May 7th, 2013

My winning FashionABLE + ONE scarves have arrived

janette-genet-ONE-scarf

 

My sources tell me that less than 500 out of 1500 Genet scarves are still available, and after that, this design will be gone for good!

Following the scarf design contest I won at Alt Summit in January, the scarves went on sale last month, and mine just arrived on Saturday. I haven’t taken it off since. I don’t get anything out of the sales of these scarves — except infinite satisfaction! (And a small 10% kick-back if you buy through a custom link from my site, full disclosure!)

Still on the fence about springing on this $65 scarf? Like all FashionABLE scarves, it’s woven by hand in Ethiopia by women who are able to turn their lives around thanks to the work of Barrett Ward and his company. Genet, who leads the production of this scarf — AND SHARES MY NAME! — had a baby at 15 after being raped and turned to prostitution to provide for her and her daughter. A life I can’t even fathom, but that breaks my heart. Today, she continues to develop valuable trade skills while also working through counseling to overcome the impossible challenges she’s faced.

From these images, you can get a sense of the feel of the scarf. The black threads are quite light and even see-through, and the white threads add weight and warmth. (Just how I’d envisioned it!) Its large size makes it perfect for cozying up around your neck, for men or women… or even using it as a throw, seriously! I’m in love with both sides of the scarf and how they look together.

For more, you can read a Q&A I did for Disney Baby, with my Mother’s Day wish for Genet, and watch a video I made for FashionABLE.

genet-scarf-fashionable-throw

Genet scarf back

Genet scarf front

 

Top image by Shilpi Tomar. To wear it as a circle scarf, I tied the ends together. 

 

May 2nd, 2013

Once upon a time at Children’s Fairyland

childrens-fairyland-sign

childrens-fairyland-kiss

childrens-fairyland-jolly-trolly

childrens-fairyland-waterfall

childrens-fairyland-stepping-stones

“As miniature and uncynical as a toddler’s beating heart” — yes, that’s Fairyland! (As described by San Francisco Magazine.) Last week, my friend Dionne and I took our toddlers to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, and there was so much to love. I only found out about this place about a month ago, but as a lover of all things old and awesome, I had to go. It opened in 1950 as the first amusement park created specifically for kids 8 and under, now with about 60 different storybook scenes. It pre-dated Disneyland by five years and, not surprisingly now that I’ve visited, was one of Walt Disney’s inspirations. The Magic Keys that activate talking story boxes throughout the park are an East Bay icon, inked on t-shirts and even tattoos.

Fairyland is full of gems. Like rides that only allow kids of a set height and UNDER! Like the ferris wheel that you had to be under 54″ to ride. Dionne and I laughed at ourselves for feeling wary about letting our two 18-month-olds ride it ALONE. No adults allowed. Turns out it was a bigger deal to us than them. They’re still a bit young to appreciate a place like this — their favorite feature was a little waterfall with stepping stones below it. But how they loved that.

We were there for a few hours and didn’t make it through the entire park… we left more discoveries for the next time we visit. More pics after the jump.

Keep reading →

April 27th, 2013

Favorites

Every Friday, my favorites from the past week. 

  • INBOX ZERO! Last Friday I hit Archive on thouuuusands of emails in my nightmare of an Inbox. And over the past week I’ve totally kept up with new stuff. It makes me feel so much more in control. I’ve historically been awful at responding to emails and keeping up with un-immediate relationships in general. This new Inbox thing even makes me feel better at everything. Like I don’t have a looming to-do list of a zillion unread emails, so I can actually initiate new things outside of my Inbox as well. Side note, if you sent me an email prior to the 19th that I haven’t responded to, feel free to ping me again. Natch! Image of Odette’s inspiration board, from an inspiring round-up on Simple Lovely.

PONS Avarca

  • Thanks in part to my new Inbox competency and in part to being a regular blogger again (after my year-plus hiatus), I’ve been connecting recently with some amazing ethical brands. I’ll start sharing new interviews and features from them next week.

Vivian

  • Let’s see, how do I turn this one into a positive… “Learning to not stress”? Viv has un-learned the ability to fall asleep at night over the past few days. Which has translated to me laying in my bed with her rather than putting in a few more hours of work on my laptop. Which has translated to not being able to post a few posts that I have mentally queued up. But as Jon suggested, “Don’t stress.” An important reminder. The rebellious toddler, putting out her cigarette… behind the lens, I didn’t know what she was picking up until after the fact! 
  • Jon and I are coming up on our 3-year mark as San Franciscans. I realized recently that living here has turned me into an EXPERT parallel parker.

April 24th, 2013

Refinery29 checks in on the ethics behind 8 big brands

lily-aldridge-refinery29

Several days ago Refinery29 published a piece comparing the ethics of eight popular brands. It opened with a few great quotes from the director of a social good nonprofit in Kenya.

“The clothing we wear reflects the choices we make: thousands of economic votes that have the power to shift the clothing industry,” explains Zane Wilemon, executive director of CTC International and eco-clothing-brand L.I.F.E. Line.

“The clothing industry plays a very significant role in global sustainability. Customers should start asking where materials are sourced and find out exactly what are the working conditions of the people making this clothing…after asking those questions we may not like the answers, but that’s where change begins.”

I wish the article had mentioned the idea of quality over quantity, and supporting independent and mid-sized brands — where those dollar votes really matter.

But for the times that we find a void in our closets only chain stores can fill, here’s R29′s take on how eight companies weigh in. They ranked each on Transparency, Ethical fabrics/care for the environment, Worker treatment and Donations to charity, listed respectively below. (FWIW, it appears that the sources about each brand were their websites as opposed to brand spokespeople.)

  1. H&M: High/Yes/Yes/Yes
  2. Gap Inc.: Medium-High/Somewhat/Yes/Yes
  3. UNIQLO: Medium-High/No info/Yes/Yes
  4. Forever 21: Medium/Yes/Yes/Yes
  5. J.Crew: Medium/Somewhat/Yes/Yes
  6. Victoria’s Secret: Medium/Somewhat/Yes/Not sure
  7. Zara: Medium-Low/Yes/Poor/None
  8. Urban Outfitters: Low/Not sure/Not sure/Not sure

You can read more in past articles of mine, like Top Fashion & Beauty brands from Newsweek’s Green Rankings and 15 Big Brands ranked according to labor rights. Image from a R29 feature on model Lily Aldridge.

 

April 22nd, 2013

Happy Earth Day

Mini Moi stripes
 

Enjoy the earth today! Matching stripes optional.

(See more matching parents and babies on my incognito Tumblr, Mini Moi!)

April 19th, 2013

Favorites

Every Friday, my favorites from the past week. Boston, my thoughts and prayers are with you. 

Nudie Jeans rag rug

Nudie Jeans post-consumer denim rag rug

  • The best use I’ve ever seen of recycled denim: Scandanavian-inspired rag rugs! By Nudie Jeans in collaboration with their Turkish organic denim supplier Bossa. The limited-edition rugs are available for $599 at the brand’s concept stores, the only U.S. one being in LA. More info at Cool Hunting. Via Ecouterre

Alyson Fox rug, made in Bolivia

organic baby turban

Lindsey Lang floor tiles

Lindsey Lang floor tiles

Lindsey Lang floor tiles

  • My dear friend Lindsey Lang recently launch an amazing textiles and homewares line. These are her cement floor and wall tiles, made in the traditional encaustic process. So stunning, so versatile. Lindsey and I are fellow Kansans — we met in college. She now lives on a house boat in London with her husband.

  • This Decemberists song has been in my head since I heard it covered on — of all places — The Office. It’s kind of a perfect song. The harmonies on The Office version were so good. (Even better than the original. Don’t tell The Decemberists I said so.)

April 17th, 2013

A week in my shoes

 

Sandals by J. Shoes

On sunny days, my most comfortable sandals ever, by J. Shoes from Revolver. Kilim rug from Ebay.

 

Paloma Barcelo Desert Boot

My desert boots by Paloma Barcelo. On my Kite Wool Kilim rug by West Elm

 

Swedish Hasbeens High Heeled Jodhpur

My Swedish Hasbeens High Heeled Jodhpur, which are incredibly comfortable. On a Persian rug in my living room from a local antique shop. 

 

UGG Dakota Women's Slippers

At home, my UGG Women’s Dakota Moccasins. On the Anthropologie crewel rug in Viv’s room. 

 

dv by dolce vita

My DV by Dolce Vita wedges (similar). So glad I got these — they go with everything and are so comfortable. On my favorite kilim rug, from Ebay in my kitchen. 

 

Timberland Women's Classic Amherst Boat Shoe

For casual days, my  Timberland boat shoes. On an Alyson Fox for West Elm rug

 

And speaking of my week…

“I have a new life now.”

That’s what I kept saying to myself two weekends ago, right after my last day in the Storenvy office. That’s right — if you saw my piece on Lean In, you read this — I’ve decided to leave Storenvy, after four and a half wonderful, challenging, awesome, hard, wouldn’t-change-anything years.

Since Viv was born, I’ve only been at Storenvy part-time. And for the past few months, I’ve also been running my online store and blogging again. Stepping away from Storenvy means that the company will be able to hire a full-timer in my role (which is obviously best for a high-growth startup), and I’ll be able to focus on some exciting creative projects while also spending lots of time with Viv during the oh-so-special early years of her life. I still have my nanny for the same schedule, three days a week, but I now work out of Makeshift Society and local cafes.

I am incredibly excited about working for myself now! But there’s the self-doubt, too. My first priority is to meet the financial goals I’ve set — which, honestly, has already brought out some awesome creativity. I’ll be freelance writing (including contracting with Storenvy), launching an awesome new pop-up shop this summer and even launching a new business soon.

It’s hard to take risks like this. But as I’ve witnessed so many times before, great risk leads to great reward. Has this been true for you? Any encouraging words?

April 12th, 2013

Favorites: Shelf styling edition

Lauren Spencer King shelf styling
 

Personal and artful. That’s what I want all the shelves in my house to be. …But it’s so much harder than it looks! So I’m channeling the beauty in these photos. You can follow my Pinterest board on Shelf Styling for more. What do you think?

 

bench styling
 

Oyoy
 

bench styling
 

lovely styling
 

 

shelf styling

April 10th, 2013

How having a baby turned from alarming to amazing: My thoughts in Cosmo & Lean in

janette-crawford-lean-in-quote

Read the rest at LeanIn.org, or in the May issue of Cosmo.

This month, it’s an honor to share my story in Cosmo (!), thanks to the invitation to write a story for Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. (If you’re visiting from either, welcome!)

Since Viv entered my life, I’ve considered so many new business opportunities and even become more self-aware. But before she was born, the idea of her scared me to death. This is that story.

My friend Erin Loechner wrote recently that “children are awakening a serious creative spark in their parents. … Gone are the days of believing we were in our prime, creatively-speaking, before our kids came along. Now it seems, the best is yet to come.” I’ve found this to be true a hundred times over.

I hope the same is, or will be, true for you!

janette-crawford-lean-in-cosmopolitan

Last month, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead came out. She has a foundation of the same name, centered on the advancement of women in the workplace. Her site is full of stories of women “leaning in” to what they want. The current issue of Cosmo includes a selection of those stories. My friend JC Ford did loads of work on the project, and it’s thanks to her that I was able to be involved. 

April 4th, 2013

Pre-order now! Introducing the Genet Scarf from FashionABLE & ONE, designed by Janette

genet-scarf-fashionable-one

 Remember how in December I entered a scarf design contest and in January 600 bloggers voted my design as the winner? Today, my scarf is on pre-sale for delivery by Mother’s Day! From FashionABLE in partnership with the ONE Campaign. And did I mention that the scarf’s producer and I share the same name?! I spell it “Janette,” she spells it “Genet,” same pronunciation. It’s truly meant to be.

I’ve written about for-benefit companies like FashionABLE for years, but this is the first time I’ve been able to work from this side of the table. It’s an incredible honor — and a partnership that won’t end here. I hope you’ll join me in supporting FashionABLE’s work to create sustainable business for women in Africa.

The scarf is 100% limited edition and only available right now. Pre-orders will ship for Mother’s Day. Free shipping today and tomorrow.

Pre-order your Genet Scarf now »

April 3rd, 2013

Coming soon to the Fashion Loves People pop-up shop

A preview! Mini Moi: A Pop-up Shop of Matching Wearables for Cool Parents & Babies
mini-moi-coming-this-summer

I couldn’t be more excited about my next pop-up shop! (!!!) Sign up for the Fashion Loves People mailing list for updates.

Be sure to stock up on moccasins, headbands and Malawi bunnies before the Fashion Loves Babies selection is no longer available!

March 29th, 2013

Easter with friends

Fifteen pounds of uncured ham. (Note to self: Chargrilled ham is unbelievably delicious, but a raw ham is not for the faint of heart.) Eight friends, two visiting from Ireland. Two dogs. One baby. Lots of chopping, dicing, scooping, steaming, pouring, peeling, flaming, taste-testing, cheersing, sipping, chatting, playing and love. Lots of love. Easter with friends is the best.

Janette, Jon, Emily, Rob, Eoghan, Carly, Edwina, Niamh, Viv, Stella and Bentley, Easter 2012, San Francisco.

 

We had such a good Easter last year! Great friends, great food. And a flaming ham.

If you don’t have any special plans for this Sunday, invite some friends over and make it special! So worth it.

Happy Easter!

 

March 28th, 2013

On supply and demand (and the dollar vote)

Need Supply Co women's fashion 2013

In doing my best to make ethical purchasing choices on day-to-day things, the most important thing I consider is supply and demand.

Without demand, there would be no supply.

So I create demand for things like… Independently owned businesses. Local, organic produce. Quality craftsmanship. Non-GMO grocery items. Natural diapers. Beautiful design. Art. Ethical production. Vintage. Etc.

Two things I consistently avoid creating demand for are fast fashion and excess waste (packaging, driving, water, etc.). But in writing this, I realize that I’ve bought some baby clothes recently from brands I don’t know anything about. (I feel better about Gap and Old Navy baby items, as Gap Inc. has been building a reputation for fair labor rights.)

And I try not to create demand where I don’t NEED to.

Of course, I could always do more. Especially with a baby, it’s so easy to justify short cuts.

What do you go out of your way to create demand for? Or to avoid?

Who gets your dollar vote?

Image from Need Supply Co. 

March 27th, 2013

Wooden alphabet blocks & toddler crayons

I really love the colors in these two sets. I’ve gone anything-but-primary with the color palette of Viv’s room (which is inspired mostly by ethnic textiles), and these toys are the perfect complement.

The blocks are by Janod Toys: Kubix 40 Letters and Numbers Blocks ($25). Designed and manufactured in France for the past 40 years, Janod’s factory is in the Jura region of Eastern France where the timber for all products is grown. All Janod toys are manufactured to strict quality and safety standards, painted with lead-free and non-toxic paint. I was introduced to the brand when a friend got Viv a gift from Tantrum. Janod’s wooden toys are all so beautiful. If/when I want to get her other building blocks, I can build upon this alphabet set with other block shapes from Janod, and they’ll all fit the same color palette.

The Playon Crayons ($12.90) are the brainchild of Studio Skinky. I got mine online from SF-based Sunday in Color. They’re certified nontoxic and meet the European safety standard CE mark. And stain free! They’re not as soft as standard wax crayons, so they hold their shape nicely (even when stepped on, oops) and don’t leave marks on every little surface they touch. This means they require a bit more pressure to draw with than some things, so for drawing in particular, they’re probably best for kids age 2 or so and up. At a year and four months, Viv loves stacking them even more than drawing with them.

I’ll share more of my picks for stylish baby toys at my Skillshare class next week, Beautiful Baby Essentials: Clothes, Toys & Gear that Don’t Sacrifice Style.

P.S. I think I just admitted that Viv is now a toddler.

 

March 26th, 2013

Overall, I love my new overalls

In January, I splurged on a pair of overalls. Overalls! And oh how I love them. They’re from Topshop’s Made in Britain line, complete with a tag hand-initialed by their maker. They are 100% wool and fit wonderfully. I first wore them the day I spoke at Alt. (This lace top was perfect for a speaking gig — hardly anything to sweat through!)

I wore this outfit again recently for my friend Katie’s baby shower… and I dressed Viv accordingly.

topshop made in britain dungarees

I’m wearing: Overalls by Topshop (sold out now, but the official name was Tailored Dungarees by Boutique), lace top (actually a mini dress) from American Apparel, boots by Swedish Hasbeens from Rand + Statler, ring by Emerson Fry and custom morse code bracelet by Coatt.

Viv’s wearing: Headband by Thief & Bandit Kids, ruffle shirt by Old Navy, baby-sized friendship bracelet by me, leggings by Circo and moccasins by Manimal from my Fashion Loves Babies pop-up.

Photos on wood backdrop by the lovely Molly Decoudreaux

March 25th, 2013

New in the pop-up shop: Infant Montessori toys

When Viv was tiny, I searched online many times for developmental toys that would help her become a genius. I was so happy to find these simple wooden toys made according to the Assistant to Infancy Montessori training for ages 0 to 3. Not only are they beautiful, but the grasping beads were my daughter’s first favorite toy. Success.

These in particular are handcrafted in Buda, Texas, by Pinkhouse Handworks. The crocheted rattle is Janice Kearley’s own wonderful design. An information card is included, describing the use of each and at what age it should be offered.

Crochet Shaker (Rattle)
Offer at 2 or 3 months old. Rattles offer infants the chance to create noise on their own, teaching cause and effect.

Grasping Beads
Offer at 3 months. For mouthing, grasping and transferring from one hand to the other.

Interlocking Discs
Offer at 3 months. For mouthing, grasping and transferring from one hand to the other at different angles. It also rolls to encourage crawling.

Egg with Cup & Peg with Cup
Offer at 8 or 9 months. Show baby how one piece fits into the other to encourage their use of both hands simultaneously.

The entire set is professionally tested and safe according to the new CPSIA toy safety laws. The set of five is $35, though I’d be happy to offer individual pieces for $8 each if you email me.

March 22nd, 2013

Favorites

  • All these Virginia Woolf book covers were designed by the author’s sister, Vanessa Bell. I love this so much. Via the Etsy Tumblr

  • You can freeze avocados! Did you know you could freeze avocados? As well as fresh herbs, eggs, citrus, opened wine and more. Game changer. Via Of a Kind

  • Lovely to see the home of and learn more about Brady Cunningham, co-creator of TENOVERSIX. Via SimpleLovely

March 19th, 2013

Sunny days in the Bay

Kirby Cove, where have you been all my life? On Saturday some friends and I discovered our new favorite sunny day spot, just a quick drive across the Golden Gate Bridge followed by an easy one-mile hike. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to. Incredible views, protection from the wind, lapping waves and, best of all, hardly anyone else. So please don’t tell anyone else how to get to Kirby Cove.

Thanks to Raven + Lily for the matching scarves for me and Viv! Raven + Lily’s mission is to empower women through design. The for-benefit company’s Ethiopia Scarf Collection features scarves handmade by at-risk women living in Addis Ababa. The lightweight scarves (Zuriash Colored Square Scarf and Zuriash Color Stripe Scarf) are naturally dyed and hand-woven. R+L’s partnership with this weaving group enables the artisans to thrive by providing sustainable employment opportunities and support for their families. 

Such beautiful photos by the multi-talented Emily Olson. Thank you! 

March 17th, 2013

Favorites

Released specially for SXSW in Austin this week, the beautiful home boutique Spartan teamed up with Alyson Fox for a limited edition Spartan + Fox Baggu bag. Three things I love, together in one!

This news got me on Alyson’s new website, which shows off her amazing body of work. When you have a minute, be sure to scroll through yourself. Here are some of my favorites.

alyson fox pattern

March 13th, 2013

Beautiful Baby Essentials: Clothes, Toys & Gear That Don’t Sacrifice Style

baby portrait, casa cullen baby

Next month, I’ll be teaching my first Skillshare class on this topic! On Thursday, April 4, at my house in San Francisco.

How this came about: When I was pregnant with Viv, I had a hard time navigating the whole new world of baby products. All the brands were new to me, and the stuff that appealed to my aesthetics was either super expensive or buried under 50 flashy, minxy items that would otherwise have no place in my life. But I spent time to find pieces that work well and fit my style. I’ve shared this list with friends, and with their encouragement, I’m happy to share it with more people now.

This is a list of pre-baby essentials. (There’s plenty more that comes after.) In the class, I’ll share more about each piece, plus the other phases. Click to sign up for Beautiful Baby Essentials: Clothes, Toys & Gear That Don’t Sacrifice Style. Please share it with anyone who might be interested, and I’d love to hear what you think!

 

Wearables

10 onesies (including Newborn size)

20 burp cloths

Baby Legs

Leggings

Socks

Hats

5 gowns/PJs

swaddle blankets

 

Feeding

Nursing pillow

2-3 nursing tanks

Breast pump

Breast pump holder bra

Bottles

 

Diapering

Disposable diapers (I waited a bit before starting cloth diapers)

Changing pad & changing table/other surface

3 changing pad covers

Diaper cream

Hand sanitizer

 

Sleep 

Moses basket & stand

Rocking chair

 

Laundry

Biokleen soak

Charlie’s Soap

 

Bathing

Bath

hooded towels

washcloths

Soap

Lotion

 

Going out

Sling and/or carrier

Carseat

Stroller

BundleMe (if cold)

Bag big enough to fit a travel changing pad (a.k.a. diaper bag)

Travel changing pad

 

Etc.

Pacifiers

Baby book

Line-a-day journal

Pads

Bed tray

Laptop table

Pure Ella

 

Top image is my friend Morgan Cullen and baby Nash.