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Toddler Tuesday: Welkin NYC

When you have a new baby, the Instagram universe beckons; it’s somehow comforting to see the familiar faces you follow during those nights when there’s nobody but a tiny (crying) little human to talk to. That’s how we found two of our favorite NYC bloggers, Belle Savransky and LaTonya Staubs, whose covetable style and picturesque lives offer endless online inspiration. It turns out that these two mamas are equally stunning in real life...not to mention sweet, smart and incredibly savvy. In between bringing up their brood (Belle has a daughter Biet, 3, and son Lucien, 1; and LaTonya has a little girl River, 3, with one on the way), the duo has launched a kids’ line, Welkin NYC, whose identity is as distinctly downtown as the mamas who created it. Just about every item from the debut fall collection made us say, “I wish they made that in my size,” and we’re expecting to have a similar reaction to their summer line. We recently wandered the East Village with Belle and LaTonya -- with one of our fave photographers Lindsey Belle in tow -- to find out more about their burgeoning brand, growing families and love for NYC. What makes Welkin NYC different from other kids brands? We approach childrenswear with a really unique point of view when it comes to color and gender stereotypes. We try to honor and respect the child as an individual, while adding a bit of sophistication and humor into the clothes. The fact that most of our pieces are gender neutral is important to us. Don’t get us wrong, we love a frilly dress and little bow ties as much as the next mom, but we want to add some more diverse and edgy options to the world of children’s clothing. As two New Yorkers raising broods of little New Yorkers, we identify with and are proud of our city’s spirit and past. Our clothes are meant to be worn by city kids: adventuresome, diverse, creative outspoken, proud, ambitious, and playful kids. And we think there’s a bit of “city kid” in every kid. What inspires you while designing? We gain a lot of inspiration from cultural movements of the past and present that took place in New York City, as well as from the extensive diversity of culture and art that exists here. I find the idea of each person having their "own” New York very romantic. Everyone “belongs” in NYC, everyone can find their tribe here, and when people get together, amazing cultural phenomenons happen here. So many groups of people throughout history found or created “their” NYC: the beat poets, Warhol and his superstars, the Coney Island circus folk, the musicians and dancers of the Harlem renaissance, the Nuyorican poets of Alphabet City, the punks of the 70’s on the Bowery, the hip hop artists of the 90’s in the LES, and the list goes on and on. And it will continue to go on forever. Each of these groups had “their own" NYC for a spell of time. And then they change and the city changes, and somebody else finds a new NYC and creates something new. And yet everyone who makes anything ends up contributing the city’s constant and perpetual evolution. Tell us about the next collection. For our summer capsule collection, we are really gathering inspiration from NYC in the 1970’s: Coney Island, urban beaches, rollerskating and street performers. It’s just a capsule collection, so it will be just a couple summer staples. We’re keeping the designs really streamlined and functional, and are having a bit of fun with pattern and volume. The exact details and launch date are under wraps for now. How do you complement each other as partners? Our partnership is always evolving. Originally I (Belle) was more design-minded and LaTonya did most of the styling, but as we work together, we each take on more and more roles and sometimes flip roles completely. We are lucky in that we really complement each other when it comes to business and creativity. We keep each other in check design-wise, usually either toning down or encouraging the development of new ideas. We bounce ideas around a lot until they turn into full-fledged plans for new pieces. We also work together on each step of developing and growing our pieces. It’s really a 50/50 partnership when it comes to design, styling, PR and behind-the-scenes business work. How is the line sustainable and why is that so important to the DNA of the Welkin? Our model of sustainability is based on three really important concepts. The first is sustainable sourcing. We source much of our fabrics from sustainable mills, and use mostly recycled and organic textiles. Any crash course in what textile crop pesticides are doing to our earth will show you why its so important to us. We’re also huge fans of using leftover deadstock fabric, which would normally head to a landfill. We use it in small production runs for one-of-a-kind small runs. We use a more sustainable non-toxic printing process for our tees, and keep much of our paper packaging products recycled as well. We know that being mindful of what goes into our products can make a big difference in the world. The second concept is local manufacturing. We produce everything in NYC. We never, ever outsource overseas, which helps keep our company’s carbon footprint to a minimum. It feels good to work within NYC’s historic garment district and to help it to thrive, and it allows us to also check in at every level of manufacturing for superior quality control. We print all of our shirts in Brooklyn at a family-run printer. We try to work with other small businesses as much as possible. And third, we make sure everything is fairly made. The seamstress and workers who manufacture for us abide by fair labor laws. The team that we use is actually like a tight-knit family. They hug us when we walk in the door. They know our kids. It feels really good to work with people who love what they do, who love the city as much as we do, and who work with us face to face. What's it been like being moms and launching a business? It’s definitely a roller coaster. It’s amazingly gratifying to work in a career that is not only centered around fashion, which we love, but also, in a way, centered around motherhood, since we’re designing children’s clothes. Since we’re on similar life trajectories, we can truly relate to one another and can bring a lot of flexibility to our start-up. It’s almost as if we’re creating a brand new way of running a company -- one that works on a mom’s schedule. Some days it’s insanity. There are kids running around our feet with fabric samples as I’m (Belle) nursing a baby with one hand and finalizing pattern details with another, or we’re schlepping everyone all over midtown searching for a perfect fabric. And some days it’s just us in the studio catching up on emails and dreaming about the future. We definitely don’t run the business in a conventional way, but it works for us. It’s nice to be able to make up the rules as we go along, and it’s even nicer to have a superstar partner to do it with. How do you balance work and parenting...and life in general? Any tips? We definitely feel like we’re still figuring this one out. We have set times that are “work times” each week, and no matter what’s going on, we know that during those times we are accountable to each other and to the business. That helps a lot. We’re still shipping out orders on the way to ballet and staying up until ungodly hours emailing and editing product shots, but somehow it works. We’re navigating the infant stages of a business, and parenting our kids through their the early childhood stages, so a bit of mayhem is to be expected. It’s a lot of work, but we’re grateful to be able to do it -- all of it. What are some baby/children's brands you love and buy for your own kids? Kallio has a great vision and design. They recycle old clothing into really gorgeous streamlined designs. Nico Nico has a really understated, textural quality to their clothes. Talc makes those Parisian-style separates. Goatmilk is a go-to for basics with amazing integrity behind the brand. Dagmar Daley makes gorgeous storybook-esque pieces. Atsuyo et Akiko makes great tees. Soft Gallery has great geometric lines and collaborates with artists for one-of-a-kind capsule collections. Miller London -- gah! Even if pretty preppy isn’t your thing, you have to love everything they make. What are you fave shops around NYC for the kids? We adore the designer collaborations for the kids collections of Opening Ceremony. Darling Clementine and Sweet William are always immaculately curated. Miniluu, which is based in Manhattan, has gorgeous sustainable everything. Village Kids Footwear on First Ave. seems so unassuming, but it’s never failed for great shoes for the kids. Babesta Threads is always spot on with trendy brands. Jane’s Exchange in the East Village -- it’s all consignment and it’s great! What's ahead for Welkin NYC? For the time being, we’re sticking to toddler clothes, and will continue to release small collections as we develop them. We’ll also be rotating in a couple of new tee designs soon, as well as releasing a few limited edition accessories. With LaTonya’s new bundle arriving soon, we’ve been dreaming of dressing babies, so we’ll see where that takes us. Photography by Lindsey Belle. LINDSEYBELLE is shooting mini sessions in Central Park from May 4-10, right in time for Mother’s Day & Father’s Day. There's limited sessions available, so email lindsey@lindseybelle.com to schedule.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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