Amazon, Maisonette, Target
Why should we care whether the baby products, kids' clothing, and toys we buy come from Latinx-owned companies? There may be too many reasons for me to list in this space. For one, we want all kids to grow up knowing that neither their race nor their family's country of origin should stop them from being entrepreneurs-and they can't do that if they don't see examples of it happening around them. For another, as immigration debates rage on in this country, many adults need a little reminding of what immigrants and the children of immigrants can accomplish. So it's time once again to vote with our wallets.
That said, during this Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), even as a proud Dominican American myself, I find it difficult to practice what I preach. Because while we can often see where our favorite onesies, plush toys, and puzzles are made, it's a little harder to know who's behind them. Fortunately, retailers like Target, Amazon, and Etsy have started to wake up to this challenge, and they've created pages on their websites to promote their Latinx-owned brands.
RELATED: 15 Asian American Children's Books to Read As a Family Right Now
It took the conversations spurred by Hispanic Heritage Month for me to realize that there are also Latinas behind some of the brands we already love. Of course, there's Jessica Alba's Honest Company gradually infiltrating every cabinet in our house with baby, beauty, and cleaning supplies. But I never knew that Maisonette, the chic online source for well-crafted toys, baby gear, and kids' clothing, was co-founded by Venezuelan American Luisana Mendoza de Roccia. And though it's easy enough to find food companies founded by Latin immigrants (obviously, our food is the most delicious), Fresh Bellies, founded by Ecuador-born Saskia Sorrosa, is breaking new ground in the field of adventurous baby and toddler snacks.
Below, we highlight some great Latinx-owned baby, kid, and toy brands, but it's just a start. Let's see this list grow in the weeks and years to come!
Latina moms Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein were disappointed by the dearth of bilingual books available for their kids, so they founded Lil' Libros. The publisher is especially well known for colorful biographical board books about important figures in history, such as Dolores Huerta, but they also offer fictional books, and stories for readers up to age 8.
Launched by Saskia Sorrosa (who once pitched her company on Shark Tank), Fresh Bellies makes freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snacks that don't shy away from inventive seasoning, all in the hopes of training kids' palates to like adventurous foods.
In its few years of existence, Maisonette has become one of our go-to spots to shop for beautiful, ethically sourced toys and baby gifts from small companies. We love how everything on the site, like this Skwish toy, includes a story about the company that makes it.
Maisonette is also an excellent source for stylish baby and kids clothing. In-house label Maison Me manages to make clothing that's both beautiful and playful, and it even has a few options for mom to wear, too.
Jen Zeano Designs
Brownsville, Texas-based designer Jen Zeano spreads her empowering, humorous messages through T-shirts, totes, and jewelry on Etsy. Get this "strong" bracelet for a young Latina in your life.
To be, um, honest, Jessica Alba's company doesn't need a publicity boost from the likes of me. But I just have to tell everyone that Honest Conditioning Detangler leave-in spray has saved my mornings with my long-haired kiddo. He says it "smells like cake," too.
To buy: The Honest Company Sweet Orange Vanilla Conditioning Detangler, $5.49 (originally $5.99); amazon.com.
Rhoost has a few very clever products that make raising babies just a little safer and easier. The Deluxe Baby Nail Clipper, for example, has a soft silicone handle, so it won't fly out of your hands when your squirmy little doesn't want a manicure.
The bibs from Bazzle Baby (founded by Puerto Rican-Floridian marketing exec Michaelene Cadiz) are so adorable, you may find yourself disappointed when your kid no longer needs them.
Strange brand name aside, this Mexico-based toy company has a brilliant concept: plush toys kids can customize themselves with just a set of washable markers. Yes, the bunny may wind up wearing scribbles, but can't you picture how proud your kid will be with their own work of textile art?
To buy: Altus Bunny with Three Washable Coloring Dresses and Markers, $29.99; amazon.com.
Colombian lingerie company Fidelina also makes some very cute underwear for girls in sizes ranging from 2-3 to 16-17. Customers praise the quality of these cotton panties even more than their unique prints.
Mexican company Totte makes educational bilingual toys and puzzles available on Amazon. These toys encourage kids to speak Spanish and English, even as they're learning math or playing dominoes.