... well, it's just me, actually!
I'm Natalie! Thanks so much for taking the time to have a little look around my website.
How it all started...
This website all came about because each of our three children were eczema-sufferers from a very young age, each to varying extents. It became increasingly clear that the synthetic fibres of their soft toys were provoking flare-ups, so changing their soft toys for natural ones that were made with organic cotton, was the obvious solution. My eldest daughter's flown the nest now, but my 10 and 11 year olds still love snuggling up with their favourite organic friends every bedtime!
When my search for organic cotton toys for my children first began, I found myself trawling the internet for many hours, night after night, in an attempt to find toys that would appeal across my children's different age groups, but with little success. I knew there must be other parents also looking for more natural - and ethical - toys for their children so, back then in 2008, The Organic Toy Company was born!
Hopefully, I've succeeded in bringing together a range of organic toys for other like-minded parents who have the same ideals for their children... and the same concerns about the mark that our choices are leaving on the planet. Unfortunately, it's still not easy to source organic toys for older children, but the Just Cuddly Toys! section would be the first place to look, as it filters out baby toys such rattles and comforters, if your child has outgrown those stages.
Eczema-friendly toys and products...
Having natural, breathable and toxin-free fabrics that are certified organic, makes these toys the most desirable option for any baby or child to be cuddling and gnawing on with their newly sprouting teeth! If your children, like mine, have eczema-prone or just sensitive skin though, there's even more reason to "go organic".
It's worth bearing in mind that most babies and toddlers get really attached to just one toy - if it's one that's made with certified organic cotton and that hasn't been seeped in toxic chemicals or dyes during manufacture, you won't have to worry what their favourite friend is made of!
Unsurprisingly, I do frequently hear from my customers that their children or grandchildren, also suffer with eczema, so it made sense to include organic skincare products that I myself trust, for all my own family to use.
Going organic, beyond toys...
In our day to day lives, my family and I try to eat and live as organically and as healthily as we can. I really understand that it can be an effort and a financial stretch to follow a healthier and greener lifestyle and everyone who's on this path meets their ideals to different extents, depending on individual circumstances. I do love sharing my discoveries of eco and healthy-lifestyle products that I personally feel happy to recommend. As such, I'm now in the early stages of gradually adding other non-toxic or eco products, that I feel complement this ethos. This isn't limited to toys or skincare items, but also other products that I think may be of interest to anyone who shares this outlook on a healthier lifestyle and a concern for the environment. (See our Not Just Toys! section.)
Happiness is... Happy Customers
It comes completely naturally for me to want to look after my customers with a warm and friendly approach and to quite simply set the bar at giving the highest level of customer care that I'd hope to receive when I'm someone's customer.
As I type this, I'm trying (and failing miserably) to think of a less cheesy and cliched way to convey this, but being a mum myself, I do genuinely care that every one of my customers is happy with the toys they're giving to their own child, or to someone else's as a gift. So if you have a moment to spare, please do let me know your thoughts and feedback, good or bad. I am (humbly) delighted to be able to honestly say that I regularly receive the loveliest comments from my customers about their experience. Where I've been given express permission to do so, those comments have been added to the Testimonials page.
How organic are the toys?
I've made it a strict criteria that every soft toy I stock has 100% certified organic cotton as the main outer fabric that's in contact with skin. On some of the toys, there may be: minor outer fabrics; a fabric's backing material; or minimal trimmings, which aren't organic - and not all of the toys have organic fillings.
In a perfect world, all the toys on the website would be 100% organic inside and out, but there are sadly too few ranges that can boast this, that there'd be only a very limited choice to offer you. It could also put organic toy choices beyond some people's budgets and needs.
Ultimately, anything that increases the demand for organic cotton over conventional cotton, or synthetic fibres, has to be a step in the right direction, so I decided right from the very start to find a balance, without compromising my own "organic outer fabric" rule. In addressing this dilemma, it's important for me to make it really easy for you to know exactly what you're buying so you can make an informed choice. I've gone to great lengths - and made quite a nuisance of myself with my suppliers - to find this information out for each toy, so that I can relay this information to you. So you'll find detailed descriptions on the lower section of each toy's description.
As far as I know, my website is unique in providing this degree of information and transparency about the toys' composition and ethical production. If, however, you're specifically looking for an organic toy which has an organic - or at least, a natural filling, these have been grouped in a dedicated category so it's easy for you to identify toys with entirely natural or organic fillings.
Not impersonal internet shopping...
If you feel you'd like to have a chat personally or need help choosing an organic toy or gift, please do give me a ring on 01843 600023.
I'm always happy to help in any way that I can. If you happen to reach the answerphone, I may be processing orders, or on a school run, but I'll get back to you as soon as I can. I'm also often available out of normal working hours by email if I'm working late, so feel free to email me at any time on [email protected] and I'll always reply as soon as I can.
Please share if you care...
As just a mum running an ethical business, I work really hard to reach out to other families who are looking for ways to do what they can, to make the best parental and green choices.
Amidst a sea of huge companies and their matching marketing budgets and staffing, it's a gruelling task trying to make a difference in an area that I'm passionate about.
Not only do these toys offer peace of mind to parents who don't want their children cuddling a cocktail of toxic chemicals, they also have bags of aesthetic appeal too, to babies and children who'll just love to befriend them!
Any support in spreading the word amongst new and expecting parents, or friends and family, is very, very, much appreciated.
...And if you enjoy social media, do come and say hello or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, or follow my blog that's on this website. On all of these platforms, I post about anything to do with parenting, pregnancy, organics and the environment, etc.
I'm quite new to Instagram and Pinterest, so please do bear with me, whilst I'm still taking baby steps on those!
There are clickable icons at the very bottom left of each page of this site or, alternatively, here are the plain links, the old fashioned way!