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Our New Favorite Organic Cotton Baby Toys

March 31, 2011 15:21

We finallly found the perfect organic cotton baby toy that is sweet enough for Makaboo. It's our Apple Park Organic Lovies, and I can barely stand how adorable they are.

The Lovies are hand-made of 100% organic materials in my old home-town of San Francisco, and they have darling details. Like the Bear Lovie's silky paws! And the Monkey Lovie's curly tail! Each one has a little heart on it, for the big heart they are coming to fill. As far as organic baby gifts go, we're positive you won't find anything cuter, especially when they are embroidered with little one's very own name. What a fantastic baby gift!

Starting today, the Bear, Bunny, Monkey, Lamby and Ducky are looking for a loving home near you!

Look At His Little Paw!

Apple Park Organic Bear Lovie


Can You Say No To That Face?

Apple Park Organic Duck Lovie


He's Waving At You!

Apple Park Organic Monkey Lovie

I Saw Myself On Television At The Airport

March 23, 2011 19:12

It's true.

I was at LaGuardia, flying back from ENK, the biggest childrens' tradeshow of the season. It was a Monday, and I was sitting at the gate by myself, looking over my notes from meetings with Angel Dear, Kissy Kissy, Bella Bliss and Swaddle Designs, as well as some super fun new lines (blog to come!).

Then I heard it:

CNN's Stephanie Elam saying "What do you do if you can't find cute, personalized gifts for your friends having babies?"

It's a line I know well, because it's the first sentance of the story about Makaboo on CNN. (I admit it, I've watched the clip more than the healthy handful of times. I watch it if I feel badly about a super fattening meal, or if I get a parking ticket, or if my husband's being a pain, or if American Idol's kinda boring.)

There I was! On TV! I said "Holy crap!" but no one was close enough to hear me. Then I stood up to get a good shot of the TV on my iPhone. A few people noticed that I was taking photos of the television, which made them more interested in what was on the television, and in turn more confused about what was so compelling to the random woman in the next aisle. Not a single person made the connection. Finally, a woman turned and looked at me quizzically, and I blurted "that was me!"

Turns out she is the head of PR for Build-A-Bear. We're having lunch next month. The CEO, Maxine Clark, was also on the flight, as was the entire St. Louis Symphony. I thought about Facebooking how serious a tragedy it would be for the entire city of St. Louis if the plane went down with all of us on board; thankfully I realized I was riding the high of my airport appearance, and came to my senses before publishing the post.




Makaboo on CNN



Makaboo on CNN

Darby and Mike

March 17, 2011 15:07

When I first started thinking about starting an online retailer, my husband Bill suggested I talk to one of his tenants, Mike Russina, who owns and, and has been in the business for a decade.

Bill asked Mike for a meeting and brought me over one afternoon - this was 6 months to a year before the site launched. I'd never met Mike before, and I had no idea his business was so big. They have 2 small storefronts on Washington Avenue here in St. Louis, but few people know that their space spans the entire ground floor of the Fashion Square building, and that behind the retail stores are a sizable warehouse, a photo studio and an office space housing a team of about a dozen employees. On any given day they have models in from Miami or New York and are shipping orders to Singapore, Germany and New Zealand. In other words, he's my idol.

Mike was pleasant enough, but he was ... what shall I say ... tight-lipped? Both Bill and I asked a ton of questions, from what their annual growth rate had averaged to their most successful customer acquisition tools. Mike was polite but evasive. Cagey even. I don't think he would have given me a straight answer on what he'd had for breakfast that morning. I'd see him on the street after that and would wave and say hi, and he'd avert my gaze. I figured he just wasn't a fan of overenthusiastic blonds, or disliked my (admittedly pain-in-the-rear) landlord husband, or just didn't have the time to humor the newbie. A few months later I rented a retail space adjacent to his, and we became neighbors. I saw him more and more frequently, but his demeanor remained ... indifferent.

Then he adopted Darby. And Darby and I fell in love.

Darby is an incorrigable but impossible to dislike chocolate lab. And Darby loves me. She loves Mike more, of course. A little bit. But I'm the super cool aunt who can do no wrong.

When Darby was a puppy she couldn't walk by Makaboo without slobbering all over the glass and chomping on the metal door handle trying to get in. Now if she's on a walk outside of the shop, Mike has asked me to stay inside until she does her business, otherwise she'll get too excited and won't go at all.

Over time, it got tough for Mike to keep ignoring me while his dog was shalacking me with lab love. Darby and I were able to wear Mike down. When he'd wrestle her out of a play session, he'd also ask how business was going (I'm sure just to be polite), and I would do the same. I would pop next door only in emergency: we'd run out of UPS labels, or I would have a question about a UPS claim, or ... it was almost always about UPS. Inevitably, we started chatting more, and sometimes he'd even invite me to sit down and talk shop. I grew more comfortable asking for his advice, and Mike grew more comfortable dispensing it.

And then one day it happened. He came over to our shop, and he asked for my input! I was so flattered I nearly hugged him on the spot.

I'm so comfortable with the folks next door now that sometimes I go over and they'll say "Mike's in front" and I'll say "that's OK I'm only here to see Darby." We talk nearly every day, and we bounce ideas off of each other all the time. It's still heavily weighted - he's been doing this a LOT longer than I have! But we definitely approach things differently, and it's good for both of us to hear the others' perspective. He has become a mentor, whether he knows it or not, and I am grateful to have him as a neighbor and a friend. And then of course there's the Darby love!


Darby, Trying to Escape & Attack Me With Love


Can You Resist Those Eyes?? Me Neither.

Health, Happiness - and RUFFLES!

March 3, 2011 15:20

Jenna Oesch, a really neat woman I know here in St. Louis, placed an order for her brand-new baby girl Emma a few weeks ago, and she pinged me to make sure it could be delivered in time for Emma's first photo session. I said yes, but didn't have time to look closely at the order and promptly forgot about it in my own hubub.

Though I don't know Jenna well, I have been staying on top of her amazing story of battling breast cancer during her first pregnancy. Jenna and I worked together back in 2007/2008, and she was always on top of her team and ahead of the game when it came to deadlines and deliverables. I was impressed by her professionalism and her ability to keep everything calm and on track, regardless of what was thrown her way. So it was no surprise that she attacked this cancer with the same fervor and organization that she attacked work, and I imagine, life in general. She has been sharing her story and I know she has inspired so many with her positive attitude and humor in the face of an unimaginable challenge.

So I would have been thrilled to see the photos in any circumstance, but their timing happened to hit even closer to home: they appeared in my Facebook feed as I was waiting for my mother to get out of an emergency surgery stemming from complications from a mastectomy. My mother had already had cancer in the same breast once, eight years ago, and its return meant a full mastectomy, but thankfully, no chemo. I had shared Jenna's story with my mom, and when she was awake and not groggy, I was able to share these photos with her - photos that celebrate birth and renewal in the face of uncertainty and human frailty.

It just drove home again why I started this business. I think it's pretty neat that every day we get to help people celebrate life - help them welcome a new being to this magical and crazy place, and mark the passage of time for the little people in our lives who will one day become big people. That Makaboo gets to add a bit of flair to the remarkable journey that Jenna, Rett and Emma are taking makes me smile inside and out.

I want to thank Jenna and her fantastic photographer Kelly Ferguson for letting us share these photos on the blog and on Makaboo. And I also want to give Jenna and Kelly credit for creating a whole new genre in infant photography - the bum shot! We love it so much that it is now the sales photo in use for Personalized Bloomers on the site.

I should thank my mom too, for bringing me into the world so that I could start this little biz! She is healthy and cancer free, and recovering in the Caribbean, the lucky duck.

To Emma, I wish you a lifetime of happiness, health - and RUFFLES!!

Makaboo Personalized Kissy Kissy Fancy Pants


Makaboo Personalized Baby Blanket

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