Peaches&Eaches - The Story So Far...
We're one day away from official launch, and it's been an exciting few months already. The year kicked off with a trip to Nuremberg in February, in order to source developmental baby toys from around the world. Since then, we've been adding to our product range and bringing in products from as far away as Nepal, in the form of hand-made felt fair trade toys from Papoose. We also have beautiful wooden baby toys from Wooden Story, sustainably sourced and handcrafted in the Beskidy Mountains of Poland. In fact, all of our brands have been carefully picked because their products specifically fulfill the needs of each developmental phase in a baby's first two years of life.

As products began to arrive from our chosen brands, the next task was to quality check, photograph and catalogue everything. We managed to achieve this over two photoshoots at the start of June. We also made our way to Dot To Dot London last month, meeting brands we knew and admired (such as organic baby clothes brand 'From Babies With Love') as well as new ones - one brand with exciting high-contrast toys for newborns and another with a unique range of teethers - so stay tuned for some imminent updates!

We began to share the Peaches & Eaches vision with friends last month, and it was really interesting to gauge people's reactions. Friends and acquaintances we'd perhaps not spoken to for months or even years were compelled to get in touch to share their thoughts, demonstrating that the topic of what toys we provide our children is actually far more emotive than many may think.

Even amongst this group of people, the response was a real mix. There was light-hearted derision of our "bisexual baby toys" from some quarters - presumably those who hadn't quite grasped the message. There were the defensive; the busy, working parents, who hadn't had time to read the site properly and felt that their child's adherence to gender-stereotypes would be a source of criticism from us. Then, there were the vindicated. Parents who had suffered in relative silence for months, finally seeing their sentiments represented commercially.

Lindsey, a secondary school history teacher, felt that gender stereotyping of young children had become much worse for her daughter's generation. Whereas the vast majority of toys and activities were designed for all children and came in every colour of the rainbow, now almost everything was split into the boy-girl binary. "Like colouring books, went to get one for a friend's daughter and it was either fairies or pirates. Not just animals or scenes or the circus but fairies or pirates. Socks are my bug bear at the moment," she continued; "Girls socks do not come in dark colours, only pink or white or lilac. So they get dirty. So I have to get boys socks as they come in dark colours. Because apparently toddlers walk on different floors if they are girls or boys."

And that's exactly it, isn't it? There is nothing inherently wrong with a boy loving trucks and a girl who loves dolls, but the point is that the majority of babies and toddlers come with the same physical abilities, the same needs and curiosities.

Preferences will emerge, but these should come from the individual's own personality - not because toy, clothes and sweet manufacturers have dictated to us what our children should be doing, and we've blindly followed their money-making advice and brought it into our own homes.

We need to trust our children's abilities to explore themselves and the world around them without needing everything colour coded. It's worth remembering that just because a child is going through one phase right now (which may or may not conform to gender stereotypes), this may or may not be an enduring part of their personality. It may simply be something that they need to explore at that time. From personal experience, I remember going through a Barbie phase and a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle phase, both with equal commitment!

So, with 24 hours before our official launch date, your purchasing decisions will help to guide our future as a company, as well as the future of the children in your life. In a world where much feels out of control, we do have the power to promote freedom for the children in our lives in our roles as relatives, Godparents or friends.

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