Posts tagged "Interviews"
A Conversation with :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Jul 15, 2015
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.
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.
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!
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!
(Images via Teich Toys)
Tags Baby Gifts, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Interviews, Soft Baby Toys
Category Baby Gifts, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Interviews, Soft Baby Toys
A Conversation with :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Jun 30, 2015
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!
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!
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 teether, ODB onesie, colorful bandana bibs, cool shades, BabyLit 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 1, 2, 3, 4
Tags baby clothes, Baby Gifts, Baby Rattles, Designer Baby Clothes, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Interviews, Soft Baby Toys, Urban Baby Clothes
Category baby clothes, Baby Gifts, Baby Rattles, Designer Baby Clothes, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Interviews, Soft Baby Toys, Urban Baby Clothes
A Conversation with :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Jun 17, 2015
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!)
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!
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.
Tags Baby Gifts, Baby Rattles, Designer Baby Clothes, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Interviews, Urban Baby Clothes
Category Baby Gifts, Baby Rattles, Designer Baby Clothes, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Interviews, Urban Baby Clothes
A Conversation With :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Jun 11, 2015
Meet Angela Tafoya, one of Refinery29‘s San Francisco editors! In addition to working at one of the most popular fashion & lifestyle sites, Angela is expecting a baby girl later this year! We were lucky enough to ask the super chic mama-to-be about her pregnancy style, shopping for baby, and favorite spots in San Francisco. Enjoy…
1. Congrats on your pregnancy! What have you loved most/least about being pregnant thus far?
Thank you! There haven’t been too many things I’ve disliked about the experience — mainly the fact none of my clothes are fitting, and that can be a little rough. The best is definitely feeling her move around. It makes the experience so real and makes you feel so connected. I love it. It never gets old.
2. Any crazy cravings or major surprises?
Not so much cravings but aversions, yes! I used to love Asian food and now I can’t stomach the smell. I hope it goes away after she comes, because I need ramen back in my life.
3. Has your style changed since becoming pregnant? What are your top style “dos” for dressing the bump?
This is definitely something I am learning as I go. Before becoming pregnant, I wasn’t much of a body-con dress person, but when you’re pregnant they’re the best things ever. I love accentuating the bump. I also think wearing garments with waist definition help and are super flattering. I found it helpful to stock up on basics, like dresses and skirts from Storq — super necessary and cozy. Oh, and, a comfy pair of shoes are everything.
4. Have you started shopping for baby? Any favorite brands for baby girls you’ve come across?
Oh, definitely! She almost has a full wardrobe and not even going to lie — I wish some the pieces came in my size, ha! I love Mini Rodini, Micaela Greg, Bobo Choses, and Zara are all faves right now.
5. What would be your dream baby shower gift?
Oh, that’s tough! I may be a little selfish here and say a massage, I know after the baby comes I’m gonna need it.
6. Favorite Estella organic baby toys?
The little cookie and pretzel rattle are too cute. Is it weird they kind of make me hungry?
7. You live in San Francisco – are hidden restaurants/shops/museums/parks we should know about?
This really isn’t hidden but I love Emmy’s Spaghetti shack and it seems like such a family-friendly place, so I can’t wait to take her there when we’re ready to adventure out the house. Also, there are a few parks in my neighborhood (the Mission) that I have been scoping out!
Thanks so much, Angela! Stay up to date on Angela’s Refinery29 stories here & follow along on Instagram and Twitter.
Tags Designer Baby Clothes, Interviews, Pregnancy
Category Designer Baby Clothes, Interviews, Pregnancy
A Conversation with :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Apr 21, 2015
NYC facialist Joanna Vargas has amassed a loyal following over the years due to her effective treatments that leave clients with glowing skin and clear complexions. And, even if you don’t live in New York, you can still reap the benefits of her work with her line of all-natural skincare products. We had the opportunity to chat with Joanna on her beauty and skincare tips while pregnant, new mom must-haves, and her favorite parts about motherhood. Bonus: we’ve teamed up with the Joanna Vargas salon for the ultimate Mother’s Day giveaway – enter here for your chance to win a facial and Joanna’s entire skincare line for mom and an Estella bamboo baby romper, hat, and two organic toys for baby!
1. Are there any beauty products/ingredients/treatments that women should avoid and/or seek out when they’re pregnant?
I would stick to basics- doing gentle cleansing facials with lots of oxygen always feels right when you are pregnant.
2. A day at the spa can be such a treat for a new mom. What would you recommend?
I think a great exfoliation is both cleansing and relaxing. I love recommending a full body microdermabrasion because it thoroughly removes dead cells and surface dirt while helps to restore ones elasticity and nothing is better for a new mom! I also would recommend a nice oxygen facial to help cleanse the pores and soothe and hydrate the skin.
3. Are there any common skin concerns you see in pregnancy women or new moms that can be prevented or easily treated?
Common concerns deal with the sensitivity that pregnant women face with their skin and the hormonal breakouts. It’s really hard to prevent a hormonal breakout but you can easily keep it under control with the right regimen. I love using Eminence Organics on my pregnant clients because everything smells wonderful and is very safe for the baby.
4. What were some of your favorite ways to treat yourself during pregnancy?
Yoga was always a great way to treat myself during both pregnancies. I loved how it made me feel more energized and during my second pregnancy I found that plus Pilates made me sleep better, keep my lymphatic system working properly (so I didn’t have swollen feet) and my back felt great. My delivery was amazing and quick the second time around too because my body was so much stronger from the Pilates!
5. When you were a new mom, were there any must-haves (for you and baby!) that you always had on hand?
My must haves for both babies was Mustella Face Cloths. The smell is incredible and nothing quite takes away the smell of baby vomit like those. I also couldn’t live without Jurlique Calendula Cream for both kids’ skin. It keeps away baby eczema really well and is a great secondary diaper cream.
6. There’s so much talk about the work-life balance – as a mom and business owner, what has worked for you?
I think forgiving yourself for not being perfect is big. I don’t make a big deal about it if I mess up sometimes. I am very strict about my schedule and I always explain it to clients if I am unavailable because of a kid thing. No one ever begrudges you for needing to be at your kids school play. And I am pretty good about not bringing my work home. Once I cross the threshold, I’m just mom.
7. What is one thing nobody told you about parenthood?
How wonderful it is and how it enhanced my whole life. I feel like I love my work so much more because it’s only a part of my life instead of my whole life.
8. Lastly, spring has finally arrived in NYC! What are some of your favorite kid-friendly spots or activities this time of year?
My son takes Parkour classes in Central Park- it’s the best city park I have ever been to!
Thanks, Joanna! P.S. Enter our Mother’s Day giveaway here.
(Images via Joanna Vargas Salon)
Tags Interviews, Joanna Vargas, NYC Facialist, Pregnancy
Category Interviews, Joanna Vargas, NYC Facialist, Pregnancy