Sustainable Toy Brands For Mums Looking To Break The Plastic Cycle – Tenderleaf Toys

Sustainability isn’t just the basis of my work in fashion: it’s a guiding force in my life. I make a very conscious effort to navigate the world through environment-friendly practices, such as trying to cut back on plastic consumption in all areas of life. When I became a mother, this way to see things came with an extra responsibility: I am now raising a small human to be aware of his direct impact on the planet. I wanted to pamper my child with beautiful and fun toys, of course, but I also wanted the things that surround him to be meaningful. And so the quest to find sustainable toys began.

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Sustainable Toy Brands For Mums Looking To Break The Plastic Cycle – Lanco

Tender Leaf is a fairly new company, but there’s another toy maker I recently fell in love with that has been doing this for decades. Barcelona-based company Lanco has been making fully artisanal rubber toys since all the way back to 1952. The raw material used by Lanco stems from the same place as Tender Leaf Toys: the rubber tree. For over fifty years, this Catalan company has manufactured natural rubber toys for babies and even pets. A family company, Lanco has been at the forefront of European toy making for quite some time, and it was a joy to discover them, as I became a mum.

The Lanco founder and grandfather to the current owners, Alfredo Benet Domingo, was an artist who fell in love with the endless possibilities of rubber. Feeling a deep affinity to children, he decided to focus his talents of creating beautiful and colourful toys for babies. In the 1950s’, sustainability and ecology weren’t particularly popular concepts; it was just the way things were done. It’s a testament to Lanco’s commitment to the craft than in over 50 years they never neglected natural rubber for more toxic materials, staying true to latex for more than half a century. Still, it was only recently, in 2015, that Lanco began focusing its corporate image on the sustainable practices that have been the company’s backbone throughout its history. The company’s manufacturing process occurs in their factory in Fez, Morocco; each toy then heads to Barcelona, the starting point for them to be shipped internationally. As it often happens with traditional and family-based companies, the better part of Lanco workers have been there for over two decades, and women comprise 64% of their staff.

One thing I like about Lanco is that they make toys for babies as young as one month old. The items are hermetically sealed so that no mould can accumulate inside, in turn making it safe for newborn babies that are still too young to be vaccinated, and are thus much more exposed to bacteria. Lanco fulfills every European toy standard, using only biodegradable materials, from natural rubber to food-grade dyes. Every single one of the Lanco toys is crafted by hand, from prototyping in Plasticine all the way to adding the colour details.

Lanco focuses on making toys for babies, with squeaky and silent varieties that are soft to the touch and completely safe for any infant to chew. They have a few collections specialising in one of the toughest moments of parenting a baby: teething, which can be painful and traumatic for everyone in the household. Teethers Amapola are comprised of simple and unicolor shapes for babies to grasp and bite; Teethers Huella toys are shaped as animals, helping babies become familiar with their shapes and stimulated by colours; Teethers Semilla toys are all in bright colours, shaped as plants and fruits; and Teethers Orilla are two-piece toys inspired by waves, showcasing sweet shapes like elephants and birds.

The Spanish company categorizes their baby-focused products on four age groups: 1 month, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months. The toys for each age are designed to fit each developmental stage, so, for example, toys for newborns have a focus on grip, which they can eventually change between hands.

Lanco also has a whole catalogue dedicated to one of the most traditional and beloved toys we inherited from the 20th century: the rubber duck. After manufacturing rubber ducks for over half a century, Lanco has this product down to an art. They go beyond the yellow rubber duck and expand to more colours, including white, black, green, purple and brown; there’s a holiday version with a Santa hat and they also have some “bad” duckies, including a Diablo one.

The classic versions don’t even begin to cover the wide variety present in the Lanco rubber duck arsenal. They have a multicultural line that includes a Viking and a Miss Piggy-type fashionista; there are work-inspired ducks like a bobby, a fireman and a DJ; and even some romantic ducks, from one holding a rainbow flag to a married couple. The options go on and they’re all very sweet and silly. It’s clear Lanco goes beyond simply making them for little kids; some of these can make a nice present for an adult who has stayed young at heart.

In all, I want my child to grow up in a world that’s increasingly aware of each product: where it comes from, who works on it and on what conditions, what measures are taken for it to be safe. The best way I can think of creating that kind of consciousness in him is by surrounding each step of his development with carefully thought-out items crafted by brands that care. I’ve fallen in love with the products and worldviews of Tender Leaf Toys and Lanco, and I can’t recommend them enough. I’m also madly excited to see my son go through each step of life, and I also can’t wait to find the toys that will help make him a happy and aware little human. Find out more about the company here.

Pure Thoughts, a Britain-Made Alternative to Conventional Candles

I love having candles around the house, particularly those that work their aromatherapy magic. However, I also have an infant at home, and my number one priority is always keeping the safest environment possible for him. Having a small child has made me hyper-aware of the number of mainstream things that contain harmful chemicals, and scented candles are no exception. Babies are highly sensitive to smells and chemicals, and it turns out that traditional candles release a lot of toxins when they’re burning. With that knowledge, my quest to find natural candles that wouldn’t jeopardise the health of my family began: the last thing I’d ever want to do is pollute the air inside the safe space of my home.

As an aromatherapy lover, I’m looking for soothing smells whenever I search for candles. Meanwhile, as a firm believer in sustainability, I also need to find a brand that matches ethical standards. Lastly, as a mum, I’m looking for something that the grownups in the house can enjoy that doesn’t come close to harming the little one. I’m happy to say that, after searching for a while, I’ve finally found the perfect brand: Pure Thoughts. Read more…

Serendipity Organics – A Magical Find

Sustainable fashion is my day-to-day. It is, first and foremost, the focus of my work; however, it is also a life philosophy. I love living in a time in which it is getting easier to consume fashion responsibly – and that goes for myself and my family. Finding sustainable fashion is also about raising my son to understand what his mum does – and why it’s important. So, with motherhood came a new challenge: delving into sustainable children’s fashion.

Children grow up quickly, and it’s ever so tempting to fall into fast fashion to clothe them. Thankfully, there’s an increasing number of brands dedicated to filling the gaps for parents looking to dress their children ethically. I’m always in the search for companies that put their values into manufacture, and attentiveness to organic textiles seems like the best way to do that when it comes to newborn and infant clothes.

Organic textiles stem from an all-around commitment to make clothes that damage the Earth as little as possible. That means changing up the structure of how things have been done for decades: there’s far less water involved when sowing and harvesting, and there no harmful chemicals are used at any point of production. And that’s the basis of the entire philosophy behind Serendipity Organics. Read more…

Rosie & Cooey – An Eco Baby Favourite!

Times are changing. It’s becoming easier and easier to find, and love, eco-baby wear which doesn’t cost us the earth. There is a plethora and range, it’s not all extortionately priced and the quality speaks for itself. We are in love with Rosie & Cooey in our house! They are a UK online baby and kids clothing shop for 0 to 10 years, which has a beautiful hand-picked a collection of fun, colourful, funky, and ethically made children’s clothing sourced from various sustainable brands. Parents can find scores of clothes designed with style, sustainability and social responsibility at heart. Rosie & Cooey have drawn their line by choosing to only work with brands trading ethically and striving to achieve sustainable production. Their brands do this in a number of ways including using non-conventional materials that have a lower impact on both human health and the environment, such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and Modal®, coupled with their commitment in ethical production.

Picture above: Småfolk’s Eltern Bodysuit with Panda in soft organic cotton.

What does this mean for parents concerned about their babywear? Well, take for example, Designer Småfolk who only use 100% organic cotton and have been OEKO-TEX certified for the last 9 years. Instead of throwing a lot of good clothing with small print mistakes away (a source of great waste in our industry), the brand donates these clothes to children in need. Or stocked brand CarlijnQ, who create products in an environment-friendly, sustainable, and healthy way and without the use of any hazardous chemicals. Their factories in Istanbul, Turkey only use certified organic cotton with approved dyes which are free from hazardous elements such as nickel, lead, formaldehyde, amines, pesticides and heavy metals.  Read more…

Eco and Ethical Baby Brands to be Aware Of

Photo by Brytny.com on Unsplash

It seems that our little ones are growing at the speed of light; one moment they’re toddlers and the next thing you know – it’s time for school. Due to this fact, it’s quite difficult to constantly buy replacements for the clothes they cannot fit in anymore. However, just as it’s the case with the fashion for adults, sustainability has also become very popular in the baby brands fashion world. Not only is this super important because of the materials that are used and the lack of harmful chemicals that can affect your baby’s skin, but it’s also an option that means providing only the top-quality for your children. Moreover, ethics are also a top priority. From making sure that workers have fair wages and safe working environment, to the ones who help out different charity organizations, it seems that many baby brands are making a difference. Now, what are the best eco and ethical baby brands that you need to be aware of?

Biodegradable wipes

Just like you’re taking care of the hygiene of your delicate newborn baby, you should be paying attention to the hygiene of our beautiful planet. And there is an option to do both of these tasks at the same time, as there are companies that produce biodegradable baby wipes, which is certainly an amazing option. The best on the market are the Mum & You biodegradable wipes – they are also hypoallergenic and safe for the environment. It will also help the sensitive and eczema-prone skin of your child as they are made using 100% naturally derived wipes. If you have the option of buying such wipes, why not? Buying a 12 pack will bring you 672 baby wipes, which is an amazing number. Read more…

Pink NouNou the ethical baby toy brand…meet the delightful handmade extravangaza for little ones

The best way to describe Pink Nounou? Modern and playful designs for both kids and those young at heart! The gorgeous brand offers a range of textile and paper products designed for little ones but to be admired and appreciated by the kind of parents who appreciate practical and unique pieces. Pink Nounou’s cheery little softie characters in particular present a visual delight, ones easy to become attached to! There are also a ton of eco products to discover! Designer and CEO Ana Carriço creates one-of-a-kind dolls and soft toysbibs with fairy talesbaby rattles, pillows (mini or square), art prints and so much more. I caught up with Ana, the dynamic creative genius, to discuss some of the coolest toys in our play box and find out more about this exciting brand.

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BRAND?

My name is Ana, I’m 42 years old. I LOVE to draw and travel (although I’m really afraid of flying), also I love chocolate, ice-cream & my beautiful daughter (not necessarily in this order!).

I was born in Mozambique lived in Portugal since I was 4 years old. I am currently based in Lisboa with my 10 year old daughter and my husband. I always lived by the sea which is also something I love and feel very connected to! I have a degree in Graphic Design and in these past few years I’ve been fully dedicated to my brand – PinkNounou.

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