Posts tagged "Baby Gifts"

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!

babesta-beat

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.

baby-blankets-alpaca-star-blanket-estella-nycbaby-toys-taxi-rattle-estella-nyc

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

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Estella Gift Guide :

Stocking Stuffers

By - POSTED Dec 11, 2014

Stocking Stuffers for Babies & Toddlers

A few stocking stuffer gift ideas for babies and toddler boys & girls…

1. Wooden Toys - French toymaker Vilac‘s well-made wooden toys grab and keep kids’ attention. The race cars and robot puzzle provide toddlers with hours of fun and entertainment; bold yet sophisticated colors and vintage designs encourage imaginative play while also teaching kids the mechanics of motion and momentum. Plus, the smooth lacquered surface is painted using a non-toxic paint, so you can feel good about giving this learning toy as well. Include some road tape to complete the gift!

2. Hand-Knit Backpack Charms – We took our most popular soft baby rattles and created backpack charms out of them. Unique, clever, and playful, these accessories are a fun addition to your little one’s collection and especially cute when matched with one of baby’s toys. Speaking of which…

3. Baby Rattles – Estella’s collection of hand-made, 100% cotton baby rattles are full of personality. Featuring unique styles, eye-catching colors, and a charming jingle, these baby toys engage all the senses, feel wonderful in little hands, and are safer than the wooden, plastic, or hard-edged alternatives. Plus, parents will appreciate the beautiful styles and clever designs.

4. Girls’ Dress Up Accessories - Blinged-out wands, headbands, and tiaras from Atsuyo et Akiko, Wovenplay, & Siaomimi Play are perfect for everyday flair or ordinary afternoons spent playing dress up. For more girly accessories, check out Bari Lynn.

5. Sam en Haas - This Dutch brand makes the most beautiful jewelry for children. Not only does each item capture the spirit of being a kid through its imaginative and unique designs, but the entire collection is also made from ethically sourced silver and gold. The charms are often as interactive as they are beautiful and make wonderful gifts that children will treasure for years to come.

6. Hand-Knit Heart Pin – Cute, simple, and chic, this is a fun accessory to jazz up any simple top.

Stocking Stuffers for Babies & Toddlers

(Images via)

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