Little Alouette is a popular kiddie brand here at Inhabitots. The family run company’s sustainably crafted, heirloom wooden teethers and developmental teething toys are eco-friendly, creative mini-masterpieces that babies and tots will really want to sink their teeth into! We had the opportunity to interview Joe and Amy Sharp, the savvy designers and eco-conscious parents behind Little Alouette. Here’s our exclusive insight into the organic roots behind this charming business, which proves that handmade, green toys can be enjoyed and afforded by all who want to make a difference in the lives of their children and the health of the planet.
1. Where did you come up with the idea to start Little Alouette?
We had our first child and were making toys for him after dealing with the plastic jungle and the product recalls. We were determined to give our child something safe and special to play with. We hated the plastic teething toys filled with water, and wanted something more natural. Our friends kept asking us to make them pieces for kiddos and it just slowly evolved in 2007 to a little spark of an idea that involved opening an ETSY shop. It was an organic walk to a small family business that focuses on heirloom toys. We want things to be passed down. We want everyone to know they have choices.
2. What does ‘green’ mean to you?
Well GREEN means hot and trendy right now of course, even cleaning companies slap the word GREEN on bottles and it’s not really true. Green is living simply and living with a purpose to respect the earth. We are teaching our sons to become stewards of this gorgeous earth and we are learning each day how to make our small business truly green.We use locally sourced materials and packaging from local printers and letterpress companies. We source our wood from a local farmer who practices sustainable planting. We believe in the people and place we live. Start small. Start a ripple. Teach. Learn.
3. What (toy /possession /thing) did you most cherish when you were a kid?
Amy: I loved reading books. I was quite a collector of books. When I left home I was unable to take them all with me and they still live in brown boxes in my dad’s barn. I take some home every so often when I visit and marvel over them still. Books not television gave me my creative spark back then!
Joe: I loved my bike. I also loved my wooden hammer and nail pounding set that my grandfather made me. I wish I had that toy still.
4. What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself as a tot… / as a grown-up?
Amy: Curious/determined/creative… and I think they still stand now.
Joe: Naughty/creative/loving.. and I think they still stand now!
5. What did you want to be when you grew up? Is there a connection to what you are doing now?
Amy: I wanted to be a writer and a professional roller skater. I am a writer now and I think it helps me with working on Little Alouette‘s biz side. I am able to communicate well with vendors and in the social media world. I also feel creative with marketing and PR, as we have no one else but me to run this portion of the business. I would like some roller skates again as an adult though. I think they would be a great stress reliever for me!