gift I also like to include something like a Petit Bateau onesie. The light pink or blue stripes are classic, high quality and can be passed down. They feel special, though maybe not something every parent thinks to buy for themselves.

Tiny Crane Baby Boutique

4. What are/were your new mom & baby must-haves that you always had on hand?

Aimee: As a new mom I loved My Brest Friend nursing pillow. I could not feed Lucy without it. It made both of us more comfortable. Lucy’s Wubbanub was a lifesaver. She loved it. It soothed her and it was also easy for her to grasp herself. When she was learning to control her arms, it was fun to see her grab the Wubbanub and put it in her mouth herself. It was a huge achievement and we were so excited when she did it!

Christina: I had the Nuna Leaf baby seat and my daughter loved it. It kept my daughter occupied while I showered or prepared meals AND it’s designed so that it is not an assault on the eyes. There are a lot of products out there that aren’t beautiful, but babies love them and so we try to incorporate them into our homes as best we can, but this happens to be well-designed and it works. I also loved my Summer Infant Touchscreen Digital baby monitor. Sometimes my husband and I found ourselves watching Louise sleep instead of TV. I’m excited about the Babymoov 0% Emission monitor that we are carrying. I will get that for my next baby. Also, Comotomo bottles. Those were my daughter’s favorite and they allowed me to have someone else feed her which was a sanity saver. They are very breast-like!

Tiny Crane Baby Boutique Gift Registry

5. Besides the obvious stuff, are there any toys, products, gear, etc. that all expecting parents should put on their registries?

Aimee: I would definitely recommend a play gym. Babies can lay on them and play independently. I also recommend toys with different textures and rings or tags on them. And for clothing, when you have a newborn you want your baby to be comfortable so you should stock up on cute basics. Kimono style onesies are the easiest to put on newborn babies.

Christina: I second what Aimee said about clothing. The Under the Nile basics are perfect for newborns. The rolled waist pants are nice because they are comfortable, loose and made from organic cotton. Hansel from Basel socks are the cutest socks you can put on a baby’s foot. I love all of the designs. I believe that expecting parents should put items they love on a registry. Go ahead and add that outfit that you may not buy on your own, or the blanket that you know will make you happy each time you wrap up your baby. If it brings you joy AND you will use it, then it’s worth registering for. Fortunately, at Tiny Crane, all of the items we carry are useful and/or necessary. I registered for many items that I never used, because there are products that claim to revolutionize things that don’t need to be revolutionized. Most often those products are used once or twice and then left to collect dust. Rather than invent new baby products, I’d like designers to update and modernize the products we can’t live without. Let’s make them look as good as they are functional.

Tiny Crane Online Baby Boutique - Interview with the Founders

6. You’re both based in Los Angeles – are there any can’t miss baby/kid-friendly spots (restaurants, stores, parks) we should check out if we ever find ourselves on the West Coast?

Christina: There are so many baby/kid-friendly spots in LA and Southern California in general. Plus, the weather!

Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena is great for children of all ages. For babies from birth-age 3, there is the Early Childhood Learning Center. It is an interactive play-space with soft toys, tunnels, a climbing area and more. They also have music and story time every day.

Every Monday and Friday at 2 PM there is story time in the Korean Galleries at LACMA and after they head over to the Boone Children’s Gallery and spend some time drawing, painting or making whatever project is on hand that day. It is one of my favorite activities to do with Louise in LA. A bonus is the kids can explore the sculpture garden, run in the grass and ogle the wooly mammoth at the adjacent Tar Pits.

The Huntington Library is a beautiful place to explore and there is a children’s garden designed around the elements (fire, water, air and earth). If your baby is not yet toddler age or older, the Huntington is a perfect place to stroll and enjoy the gardens and art collection.

Another great thing about Southern California is the hiking and the beaches. You can strap your baby in the carrier and hike all over LA. I like Solstice Canyon in Malibu and Griffith Park in Hollywood (which also has a carousel). Pack a picnic for Malibu, and stop at The Trails Cafe in Griffith Park for an avocado sandwich.

Mother’s Beach in Long Beach has a playground, a protected swimming area and lifeguards plus picnic facilities and a grassy area. It’s a nice, relaxing beach where you can dip your baby’s toes in the water and you don’t have to worry they’ll be taken out by a giant wave.

Grand Park is in downtown LA and has a splash pad for hot days. Downtown has changed so much in the past few years and the park is a great place to stop and relax while exploring what the area has to offer.

Interview with Tiny Crane Baby Boutique

7. What’s your funniest parenting memory?

Aimee: Trying to breast feed my baby in public for the first time and having breast milk spray everywhere…on me, on my baby, on my blouse…I am much better at it now and can do it like a pro.

Christina: This question makes me realize I need to write more things down! Recently my daughter has been renaming objects. She started calling tooth-paste, “flavor,” and a nail file, “a scratch.” A few weeks ago she was asking for flavor and it turned into a full-blown meltdown because at the time we had no idea what she meant. There’s never a dull moment with a toddler.

8. Finally, what’s one thing nobody told you about parenthood?

Aimee: I did not know that becoming a mother would bring me closer to my own parents. I have gained a deeper understanding of what they went through while raising me. Growing up you know that your parents love you, but you don’t realize how much they love you until you have a child of your own. I talk to my parents all the time now and I love seeing how happy their granddaughter makes them.

Christina: Nobody told me about the guilt I would feel as a parent. I have finally (mostly) silenced that inner guilt, but for a good 2 years I experienced it if I took time for myself or went away overnight with my husband or girlfriends. On the other hand, nobody told me about how intensely I would miss my daughter the second I did take that time for myself! Sometimes I would get tears in my eyes after a few hours—it felt like a part of me was missing. The good thing is I have learned from experience that the best parent is one who takes care of themselves, and that’s another thing I had to learn on my own.

Thank you, Aimee and Christina!

(Images via Tiny Crane’s website & Instagram)

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A Conversation with :

Allison McGowan of Teich Toys

By - POSTED Jul 15, 2015

Teich Toys West Village Interview

Meet Allison McGowan, co-founder and owner of Teich Toys & Books in NYC’s West Village and the newest interviewee in our series of conversations with Estella retailers! Allison and her husband first opened Teich in 2011 with a focus on gifts and home goods, and then opened a second location down the street specifically for toys and books a few years later. Read on to learn more about Allison, her favorite parts of owning a small business, and can’t miss spots to check out in the West Village…

1. You opened Teich, the gift & accessories boutique, in 2011 and Teich Toys & Books down the street in 2014 – what was the impetus for opening the second, kids-focused boutique?

When we opened Teich we envisioned it as a small, local general store selling gifts and interesting items for people of all ages. We stocked a small selection of baby gifts and kids toys and they were a hit immediately. People in the neighborhood were looking for a place to buy these things and there wasn’t much around here. After a few years, it became clear to us that were we to expand, it would be in this arena. One day the perfect location became available down the street (across the street from the neighborhood playground) and we just knew it had to be a toy store.

Allison McGowan - Teich Toys Interview

2. Teich celebrates “small-batch manufacturing and handcrafted design.” Where do you discover these brands, and are there any new ones you’ve found recently that should be on our radar?

We find our designers in so many ways. Many of them reach out to us or get recommended to us by customers. We love to check out craft fairs such as Renegade. One of my favorite places to find independent designers is on Etsy. There’s so much amazing talent on there. And being in NYC, we are lucky that we can attend many trade shows.

Finding new brands is certainly one of my favorite parts of my job. We’ve got some new jewelry coming in from Zoe Comings that I’m very excited about. She’s in Austin and makes beautiful ceramic jewelry. We also stocked some lovely leather journals by Bone & Paper that are handmade in Brooklyn.

3. Best and worst parts of being your own boss?

Best: I love the flexible schedule. Since my husband is my business partner, and we live and work in the same neighborhood, we get to spend lots of time with our young son.

Worst: I have so many balls in the air at any given moment that I sometimes feel scattered and frustrated that I can’t complete a task. When this happens, I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that eventually it will all get done.

Teich Toys - West Village

4. For customers who are looking for a special newborn or baby gift, what would you recommend?

I love a gift with a little humor, something that will make the recipient smile. Our giant Indy Plush stuffed animals or quirky Modern Moose clocks make fun and unexpected gifts! I’m also a fan of giving books. You can never have enough books!

5. Favorite #estellanyc product?

We all adore the stuffed taxi! It so cute and timeless and appeals to boys and girls alike. Plus it looks fantastic in the store!

Interview with Allison of Teich Toys NYC

6. What are some can’t-miss spots (restaurants, stores, parks, etc.) in the West Village we should check out if we’re in your ‘hood?

We love Meme, the Mediterranean restaurant on the corner. The food is delicious and the service friendly. The best part is you can sit outside on a nice day. Right across the street is the Bleecker Street playground, the neighborhood hotspot for the under 10 set.

7. Best part about summer in the city?

Biking with my family down the West Side Highway bike path. There’s so much to see and do along the way!

Teich Toys NYC Interview

(Images via Teich Toys)

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A Conversation with :

Jennifer of Babesta

By - POSTED Jun 30, 2015

A Conversation With: Jennifer of Babesta

Next up in our series of interviews with Estella retailers: Jennifer Cattaui of Babesta! Jennifer opened the NYC baby boutique’s first location in Tribeca when she was a new mom and totally unsatisfied with what was already out there for babies and kids. Replacing pastel colors, overly-sweet patterns, and ruffles & lace with bold designs, humorous graphics, and urban-inspired styles, Jennifer made it her goal to track down hard-to-find, rock-star-baby-approved duds that were still comfortable, practical, and machine-washable. As Jennifer writes of Babesta’s website: “Don’t be afraid to give your little one some personality. Some pizzazz. Poke fun at your own youth with your youth.”

Since then Babesta has expanded its locations, including the newly opened store in Manhattan’s Brookfield Place. We had the opportunity to ask Jennifer a few questions on everything from foolproof baby gifts to the best parts of NYC in the summer and her funniest parenting stories…

1. Babesta is full of stylish items for urban, trendsetting tots. Where do you discover these brands, and are there any new ones you’ve discovered recently that should be on our radar?

We discover them literally everywhere – some designers directly reach out to us and introduce themselves via email, some we spot at trade shows like Playtime NYC, some we find by word of mouth by our customers and still others we stumble upon on Instagram! Our buyer, Chandra, just had an incredibly adorable little boy, so she’s even more on the pulse of everything!! All of us keep our eyes open all the time for things that can inspire us and would be a great fit for the shop!

A Conversation With: Jennifer of Babesta

2. Best and worst parts of being your own boss?

I love being my own boss because when I’ve got ideas, I have no red tape or convincing to do: I can just go for it! It’s a total family affair, which makes it fun, as we are building this all together—me, my husband Aslan and two girls Amina and Camille. The worst part is the fact that it’s 24/7 and the job is literally never done. It’s hard to turn off!

3. In addition to your Tribeca location, you just opened another store in Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place. Are there any go-to spots (stores, restaurants, parks, etc.) we should check out if we’re in the ‘hood?

Yes! Let’s start with restaurants, YUM! We are mad about Hudson Eats! It’s a great spot to go with your family, as there is something to suit every palette – grilled cheese from Little Munster, sushi from Blue Ribbon, salads from Chopt and cupcakes from Sprinkles – just to name a few! And then there is Le District, the French food market, restaurant and more – delicious! And we cannot wait for our new neighbor, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Really, eating, you can’t go wrong! And now shopping! Lululemon, Theory, Posman’s books, Cos Bar, Satya Jewelry we’re loving! And coming soon, Dry Bar next door (awesome!) and Scoop downstairs! There is tons to check out! The area around Brookfield is spectacular – right on the water, with the marina filled with beautiful boats, it’s great to just walk up the pathway that takes you all along the west side, or jog (solo with your iPod or with toddler in the new Bugaboo Runner!). The parks and large grassy stretches in the area are perfect picnic spots – bring your badminton, soccer ball or whatever outdoor fun you want. There are lots of parks – Teardrop Park and Pier 25 are two of my faves – great water features to cool things down. Favorite after park spot, Grand Banks along Pier 25 – it’s a boat that docks there for the summer and is perfect for a relaxing drink & nibble. Another great R&R spot if you need some quiet, grab a chaise lounge at the end of Pier 25 (after the mini golf, beach volley ball & soccer field) and chill while looking over the water! Late afternoon/early evening, it’s true magic!

A Conversation With: Jennifer of Babesta

4. When customers come in looking for a special newborn or baby gift, what do you recommend?

We try to figure out what sort of gift they’re thinking of giving: a cool new ensemble, a toy, some books or music, some stroller accessories or nursery art. But one thing’s for sure, we always suggest an Estella MetroCard Rattle! That’s an all-time fave! These days, the Lexi Pexi Birkin Bag teetherODB onesie, colorful bandana bibscool shadesBabyLit board books (Pride & Prejudice, The Jungle Book, Moby Dick) and our Onesie of the Month Club (a new cool onesie which arrives in the mail, available in 3 month, 6 month or 12 month subscriptions) are some fun must-haves! We’ve got some more exclusive products coming soon so stay tuned!

5. Mother/child matching – into it or no?

I like mother-child “sense of style” matching. Not so much into the multi-generational twinsy thing. But if mom has a cool sense of style and rocks a concert tee, jeans and lace up boots, no reason why baby can’t sport the same cool style!!

6. Favorite NYC summer activities to do with the kids?

We just did a staycation in the city and it was so fun! We stayed at the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District for the weekend, as we needed to stay close to the new store since its so new but wanted to feel like we were getting away! Their rooftop pool and giant swan pool toy were a total hit and even though we had to run down to the shop once or twice it was like a real getaway! While there, we hit the Chelsea galleries and walked the High Line. Throughout the summer, I love finding out what’s new going on (generally on blogs and through social media) and making a plan to have a new adventure each weekend!


7. What’s your funniest parenting memory/story?

We were cooking at my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. Cooking is not so much my thing, so my dad, husband and brother usually take over the duty (they are really good!). Well midway through, they discovered that the garlic was dried out and no good. Word traveled as we were trying to figure out who could quickly run to the store before it closed. My youngest (8) hopped up from the sofa and said “don’t worry, I brought garlic!” and sure enough she ran up to the bedroom, brought down her overnight bag and in it, to all of our surprise, was a new head of garlic she had brought “just in case” from our home! We could not believe it!

Thanks, Jennifer! Check out Babesta’s website here and don’t miss the Babesta Beat.

Images 12, 3, 4

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A Conversation with :

Penelope of Smoochie Baby

By - POSTED Jun 17, 2015

A Conversation with: Penelope, owner of Smoochie Baby

We are excited to be interviewing Penelope Stipanovich, the owner of one of our long-time retailers, Smoochie Baby in Williamsburg, Brooklyn! After originally opening the baby clothing boutique while living in Toronto, Penelope and her family moved back to NYC where she re-opened the store in her new Brooklyn neighborhood. Full of “big style for little smoochers,” Smoochie Baby’s a must for checking out what’s fresh in children’s fashion, picking up unique baby gifts, or discovering the latest new brands. We we’re lucky enough to ask Penelope a few questions about running her own business, can’t miss spots in Williamsburg, and favorite parts of motherhood…

1. Smoochie Baby is full of stylish duds for urban kids. Where do you discover these brands, & are there any new ones you’ve discovered recently that should be on our radar? I am always on the lookout for cool new brands. I visit trade shows, go to showrooms, and get daily submissions in my inbox. I also find new and noteworthy lines through blogs, Pinterest and Instagram. I’m a little obsessed.  Always looking…  Our newest lines are MimPi from Sweden, Billy Blush from the UK, Little Eleven Paris, and Miki Miette from L.A.

2. Best and worst parts of being your own boss? The best part is I have no one to answer to. The worst part is I have no one to answer to. In other words, I make all of my own decisions about the store but if I make a wrong decision (and I do all the time) I have no one else to blame.

3. When customers stop in looking for a special newborn or baby gift, what do you recommend? Our “go to” recommendation is our Smoochie Baby Brooklyn onesie, an Estella Metrocard rattle, Brooklyn 123 board book & a pair of baby sunglasses. Very Brooklyn!

4. Favorite Estella toy? The MetroCard rattle (naturally!)

Smoochie Baby Williamsburg

5. When you were a new mom, were there any must-haves (for you & baby!) that you always hand on hand? My organic sling from Dr. Sears. I was back at work right after having my son so I carried him in a sling everywhere.  I wore him around the house and all through the city, talking or singing to him the entire time.  I also loved the Boppy Pillow and an organic sleep sack.  I used it from the time we were done swaddling and he would associate being zipped up in it with sleep time, and go right to sleep. At the time, sleep sacks were not popular in the U.S. (he is 10 years old now) but they were everywhere in Europe. I like to think I played a part in bringing them here.

5. You’re store in located right in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – any favorite neighborhood spots (stores, restaurants, parks, etc.) that we should check out if we’re in the area? Not just because it is my husband’s but my hands down favorite restaurant is The Heyward on Wythe Avenue. They serve delicious “new southern” cuisine and the most incredible cocktails. I also love Mogador & Cafe Colette. The East River State Park (with the Manhattan skyline as its backdrop) is always fun for a stroll but especially so on Saturdays when Smorgasborg is going on. You can sample yummy food form a myriad of Brooklyn purveyors. My favorite stores in the neighborhood include Pearl, Shoe Market, A & G Merch and CatBird. I always love to stop in to Mast Brothers for a bar of their divine chocolate and for kids clothing Smoochie Baby of course!

An Interview with: Penelope of Smoochie Baby

6. What about NYC in general – any can’t-miss, baby & kid-friendly places or activities (especially now with the warmer weather!)? Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park has the best playground in New York City. Don’t just take my word for it, Time Out Kids said so as well for the last 2 years in a row. If you’re coming from Manhattan, ride the East River Ferry to get there and be sure to stop at Pier 1 on the way for a ride on the gorgeously restored Jane’s Carousel. In Manhattan I love the splash pad in Madison Square Park. We used to go there all the time when Max was little. For an old fashioned soda fountain experience head to Farmacy in Cobble Hill and sit at the counter. It’s awesome!

7. Finally, what’s one thing nobody told you about parenthood? That you will not sleep in again until your child is 16. But it’s okay because being a parent is the single most rewarding experience of your life!

Thanks, Penelope! Check out Smoochie Baby’s online store here.

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Estella Gift Guide :

Last Minute Gifts

By - POSTED Dec 16, 2014

Aden and Anais Swaddler - Estella NYC

Christmas is just over a week away and tonight is the first night of Hanukkah! Here are a few last-minute ideas for holiday gifts for babies and toddlers…

1. Jellycat Stuffed Animals - These cuddly toys have become increasingly popular with babies and for good reason – ultra plush and durable, they make wonderful companions that babies will reach for now, nighttime, and years to come.

2. Stella Industries Sparkle Dress - For girls who love to sparkle and twirl – this dress is a foul-proof gift. The all-over sparkles, tiered tulle skirt, and ruffled bodice will delight any young girl while her parents will appreciate its durability and ease – it can be thrown in the washing machine and worn over and over again.

3. Baby Blankets – A lovely keepsake or snuggly companion that babies will love now and into adulthood.

4. Aden and Anais - These baby blankets, swaddles, and accessories are versatile and practical but don’t skip out on style or design – making them ideal baby gifts for new parents. The brand creates all of its products with a muslin fabric that is not only super soft and machine washable, but also helps naturally regulate baby’s body temperature to prevent overheating. Versatile, modern and all-natural, these swaddles are the perfect multi-taskers.

5. Batman Hat – A must-have for little superheros, this hand-knit hat is made from a soft wool – great for the cold weather, Halloween, and beyond!

6. Boramiri - Based in Paris, the boutique brand combines the designer’s South Korean heritage with the aesthetic of her current home in France, resulting in dolls, nursery decor, and accessories that make lovely companions and keepsakes.

7. Hand-Knit Dolls or Baby Rattles - Soft, bold, and totally unique, our dolls and baby toys come in fun styles and clever shapes that will appeal to babies, toddlers, and parents alike.


P.S. When you’re all out of other ideas, gift cards always work!

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