Category: Great Companies

Momma Braga’s 7 Bests of 2017

For the last two and a half years, I have had the opportunity to work with companies and brands through my blog which I am truly grateful for. I have met some amazing people who I can call friends and have seen some really neat products.

Therefore, for the very first time I have compiled a list of “Momma Braga’s 7 Bests” and you may find that some of these products can be great gift ideas too!

Each company listed below is fairly different from one another but one thing that they have in common is the love of families in everything that they do. They all have superb customer service and they have all been previously added to the Momma Braga Recommended List. I am just finally writing an official one out. 😉

*Please note that this is list is in no particular order and this is not a sponsored or paid article by anyone listed.

Mimos Pillow Canada

Mimos Pillow offers parents a safe pillow option for baby which also helps prevent and correct flat head syndrome. Now a Class 1 Medical Device in Canada, their mission at Mimos Pillow Canada is to lower the astounding 47% of babies that develop cranial deformities (flat-head syndrome). The Mimos Pillow has undergone clinical trials for effectiveness and is international laboratory tested for breathability (TUV).

The Mimos baby flat head Pillow both prevents and corrects positional skull deformities. This is why we love this product! It is doing an amazing thing for babies all over the world and helping parents sleep with peace at mind knowing their baby has a safe pillow to use.

Remember that you can use promo code: MOMMABRAGA at checkout to get $10 OFF your purchase of a Mimos Pillow. Babies will thank you and their parents too! 🙂

EZPZ

The original all-in-one placement + plate. EZPZ provides a stress free meal time experience with their mats. The mats suctions directly to the table, making it nearly impossible for tiny hands to tip over. It is designed for infants and toddlers (9+ months) with a variety of different colors and styles available. We also can not forget the Care Bears collection that was recently launched (possibly my favorite of them all!). EZPZ also has the play collection where arts and crafts can be super fun with them.

The happy mat promotes self-feeding and it helps children develop their fine motor skills. It also helps children with special needs such as autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and low vision. Their products are tested by feeding specialists and therapists which makes it comforting to know that it works with families in mind.

EZPZ also has launched ONO which is a pet line which is super cute! Hoping to feature this on Momma Braga soon. Now your furry family members will have a bowl that involves less mess!

I have always been a fan of EZPZ since day one and will continue to be one as their products are amazing and they have an amazing company philosophy in helping families.

These products would make great gift ideas and you can purchase them directly online on EZPZ’s website and if you live in Canada, you can purchase them from the Canadian distributor, Hip Mommies.

I See Me!

I See Me! provides the highest quality, most personalized children’s books. Their mission is to increase self esteem in children through personalized books that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The goal is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills. However, I See Me! does a lot more than that and I am not sure if they even know it…they give family moments and memories to share together!

Being able to read a personalized story about your child to your child is a wonderful experience. The face your child makes to hear that they are the star of the story is priceless. With each page turn is a memory you are making with your child and it can be enjoyed again and again. There is something special about a book and it becomes magical when every detail in the book in around your child. It becomes a keepsake for a lifetime.

This would make a unique gift for a child that they will treasure forever. We can’t get enough of their beautiful stories and we have become fans of all that they do. I have already started looking to see which books I will be getting for my soon-to-arrive niece.

If you would like to see what they have available and how you can order a copy for a special child or even adult, feel free to check their website.

The Nice Bench Co

The Nice Bench Co. is a kids’ furniture + accessories brand dedicated to supporting non-profit organizations who help lead the fight against pediatric cancer – a cause very close to heart and home.

The founder of the Nice Bench Co is Kidpreneur, Owen who is only nine years old. He definitely has impressed Momma Braga with his amazing skills and heart. We recently ordered a growth chart from him and it was superb. There should be no surprise that they made it onto the list as their story inspires hope, strength, and love.

This would make an excellent gift idea and not only would you be supporting a kidpreneur follow his dream but you would also be helping families in need.

We just love all that they do and I am sure this is only the start to Owen’s successful business venture. To purchase a great product from The Nice Bench Co, make sure to visit their website.

A Little Leafy

A Little Leafy is a small local shop who is doing big things in the world and that is smiles. With a creative passion, business owner, Stef, turns her art into “punny” designs. These designs can be on mugs, pillows, shirts, cards, etc. You can’t help but smile when you see what she has created.

What stands out with A Little Leafy is something that you can’t really buy and that is passion. When you meet Stef or when you deal with her company, you can’t help but notice the heart she puts behind everything she creates. She honestly LOVES (I think more than I do of my blog – didn’t think that was possible) what she does and it is reflected in her creations and in her interactions with her customers. That in itself is what makes A Little Leafy part of Momma Braga’s Bests and it should be on everyone’s wish list.

To see what “punnies” are available to purchase, please visit the Etsy shop online and you won’t be disappointed.

Ever After Entertainment

Ever After Entertainment is the premier choice for character entertainment in the Greater Toronto Area. Their characters bring the same magic and authenticity to your front door that you would find in theme parks around the world. They believe in making dreams come true by inspiring the imagination of children, both young and young at heart.

They truly are amazing as we have used them this year for my daughter’s third birthday. The service was superb from start to finish. Ever After Entertainment offered so much more than a character to celebrate a special occasion. They offered an opportunity for the adults to feel like a kid again and to the children, that dreams can come true if you believe.

If you are looking for entertainment for your child’s party or even for special event like a bridal shower, look no further as Ever After Entertainment is the top choice. They offer different types of parties that you will need to check out such as the Princess PartyFairytale Party, Superhero Party, and Star Warrior Party. There are so many options and no matter which one you pick, it will not disappoint! Make sure to book in advance and you can check out their pricing here. It truly is a magical experience!

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

The school was originally founded in Arizona in 1991 and has grown considerably over the years to have a strong North American and international presence thanks to its carefully crafted swimming program for children. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is the first Aqua-Tots location in Canada and has had its doors open to the Toronto West and Mississauga communities since January 2017.

With a focus on safety, a heated pool, a facility designed for families, and on-going progress reports across eight swim levels, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools introduces babies and children of all ages to safe swimming and water practices. Open six days a week, with flexible morning and afternoon lesson times, the swim schools offers a range of classes.

Here is why we love them:

  • Great programs that are tailored to toddlers and children to help them gain the skills needed to swim.
  • Flexible schedules available for families which is so great for working families.
  • Clean and safe environment. They are extremely clean and have safety in mind. As a parent, it is important to learn about your swim schools safety procedure.
  • Caring instructors and staff members who make you feel like part of the family.
  • It’s fun! Your child learns and has fun at the same time.

You can give the gift of swimming lessons to a child this holiday season and Aqua-Tots Swim Schools would be the perfect place to get them. To learn more about how to purchase a certificate, feel free to contact the Mississauga location at 905-848-2782.

There you have it! Momma Braga’s seven bests of 2017 and they all hold a very special place in our hearts. It was a hard list to compile but they all reach the Momma Braga standard with superb service and family at heart.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to extend a big thank you to all the companies that have worked with Momma Braga this year as it was a true honor to work with all of you and promote your brands to my amazing readers from all over the world. I am hoping that next year, I can bring a lot more to everyone and hoping to compile a even bigger list of bests! 😉

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

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Life Just Got A Whole Lot More EZPZ Caring

Last year I was introduced to the products by EZPZ and then had the opportunity to introduce them to all of you. In case you have forgotten (which is hard as they are super amazing!), their mats are an all-in-one placement + plate/bowl that captures kids’ messes. It suctions directly to the table, making it nearly impossible for tiny hands to tip over. It is especially designed for infants and toddlers (9 months+); however, I have to admit that I have used it too. 😉

This product has been one of my ultimate favorites and just to clarify they are the original!

So how could something that I love so much get any better? Partner up with the Care Bears™ of course!

If you grew up in the 80s like myself you definitely remember the lovable Care Bears™ who showed us how to have fun, be caring and kind. The Care Bears™ had his or her own trait and that was reflected on their tummy such as the sun for Sunshine Bear. I watched it often and had a few of the Care Bears™ in my collection of toys growing up. So imagine how excited I was to hear about a Care Bears™ Collection coming to EZPZ!!!

We received the Care Bears™ Mat In Share Bear™ (Purple) and the Care Bears™ Bowl In Funshine Bear™ (Marigold). There are a couple more colors available and each one has a meaning.

Share Bear is a nurturing and generous bear who considers everyone her friend. Carefree and loving, Share is happiest when she’s giving or baking!

Nothing makes Funshine Bear happier than hanging with friends or going on adventures. He makes the most of his days with fearlessness and sunny optimism. Funshine’s belly badge reflects this spirit – a smiling, blazing yellow sun!

Their meaning was absolutely beautiful and very fitting to the EZPZ brand. I would say this is a caring perfect partnership.

Now it was time to test out the new special editions.

Nikki was as excited as I was when she saw the Care Bears™ Collection and asked if she can use it for dinner. Of course our answer was YES! So that night we prepared dinner and at the table her Care Bears™ Mat In Share Bear™ was ready with her meal neatly in the spaces on the mat which look like a Care Bear. This design makes eating that much more fun!

Nikki and I give the Care Bears™ Collection 5+++ “care bear count down” out of 5. The benefits are all the same as the Happy Mat; easy to use, clean and store. It is 100% silicone; dishwasher safe; BPA free; PVC free; Phthalate free; hypo-allergenic; and does not harbor bacteria. We highly recommend this product to any family and this would make an excellent gift for any child and parent who would love a mess free dinner!

To purchase one, please click here. If you are located in Canada, please visit Hip Mommies who is one of the amazing distributors to purchase one.

Make sure to follow ezpz on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for helpful feeding tips from Ms. Dawn Winkelman, Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for EZPZ. There is also great other fun shares and great giveaways!

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Kidpreneur Making A Difference Through The Nice Bench

It always amazes me to see young people wanting to make a difference in the world and it is empowering to see them make an impact. This rings true to Owen who is already making a difference in his community and his inspiration came from his own family.

Imagine being a parent and told that your child has Leukemia. Sounds like a horrible nightmare, doesn’t it?! The Armstrong family had this happen to them when their nine year old son, Caden, was diagnosed with Leukemia. This family battled and stayed strong together. Now their other son, Owen makes benches and uses the proceeds to help other families travel to get treatment for their child.

We got a chance to chat with Owen and his mother Kirstin who gave us a deeper look at The Nice Bench Co. So grab your tissues and enjoy this inspiring story!

1. How did it all start? How was the idea developed?

“The inspiration for the benches came when Owen built and painted a bench for his little sister, Anikka. His grandparents and auntie loved Anikka’s new bench so much, that Owen was fueled to make more. He built twelve with scrap wood on Christmas Day! Those first bench prototypes were a little rough-looking, but the idea was born.”

2. What type of products does your company do?

“I get some help from a local high school student, named Ryan. He helps me build my nice benches. I have created three lines for these benches, “curious”, “wild” and “happy” – all words my mom uses to describe me! The “curious” line is basically anything I feel like doing, right now I’m really still in to stripes. The “wild” is roughed-up so it looks like it’s been out in the wild (rustic charm) and the “happy” line is solid paint in one of the milk paint colours I have chosen. There’s a big colour palette to choose from.” – Owen

“The step stools are painted using non-toxic, biodegradable, zero VOC milk paint and sealed with 100% natural hemp oil which often comes to us by way of donation from a Canadian company, Homestead House.

Curious
Wild
Happy

 

Owen has expanded his collection to include custom name plates and growth charts, and his step stools are now morphing into actual three-seater benches. We have some custom orders, with custom sizes for these that we are creating. Very exciting.

Every month, we try something new. Last month, in honour of childhood cancer awareness, we created a solid gold bench – the #gogold bench. This month we are featuring some artists work on the benches and later we will be doing something with Halloween inspired colour treatment.

BRIKA

Owen has some exclusive projects on the go for BRIKA (an online platform showcasing and selling heirloom quality artisan craft) and another: a screen-printed “THRIVE” bench for the ever-inspiring MAX LOVE PROJECT (a non-profit that aims to maximize quality of life and reduce serious health risks for all childhood cancer survivors with fierce foods and whole-body wellness).”

THRIVE

3. With the proceeds from the sales, how does it help families with children who are getting cancer care treatments?

“For every product sold, Owen collects $5-$10 ($5 from the sale of name plates and growth charts, and $10 from every bench) and purchases gas gift cards for childhood cancer families traveling long distances to Sick Kids Hospital for chemotherapy treatment.

One quarter of families of children being treated for cancer lose 40% of their total household income. Over 50% of mothers reported relinquishing their employment to provide care for their child. (Source: Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center)

Loss of income is huge, then add up all the extra hidden costs of medicine, childcare, meals on the road. Takes a toll on the family. Owen is hoping to offset that in the little way he can – by paying for the families to get their child to treatment.”

4. Can you describe what your family went through when your child was diagnosed and getting treatment?

“There are no words. Utter shock. A surreal, out-of-body experience. Our eldest boy, Caden was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of nine. What? Kids don’t get cancer.

It is so cliché to say that our world was turned up-side-down but it truly was. Pure chaos. We had just moved three hours north of the city and were set up to live on an island for the summer when we found out we had to turn around and relocate to be near Sick Kids, in Toronto. We had nowhere to go. A family of five. Thankfully, friends and family (our community/life-support) helped us out in ways that go way above and beyond. An expecting couple gave us their home for the summer, we had meals delivered, activities set up for our other two children, the list goes on-and-on. Incredible. We are beyond thankful for their help, it brings tears to my eyes.

Watching Caden endure years of treatment, lumbar punctures, complications, IVs…gutted me. This nightmare has shaved years off my life. I’m sure of it. Despite it all, I was determined to remain positive and happy and strong for Caden. I think he was doing the same for me. He remained stoic, fierce and next-level brave through it all.”

5. Is there any advice that you can provide to other parents who are going through what you have gone through?

“I attached zero negativity to the cancer. I only wanted glowing, positive energy around him. It’s tough, especially in the middle of the night when all is quiet, but I wouldn’t let myself spiral into that abyss of darkness and let my mind go “there.” Mind over matter.

Mind Over Medicine by M.D. Lissa Rankin is all about the power of thought. This book really helped me in the very early days of diagnosis. It gave me back a tiny bit of control. I could adopt a positive mind-set and teach Caden to use visualization techniques. Every night he would send out his “patrol guys” and they would make sure his body was rid of any cancerous cell that may still be looming.

We got through it. We just celebrated Caden’s End of Treatment with that very community that supported us through it all.”

6. How can someone purchase your products?

“Products can be purchased directly from Owen’s website, https://thenicebenchco.com. Owen will also be featuring products to sell at the upcoming Seasons Christmas Show from November 17-19 at the Toronto International Centre. Stop in to meet the young kidpreneur!”

Such an inspiring and strong family! We are truly touched by what Owen is doing and admire his drive as a kidpreneur. We know that Owen has a very bright future in anything that he does and the assistance that he is providing to families is heartfelt. I am sure the families that are getting the help appreciate the heart of gold from this family. Keep up the great work Owen and know that what you are doing is so much more than a nice bench. You are giving hope to families by helping them travel to get the treatment they need for their child. I know in my heart that this means the world to them. Special thank you to Owen and his mom Kirstin for taking the time to have us interview them as we are honoured to have had this opportunity!

As a special to Momma Braga readers, use the code MommaBraga to get 15% off your purchase from The Nice Bench Co. You don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity! Not only will you be getting a quality product but you will also be helping children with cancer. Its a win-win for everyone!

Make sure to follow The Nice Bench Co on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Baby Tripster Has Made Travelling With Baby Much Better

We have been very excited for this new and innovative product to hit the scene and we got to be the first to try it!


Baby Tripster is the world’s first leak-proof baby food travel kit made for any kind of travel. You can take your baby’s favorite soft food from home anywhere you go. It is made from BPA-free plastic, dishwasher safe, eco-friendly and reusable. The attached lid will never be lost or dropped on the ground as it’s attached to the container. It has a separate compartment to securely hold the spoon/fork which is convenient and ready to use.

We put the Baby Tripster through the Momma Braga test. Nikki’s favorite snack is chocolate pudding and it can get messy to transport when we are not home so we put it in the Baby Tripster. After a trip in my purse, we took it out and there was no leaks! It wasn’t messy and everything stayed where it needed to. Nikki opened the Baby Tripster and was excited with her spoon ready to use. She truly enjoyed her pudding without any mess.

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give the Baby Tripster 5 stars out of 5. It is convenient, compact, safe and easy to use. This product will be a great addition to any family’s travel plans whether it is on a getaway or to a park. The beauty of this product is that it doesn’t need to be only for babies as you can put some snacks for your children too. We are thrilled to have been given this opportunity to be the first to try a new product and we can’t wait until other parents try it for themselves as soon as they launch. Get ready world! 😉

Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to get updates on when they are launching. But make sure to subscribe in order to buy one when it’s ready!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Paulina The Poo Poo Fairy to the Potty Rescue

Potty training can be a scary time for both child and their parents. Luckily now there is Paulina the Poo Poo Fairy to the rescue! Paulina was just released this past May and is already making a difference for families.

Pauline the Poo Poo Fairy is a unique and innovative way to make potty training fun and exciting. Just imagine a toddler who is willing – and even eager – to start potty training! Seems impossible, doesn’t it?!

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Just as the Tooth Fairy turns losing a tooth into something exciting, the magic of the Poo Poo Fairy transforms potty training from a dreaded chore into an interactive adventure.  The beautifully-illustrated storybook and doll captures your child’s imagination and inject a bit of joy into the potty-training process.  With the Poo Poo Fairy’s help, you can cheer your child on as they quickly master this new skill and celebrate each success through the Poo Poo Fairy’s special fairy visits.

“We are parents who want to celebrate the magic of childhood as well as help parents and kids face its challenges. Our focus is on early childhood development, and we are firm believers in the importance of encouraging literacy. We hope our books inspire children’s imaginations and help make them life-long readers.” – Mary & Wendy

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So how does it work? There are four steps to follow for potty success which are: Helping Your Child To Get Ready For Potty Training; Building the Excitement; Taking the Plunge into Potty Training; and Saying Goodbye to the Poo Poo Fairy. We love how they provide these steps in detail on their website. But of course, there are always bumps on the road to potty training and The Poo Poo Fairy recognizes that and has listed their most frequently asked questions with answers. If you need more help, they welcome it and all you have to do is email them. Talk about a great company wanting everyone’s success in the potty training journey. 

“Our goal is just to keep helping parents through milestones like potty training. It has been so much fun to get emails and sweet pictures of Paulina helping her “trainees.” And every day, we see new creative ways to use Paulina and her magic to get those stubborn toddlers excited about potty training.” – Mary & Wendy

Every product has a story behind it and that to me is my favorite part of any review. The inspiration behind Paulina comes from one of the founder’s personal experience. After some failed attempts, just like Paulina, success was made when Paulina was introduced. 

Paulina first made an appearance at Mary’s house many years ago when Mary was trying to potty train her oldest daughter, Jane. It was a DISMAL failure. Jane really struggled and ended up being terrified of the potty. Mary had to put Jane back in diapers until she could figure out a way to make potty training a better experience for her. For the next attempt, Mary dreamed up Paulina, a magical fairy who would watch over Jane and reward her when she tried hard and give prizes when she succeeded. The little dose of Paulina’s magic made the whole process more fun, and Jane found success. Mary’s “method” was passed around our family and friends, and Mary thought the sweet story of Paulina – a “failed fairy” who couldn’t get anything right – would be a great children’s book. And we hope to help other moms and dads who are encountering the same struggle.” – Wendy

We are in love with this product and have started to use it in our home with our toddler. So far we have had a couple of successes and we just need to keep on going with Paulina’s help of course. But we are not the only ones that have paid attention to the Poo Poo Fairy as they have been honored to get a number of great reviews and rewards which does not come to a surprise. It’s a great product to help alleviate the pressure of potty training! We give it 5 sugar plum dances out of 5!

To purchase this product, please click here and if you have used their product, don’t forget to leave them a reference on their website! To follow The Poo Poo Fairy you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest.

Special thank you to Mary and Wendy for your time and answering my questions that went a little beyond the website. 😉 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

#MelandNikkiReview

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Ezpz Just Got Even Better…Is it Possible?!

A few months ago, my family and I were introduced to The Happy Mat made by ezpz and it has been a beloved product in our home ever since. If you missed our review, please feel free to check it out here. In my review I noted that we would be seeing much more exciting things from them and I was right!

So what more could this amazing company have to offer to parents and children everywhere? What other innovative solutions could they possibly offer to create family mealtimes healthy and happy? How can they promote creativity, healthy eating, and a stress free mealtime?

All these answers can be found in one book and not just any book, but the first ezpz book titled, Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat.

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This colorful, beautiful and detailed book takes you into a whole new world of making food fun and creative for children.

The book’s focus is on one to three year olds and making mealtime creations for the Happy Mat. It provides parents a resource to recreate nutritious snacks and meals that children are more willing to try by adding a dash of creativity. There are “ezpz” recipes and food art samples for parents to make. There is also other content and tips such as serving sizes; list of superstar foods; the benefits of playing with food; clean eating facts; tips for picky eaters; and creative ways to include kids in the kitchen. Ezpz has truly thought of it all when putting this great book together!

The Crazy Cat by ezpz
The Crazy Cat by ezpz

We were so inspired by the book that we started to create some food art ourselves. I have to admit that it is fun to make and Nikki’s eyes light up every time I introduce her meal character. For instance we had “Pooh Bear” and the “Breakfast Monster.” I think our favourite ezpz recipe in the book so far is the “Crazy Cat.” Nikki just loves cats and it uses all of her favourite ingredients so it is “meow-errific” on Nikki’s toddler list!

Our Breakfast Monster created by Momma Braga
Our Breakfast Monster created by Momma Braga

We also love the tips on little kitchen helpers in this book as it is so important to get children involved and encourages healthy eating habits. We have fully embraced this in our home and Nikki loves to help me in the kitchen. Of course the activities that I allow her to do are age appropriate and safe. By allowing Nikki to participate, she becomes more eager to learn and eat. Thank you ezpz!

Nikki helping prepare her favorite, broccoli. Yup! You read that right! ;)
Nikki helping prepare her favorite, broccoli. Yup! You read that right! 😉

Nikki and I give this book 5 happy smiles out of 5. This book has been a great addition to our Happy Mat as it provides us with creative ideas for healthy meals for our growing toddler! We can’t wait to try all the recipes in this book so make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to see what we make next! 😉

Make sure to also follow ezpz on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. They are making an impact with ezpz solutions for the every day parent so you don’t want to miss a thing!

Also want to take this opportunity to send the ezpz team a heartfelt congratulations on officially securing the utility patent on their invention! AMAZING!

To purchase this great book, click here.

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga
#MelandNikkiReview
#ezpzfun

Breaking Stereotypes…One Action Doll At A Time

When I first came across Boy Story on Twitter earlier this year, I got super excited to see a new company emerging with an innovative idea that breaks the typical gender stereotypes. Once I read a little more about them in The Baby Spot, I fell in love!

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes

I got a chance to interview the amazing creators of Boy Story, Kristen and Katie to learn more about them and share what they do with my amazing readers.

  1. Tell me a little about yourselves.

“We’re sisters! Kristen is a former international lawyer and a mom of two boys. Katie is a designer and has worked in design and hospitality for years. We were raised in Michigan and Florida, we’re both now living in Tampa to work on Boy Story full time. Our family and our past definitely influences what we are doing now.”

  1. What does your company do?

“Boy Story introduces cool boy Action Dolls to the toy market. Our dolls are 18” plus and vinyl dolls with ball joints for extra pose ability. We specifically want to make kids feel comfortable including boys in pretend play using dolls. That’s our basic goal really. It’s simple, but not so easy to achieve!”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. When did you start your business and how did you come up with the idea?

“The idea started while Kristen was pregnant with her second son in the summer of 2014. She wanted to buy a boy doll for her older son to help him get used to the idea of being a big brother and to have a companion to play with at times when mommy was busy taking care of the baby. But when she went to buy a boy doll, she was shocked at the market. Most dolls were either girls or baby dolls. There were no cool boy dolls out there. That was the beginning of the idea.

But Kristen was working full time as a lawyer overseas, and there was no way she could start a business. That’s where Katie came in. Katie was so excited at the idea that she decided to risk it all by quitting her own job and working to get things started. With tons of strong will and determination, even without any prior business management experience, Katie relied on the guidance of Kristen and started up the company. Kristen joined full time this past spring.”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. How did you come up with the business name?

“We went in circles over the business name, but kept coming back to Boy Story. We wanted something that really reached out to boys and help counterbalance the market. Our doll line is exclusively boy dolls (right now). And we wanted that to be captured directly in our company name. So we embraced the goal and went with the name “Boy Story.” The dolls are accompanied by adventure stories, so that’s where the “story” part comes in.

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes

The hardest part about our business name is that it could be perceived as excluding girls, and we actually know from marketing testing that girls love our dolls. But what we’ve found is that all kids are excited to see boy dolls joining in the fun, and they are completely cool with the name. Who knows, maybe we’ll expand in the future and go through a company name change. But for now, we are Boy Story – working to break down gender barriers so our kids can share the sandbox!”

  1. What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“Our big picture vision is to eliminate the stereotype that “dolls are for girls.” We want to give kids choice in play. When our generation’s kids walk into a toy store, we want them to run down the aisles looking for fun and adventure – without a care in the world as to whether the toy is “for a girl” or “for a boy.” If we look back 10 or 15 years from now and our kids laugh at the notion of gendered toys, we will have made a huge achievement.

One of the way we are striving to eliminate stereotypes is through positive messaging. Boy Story isn’t just about our dolls, it’s about kids of all shapes and sizes. So we’ve started an Equality Campaign showing kids just being kids – having fun without the pressures of stereotypes. It’s been really fun to put together. You can follow and support our Equality Campaign through social media and share, share, share away!”

equality-fun

  1. Where would you like to see your business in five years?

“We’d love to see our business stable, yet growing, with a reputation for having introduced a cool toy to the market and for our high quality design and product. We’d love to see our dolls in specialty toy markets all over the world. And we’d love to see product line expanded to make it more personalized and interactive. We also really want to lead the way in corporate growth and behavior by modeling good employment practices and having a core team of dedicated and happy employees. These are pretty lofty goals, but we can dream!”

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Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. Since your launch, what has been your favourite moment or success so far?

“One of the most amazing moments was when we actually received the completed prototypes of our dolls. It was one of those “dream come true” moments where an idea turned into something real.

And the absolute best is when we see kids light up when they test out our Action Dolls. Kids are just amazing in their honesty and pure love for play. As soon as they get their hands on the dolls, adventures begin. And that makes our hearts so, so big.”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. If someone is interested in purchasing one of your dolls, how can they get started?

“Our dolls are currently under production and should be arriving early this fall. We have a limited initial quantity, so we are accepting pre-orders on our website (http://www.boystory.com/). Some of them are already slated to be shipped to our awesome Kickstarter supporters, so the supply is pretty limited but we will try to keep up with demand. Also, some specialty retailers have placed orders and will carry the dolls in store. If you’d like the latest and greatest info on our production process, you can sign up for our newsletter. We try to keep in touch about once a month or so.”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
  1. Anything else you would like to add for our readers?

“We are immensely grateful to be featured by Momma Braga! The support we’ve received in general as we’ve started up Boy Story from Melanie has been truly humbling. We’re all in this walk of life together, and our “village” today is built from passionate and hardworking people like her.

We also love feedback, so if you have any comments, questions, or even complaints about Boy Story and our products, please reach out directly to us. If you love what we’re doing, please support us on social media! We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes
Photo Credit: Ann Fuentes

Well, if words could blush you would be able to see that I am truly flattered with the kind words from Boy Story on Momma Braga – thank you! It truly is very easy to support an amazing company who is changing the way kids play and making it more inclusive for everyone. A toy shouldn’t be determined by gender as all should be able to play together.

Momma Braga gives this company 5 stars out of 5 for being innovative, inclusive, and for breaking gender barriers. Boy Story is following their dreams to make kids dreams come true!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–       Momma Braga
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