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18 Oct '18

Introducing Winnie, Lola, and Jane

Posted by Annie Messing in Behind the Scenes, Product Reviews

When people find out I own an online toy shop, they invariaby ask how I source things for Brimful. I usually reply with a grin, because I love telling the stories behind each of Brimful's products.

Trade fairs are the traditional way retailers like myself would typically find brands, but I prefer doing my own product hunting. Sometimes I scour the online catalogues of little European toy companies until I find something really unique. Other times I have a particular new item I want to add to the shop and then research from there.

In the case of Winnie, Lola, and Jane, the new cloth dolls just introduced to the shop, it was a combination of pure happenstance and one late night of research.

My family and I were in the Seattle area this past summer, walking to pizza along a cute street with a variety of eateries and boutiques. All the shops were closed, but when we passed one nicely styled window, a doll in the front display caught my eye. I stood and looked for a long while - it was so cute and had such lovely simple details! Exactly the kind of doll I had been wanting for Brimful. 

Through the window, I couldn't see any information about the doll, but I returned after dinner and took a photo of it. We were leaving early the next morning to fly back to the east coast, so unfortunately I couldn't go back and ask more about the doll. After my children were in bed that night, I must have spent a good three hours researching online to see if I could find the doll's designer. Nothing came up that night, but I got a few good leads. The next morning, as we were waiting for our flight - I did one last quick Google search on my phone - and found it! Gosh, what a great feeling that was.

Not too long after, I emailed the doll designer (Carman) and we set into motion the small-batch production of "the Brimful girls". I am so pleased with how they turned out and hope you will love them too. Handmade dolls can be pretty pricey, especially if they are made here in the US. What makes these dolls special is they are at a price point accessible to everyone - each one is truly one-of-a-kind. All three dolls come without removeable clothing, so you can feel safe gifting it to a little one of any age. And, because Carman has triple-stitched all the seams - you can be assured that these dolls can take quite a lot of loving and still stay in good shape over time.

So, that's the story behind Winnie, Lola, and Jane. I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the scenes to how I curate the shop.


07 Apr '17

Book Review: 9 Months by Courtney Adamo and Esther van de Paal

Posted by Annie Messing in Brimful Favorites, Happy Friday, Product Reviews

In just a week or two, we will be welcoming a new little one into our extended family - and so all things baby have been on my brain! In fact a few days ago, I was the plus-one on the hospital tour, the only woman in our group who wasn't sporting a ripe bump - ha. As we stopped to observe the sweet newborns in the hospital nursery, I couldn't help squeeze back a few sentimental tears as it reminded me of my own four delivery experiences.

Over the last several months, there's been much discussion in our house about what this new little family member will need, emotionally and physically. And of course we've talked about how the baby has been developing in utero, a topic I've always found very meaningful to discuss with my children.

With all this "babyness" going on in our family, receiving an advance copy of 9 Months: A month by month guide to pregnancy by Courtney Adamo and Esther van de Paal could not have arrived at a better time! The book is beautifully illustrated and portrays pregnancy with an accurate, straight forward approach on how a baby grows in his/her mama's belly. It's really wonderful how the ladies have pulled so much information (that you'd usually need to cull from pregnancy books, parenting websites, and hospital pamphlets) into one easy to read book.

When I sat down to read it with my children, my youngest (age 2) was drawn to the colorful pictures, while my eldest (age 10) enjoyed learning the tidbits on animal pregnancies that's also included. The topic of conception can often make children (and parents!) feel a little uneasy - but Courtney and Esther have brilliantly addressed it matter-of-factly while still leaving room for parents to skirt the topic of sex if they haven't yet had that discussion with their children.

Parents will appreciate having this resource to prepare their children for a new sibling, but I also think 9 Months is a book for every family to have - whether a new baby is on the way or not. You can find it in the shop here


02 Feb '15

New Brimful Product: Natural Rubber Origami Boats

Posted by Kari Spikkeland in Brimful Favorites, Product Reviews


Make room rubber duckie, there is a new toy in the tub!
What better way to introduce water play toys to Brimful than with rubber origami boats? These amazingly designed boats are so fun...and soft enough for even the youngest bathers to enjoy in or out of the tub. They are natural, ecological, and biodegradable and each is handmade using colors that are safe for baby. 
The designers behind Oli & Carol are 20 and 15 year old sisters with a passion for design and creating superior, natural, rubber toys. It's exciting to carry products from innovative and young designers who understand the importance of responsible production ethics. 
Annie and I are thrilled to be among the first retailers to carry this Barcelona-based brand in the U.S.
Draw the bath and play on!
29 May '14

Brimful Brand Enthusiast - Kelly Fondots


Brimful BE 3


Hello! My name is Kelly Fondots, I have a wonderful and supportive husband named Anthony, and together we are raising our three amazing children- Greysen (5), Sebastian (3), and Ivy Scout (8.5 months) in San Diego, CA. We believe in spontaneous trips, park picnics, and the importance of family meals together every Sunday.

I was born here in San Diego, CA and my children are fifth generation "locals." I had Grey at a young age, and I dove into motherhood with the idea that we both needed each other very strongly. I wanted to do what was best for the new tiny person person in my life, which for me, meant nursing, wooden/bpa-free toys (which in 2008 were not as popular as they are now), co-sleeping, and baby-led weaning, etc.

I felt a sense of peace with myself at the path I had chosen, and knew instantly that motherhood was what I was meant to do-- it was effortless and felt so natural. I have a fullness in my heart that is a bit overwhelming at times-- in the best way possible. Our family love is raw and true, blessed beyond measure. My confidence lies within my children, but has also grown as we all grow with each other. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Brimful BE 2


I was so excited when Kari and Annie asked me to be a Brimful brand enthusiast for their shop! I had ordered Ivy a few Christmas gifts last year and was so appreciative of their customer service, and equally as happy with their well-curated, eco-friendly shop. They are both stylish and whole people that I knew instantly that their shop wouldn't disappoint. 

Brimful BE 1


A few items I am loving from Brimful:

Cozy Mouse Teether - Ivy has used this teether since she was three months old and it’s still a constant favorite around here. Bonus is the rattle inside and softness!

Wooden Baby Maracas - We love music in this household and think these maracas would be a super added bonus to the three piece band we already have going on. 

Wooden Ring Stacker - All three kids are using this item. I love that it is all wood, and that Ivy can’t choke on the rings. Grey is teaching Seb how to count, and Seb is teaching Ivy how to sort. It’s great!

Juliette Rabbit - We love stuffies and you can never go wrong with organic fleece. 

Melamine spoons - These melamine spoons we are using are so cute and the colors are great.

Mama and Baby! - We love this book! The pages are baby-proof, meaning Ivy can “read” without a sibling worrying about her tearing the pages.

The Swing - This is also a current favorite, with such beautiful the illustrations...it's a second teether for Ivy :).

xx Kelly




14 Mar '14

Freshly Picked Moccasin Review (toddler edition)

Posted by Annie Messing in Product Reviews
freshly picked moccs 1


Not long after joining Instagram last fall, I kept seeing cute leather moccasins popping up in @brimfulshop newsfeed. Now I've always been a big fan of soft-sole shoes, so my interested in this beautiful footwear was piqued!

After checking out the Freshly Picked website and reading a little more about Susan Peterson and how she started her business, I was very impressed. But the price tag of $60/pair was a little more than I'm used to paying for shoes for my toddler, so I didn't purchase any. But, the buzz on Instagram continued and the positive reviews of other customers kept rolling in, so on Black Friday, I bought two pairs for my daughter. 

Five minutes after removing the moccs from the box, I became forever smitten with these amazing little shoes. The leather is higher quality than any other soft sole shoes I've purchased, the color is vibrant, and I LOVE that they are free of gender-specific designs. 

Now four months later, my daughter wears her silver moccs every day...and often will refuse to take them off at bedtime! She loves them as much as I love having her wear them (score!). To the playground, along the sidewalk, or just running errands around town, I have not found a setting where the moccs aren't suitable. I've also been pleased how well the moccasins have worn over time. The stitching and elastic around the ankle has stayed perfectly strong and the leather has stayed bright and soft (with normal wear around the toe area from busy toddler activity of course). 

freshly picked moccs 2


Susan and her FP team have kindly offered up a pair of moccasins for us to give away! On Monday (3/17), we are celebrating Brimful being open for six months and will be running the giveaway via our Instagram account. Along with the moccs, we'll be including a few treats from the shop too...yay!