Friday, August 16, 2013

A little-known line with a lot of heart: Baby Baazaar

We carry a lot of lines that pull their products from smaller companies to create a one-stop shop experience for retailers (such as Toysmith, who carried B.Toys., Pustefix, etc.), but how about a smaller company that compiles products from individual artisans and village groups?  That would be Baby Baazar, a company founded by Supriya Himatsingka, a New Yorker originally from India who would source out toys from small groups back home to bring to children in the U.S.  As a result of this, she decided to start up a company that would seek out hard-to-find eco-conscious, unique, and worldly children's products from small companies and entrepreneurs.  Quality, design and a low carbon footprint are the main focus, as are providing jobs and livelihoods for the  local artisans and encouraging the growth and continuation of their traditional methods.

One method of toy-making that Baby Baazaar champions is lacware, a traditional handicraft over 200 years old of wooden articles turned on the lathe and finished with lac.  The Bibbo toy is a great example of this method.  Made of Hale wood that is not treated chemically and is seasoned and used directly to make the toys, it also employs Lac, a natural resin, that is used for the finish by blending natural dyes and has been used in India for thousands of years. The non-profit company that produces these toys is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. 

All of these points are why we love this company and their mission.  As as small business ourselves, we understand the difficulty in getting noticed and creating a positive force within our community.  We're always thankful for those times when someone stands up and says, "Hey, check these guys out, they're special!", and we absolutely appreciate that someone had the courage to give these artisans a voice outside of their local circle so that we can all benefit!  Each piece of Baby Baazaar's lines are special and one-of-a-kind, so if you're looking for something that no one else will have, swing by our Manhattan Beach shop and give this line some support :)  Most of the information obtained for this little blog post is directly from Baby Baazaar's website,, so check that out as well!

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