Four years in business! Woo hoo!

Four years ago today I launched my little business from the corner of my dining room with a little kid on each hip and zero experience in what I was about to do. I knew there had to be other parents who felt the same way I did about gender stereotypes, sexualization, and marketing having such a negative impact on our kids. I had to teach myself about e-commerce, marketing, social media, blogging, advocacy work, and how to write a book. None of it was easy but every step of the way I have been determined to succeed for our kids. I’ve had great mentors and people to work with along the way. All of it was worth it, especially on those nights I’m up at 2am answering emails and I get that note from a parent saying “Now I see it.”

I remember being so excited when the facebook page reached 100 followers and getting five orders in one day. We’ve grown A LOT since then! It turns out there are thousands and thousands of parents who felt the same way I did about these issues. I truly mean it when I say this has become a “community”, and I could not be prouder of the work we have done and continue to do.

Thank you, THANK YOU, to all of you who have supported Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies – whether it be through orders from the online boutique, sharing blog posts, being an active member on facebook or twitter, or sharing excitement about my upcoming book.

Thank you so much for being a part of PPBB and being committed to raising Full of Awesome kids!

Support Kid-Positive Small Business, Shop Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies!

This is always such a fun time of year, especially for parents as you get to watch your children enjoy the magic and tradition of the holiday season.  I love spending time with the family I grew up with and the family that I am raising during the holiday season.

I know our group is very conscientious about what we buy our kids and from whom. Since Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies doesn’t offer toys (yet),  I will refer you to A Mighty Girl and Toward the Stars for toys.

Small businesses like Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies depend on our customers and community at this time of year to keep us going. I love this quote that a customer sent to me the other day…..

Every time you spend money, you’re casting your vote for the kind of world you want. -Anna Lappe
Starting today through Tuesday Nov 27th, the PP&BB shop will offer everything at 30% off. Just use coupon code: holidays30   when you checkout.

The PP&BB shop offers all kinds of items for full of awesome kids. We have over 30 designs for boys and girls to customize t-shirts, longsleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, and even tote bags with, in every color under the rainbow.

I am so proud of the designs we offer, because they reflect what the company stands for: boys and girls using their imaginations and playing together, defining for themselves who they will be in this world. We are childhood inspired.

There are several gifts for under $10, like water bottles, notebooks, school supplies, flashlights, hair bows, stickers, bumper stickers and patches. These make great stocking stuffers or Hanukkah night gifts, or go great paired with one of our tees or totes. One of our “Redefining Girly” ballcaps is another great item to pair with a tee or tote.

Use this list when going through the website and looking for gifts. If you have any questions, or need help picking a color or size, you can reach Melissa directly at 608-201-3311 or at info@pigtailpals.com.

To shop, head over to www.pigtailpals.com. Thank you for supporting a small business who works hard all year to support our kids!

To print list, just click on image.


2012 Holiday Shopping List www.pigtailpals.com

Pigtail Pals: Where We’re Going

Now that you’ve gotten the full story of where I’ve been, I’m really excited to tell you about where we’re going. I say “we”, because this isn’t just me. It is my giant community of parents and caring adults who elevate the conversation every day among their groups of friends and family. You all help me to get people thinking. As you know, once you see this, you can’t unsee it.

And so it goes with me. I see it now, all of it. Pigtail Pals is no longer going to be “Pigtail Pals”. It can’t be. It has to be more.  

I had my daughter first, then my son. I have spent all my life as a girl, so it was easy for me to see and become passionate about girls’ issues. I had read several books about issues with boys, but it didn’t click with me like things did with girls. Until last summer. My son Benny was three years old, and we were at the park having a big playdate celebrating his successful potty training. Not long after we had arrived, a boy who was not with our group came up to my small son, put a plastic toy gun to his head, directly to his temple, and said “Boom! I just blew your f*cking brains out.” The other boy was six.

Benny didn’t understand what had happened, but his big sister did. I stood there in shock while Amelia marched up and read this kid the riot act. I went up to the boy and demanded his gun from him. He had four more stuffed in his shorts and socks. I told him to get the hell away from my kids. I was really disturbed by that incident. A friend I was with asked the boy’s mom to leave with her son, and then my friends and I sat and talked about raising boys. I was pretty quiet during that conversation. I just remember thinking, “Is this how it is? With boys?” Later that week I was out buying Benny some more big boy underwear (we call them “spanky pants”) and I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have a steroid-ridden super hero on it, skulls, guitars, or footballs. My kid was three. Where were the kites and ice cream cones? Or zoo animals. Hippo spanky pants would be pretty cool.

You all know Benny pretty well from the stories I share on the blog and facebook. He is a sweet boy. He loves his mama, reading, art, cooking, Angry Birds, and wrestling with our dog. Mud seems to have a magnetic pull on him, and he loves working on building projects and using tools. He loves the color pink and having his toes painted. He doesn’t really understand sports yet, but he plays a mean game of tag. 

I started paying more attention to what was being marketed to him and what I was buying for him. I realized unless it came from Pigtail Pals, all of his clothes were shades of blue, gray, or green. When he turned four years old, his party guests brought him paints, an Angry Birds tee, a dinosaur water sprayer, and a sprinkler. I was relieved there were no toy weapons. The other boys his age that he is friends with are all equally sweet. Then I think about the boys in Amelia’s kinder class. A lot of them have lost the sweetness. Several of them have been in trouble for violence at school. One has stuck his hand up a little girl’s skirt. Several of them have sworn in class, including dropping the F-bomb. These boys are all six years old. Six years old, and acting like miniature ill-behaved men. Where was boyhood?

Benny is sleeping next to me on the couch right as this moment. His tiny chest moving up and down under his mint green shirt. The other day we were shopping for his grandma’s Mother’s Day gift, and he was very intent on finding her “dee mose breautifrul ting” in the shop. I always want him searching for and finding beauty. And love.

I get asked about boys a lot, and tried to make a shift by developing the Curious Crickets line. I made sure the Full of Awesome designs had a design that would also work for boys. But let’s be honest – that really isn’t enough. I really don’t have a lot of references for parents of boys asking for a group like what Pigtail Pals is for boys. My go-to answer is always Achilles Effect. I started to feel like I was so focused on Amelia and girlhood, I had ignored, maybe willfully ignored, Benny and his boyhood. I just kept thinking, I have time, he’s just a baby. The kid is now four, time is up. I realized I had to get over some of my own stereotypes about men and being a male. Not having ever been one, it took me being the mother to a boy for a couple of years to get it.

I got it.

Pigtail Pals is now going to be known as “Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies: Childhood Inspired”. I can’t only fight for one side of childhood. Aren’t I the one who always says, “there is no girl side or boy side to childhood, there is just childhood?”  Yes, I am. And I was starting to feel like a hypocrite. Because everything I’ve been talking about with girls ALSO impacts boys. Sexualization. Body Image. Gender Stereotypes. Color Washing. Violence.

So everything is changing.

Actually, that’s being a bit overly dramatic, but it feels like a big change to me. Absolutely nothing is going to change with the work we do for girls. All of that is still going to happen. We’re just going to expand our focus to boys. Everything we’ve done for girls, we’ll now do for boys. The look of the store is going to change, the header on the blog will change. ALL of the designs in the shop will remain. We’ll add boys to the conversation on facebook. Mr. Pigtail Pals is going to start blogging for us, and I want to add the voices of more dads/men.

Pigtail Pals will always have our roots in the girl empowerment community. Truly, that is who I am, a champion of girls. But I am also the mother to a son. I need to act like it. Now I will fight for both of my children.

It is the right time to change. Here’s the new look, and I hope you stay with me as we continue on this journey towards a healthier childhood for our children. Our children have a right to chidhood. They’ll be teens soon enough, there’s no need to rush them there. Today they are our little boys and girls. 

Tomorrow I’m going to release a new line of designs that show boys and girls playing together. When’s the last time you saw that on a t-shirt?

But for today, I’d like to introduce Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies.