When I found out that I was pregnant last year, I began searching for heirloom quality baby goods — clothing, toys, books, and furniture. I wanted to prepare for my son’s arrival the same way I approach shopping for myself and our home — thoughtfully + with intention — and slowly collecting items in anticipation for his birth made the wait even more exciting and meaningful.
Over the last two years, I’ve changed my shopping habits dramatically. Instead of buying poorly made items that will inevitably break and/or show wear quickly, I now purchase things with longevity in mind. This not only saves me time and money, but shopping sustainably — from small shops and makers who source, produce, and ship their items with as small of an ecological footprint as possible — makes a huge difference. You are speaking volumes with your dollars. You are supporting a small business with a real, live person behind the scenes who expertly designs, crafts, and sends your item to you with love and care. Don’t get me wrong, I use the heck out of Amazon Prime (because #momlife), and I love a good late night Target run (where I inevitably buy things I don’t really need and forget to get the one or two essentials on my list). But at my core, I believe in shopping small, local, and living with less. Minimalism isn’t perfection, mind you. But shopping + consuming consciously and ethically is a great start.
Without further adieu, some of my favorite shops/makers:
- Bitte Shop: A beautiful selection of books, clothing, and heirloom toys. I especially love that they carry Hazel Village — one of my favorite brands for kid’s toys + dolls — as we recently lost Charlie’s favorite toy on a trip to the Smithsonian and had to quickly order a replacement!
- Noble Carriage: I love Noble Carriage because all of their items are sourced with the highest of sustainability standards — 100% certified organic, fair trade/fair labor, made in the USA, locally made, and hand made. They have an excellent selection of clothing + accessories, and I love that everything in their shop is curated with gender neutral parenting in mind.
- Wild Creek Co.: Amazing heirloom toys, as well as a great assortment of pacifiers, musical instruments, and objects to inspire imaginative play.
- Afternoon Faun: Mariah crochets + stitches her beautiful animal dolls by hand, and we purchased ‘Sammy the Sloth’ as soon as we found out we were having a boy! Mariah is also in the process of starting a bi-annual magazine — Dear Lois — for girls and young women, and I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail!
- Baybee Boutique: Amber teething necklace. If you have a teething babe in your life, you need one. That’s all.
- Wee Gallery: High contrast books, alphabet cards, and toys for babes from birth upward. We love our animal alphabet cards, and if you find them in stock, grab them, as they sell out very quickly. We also ordered bath books for Charlie’s bath time. Will keep you updated on those, but if they’re anything like the other things from Wee Gallery, I know we’ll love them!
- Ouistitine: Up-cycled dolls and animals made from wool and other hypoallergenic dead stock fabrics. Charlie loves bedtime story time animated by our growing collection of hand puppets!
- Oeuf: Okay. I love Oeuf. Charlie has worn his Bambi winter hat since the weather turned cold last month, and I’ve already bought it in all of the sizes available (up through 4 years). #sorrynotsorry. Their clothing + accessories are fresh, modern, and have that touch of whimsy that I love. Gender neutral approved!
- Kalon Studios: I pinned Charlie’s crib (the Caravan crib by Kalon) on Pinterest at least fifty times, even before I found out I was pregnant. I LOVE the clean lines, natural wood finish, and the way the crib makes a statement while being completely minimal. It isn’t cheap, but this was the big ticket item I saved for during my pregnancy, and it brings me such joy every time I walk into Charlie’s room. The crib also converts into a platform toddler bed, and, when you’re out of the kid years completely, a platform settee or daybed (with separate conversion kit). The epitome of a lifetime, heirloom purchase, and I love knowing it will be passed down and loved by so many.
I imagine these heirloom items living through Charlie’s childhood, filling his days with as much joy as I found in collecting them. That’s the beauty of buying things that are meant to last, I think — knowing that they will live a life for generations to come.
Above: hand puppet by Ouistitine (lower left); Sammy the Sloth by Afternoon Faun (upper right); honeycomb pacifier clip by Wild Creek Co.
Above: Themis Prism Mobile by Artecnica; amber teething necklace from Baybee Boutique; alphabet cards by Wee Gallery; Caravan crib by Kalon Studios.
Above: Constellation blocks by Uncle Goose purchased from Bitte Shop.
Above: Books from Malaprop’s Bookstore (Asheville, NC); alpaca Bambi hat by Oeuf, purchased from Bitte Shop; up-cycled wool teddy bear by Ouistitine.