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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.

Math Rules - The Elementary Project

The Elementary Project is on a mission to raise funds for schools across the country – and adding some fun style to your child’s closet while we’re at it!

The first collection features playful hand-drawn shirt designs that encourage kids to show off what they love – stand proud, mathletes! 50% of profits will go towards funding education programs through DonorsChoose.org, an incredible organization that provides direct impact in public schools, with a focus on giving all students the same opportunities.

Reading Inspires - The Elementary Project

Along with our friends at mimoYmima, a design studio in Brooklyn, we set off to create a collection of shirts inspired by young kids’ curiosity and love of learning. Science, Reading, Math and Art are featured with whimsical illustrations that invite a second look.

The idea for The Elementary Project stemmed from a sketch created by my 7-year-old son Nico, who is equally obsessed with all things science and art and has acted as a sort of associate creative director during the design process. Check out the hand-drawn sketches that became the final designs:

Elementary Project Sketches

Art Imagines - The Elementary Project

Science Rocks - The Elementary Project

The designs are screen printed in Brooklyn, using water based inks, on super soft 100% cotton tees. They’re available in sizes 6, 8 and 10 – exclusively on Brooklyn Makers. So, what’s your pick? Science Rocks, Art Imagines, Math Rules or Reading Inspires?

The Elementary project tees are not available online anymore. If you’re interested in purchasing one, please contact us.

Bye bye, stereotypes. Hello, play time with Mio Múcaro.

Here is something that apparently should be incredibly shocking: my younger son loves dolls. In the current landscape of cookie-cutter, glitter vs. trucks kids brands, this is a tough proposition. It wasn’t easy to find a boy-doll he could carry around and play with. I wish I had come across Mio Múcaro sooner.

Superhero Dolls for boys

Superhero Dolls for Boys

Mio Múcaro doesn’t only create super cool dolls for boys. Their girl dolls also have a clean, retro-inspired design with styles and colors that are a far cry from the all-purple, overly-frilly dolls out there. Here’s another shocker (hold on to your seats!): girls like superheroes too.

Heroine Doll | Brooklyn Makers

Heroine Dolls | Brooklyn Makers

Designer Erika Nazario started creating her handmade dolls for her young son in late 2013. She made some more for friends and relatives, and the requests kept on coming. The official launch of the business followed in the summer of 2014. Erika sketches each design by hand, inspired by her childhood in Puerto Rico and her son Milo. The dolls are hand-sewn, featuring eco-friendly and non-allergenic materials.

We were thrilled work with Mio Mucaro and showcase their dolls on the Brooklyn Makers Shop – including Ms. Pretty Ballerina and the cutest pirate we’ve ever seen:

Ballerina doll by Mio Mucaro

Pirate dolls for boys

Check out Mio Múcaro dolls for boys and girls.

In an ideal world, you would have the time to plan and execute a Pinterest-worthy party for your little one. If you’re like me, you barely have the time to send invitations on the late side, order cake and get pizza delivered. Farfelu Paper comes to the rescue with a line of printable party kits and custom invitations that busy parents will love – not as much as the birthday boy or girl, of course.

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Farfelu Paper is a side project of our friend Annica Lydenberg of Dirty Bandits. With the same focus on typography as her grown-up line, Annica’s designs for Farfelu Paper are miles away from your usual pink / blue, superheroes vs. princesses that are the norm in the kids birthday party scene. The Party Kits come with tons of cute details for your child’s day:

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From banners to cupcake wrappers or party hats, the kits have you covered for $25. You can print as many pieces as you want – and no more than you need. For $15 more, you can get a custom set with your child’s name and age on banners, signs and thank you cards. Almost as if you had done it yourself with your magical design skills and piles of free time!

Another great option is the Custom Invitation and Thank You Cards Kit.

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For just $20, you get a printable invitation customized with your kiddo’s name and age, party details and rsvp info – as well as a lovely printable thank you card with his/her name.

Check out the Farfelu Paper collection of printable party goods and stationery. We are partial to the monsters design… what’s your favorite?

Just as we’re ready to hang the Gone Fishin’ sign, we want to share with you a very exciting addition to the shop: exclusive new styles from Bugsella to get your kiddos ready for back to school in style.

art roll by bugsella

Bugsella creates eco-friendly accessories for kids on the go. Their art rolls are a great way to keep supplies neat and handy. Use them folded during the crayon years, and extended when your child moves on to markers and pencils. Bonus eco-points: the interior felt is made from recycled plastic bottles.

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multicolor dots art roll by bugsella on brooklyn makers

multicolor chevron art roll by bugsella on brooklyn makers

Ready to ditch the plastic once and for all? Stock up on Bugsella’s versatile snack sacks – they’re roomy enough to hold a sandwich, or whatever dry snack you want to pack for Junior. The exclusive styles that Bugsella made for us are just as perfect in your kiddo’s backpack or your purse, so don’t be shy, get one for yourself! They’re $10.50 each, or two for $20.

bye bye plastic! cars snack bag

bye bye plastic! multicolor chevron snack bag by bugsella

bye bye plastic! multicolor dots snack bag by bugsella on brooklyn makers

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Shop Bugsella’s eco-friendly accessories here.

Parents seem to be busier every day, right? I don’t know if it’s the kids having a social schedule that rivals Justin Timberlake’s, or you know, that ridiculous list of todo’s that we all have. Double Bravo Designs has a line of gorgeous, easy and guilt-free ‘time capsule’ stationery you’re going to love – no matter how busy your days are. Let’s start with the heirloom-worthy set of Baby’s ‘Firsts’ Milestones Letterpress Cards.

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Another fantastic keepsake – The Year You Were Born cards get updated every year with cool little bits of info that you fill in. Each 5’x7′ card is letterpressed by hand and makes such a cool and thoughtful gift for new Brooklyn babies – doesn’t get much better than that for $8.

The Year You Were Born

The Year You Were Born

For young writers, these easy fill-in thank you cards are a cool way to show grandma their gratitude for her latest gift, or to thank friends after a birthday party.

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Park Slope resident Barbara Buenz launched Double Bravo Designs in 2007, prompted by the birth of her first child to pursue her passion for design and all things stationery. After years of successful design and art directing experience at large companies like HBO or Giorgio Armani, Barbara took the plunge into entrepreneurship and her business has been growing ever since. We are thrilled to have Double Bravo Designs join the Brooklyn Makers family!

Hop over to Double Bravo Designs‘s line of stationery.