A few years ago, I bonded with a 5-year-old boy. He’s a family friend, so I’d already adored him, but then I started working with him while I was in grad school. Christmas came along and he wanted to get me a gift; apparently something he hadn’t made. The problem was, he didn’t have any money. So he decided to gift me something unusual: a used sock. It was from his favorite pair, the socks meant a lot to him and he wanted me to have one. The idea of gifting somebody a worn (if impeccably clean and without any holes), lone, little boy sock wasn’t strange in the least to him. It was something he loved and was willing to part with. He wrapped this sock up in white printer paper he had thoughtfully and colorfully decorated it and gifted it to me. To this day, it remains one of the most special gifts I’ve ever received, because I’m reminded of the heart behind it.
We certainly have readers here who have children. After talking with Cassie earlier this week, and discovering some kids who are doing incredible things in their communities and the world, I felt inclined to shout out some small brands that are geared towards kids. A used sock, interestingly enough, makes for a fantastic gift, but if you’re looking for something else to float your gift giving boat for a child you know or a place to hook up your own child, I think you’ll like these companies. Here’s to the kids once again for making us laugh and inspiring us in so many ways. They deserve all the good things.
Le Petit Organic. Sustainable, handmade and vintage-inspired clothing is the name of the game at this NYC-based brand. They make the most adorable, dreamy clothing for kids aged 0-8. I found myself on their IG page and immediately thought of Cassie‘s girls when I saw some adorable rainbow rompers they sell. On top of everything, they are champions of diversity and representation.
Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab. I happened across this sweet, little shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn a few months ago when I was in search of a tea to go. Never did get the tea, but did walk away from Park Slope with a few great books for a friend’s toddler! This lovely place is both a bookshop and a storytelling lab, where they host a variety of classes for kids (like illustration!), drop-in story times and birthday parties. They are currently closed because of COVID but are selling books online and also offering online classes.
Dixie and Bee. Peg dolls! My most favorite thing about going out to eat when I was little were the salt and pepper shakers. I used to pretend they were people and make them ice skate and dance across the table. I came across these peg dolls and immediately thought of those ole salt and pepper shakers that made me so happy. This is a one-woman, mother-run, small company and each wooden toy is handprinted with non-toxic paint and sealer. From women in history dolls to custom characters (I see you, Elsa from Frozen), there doesn’t seem to be anything they can’t create in the from of a peg doll.
Briar Baby. I am a sucker for a tot in a bonnet; can’t help it, won’t try to help it. I mean, is there anything sweeter? My future children will be bonnet babies for sure. This company out of the Pacific Northwest makes an assortment of American-made, beautiful bonnets: from brimmed to sunbonnets to ones with little animal ears. Timeless, classic, perfection. They also sell masks…such are the times!
Lauren Phelps. Big fans of mom and fine artist Lauren Phelps here at The Modern Bee! Lauren does commission paintings that capture the special, early stages of a child’s life. One of the most beautiful parts of her process is to sit down for a conversation with her clients; to gather the essence of who they are so she can translate it to the canvas. Her pieces are heirloom-quality, priceless additions to any family collection. Lauren joined the circle here not too long ago; you can learn more about her and her artistic process here.
There are so many great, ethical companies making beautiful, educational and cozy things to enrich a kid’s life. Since mothers (and so kids!) are such an important part of this community, we plan to continue to shine a light on brands, makers and artists we are really loving and think you will, too. Any to share?