As parents, putting family first can make us feel like our own interests and hobbies are pushed to the backburner. However, sometimes you meet a mom or dad who carves out time to pursue their passions — and make a living from it, to boot. While compiling this list, we’ve had the chance to hear from incredible parents around the globe. What they all have in common is a love for beautiful things — and the savvy to share it with others on Etsy.
The shops on this year’s list are as diverse as the sellers behind them. From couture kids clothes to vintage home goods, each object showcased here is a representation of the creative stories behind them. Warning: this is online shopping, taken up a notch. Prepare to become addicted! (And if you think we missed a shop, nominate it in the comments!) — Amy Levin Epsteinsee the full list »
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Owners: Kimber Christensen (with husband Nick), mom to Rex and Daphne, 5, living in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Shop here for: Beautifully crafted, low-tech toys, like wooden teethers and blocks
Signature Item: I Love You Teether, $12
When this husband-wife team launched their toy line, they initially sold to small boutiques as well as on Etsy. The latter took off, and that’s where they’ve focused their attention. While Kimber loves to create anything — from jewelry to ceramics — she feels that she’s found her calling with children’s toys. And Nick’s background in historic structure preservation, along with his love for building, gives their product line its authentic, personal feel. Plus, Little Sapling toys are ones you feel good about buying: the couple plants a tree for every toy sold, and each purchase supports USA-made products.
Eventually the pair hopes to bring their products offline once again in a retail shop. But for now, they’re a hot-ticket item online, with their Etsy store mentioned by magazines such as Mothering, Pregnancy and Newborn, InStyle and forthcoming in Country Living. They’ve been on our radar, too, making the “Best Kids’ Toys” list in our 2010 and 2011 rankings.