Are you pregnant? Know someone who is? Have a special mini person to treat in your life? Well, consider investing in a durable toy, that can be passed down through the generations and won’t damage the environment in its production, simples!
As we leave the age of BPA and mass production, we enter a new phase of understanding that the planet is actually important and needs to be taken care of. Time is of the essence, and we must take collective responsibility to manage our economy – ergonomically.
ModernMinor, created by graphic designer Sam and nutritional therapist Hannah; is a new online shop for all things playful and fun. The pair are proactive and started working on the idea the day Hannah went on maternity leave (expectant with chief quality tester Indy). After years of plastic throw away junk overcrowding the market for children’s toys, it is refreshing to see products that remind me of the old toys that were at my grandmothers, toys my mother had played with herself. Toys that in fact, gave my siblings and I significantly more stimulation than any of the modern, highly sexualised objects our generation grew up with. Toys that are built to last aren’t only better for the environment though they are cheaper as well. No need to constantly replace, AA batteries (that weren’t included anyway), and quite capable of surviving a few tantrums too.
I have been looking at your website of course, congratulations for Indigo, she looks very young in the picture! Did you start the company after becoming parents? If so what was the epiphany moment for ModernMinor? And if not how has becoming parents, changed the way you choose products?
“Thanks, she was very young in that photo, probably only a month or so old!
We started ModernMinor whilst preparing for Indy’s arrival – she was very much the impetus that kick-started the brand. At that point we were unaware of her gender but we were looking at all things child-related. This did two things; firstly, we quickly came to the realisation that there’s a lot of cheap, badly designed, poorly manufactured and heavily gendered baby products on the market. Stuff we didn’t think was appropriate for our child; stuff that didn’t suit our style and stuff that didn’t align with our values. Secondly, we reminisced about our own youth – it was a time of such optimism and wonder as we discovered the world for the first time. The quote from Irish dramatist and literary critic, George Bernard Shaw springs to mind: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”. It was a revelation to learn that the excitement we have for toys hasn’t waned over the past 30 odd years.”
I love everything eco friendly and found it really refreshing to come across a website for children’s toys that actually stands for that, so much now is buy and chuck or screen orientated. Do you design products yourself? If not how do you source/decide on what to have?
“We firmly believe that products should be made to last. A well-built toy is the ultimate hand-me-down, as the ability to use your imagination and play doesn’t age. Our daughter plays with some of the exact same toys we played with as kids – this is a real testament to their quality and design and is a definite inspiration to us. At ModernMinor, we always try to offer products that will stand the test of time.
We currently offer a carefully curated selection of products sourced from the UK, Europe and beyond. We have a simple ethos when choosing products – we only stock things we like. This may be slightly selfish but it seems to be paying off. Furthermore, we try to stock products that aren’t stocked by other retailers. The way we source products varies – we pick up vintage items from various places, we scour the internet, we get approached by a lot of people, we very occasionally go to trade fairs and we pick things up on our travels.”
Is Indigo your chief quality checker?
“Indigo very much is quality control. She gets to play with most of the things we stock and despite not being able to talk, she is a ruthless critic with brutal honesty. If a product doesn’t pass the test it is duly flung across the room.”
Can you sum up what you are doing in a word?
“Undisputed, unmistakably, unwavering, unexpected… Joy”
Any advice for new parents out there?
“You can never take too many photos of your children”
I Can’t dispute that. If you have some photos on your phone, get them printed, and take a disposable camera on your next holiday. I started doing it about three years ago and haven’t looked back. Let kids be kids. But one final point, one final plea to sway you away from Barbie dolls: our attitudes and values all begin young and by teaching children to care for what they have, and not give them more than they need, we pass on the importance of protecting our planet. If we care we stand a better chance of bringing up adults who care about these things too. Nice environmentally friendly toys mean nice environmentally friendly people.
Some links to my favourite products from each category:
3 – 4 yrs:
5 – 6 yrs:
7 – 10 yrs:
For stylish safety: