At Elf for Christmas, we love supporting independent brands. Not only does it give us a warm fuzzy feeling for helping our fellow small businesses to thrive, but there are such beautiful treasures to be found if you look just a little way beyond the big-name giants that are on every high street!
We’ve selected six of our absolute favourite independent toy retailers, which are our go-to brands for beautiful and imaginative playthings.
Happy Little Folks – for traditional wooden toys
If traditional wooden toys are your thing, you need look no further than Happy Little Folks.
Happy Little Folks was founded by Iga Sielenko, who in 2014 was inspired by the birth of her son to create her own range of wooden toys and children’s room décor. The brand’s toys are beautifully handcrafted in wood and are largely left in their natural unvarnished state, with just a hint of colour here and there.
We just love the simplicity and natural beauty of their range of wooden vehicles – how adorable is this little car transporter!
Go to happylittlefolks.com to see the full range for yourself.
Scout & Co – for cuddly toys
Scout & Co are an online retailer offering not just amazing toys, but also a beautiful selection of home décor, children’s clothing, accessories, books and more.
What really does it for us, though, is the range of gorgeous cuddly toys they stock.
Just look at this cute little guy! Too smooshable for his own good!
See more cuddly loveliness at scoutandcokids.com
Clockwork Soldier – for paper crafts for kids
Clockwork Soldier’s range of creative gifts have to be some of the most beautifully-designed paper crafts for kids available on the market.
Launched in 2011 by North London’s Rob Dakin and Karen Northey, Clockwork Soldier produces cardboard toys that encourage creativity and fun.
Fancy building your own dinosaur, growing a magical cress garden or creating your very own beautiful birdcage? There’s something to spark every child’s imagination here.
There’s even a smartphone movie kit, where you can build a cardboard camera rig, create a storyboard and produce your very own stop motion animation! Amazing stuff.
One of our favourite pieces from the range is this fabulous unicorn head – I know one little girl* who would love to have this hanging on her bedroom wall!
(*it’s not me, honest)
See the full range at clockworksoldiershop.co.uk
Albetta – for soft toys
Albetta, named after founder Annabel Landra’s eldest daughter, originally began back in 1999 as a children’s clothing retailer, but soon branched out to include children’s furniture, home accessories and soft toys.
Of all their beautiful soft toys, our absolute favourites have to be these lovable hand crocheted creatures, available in a whole menagerie of animals, from lions, elephants and monkeys to bunnies, unicorns and swans.
Find these and more at albetta.co.uk
Ragtales – for cuddly toys and ragdolls
The Ragtales range draws on traditional British toy design with a modern twist, to create charming and engaging characters that each come with their own unique personality and story.
With bunnies, bears and fairies included in the range, there’s a Ragtale cuddly toy that will appeal to every young child. The adorable ragdolls are our favourites – especially this handsome little chap!
Find ‘Tommy’ and all his pals at ragtales.co.uk
Alice Frederick – for dressing-up and fancy dress
Who doesn’t love a game of dressy-ups? For a costume a little bit different to the run-of-the-mill Disney princesses that are in just about every supermarket these days, Alice Frederick could be just what you’re after.
Scary monsters, pretty fairies, bunny rabbits – there are even ride-on flamingos, swans, giraffes and dragons! I mean, come on – how much fun would it be riding your very own dragon?!
Find all this and more at alicefrederick.co.uk
Who are your favourite independent brands? Let us know in the comments!