The conversation usually goes something like this:
"What does your business do?" they would ask patiently.
"We sell natural toys," I would reply.
"You know, wooden toys," I would say. Their eyes indicated understanding what I was saying - but mostly because they have seen cheap wooden puzzles in Walmart.
Encouraged, I would add, "We also sell organic dolls and toys."
The blank stare returns as their eyes ask, "what in the world are 'organic toys'?"
I would then explain they are stuffed animals made of organic cotton, soft dolls for babies also made of organic cotton, and filled with wool. They would smile politely and wish me well.
This was the typical conversation when were first getting started around the "turn of the century." Whether I was speaking with a friend or a member of the trade at Toy Fair, it was generally the same. Still, we pushed forward by introducing Keptin-Jr organic cotton baby dolls from The Netherlands to the US Market in 2002, followed by Lana Organic stuffed animals in 2004, and Kallisto stuffed animals in 2006.
Each new introduction was exciting and challenging as we had to educate sales reps, retailers, and consumers on the merits of not only using cotton (as opposed to artificially produced fabrics), but organic cotton.
My parents can still recall a day they went into FAO Schwartz, often considered a leader in the Toy Industry, and asked the sales representative if they had any stuffed animals made from natural fibers. The sales rep looked back at them as though they were speaking a foreign language. He hadn't ever heard of such a thing. Of course, it is difficult to blame the floor staff, it wasn't "a thing" back then.
Now, how things have changed! More and more companies are introducing organic this, and organic that, and not just organic apples! There are many more organic cotton options within the toy market. There are a few more that appeared from Europe, as well as many more that are produced in China or elsewhere.
This is good news for consumers, and offers more choices for natural living. While we don't claim to carry all of the organic toys that are in the market, we are proud to continue being a leader in the market by continuing to sell Keptin-Jr and Lana, but also we have added Nanchen from Germany and others, also from Germany.
We also carry other soft toys, such as our wash-cloth mitts made by Furnis in Croatia. These are made with organic cotton which has been certified as "oko-tex" which certifies that it doesn't contain any harmful contaminants.
While not every single item that we carry is organic, or even 100% cotton, we do strive to include the more natural, organic items wherever possible.
Why do we take such care in selecting our products? For us, we feel that the quality of the material speaks to the quality of the design. The quality of the design speaks to the child, and helps them to appreciate the beauty in the world. If designed right, the design also encourages children to imagine, play creatively, and experience worlds untold, all at a very young age.
We take care in selecting our products because we know that a single, loved, toy that will last a lifetime, is worth so much more than a room full of toys that are soon forgotten.
Lastly, we take care in selecting our products, because we know you, like us, value beautiful things, that are made from nature, and wouldn't have it any other way.