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Reach for the sky, little dudes! The Natti Natti universe is playful and beautiful, modern yet nostalgic, full of the love and joy that childhood memories are made from. This Brooklyn-based brand with Swedish roots creates unique bedding & accessories for kids that are quite literally like out of a dream – ‘natti natti’ means ‘nighty night‘ in Swedish.

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Shannon Althin founded Natti Natti in 2015 with her husband Eric. Together they had run an art gallery in the city for several years, but after becoming parents for the second time their entrepreneurial bug was ready for a different adventure. In the year since their launch, Natti Natti has blossomed into a beautiful family company which the kids are a huge part of. Shannon tells us more about the inspiration behind the brand, their small-batch process, raising kids in Brooklyn, and their plans for the coming months.

How did Natti Natti come to be? Why bedding?

When our daughter was born in 2011, my husband and I owned and operated an art gallery in Chelsea. The arrival of our daughter had a profound impact on us, as it does with all new parents. We felt more and more that we wanted the flexibility of working from home with her. We began exploring the world of textiles and design, and we had soon produced our first fabric. I starting using the fabrics to sew Emma leggings. It was something fun that we really enjoyed and it got me thinking how I would love to start a little Brooklyn brand for children.

When I was pregnant with our boy Lukas we began transitioning Emma into her new big girl bed. It was a very big deal for her. She was so excited and also really looking forward to becoming a big sister! We wanted to make her bed extra special so we designed and sewed her a custom duvet cover! She loved it so much! We realized then that our passion for art and design was a perfect fit for a new venture in children’s bedding, and so, Natti-Natti was born!

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The Natti Natti universe is so unique and playful. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Thank you! Our inspiration comes from so many things. Japanese toys and cartoons, our kids, nature, and of course Sweden! Scandinavia is known for their beautiful design. Often white, modern, and minimal. We love a clean white canvas. We were designing our first collection a few years ago while visiting Sweden in the summer and this became the main inspiration for our “Forest Collection”. Picking mushrooms and berries in the woods, rainy swedish summer days, and spending all day outside in nature.

For our most recent collection, “Nostalgia”, our kids were a huge inspiration. We wanted to create a collection that evoked nostalgia and brought back magical memories of childhood. Our daughter Emma was even involved in the designing process which was a ton of fun! We love incorporating cute characters throughout our designs as well. My husband Eric has been drawing and designing characters, or as we like to call them “dudes”, haha, since he was a little boy! We really are kids at heart and this is such a wonderful way for us to collaborate and create together. We strive to create organic, unique, modern and playful pieces that kids and parents alike can enjoy and feel good about.

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Your products are truly small-batch. What does the process look like, from design to production?

They really are. We design everything in our at-home studio and I also sew our growth charts here as well. Sometimes we hand paint onto paper and scan these designs into the computer and other times we go completely digital using a tablet.

We work with an awesome local print shop who screen print everything by hand! A screen is created from our artwork and then printed onto our fabrics using water-based inks. This screen printing process is truly an art form, its very cool to watch! We have a few products that are digitally printed as well or a combination of digital and screen print.

Since everything is local I am able to personally deliver the printed fabric to our manufacturers, who are located just a couple blocks away from the printers. This way we can oversee, be involved, and be present every single step of the way, which is amazing! A lot of time, hard work, and love goes into each and every piece we make.

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Raising little ones in Brooklyn is awesome and challenging. What do you love / struggle with?

It’s so true! I love that the kids are growing up in a culturally diverse city with so much to offer. From food, to museums, to zoos and parks, there is always something enriching we can take the kids to see. We can walk to playgrounds, art classes, or just run across the street to the pet shop for a quick animal encounter. We are also super fortunate to have such wonderful friends here! Since moving to Brooklyn we have met so many talented, creative, and like-minded people and we are truly thankful for that. We have the best neighbors who also happen to have a daughter around Emma’s age and they have become such good friends.

On the other hand, it’s smaller living, expensive, traffic can be a nightmare, and parking is constantly a struggle. Despite these things, we love Brooklyn very much and its the place we call home.

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What does your typical Saturday look like?

Usually a lazy morning, haha! Definitely some snuggles in bed together. Our weeks are so busy so by the time Saturday arrives its so nice to just relax and enjoy each other without any particular agenda. Once we are all up we’ll make breakfast and usually talk about what we want to do for the day. If the weather is nice we like to go outdoors. A trip to the park, playground or something fun with the kids and usually ends with a yummy dinner with friends. Sundays we often make our way to Smorgasburg for the amazing abundance of tasty nibbles and flea market finds.

The response has been fantastic since you launched Natti Natti. What are your goals for the coming months?

I can’t even believe it’s been a year since we launched! For Fall, we have a few new products in the works which we are super excited about! We are also really looking forward to the Brooklyn Babyccino Shop Up event in September! Since we are an online shop this is such a wonderful opportunity for us to meet our customers and reach out to the local community. We would love to release another new collection next year so we will start bringing those designs to life in the coming months. Exciting times!

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You can catch Natti Natti in person at the upcoming Babyccino Shop Up on September 18+19 at our beloved 501 Union. Browse their growing collections online at natti-natti.com

Photo credit: All photos by the über-talented Molly Magnuson and courtesy of Natti Natti.

Flynn & King product line

We are swooning over Flynn&King‘s line of natural skincare. Their multitasking products are made in small batches using ingredients you can recognize and pronounce. Ready to upgrade your daily regime? Here’s their powerhouse Revive, Balance, and Replenish trio of cleanser, toner and oil.

Flynn & King natural face oil, toner and cleanser

Flynn & King Detox Charcoal soap

Flynn&King is run by Summer Dinh Manske and Corina McDonnell. The duo started making their own products to address their skincare needs, and the small production grew from there to a full line of gorgeous, safe and effective products we’d love to get for ourselves or give as gifts. Summer tells us about their beginnings as a skincare club, their vision and process, and their favorite spots around Bed Stuy.

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A little trivia about yourselves
– Born & raised: born Saigon / raised southern California
– Cups of coffee a day: cups or pots?
– Currently reading: Saga, Deluxe Edition Written by Brian K Vaughan and Illustrated by Fiona Staples (comic book)
– Currently listening to: The Weeknd
– Favorite pizza place: ask Corina 😉
– Hidden talent: I’ve been told I can carry a tune.
– If I didn’t do what I do, I would be a… Professional French Fry Enthusiast or Mars Colonizer.

What inspired you to start your business? When did you guys start?

We both worked at a pretty popular salon / apothecary in Williamsburg that specialized in curating the coolest and newest hair and beauty products. There, we carried a variety of great natural skin care brands and learned a lot about exotic ingredients that made their products special. Though we loved some of these brands, some ingredients used were not natural. We felt that there was an easier way to produce great all natural skin care using only the stuff Mother Nature created.

Corina and I were enthused at the idea and started a skin care club where we learned about natural ingredients and how to make safe and effective skin care. We made products targeted for ourselves, friends, and family’s needs and found it to be super effective, not to mention the fact they smell amazing. We’ve been clubbin’ since 2013 and from then on, our club is going strong and eventually became Flynn&King in 2014.

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What is your production process like, from concept to finished product?

The first step in producing a product is to troubleshoot a problem that needs to be addressed. Our products were made because we couldn’t find the perfect product to address both our needs. With Summer having problems like seborrheic dermititis and combination skin and Corina with problems like dry acneic skin and eczema, we kind of had our work cut out for us. Almost like Goldilocks and the 3 bears, it seemed like the skin care market was saturated with products that were meant for only one skin type or another; too oily, too dry, too boring, too clean, not clean enough, etc.

Being practical and money conscientious Capricorns, we wanted to make products that are multifunctional for our New York lives. Nobody likes a bathroom filled with 30 different products for 30 different problems. We don’t have the time or room for that. We were both used to using 12+ products for a normal skin care regimen, but after long research, we came up with some products we think are multifunctional and effective for most, if not all, skin types, reducing our daily skin care products to just a few. Saving time and money is what we’re all about.

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What are you planning for the next few months?

Flynn&King’s calendar is filled with so many fun projects to last us all year! We’re working with some really amazing organizations that better the world, hosting natural DIY workshops, showcasing at Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar 😉 , and maybe a few new products up our sleeves, I don’t know. You’ll just have to follow us on social media to find out. 🙂

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

I wish we had done this sooner! This line of business we’re in is terribly addictive. We love every aspect of this work from production of our line to the people we’ve connected with. The necessity to solve skin care problems naturally is an exciting challenge that continues to push us to our limits.

What neighborhood are you guys in? What are your favorite spots?

Corina and I both live in Bedstuy.

Fav. brunch / casual business meet up: Black Swan (crazy amazing Bloody Mary’s and great beer selection)
Fav. snack shack / coffee digs: Brooklyn Kolache Company (yummy mix of sweet and savory kolaches)
Fav. Sunday treat: Dough (Best, fluffiest, dreamiest, yeast donuts. ::drool:: It’s really hard to pick a favourite. They’re all so good.)

flynn & king natural skincare products

Cheers to Flynn & King! You can shop the full skincare line at flynnandking.com. Don’t miss Summer and Corina in person at our upcoming Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar on Nov 28 & 29.

Rabbit and Dragon marbled cheese board

Rabbit and Dragon is a multidisciplinary studio founded by two creatives: ceramicist Mariko Tanaka and designer Izzy Lezcano. Their handmade goods range from textiles, ceramics, candles or paper goods. Their products are crafted to be functional and add a touch of clean modern design to our everyday lives. The designs are truly beautiful – they just make us smile.

Rabbit and Dragon color plates

Rabbit and Dragon indigo eye pillows

Mariko and Izzy love collaborating, yet they each have their preferred mediums. Mariko makes functional and unique ceramics from porcelain and stoneware. Izzy works with paper and textiles, mixing printing and dying techniques. Mariko tells us more about herself, the Rabbit and Dragon story, and their plans for the next few months.

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A little trivia about yourself

– Born & raised: Izzy is originally from the UK, where she studied Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, and has been living in NYC for the last 4 years.Mariko grew up on the West Coast and Tokyo and studied at Pratt Institute.
– Cups of coffee a day: 1 cup / cold brew iced coffee
– Currently reading: Werner Herzog, Of Walking in Ice
– Currently listening to: Caetano Veloso
– Favorite pizza place: Lucali’s
– Hidden talent: mixologist
– If I didn’t do what I do, I would be a… horticulturalist on a farm somewhere raising a pack of alpacas.

What inspired you to start your business? When did you start?

Rabbit & Dragon launched in the spring of 2014, and started originally as a collaborative project with myself producing functional ceramics and Izzy Lezcano creating hand dyed textiles and paper goods. We were inspired to create one of a kind, beautifully crafted works with a modern and minimalist aesthetic.

What is your production process like, from concept to finished product?

My ceramics are hand built, wheel thrown or slip cast in stoneware or porcelain. I take inspiration from a Japanese design philosophy, which embodies simplicity, asymmetry, and subtlety, in creating these one of kind pieces. I work out the geometry of the lines and curves and keep things clean and polished. I design and sculpt my ceramic pieces for weeks or months experimenting with different techniques and styles of glazes until I can get to the final product. The dinnerware and plates are all painted or drawn by hand.

Rabbit and Dragon ceramics

What are you planning for the next few months?

I’ve been working on a new line of ceramic cheese boards, mixing dark and white clays bodies to create a natural clay patterned effect. Each one is unique and makes for an exceptional presentation for cheeses or hors d’oeuvres and perfect for the holidays.

We also collaborated to create a new line of beautiful dinnerware plates made by imprinting one of Izzy’s hand cut lino print of botanical design onto clay, which will be presented at the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar.

Rabbit and Dragon cheese plant plates

Rabbit and Dragon Shibori Wall Hanging

Rabbit and Dragon mini cheese board

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

Definitely don’t forget to reach out and connect with other creatives for networking and advice. Be flexible to the changing needs of the marketplace and open to considering new opportunities, especially these days many are online. Social media is also a fantastic platform for people to find and see your work.

What are your favorite neighborhood spots?

I’m in Williamsburg. La Superior is a tried and true favorite for their street style tacos and their margaritas are fantastic. Donna for their happy hour frozen cocktails.

Cheers to Rabbit and Dragon! You can shop the full collection at rabbitanddragon.bigcartel.com. Don’t miss Mariko in person at our upcoming Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar.

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Now that’s a card that won’t end up in the recycling bin. At NoDá Design Studio they are inspired by the combination of technology and hand-finished items, which in their case results in beautiful laser-cut products with a lot of detail and personality. Sounds fun, right? How about a game of tic tac toe?

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Carolina Noborikawa and Esteban Dávila design and produce their unique home goods, greeting cards, games and accessories in their Flatbush studio. They mainly work with sustainable wood and other eco-friendly materials. “We think it’s a great way to incorporate our design into our society while reducing the use natural resources. We’ve also decided to use non-toxic stains and finishes in our products. The reasons being that some of our products’ end user may include children, and it also allows us to work from our home studio while preserving our indoor air quality.

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We love the intricate detail that they’re able to achieve with the precision of the laser. We have our eye on these stunning coasters:

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Don’t miss NoDá Design Studio at our upcoming Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar on December 14th. You can shop online at Laser Eye Shop.

If you have a furry four-legged-friend, you need to meet Little Barkster. This line of fun pet products includes cool handmade dog toys inspired by NYC’s iconic foods. I present you, the Puppy Pretzel, Donut, Hot Dog, and a Macaron chew duo that looks straight out of a fancy patisserie.

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Designer Linda Holm started the company out as a response to a curveball that life threw at her. Because what’s a better weapon to get us through challenging times than to devote ourselves to what really inspires us? Linda tells us about those early days, her design process, and her favorite spots in Park Slope.

What made you take the leap and launch Little Barkster?
I have wanted to design dog products for the last 10 years. I had however very time consuming full-time jobs with childrenswear design for 8 years. Summer of 2013 I found myself in a new situation that had never occurred to me before: unemployed. Most people panic at that thought, I simply digged out a stack of sketch & idea books I had been keeping around with things I wanted to do when I had time. I started making products and launched my Etsy store in October 2013 and things started taking off in January 2014.

Do you sketch out ideas, or work on the computer? How is the process from idea to play?
I’m very much a computer person when it comes to design….. However when it comes to my dog products it’s a different story. I usually write down and do a quick sketch in my sketchbook for an idea that comes to mind. If I do not write it down I will most likely be forgotten a few hours later and I have moved on to something else.

When I do find time, I start making a pattern on my computer for the product I’m planning to make, look for fabrics, make a prototype and try it out on my dog, Gordon. I usually don’t like my first prototypes. Size, look, fabric choices, how Gordon reacts with a product – all comes into play. Then I make adjustments and after some back and forth I finally have a product that I like and it ends up in my Etsy store.

What are your plans for Little Barkster for the next few months?
I have 20 more dog products I want to add. They are all designed, just need to make the product. I have however been very busy making orders and I’m looking into finding a local manufacturer that can make products for me. At some point I want to also go into wholesale and add additional product categories.

Little Barkster has been a little bit in the shadow for the moment though, as I’m in the process of setting up my own babywear company too.

What’s your dog’s favorite toy?
Gordon loves all the toys that I have created for him. He changes from day to day what he likes. Sometimes he just loves Litte Barkster’s Pizza, busy digging it down in our garden to make sure that no one steals it. Other days he just lays on the couch testing how many times he can use the squeaker of a Little Barkster Donut. I have a very playful dog, therefore the reason to constantly design new toys.

What are your favorite neighborhood spots?
My husband and I love Talde, Al Di La and Piccoli Trattoria. We just discovered Pickle Shack too and tried out Calexico. So many good places around Prospect Park! The list of favorite places is very long.

Check out Little Barkster’s Etsy Shop for more cool products for your best bud.

We met the duo behind Brooklyn Bar Body & Bath at our Holiday Bazaar last year and fell in love with their fabulous skincare line – and their infectious enthusiasm.

Lifelong friends Joann Montalto and Itala Pelizzoli launched their natural skincare business to give a fresh, natural alternative to products that pack a long list of unpronounceable ingredients. As we become more conscious about what we put in our bodies, we should also pay close attention to what we put on them, right?

Based in Dyker Heights, they produce a range of small-batch natural skincare products that are just outstanding.

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Their So Shea body butter packs an incredible moisturizing power with a light texture. We’re also big fans of their lip balms (coconut + lemongrass, anyone?) and are excited to be offering their pampering soaps on our shop.

The pampering soaps set includes three fabulous bars: Lemongrass (soothing), Lavender (moisturizing) and Bergamot & Grapefruit (exfoliating). Like all Brooklyn Bar Body & Bath products, they use just a handful of natural ingredients. Each soap bar is individually wrapped with biodegradable material.

Joann and Itala tell us a little more about the start of the business – and what product they’re not leaving without this Summer.

When was Brooklyn Bar Body & Bath officially launched?
After a year and a half of research and product developing​ w​e received our license and ​ launched​ our ​business in November 2013.

​What made you guys take the leap and start your own business?​
​We are creative and love natural products for body and bath, so we started with bar soaps and were inspired to do more. We loved the results so we wanted to share with others.

​What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started?
It’s alright to change things around even after it took long to finalize.

​If you could only take one product on a trip with you, which one would you choose?
“Bitter Balm​”. It’s our natural insect repellent… and it truly works!

What would you pick as a gift for a friend? ​
Our Exfoliating Shea Butter bar soap in Rosemary Lavender w/ Cornmeal​ and a jar of “So Shea Body Butter” in Tropic!

What are your favorite spots in your neighborhood?​
Pastosa Ravioli for Italian goods, Luna Park in Coney Island, the beautiful strip of Shore Road by the Hudson River and of course walking around Dyker Heights anytime, especially during the Holiday Lights!

You can find Brooklyn Bar Body & Bath at local markets. Don’t miss them at our upcoming Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar on December 14th! Head over to their Facebook page to keep track of upcoming events.