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
Tips + Tricks :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Nov 4, 2014
Expecting a new addition to your family sometime soon and ready to start planning? Here are some of the baby essentials you’ll want to shop for at Estella and add to your baby registry. From must-have baby clothes that your newborn will be living in, to blankets and toys, be sure to stock up on the following:
1. One-Piece Rompers & Receiving Gowns: These are some of the most practical and versatile baby clothes for new parents. Snaps between the legs simplify diaper changes and a lap-neck or buttons down the front/back ensure that dressing your little one will be quick and seamless. Plus, the cozy silhouette and soft fabrics will keep baby comfortable and happy while lounging at home or as a first layer during winter. You’ll want to stock up on our Bamboo Layette or Nature Baby Collection for kimono-style one-pieces and long-sleeve rompers in classic colors and 100% organic fabrics. If you’re looking for something with more personality, check out Beau LOves and Bobo Choses. And for ultra-luxurious and sophisticated styles: Album di Famiglia or our Baby Knits Collection. Make sure to order a variety of different sizes!
2. Booties, Hats & Mittens: Accessories to keep little hands, heads, and feet warm. Cotton hats can be worn all year long, even in the summer, and these bamboo baby mittens prevent babies from unintentionally scratching themselves.
3. Baby Blankets: Lotus Springs blankets are some of our most popular, and for good reasons: they are soft, eco-friendly, and machine-washable. These plush blankets will be a go-to for babies and parents alike, making them a practical and versatile choice. For a special, keepsake, check out our hand-knit alpaca blankets. These blankets are made in Bolivia by a Fair Trade manufacturer and sure to be treasured from infancy through adulthood.
4. Swaddles: The Aden and Anais Swaddles have a multitude of uses beyond simply keeping baby safe while sleeping, thanks to their generous size: they can double as a stroller or nursing cover, burp cloth, play blanket, and even a portable crib sheet. Plus, these pre-washed blankets are made from muslin, a breathable cotton fabric that allows baby’s body temperature to regulate itself naturally. Versatile and all-natural, these swaddles are the perfect multi-taskers for new parents.
5. For the nursery: The crib sheets, bumpers, and changing pad covers from Flink Living are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and available of classic prints and elegant colors that can be mixed and matched for a complete look. Sleep sacks from Aden and Anais keep baby comfortable, safe, and snug.
6. Baby Rattles: Engage all of baby’s senses with one of these designer newborn toys. Bold colors, soft cotton, and a charming sound will both entertain and delight your baby. Unlike other mass-produced plastic or wooden baby toys on the market, these rattles are safe and feel wonderful in little hands. Plus, the humorous shapes will amuse parents.
7. Keepsakes: Don’t we all have those special toys or accessories that have stayed with us since we were a newborn? Baby keepsakes will be treasured from day one all the way through adulthood. Whether it’s an engraved sterling silver rattle or accessory from Salisbury or Areaware, a hand-made Jess Brown doll, or piece of nursery decor from Boramiri, these toys and accessories are one-of-a-kind items that will remain with baby and become even more special as he or she grows up.
Tags Areaware, Baby & Nursery Decor, Baby Blankets, Baby Booties & Shoes, Baby Hats, Baby One-Pieces & Rompers, Baby Rattles, Baby Swaddlers, Designer Baby Clothes, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Harmony Ball Company, Jess Brown Dolls, Organic Baby Clothing, Organic Bamboo Baby Clothing, Soft Baby Toys
Category Areaware, Baby & Nursery Decor, Baby Blankets, Baby Booties & Shoes, Baby Hats, Baby One-Pieces & Rompers, Baby Rattles, Baby Swaddlers, Designer Baby Clothes, Estella Hand-Knit Rattles & Toys, Harmony Ball Company, Jess Brown Dolls, Organic Baby Clothing, Organic Bamboo Baby Clothing, Soft Baby Toys
Just In :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Sep 4, 2014
Estella is thrilled to announce the addition of four new hand-knit baby rattles to its collection of designer baby toys! The new shapes include an ambulance, racing car, airplane, and, in honor of baby’s older siblings who are headed back to school, an iconic school bus. These baby rattles are hand-made in Peru by local artisans and are the perfect alternative to plastic, wood, or other hard-edged baby toys. Bursting with color & personality, these soft toys for infants are not only safe but well-designed – they make lovely nursery decor pieces or baby gifts. The bright hues & charming rattle sounds will engage baby’s senses, while the fun shapes encourage imaginative play for toddlers – whether it be playing doctor or flying planes – the age at which baby toys can become an important part of a kid’s childhood. Regardless of which you choose, these baby toys serve as beautiful keepsakes, lovely additions to any baby shower gifts, and sure to delight baby this fall and well into adulthood. View the new rattles, as well as entire collection of baby rattles at Estella!
Photographer: Luciana Golcman
Tags Baby Rattles, Soft Baby Toys
Category Baby Rattles, Soft Baby 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
Just In :
By Estella Editor - POSTED Jul 14, 2014
A few weeks ago, we had a photo shoot for our new collection of superhero knit dolls! How great do Seymour, Red, and Kat look playing with Seth, Madeleine, and Claire? And then there’s Flash, getting into trouble in the trees…
A little bit more about the dolls, if you’re curious: Hand-knit in Peru by local artisans, these characters were created to inspire self-expression, acceptance, and love. These toys for girls & boys are full of personality and, most importantly, possess various traits that most toys do not usually celebrate but kids everywhere can identify with and relate to. They don’t fit the typical mold for ‘perfection’ but have so much spirit and joy that they are superstars on their own. Plus, they are a wonderful option for those in the market for unique designer baby gifts!
Seymour - Seymour isn’t the strongest guy on the block, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to save the day. Well-meaning and brave, though sometimes a bit clumsy, this selfless superhero loves adventure, dares to go where no one else will, and is ready to help others out at a moment’s notice.
Red - Don’t be fooled by Red’s sweet & defenseless appearance. A modern-day Little Red Riding Hood, she is tough, street-smart, and no pushover. She may be delivering goodies to granny but she certainly won’t fall for anyone’s tricks. Steer clear, Mr. Fox!
Kat - Kat loves sports and is ready for any game – the rougher the better. This athletic girl (she hates the word “tomboy”) is super talented and tends to disappoint the boys when she beats them. She proudly wears her thick black glasses, tube socks, and favorite purple number 22 jersey. Kat’s got game is ready to play.
Flash - Blessed with quick feet and a zest for life, Flash is still recovering from a small speeding accident and wears an eye patch on the advice of his doctors. What he lacks in vision though, he makes up for in spirit – he loves adventure and seeks out any opportunity to zip like the hero that he is.
Trixie (not pictured) - Trixie is a feisty trailblazer with confidence to spare. She wears a mask to add a touch of mystique to her image, sports high uneven socks – she likes them this way and doesn’t care what others say – and accentuates her asymmetrical ears with a pink bow.
Stay tuned for more pictures, coming soon!
Stylist: Alex Evjen
Tags Girls' Dolls, Hand-Knit Toys, Handmade Dolls, Kids' Accessories & Toys, Soft Baby Toys, Soft Dolls
Photographer: Kym Ventola
Category Girls' Dolls, Hand-Knit Toys, Handmade Dolls, Kids' Accessories & Toys, Soft Baby Toys, Soft Dolls