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
Just In for Summer :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Jun 23, 2015
Happy summer! We’re celebrating the start of the season with our new organic baby toys – the Beach Bum collection! Featuring starfish, octopus, seahorse, and mermaid rattles (there’s also a mermaid doll for older siblings), these toys are the perfect companions for summer newborns or water-loving babies. Hand-knit in Peru by local artisans, they’re all GOTS-certified organic and made from 100% soft Peruvian cotton. The bold colors, unique shapes, and charming sounds will engage babies’ senses and keep them happily entertained. And for those looking, these summer toys make easy yet unique baby shower or newborn gifts, especially when paired with the Electrik Kidz baby gown or one of our organic baby blankets. View the whole collection here!
Tags Baby Rattles, Estella Collections, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Soft Baby Toys
Category Baby Rattles, Estella Collections, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Soft Baby Toys
Just in for Spring 2015 :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Apr 7, 2015
Our new organic baby toys and bamboo baby clothes have arrived for spring 2015! Here are a few images of our new products, shot by NYC-based newborn and baby photographer Karilyn Sanders…
Old bamboo favorites are back, including our long sleeve romper and mittens, as well as new styles and details, like the stitched moon on our footie romper or star on the baby hat. Our entire bamboo baby collection is available in six elegant colors and features a hint of spandex, so the garments will stretch as baby grows. (For more reasons why we love bamboo for baby clothes, check out this post.)
We have also added new characters to our collection of baby rattles. In addition to the endangered animals pictured here, there are also new seaside creatures (like the starfish, mermaid, or octopus), classic rattles that are perfect for expecting parents (a rubber ducky or pacifier, for example), and Brooklyn-themed rattles for little hipsters. These infant toys are all hand-knit in Peru by local artisans using soft cotton, and because they are now GOTS-certified organic, they’re also safe and responsible choice. Plus, their bold colors, soft feel, and friendly faces will engage and delight baby, making them wonderful baby gifts - on their own or as a gift set!
(Images via Karilyn Sanders)
Tags Baby Rattles, Bamboo Baby Clothes, Eco-Friendly Toys, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys, Soft Baby Toys
Category Baby Rattles, Bamboo Baby Clothes, Eco-Friendly Toys, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys, Soft Baby Toys
Estella Baby Rattles :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Jan 14, 2015
Estella is excited to announce that our baby rattles are now GOTS-certified organic! These organic baby toys are available in the same exact styles and continue to be hand-stitched by local artisans (and members of the World Fair Trade Organization), but are now sustainable and environmentally friendly. If there’s a chance baby might put it in his or her mouth, we want it to be organic.
With such a soft feel and eye-catching designs, these toys make wonderful and unique baby gifts. The smooth cotton, bright colors, and charming sound will captivate and engage baby’s senses while new parents will appreciate the witty designs and fact that their child’s favorite toy is safe and all natural.
The baseball and football rattles are perfect for future athletes while the race-car, airplane, ambulance, and school bus feature bold hues and encourage imaginative play. The taxi, Metrocard, train, and salted pretzel pay homage to the city we love, and the bunnies and milk bottles are classic options geared towards those who appreciate an understated elegance. Pair any of these unique baby toys with a piece from our knit collection for a luxury gift set or an organic bamboo baby romper for something that’s classic yet still personality-packed.
Fun, whimsical, and full of character, these baby rattles are wonderful alternative to the mass-produced plastic or hard-edged toys and gifts on the market. View the entire collection of organic baby toys at Estella, with new styles coming soon!
Tags Baby Rattles, Eco-Friendly Toys, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys, Soft Baby Toys
Category Baby Rattles, Eco-Friendly Toys, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Hand-Knit Toys, Soft Baby Toys