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

To shop, head over to 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

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.


Happy Birthday Pigtail Pals! 2!

Creator of PtP Melissa, The Original Pigtial Pal Amelia, and Benny Boy

Two years ago today I took a giant leap of faith and pushed “publish” on my website. I had spent the two and a half years leading up to that moment raising my two very small children and becoming dismayed at how childhood, but specifically girlhood, had changed. I knew I had a really good idea for a simple line of t-shirts for girls, and there was really nothing else like on the market. The response to the shirts was immediate, and I spent the first year in business doing so many trunk shows that I can’t remember them all. People would shake my hand, hug me, thank me, tell me they got goosebumps from the message…

And you’re thinking, “From a t-shirt?”

Not just any t-shirt. A t-shirt carrying a message based on the principle that our daughters were being short changed, and this mama wasn’t willing to sell out her daughter’s girlhood. I knew our daughters deserved more. And I felt I could change the way we think about our girls.

Too much was missing from girlhood. Color, for one. But imagery being most important — astronauts, pilots, sailors, doctors, movie directors, pirates, dinosaurs, bugs…image that boys got, but not girls. If you looked at any clothing rack in a store today, our girls are being told they can grow up to be tiaras, cupcakes, lipsticks, butterflies, hearts, or ballerina slippers. Now take a look at what the boys are being told. 

A child’s first language is pictures, and the story my daughter was seeing only seemed to have one chapter.

That simply is unacceptable to me. I will not have it. Not for my daughter, not for yours. I created Pigtail Pals to be the change I wanted to see. And week after week after week, this little company continues to grow.

Since my launch I’ve had over 40,000 people visit the online boutique, and even more come join us on twitter, facebook, and the blog. I love having each and every one of you here. Even when we disagree with each other, we constantly learn from each other, and thus become better parents. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.

I hope you continue to enjoy our products, our blogs posts, and our discussions. Please let your friends and family know what we’re up to and how we’re shaking things up. Word of mouth is the single best way for a small business to grow.

Pigtail Pals believes it is the right of the child to have the years of childhood filled with a parade

of color, exploration, discovery, adventure, and play.

Paint puddle compliments of Benny Boy.

 PP has awakened me from the denial I had regarding the marketing targeted at my daughter. I now shop for her and entertain her with my EYES OPEN.   – Monica

Following PP has deepened my commitment to giving my children a true childhood full of joy and choices. It’s given me tools to teach media literacy. And it has allowed me to spread the word to friends and family who might otherwise never have thought about these issues.   – Robyn

I learned that there are parents out there with similar concerns. I no longer feel weird or overly sensitive. Pigtail Pals gives me the opportunity to share and learn about parenting strategies that appreciate and celebrate girlhood. Its been wonderfully uplifting and encouraging! Thank YOU!!   – Robin

I learned this week that I need to go find a big mud puddle for my girl to jump into with both feet. I might even jump in with her 🙂   -Sherri

PP is another tool in my goal to treat each child as an individual. I have boys, but I have a stepdaughter, and the things I see from/about girls scare me. I teach middle school, and see the attitudes of girls every day, and I strive to be the role model that they deserve.   -Kim

I had never really considered the effect of media and advertising on very young girls before meeting you.   -Jenn

I have learned to embrace and treasure my girl, Chloe, as she redefines girly each and every day!   -Jennie

PP has taught me to expose my children to all the beautiful colors of the rainbow…not just pink and blue.   -Stesha

I’ve learned to smile when my daughter plays in the mud or dirt. It doesn’t matter if other parents cringe or if she gets dirty; what matters is that she’s happy and it’s ok!   -Kimberly

To enjoy life with my 3 girls. From mud puddle jumping to playing with dolls and cars at the same time and to enjoy the royal wedding while teaching my children they don’t have to be dependent on a man.    –Kutrina

I’ve learned to think even more critically at “surface” comments and judgments. I’ve also learned to speak up when I see injustice — there’s power in doing so!   -Kelly

I’ve learned Amelia likes the ocean, thinks doctors should give doctor stickers, and that 5 different patterns do indeed look great together when worn by the right person.   -Debbie

I have learned that there are a lot of like minded mommas and little girls out there. I’ve been reminded that it’s important to think about issues and not push them under the rug of my own mind. I’ve been reminded that it’s so important to be honest with my daughter, have fun with my daughter, and enjoy her childhood. I need to answer her questions, protect her girlhood, and help give her great choices to pick from.   -Penny

I’ve learned that I am not the only one who things toy stores should have toys arranged by category, not by “pink” or “blue.”   -Julie

I have learned to let my husband buy my girls tools and racecars. He is very proud that Cora wants to go outside and run around with him while he works out in the yard and on the cars. Not every girl has to be perfectly skinny like the media tell us now days!   -Erika

I’ve learned that not only am I not alone in being driven to distraction by the obsessive hyper-gendering of our kids, but that there are tons of great resources out there with like-minded parents dedicated to fighting it.   -Emily

Add me to the list of those who has learned she’s not alone. I know quite a few people who think I’m over-reacting when I voice my concerns about marketing and options for clothing for little girls. So I love the articles and information posted here. I also love that there are so many people here who comment on those articles/information, so that I know there are others who share the same opinion.   -Dorothy

I’ve learned how to voice my concerns without sounding like a know it all or a crazy person.   -Sue

I have learned the importance of living the truth and being who you are…and having no fear doing it. I have learned that you have to be who you are no matter what people think you “should” be. I have learned that being a girl is about being a doctor, an astronaut, a scientist….or whatever else you want. I have been inspired by her free spirit and curious nature.   -Melissa

 I have learned to be more careful with my daughters regarding sexualizing girls. I pay attentions to the media they view and listen to and the products I buy for them because I want my girls to realize their female value is not determined by how short their skirt is.   -Tabi

My eyes have been opened by Pigtail Pals to sexualization of girls and gender biases. Before, I may have ignored or not even “heard” her say things like “soccer is for boys” (that was this morning), but instead we now have a conversation about it! Thank you for helping me and my girls!   -Laura

I’ve learned not to limit what my daughter can do. Honestly, I used to be a “princess” person. I wanted her to dress is pink, like princesses, and have tea parties. I have come to realize that would be limiting her and she deserves better. I love that she’s unique, has (and uses) her brain, and makes her own decisions.   -Trish

Introducing: Whimsy Bees

At Pigtail Pals, we strongly believe that girls deserve palettes of rich color and a diversity of characters in their childhood. The products in their world should honor the stories dancing around in their heads while they grow and grow. I wanted to offer more designs for girls that reflected and respected their dreams, imaginations, and notions of whimsy and creativity when they play.

About a year ago, I bought a wooden top for my daughter at a garden shop. It was a fat bumble bee, and she would spin it, and then stand up and spin herself, collapsing into a pile of giggles when she got too dizzy. That moment to me was the quintessential essence of pure childhood delight and innocence. I noticed that when she played with her little friends, they were most happy when buzzing around like crazed, screaming, furniture-climbing, zig zagging bumble bees.

The Whimsy Bee designs were largely inspired by my daugther and our little family friends and their interests and the glimpes I got into their imaginative worlds while they played. I wanted the designs to look like a snapshot, a brief little peek into their world of creation and pretend. I wanted to celebrate the beauty of play and the pure goodness of a small child’s imagination.

I would like to introduce to you the first six designs for Whimsy Bees. A pair of caterpillar tamers, a dinosaur bubble bath, a Pigtail Pals version of princess (look closely!), an underwater sea adventure, a trio of lucky pirates, and a ice cream cone picnic of Jurassic proportions. I think the little girls in our lives will love and enjoy and giggle over these designs that display just how simple and beautiful childhood can be. 

Long live imagination, wild and free.

Three cheers to adventurous, daring, and smart little girls and all that they can be!















An enormous thank you to my artist Melissa, who helped me bring my funny looking sketches to life! You are talented and amazing to work with!

These designs are on the site and available for purchase. All of our new shirt styles (long & short sleeve) will be up by this weekend. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of these designs as we had creating them!