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Supporting Women through Commerce

Children’s brand Oeuf shows us how it’s done.

Supporting Women through Commerce

Mothers are an enormously powerful segment of consumers. We make large and small decisions each day about the brands we want (or need) in our homes, in our children’s lives, and even on our Instagram feeds. In the chaos that is motherhood, many of our purchases happen without much thought, with the click of a “reorder” button on your phone, or a distracted convenience store visit with a toddler pulling at your leg. We’re all guilty of it. But we can do better. It’s actually possible to make purchases that add some adorableness to your life AND support women, children and families. To make a fashion statement AND a political statement.

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The children’s brand Oeuf is a great place to start. The Brooklyn-based company was founded by a woman, is run by women, and actively supports women in developing countries by hiring them to make the clothing and home décor items in the seasonal collections. This month, Oeuf donated 100% of all online sales on International Women’s Day to the New York charity Sanctuary for Families which is dedicated to the safety and healing of victims of domestic violence. And for the rest of March (there’s still a few days!), Oeuf will give 20% of sales of its fair trade certified as well as made of 100% baby alpaca Feminist Crown to the same organization.

Oeuf’s founder Sophie Demenge recently gave us a glimpse into a visit to a Fair Trade collective of women knitters in Bolivia where the company creates some of its magical, handmade baby clothing and decor, and shared why sustainability is so close to her heart.

Why is sustainability so important to you as a brand?

Oeuf started as a furniture brand, and the key to good furniture design is that it is made to last. My husband Michael and I began designing furniture for children in a modern, yet timeless, style that parents and their children would be happy to have in their homes for years to come. It's not meant to be disposable, so the materials have to be high-quality. Sustainability is inherent both in the way we produce, and in how our customers buy: less is more, quality is essential. Every other product we've produced has followed naturally from these same principles.

When did you start sourcing in Bolivia and Peru?

I started working in Bolivia in 2004, and expanded production into Peru shortly afterwards. The natural materials we work with, pima cotton and baby alpaca, are staples in these countries, so we go direct to the source. We're making all our clothing, layette, and home decor such as pillows and rugs there now.

Tell us about your most recent trip to Bolivia.

As I have been working with the same Fair Trade collective of women knitters in Bolivia for many years now, they are really like a family to me. Every time I go it’s a bit of a family reunion, where I see their children, catch up on their news, and just have a lot of fun. At the same time, we work hard and have to pack a lot of creation into the short time I am there. The knitters always astound me with the way they can transform my ideas into reality.

How do you find the woman artisans you work with there?

The women in Bolivia are a self-managed collective. As Oeuf has grown, we've been able to provide more and more work for them, and so the collective has grown as well. My favorite thing always is to see their families, and to see how having this work has allowed them to improve education and health care in their community. These women justifiably take a lot of pride in their work, and in the way they are improving their children's lives. The babies that they had when we started working together are now teenagers like my daughter, and I can never believe how fast they've grown. Some kids are currently going to nursing school and architecture. It’s empowering and moving for all involved especially mothers, to see that this work is bigger than us and has a life of its own.

Oeuf is known for sustainability but also for quality. How does sourcing from Peru and Bolivia help you deliver on that?

For me and for the Oeuf customer, the two things go hand-in-hand. We don't want you to buy a sweater for one season, we want it to be something you can pass down and use for many years to come. It all starts with the natural materials: pima cotton and baby alpaca, it doesn't get better than that! In Bolivia and Peru, they really know how to work with these materials; it is what they've grown up with. The techniques are passed down over generations, and part of our mission is also preserving that.

Why did you choose to work with Sanctuary for Families?

Sanctuary for Families is New York's leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence. However, I actually learned about them fairly recently: they are quite under-the-radar, which is something that appeals to me. It's really all about the mission, the women and families they are working for. Their stories are deeply troubling, but this organization provides hope, and a real way forward. The authenticity resonates with me, and it fits perfectly with what we do at Oeuf. Now that I've spent time with the people at Sanctuary for Families, I feel a real connection with them, and plan to continue our work with them long-term.

There’s still time to get your Feminist Crown and support a good cause. Check it out.

Photography by Sebastian Omachea.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Parents knowingly sent COVID-positive kids to school—and that's a sign society is failing families

Parents shouldn't feel as though they have no other choice.

Parents across the nation are adjusting to school being back in session during a pandemic. From converting dining rooms into virtual classrooms to totally derailing their careers, parents are finding ways to make it through this unprecedented crisis.

It turns out that there is yet another challenge to overcome: parents knowingly sending their COVID-19 positive children to school. Yes, it happened in Wisconsin this week.

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