Guest Post :
By Melissa Willets - POSTED Dec 4, 2014
She has the baby swing. She’s stocked with newborn basics like onesies and hats. Maybe she’s about to become a second, or third time mom. Or perhaps she’s a new soon-to-be mom with really generous friends and family! No matter the reason, a Boppy won’t do for a baby gift for this super-prepared mama.
Sigh. What can you possibly get for the mom-to-be who has everything? You don’t want to phone it in with another hooded ducky towel. No, you need a unique present, something that prompts her to demand, “Where did you find this?”
Don’t worry. It’s not an impossible mission. We got you covered with these awesomely adorable gift ideas for the mom-to-be who has it all, except…
Hand Knit Baby Rattles. Impress the mom who already has every baby toy on Earth on standby with these cute Estella cotton baby toys. We dare any pregnant mama not to chuckle with surprise and glee when she unwraps a salted pretzel, a purse with a sweet little bow, or a mustache rattle. Don’t forget to check out the coordinating nursery pillows!
The Best Swaddles. Your mom friend owns a stack of receiving blankets, but breathable muslin swaddles by Aden and Anais are where it’s at! The size and weight of the fabric makes wrapping a wee one worry-free and easy. Um, plus they’re cute. Yup, she’ll love cradling her cutie in these soft styles. You’re a whiz at this finding the perfect gift thing!
Handprint Canvas Set. Give the gift of a memory with a create-a-keepsake canvas kit from Red Envelope. Upon baby’s arrival, the new family can capture the moment by stamping their hand or foot prints on a piece of wall art, which can be customized by color, design, and the option to add text.
Superhero Knit Dolls. Your mommy friend may have a nursery full of stuffed animals and dolls, but she hasn’t seen Estella’s superhero inspired knit dolls! Kat is sporty yet sweet, Trixie has confidence and style to spare, and Red is one capable cookie. Dolls who offer life lessons to little ones? Can you say gift giving genius?
Giant Personalized Tote. An over-sized Lands End tote bag makes the perfect hospital bag, weekend getaway bag, and bedding, clothing, and toy storage bag. It’s a gift that keeps on giving long after baby is born; from the first sleepover, to sleep-away camp, to college! How many other gifts can boast of being useful for life?
Told you we could help!
Tags Baby Gifts, Baby Rattles, Eco-Friendly Gifts, Eco-Friendly Toys, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys, Kids' Accessories & Toys, Mom Gifts, Pregnancy, Soft Baby Toys
Category Baby Gifts, Baby Rattles, Eco-Friendly Gifts, Eco-Friendly Toys, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys, Kids' Accessories & Toys, Mom Gifts, Pregnancy, Soft Baby Toys
A Conversation with :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Nov 12, 2014
We are thrilled to be interviewing Grace Kang, founder and buyer of gift shop Pink Olive, one of our oldest retailers! After years as a successful buyer, Grace opened her first brick and mortar store in the East Village in 2007 and filled it with baby gifts, home decor items, and whimsical treasures that are full of style and charm. Since then, Grace has expanded Pink Olive to include two more locations and an online shop. We were lucky enough to ask Grace a few questions about running her own business, favorite places in NYC, favorite baby gifts, and foul-proof holiday presents. Enjoy!
1. You spent many years working as a buyer in women’s fashion before making the leap to a small business owner. What inspired the change?
I always knew I wanted to have my own business, it was just a matter of when. I told myself that until that day comes, I was determined to be a sponge and learn as much as I could about the retail industry. The truth is, I really loved being in the corporate world as well and never thought I would leave my job as a successful fashion buyer for Bloomingdale’s, Saks and Barney’s. As someone who excelled as a buyer in the fashion industry, it took stepping out of my comfort zone to realize my true passion: inspiring people to give and create a beautiful living. In 2007, I opened a store called Pink Olive. Not only was it the most rewarding risk I have ever taken, but it was also the most unexpected. Pink Olive is more than just an ordinary gift shop. It’s a creative place dedicated to the simple joy of gift giving.
2. What are your most and least favorite parts of being your own boss?
My favorite part of being my own boss is being able to make a difference and inspire people, even in the smallest of ways. As customers often share with us, Pink Olive is their “happy place.” I also love to share my journey on Instagram and give people a glimpse into my world. I wouldn’t say I have a least favorite part of my job; however, the most challenging part is finding the right people for your team. It’s ever-changing, and you have to be constantly looking for those “gems” who truly get what you do :)
3. You have three stores in three very distinct NYC neighborhoods, the East Village, Park Slope, and Williamsburg. Why did you choose these neighborhoods, and what do you love most about each one?
All three neighborhoods fit the clientele of our ideal customer, but in slightly different ways. They’re like having children, all similar but also distinctly different. Our East Village location appeals mostly to creatives, single ladies, aunties/uncles, newly engaged couples and tourists. Our Park Slope location appeals to creatives as well, but also many first-time families and Brooklyn locals. Our newest location in Williamsburg has a similar vibe as our East Village shop, appealing to creatives, single ladies and gents, families and tourists!
4. Pink Olive is full of whimsical items and unexpected finds. Where do discover these brands and products?
We find our products all over! Our team scours creative brands online, on blogs and social media, and through our travel adventures. Many designers approach us, but we also reach out to many brands that appeal to our shop aesthetic!
5. Similarly, are there any places in NYC (stores, restaurants, museums, parks, etc.) that you consider to be hidden gems?
I have a few favorite hidden gems in the East Village, particularly restaurants! I am such a foodie so I visit Northern Spy Food Co., Zucker Bakery and Dirt Candy frequently! So many yummy options, and luckily each restaurant is located super close to our East Village shop – perfect for when I need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up!
6. For customers who stop in looking for a special something for a newborn and toddler, what do you recommend? Does your niece have any favorite items from your store?
There are so many great designers that we work with in finding that perfect baby gift. We have many go-to designers for specific needs. We love Pink Chicken for cute toddler dresses, TANE organics & Oeuf for sophisticated baby gear and Maileg and BlaBla for whimsical baby and toddler gifts. Also, we LOVE suggesting books for any baby gift :) Your taxi and Metrocard rattles have been a huge hit as the perfect NYC baby gift, as well :) For our online customers, they can go here to pick out their perfect baby gift assortment as easy as 1-2-3.
As for my niece, she was obsessed with the bashful beige bunny from Jellycat when she was young. Now, she’s a pre-teen and lovesssss all the fun paper goods and OliveBox!
7. The holiday season is swiftly approaching – are there any new trendy items or foolproof gifts we should keep an eye out for as we begin our holiday shopping?
Our “you are loved” collection has really taken off since last year. The mugs and tote bags are hot sellers, as well as the new pumpkin and hot chocolate scented candles :) We also have curated a wonderful collection of our favorite things in our Pink Olive holiday gift guide seen here!
Thank you, Grace!
Tags Baby Gifts, Baby Rattles, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys, Holiday Gifts, Soft Baby Toys
(Images via Julia Cawley)
Category Baby Gifts, Baby Rattles, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys, Holiday Gifts, Soft Baby Toys
A Conversation With :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Sep 23, 2014
After our photo shoot a few weeks ago for our new collection of baby toys, we had the chance to chat with our photographer, Luciana Golcman. Read more below on her background in photography, tips for shooting pictures of little ones, & favorite places in NYC to view art!
1. Tell us a little bit about your background & what drew you to family, children, & newborn photography.
I’ve always been the one with the camera in my hands. Not only on trips or events, but even when there were no digital cameras I was already making “film selfies” with my friends on our nights in! When a stranger would ask me to take their photo I’d put so much effort into framing it well, having the subject well lit, and so on. I guess it’s just something within me. As for why I chose to photograph what I do, I absolutely LOVE children and the innocence in their eyes. Grownups can be shallow, mean, fake, but kids just can’t! They are themselves 100% of the time. And that’s what I love about it. So I started with kids and from then I branched to newborns, because, come on. Who doesn’t love a baby? Then my clients ended up asking me to photograph the whole family and their bumps. So this way I ended up filling all those gaps in motherhood and photographing bumps to families.
2. Did you go to school for photography?
I actually went to school for “Social Communications,” which is just a fancy name for advertising. In Brazil it’s very different and you don’t have a major and a minor. You simply have a career – so mine was advertising. In school I had many photography classes but definitely not enough, so after I moved to NYC (about 8 years ago) I started taking classes at ICP (International Center of Photography). I never did a full term program but I’ve taken about a dozen Continuing Education Classes both as a student and as a Teaching Assistant. And I don’t plan to ever stop learning.
3. How would you describe your shooting style?
What I look for when I’m shooting is to reveal a person’s soul through an image. I don’t like posing it’s fake. I love natural. When I have a session with kids, for example, I have them have a fun playdate with me and their family, and I stay “backstage” waiting for the wow moments. And as we’ve all heard before, “The eyes are the windows to the soul, ” so I’m insanely intrigued with the eye and how they sparkle when we’re happy. Or how it shines when it’s teary. It’s all connected.
4. ISO, shutter speed, aperture – help! How can a beginner get the most out of a point-and-shoot or DRSL camera?
ISO, shutter speed and aperture are the exposure triangle. When you change one you have to compensate with the other(s). It’s like a seesaw. If the one side is heavier than the other, it’s going to tilt. So all you have to do is balance it out.
My advice for those wanting to learn how to shoot manually is to try to understand one by one first. Start with the “aperture priority” mode. See what happens when you drastically change the aperture. Then move to the shutter priority mode. And finally join them together to add the ISO factor.
5. Are there optimal places or times of day to shoot? Any tips on how to get the best lighting?
All photographers talk about the “golden hour,” which is that short time right before sunset or right after sunrise. At this time the light is much softer and the shadows are not as hard. So it definitely looks much more flattering on your subject. Midday light is the harshest one, but there are always ways to work around it. After all, the best time to shoot is always NOW.
6. What are your top three tips for taking pictures of babies & young toddlers?
Patience, patience, patience. LOL.
7. Any particularly memorable moments or laugh-out-loud stories from your shoots with little ones?
Every shoot is has a memorable moment. I laugh so much every time. I’m not sure who is having more fun: the kids or myself!
8. When it comes to kids, attention spans can wane quickly – do you have a tips for keeping them engaged or tricks to get real smiles out of them when they’re not in the mood?
When they are really not feeling it, the worst thing you can do is force them. They are supposed to have fun, not be a perfect professional model. That’s why I always ask the parents to pack water, juices, snacks, and toys. If they are not feeling it we have a break, play, rest, and wait for them to feel better. The one thing that never fails, though, are bubbles. They just love them!
9. You live in New York – do you have any favorite spots to take pictures?
My “public” studio, definitely (and by that I mean Central Park). It’s amazing how many different backgrounds you can get in Central Park! And because I usually blur the background to focus on the eyes, all I look for are backlit trees or anything else that would look beautiful blurred.
10. How about favorite places to view art in the city?
That’s a very difficult question. NYC is a Mecca of art. I love visiting the small galleries in Chelsea and Soho. And I’m extremely bummed that “Yellow Korner” (a great affordable photography shop) closed last year. New Yorkers deserve more places like Yellow Korner!
11. Your talent speaks for itself through your photos. Is there anything you don’t do well that you wish you could?
Thank you very much :) We are always our worse critics. Every day I think to myself “I don’t do anything well! I still have so much to learn!” But if I should pick one thing I would say I can always learn more about light. Photography is all about painting with light, and the more you learn the more you see that it can change the way you look at the world.
Tags Baby Photography, Baby Rattles, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys
Category Baby Photography, Baby Rattles, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys
Just In :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Aug 4, 2014
Here are some more pictures from the photo shoot we did last month for our hand-knit superhero dolls (you can see part 1 here)! Pictured here are Red, Trixie, Flash, & Seymour. Made by hand in Peru by local artists, these soft, 100% cotton dolls are bursting with character. They don’t fit the typical mold for ‘perfection,’ but celebrate their unique quirks & personality traits that kids everywhere can certainly relate to. They are meant to encourage being comfortable in your own skin and loving what makes you different. A wonderful alternative to the mass produced dolls out there, these knit dolls are also great option for those in the market for designer baby gifts.
P.S. See part 1 here, which includes bios on each of the soft dolls.
Stylist: Alex Evjen
Tags Hand-Knit Toys, Handmade Dolls, Kids' Accessories & Toys, Soft Baby Toys, Soft Dolls
Photographer: Kym Ventola
Category Hand-Knit Toys, Handmade Dolls, Kids' Accessories & Toys, Soft Baby Toys, Soft Dolls