A dream come true. Wovenplay, Jess Brown, Tamar Mogendorff, Coral & Tusk, and Oeuf, all under one roof and just blocks from home. Nothing makes us happier than visiting this little gem of a shop.
Come play with us and meet Karin Schaefer, owner of Acorn Toy Shop.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN ACORN TOY SHOP?
I played with simple handcrafted toys as a child, dolls made by my mother and dollhouses and animals made by my father. Growing up in Europe, I knew that there were these beautifully crafted wooden toys that inspired open-ended play and creativity that were not readily available in the US at the time. Diane Crespo and I decided to open the shop after years of wishing that there was a place like Acorn where we could shop when our son Kaya was younger. We also wanted to work with local artists and designers, to create a shop that would encourage not only the creativity of children, but also inspire parents to make things with and for their children.
WE LOVE SHOPPING AT ACORN, WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOUR SHOP SO SPECIAL?
Thank you. Acorn is a small gesture, we only have one shop, we carry what we like, things that are good for children, parents and the environment. We have been approached about franchising and are frequently asked to expand and open other locations, but we want Acorn to remain a place where you can find one-of-a-kind pieces in an intimate and cared-for environment, and for us that means just the one shop.
WITH SO MANY BEAUTIFUL COLLECTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM, HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT TO FILL THE STORE WITH?
It is intuitive, we just go with what we are inspired by at the time. Because the shop is small we try to keep a balance of items in each category with a range of price points, always maintaining some of our signature pieces like Chickpea Kids boots, Ostheimer wooden animals, and Tamar Mogendorff mobiles, while introducing pieces like these amazing new colorful blocks, or this wonderful animal poster by Stephen Johnson.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING AT THE SHOP?
I love watching children play in the kitchen area or with the wooden animals in the back of the shop, if they are singing while they play you know they are fully engaged in an imaginative world.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
We live in Brooklyn Heights.
IF WE WERE VISITING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, WHAT WOULD BE ON YOUR LIST FOR US TO SEE/DO/EAT/SHOP?
See/Do: Brooklyn Bridge Parks (Pier 1 and Pier 6) and Governors Island
Eat: Iris Café, Mile End, Rucala, Vinegar Hill House, Prime Meats
Shop: Layla, Grdn, Eva Gentry, Hollander and Lexor, Holler and Squall
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
Do not try to be all things to all people.
Think through what life will be like when you have the shop.
You will work everyday or almost everyday for the first 2 years. (And I did!)
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED THIS BUSINESS?
I am an artist and Diane is a filmmaker, but we also thought it would be fun to have a shop and do something very direct and in the world, to engage with our local community and to offer something that we wished had been around when Kaya was younger.
WHAT/WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?
Art and the natural world inspire me and are inspirations for what we carry in the shop.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS IN 5 YEARS?
Expanding on what we have built, I see Acorn growing into more of an online resource for people by adding more to our web shop, perhaps doing some pop-up shops, while of course continuing to serve our local Brooklyn Community.
FIVE THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT
My art books. Dr. Haushka lip balm. Our radio. Elam sketchbooks from John Derian. Sakura drawing pens.
Three Kisses Chelsea, Rachel and Diana
Visit Acorn Toy Shop.