Monday, February 28, 2011

Guest blog entry by Founder Selma Avdicevic: Music to My Ears

A friend of mine recently asked me to write a guest blog entry for her website Vintage Allies Variety Broadcasting. You see, she had this idea of integrated vintage media platform, and she thought Woolly Boo is a perfect company to partner with. After all, our products have been around for a long time, and wool is true "vintage". Naturally, I said yes. When she asked what I would write about, I said I have no clue. So, I just drew inspiration from the best inspiration there is: my children.

My husband and I love music. And if anyone had any doubt of that, they should just check out our vast and diverse collection of tapes, records, and CD. And some MP3s. In fact, music was one of the things that we bonded over at the beginning of our second date. Apparently, I was the only woman he knew that had in her music collection Kate Bush, Pearl Jam, Beethoven, Gorillaz, and a Croatian band called Azra.

This love of such vast spectrum of musical genres stretches back to my childhood. My father had an amazing singing voice, and had in fact briefly dropped out of college to pursue his singing career, a fact that my parents shared with me only after both my sister and I safely graduated from college. My parents were children of the 1960's, so there was a lot of Beatles, Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, and local folk musing being played in our house or in the car. In fact, that is one of the more consistent memories of my childhood: the radio was always tuned to the station played the most music.

So, when I was about 7 years old, I asked them to enroll me in the local music school. Now, music schools in Europe are a little different than here in the U.S. What that meant is that I would receive instructions in all the subjects I normally would (reading, writing, math, foreign languages, science, etc.), and following that I would spend 4-5 hours a day studying music and practicing my instrument of choice. The closest comparison to that is a music academy like Julliard in New York City.

The answer was a firm no. My mother said I would be too distracted from my studies, since I am easily distractible, and my grades would suffer. Nowadays, I would have probably been diagnosed with ADHD, but that is a different column. The subject was dropped, and I dedicated myself to the next best thing: finding and listening to every piece of music I could get my hands on. In school, that meant classical music. With friends, everything else. We exchanged Deep Purple and Janis Joplin records, taped Nirvana and Pearl Jam on tape decks, stole Tina Turner from our parents, and spent a lot of time in various garages listening and trying to play those notes. When I moved to New York City at age 19, I felt like a fairy godmother had dropped me into a music heaven: I attended every concert I could, and even [gasp] dated musicians.

Flash forward almost 15 years, and I was at home with my 4 month old son. For those 4 months, it has been him, me, my husband, and frequent visits to the pediatrician. So, I thought, we should include some activities in his young life. That is how I found out about the local Music Together franchise. Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement. Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning. By emphasizing actual music experiences rather than concepts about music, Music Together introduces children to the pleasures of making music instead of passively receiving it from CDs or TV.

For the next 3 years of his life, I drove him weekly, without fail, to every class. There, we would sing, dance, play instruments, and have fun. When my daughter was born, I couldn't wait for her to turn 3 months old, so I could start taking her to classes. One added benefit, and all parents that took their children to Music Together classes can attest to this, is the silence in the back seat. Oh yes, the second they hear the first note of the "Hello song", they would drop everything and listen. Ah.

At home, we downloaded all of our music to a home theater sound system that played a random selection of songs. Since we have so many, the system never plays the same song twice, unless we tell it to. And this is when the miracles started happening: kids would pick a "favorite" song of the month, just something they both agreed they liked, and then they would listen and dance and play, until we were all sick of it. The first one was from a Bosnian band called Crvena Jabuka (Red Apple). Then it was collaboration between a Bosnian band Zabranjeno Pusenje (No Smoking), and a Croatia choir Arabeske (Arabesque). After that, it was Sergent Garcia, a French band that plays a blend of Latin American and African music. Following that, it was Alicia Keys and "Empire State of Mind", Fergie with "Big Girls Don't Cry", and currently it is the collaboration of Thievery Corporation (D.C. based trip hop band) and Ruben Black (a star from Dominican Republic).
Throughout all this, they never forget their Music Together music. All 9 CDs are in regular rotation in the car or in the playroom. Also, they now know that the order of songs can be changed based on the mood, so we get requests shouted out from the back seat.

And the hits keep coming. Over the weekend, the home theater system picked up Rage Against the Machine, and my 3 and 2 year olds danced happily and played air guitar to "Bulls on Parade". When Clash and "Should I Stay or Should I Go", came on, my son had picked up the melody and the lyrics by the second chorus. My daughter was arranging an appropriate choreography. I just stood there in awe and watched. Then last night, my sister came to visit, and while we were giving them a bath, my son started belting out a song. Since we couldn't quite comprehend what he was singing, and in what language, my sister asked: "Whose song is that?" and with the big smile on his face he proudly announced: "My song."

To learn more about the benefits of music education in the lives of children, please read the following articles:
Science Daily
Childrens Music Workshop
Selma Avdicevic is the founder and the owner of Woolly Boo, a New Jersey based manufacturer of organic wool basic bedding for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, with the mission to provide the healthiest crib bedding and the best sleep environment for your child.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's Playtime!

Woolly Boo® has been invited to showcase their latest creations at Playtime New York, the International Trade Show dedicated to the children, junior and maternity universes.

When: March 5 – 7, 2011
Saturday and Sunday: 9 AM to 6 PM
Monday: 9 AM to 5 PM

Where: 82 Mercer Street, NY, NY 10012

About Playtime New York:
The world’s largest trade show network for children and maternity collections. Playtime New York offers a comprehensive international selection of today’s best collections in the children and maternity marketplace. The show encompasses infant and children clothing, shoes and accessories, baby gear, toys, deco/design products, childcare, and maternity.

The stunning venue, 82 Mercer, is a space that reflects both a creative and commercial style, in one of New York’s trendiest neighborhoods, Soho. The 25,000 square foot space features a loft design, brick walls, hardwood flooring, cast iron columns and arched passageways. The show provides an easy-to-navigate layout and an open booth design.

For more information, please visit their website at:

In addition, Woolly Boo will participate in The Playtime Pop Up Shop for the duration of the show, where the general public will be able to purchase our products at a trunk show discount, and the retailers will be able to visualize our products in the retail setting.

Woolly Boo® is a family-owned and operated business located in Montclair, NJ, that manufactures heirloom basic bedding for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Their mission is to provide the healthiest crib bedding and the best sleep environment for every child. For more information, contact Selma Avdicevic at 973.544.8404 or

Friday, February 18, 2011

We have a winner!

The winner of our first ever Facebook giveaway is Stephanie from Manhattan, who also happens to be a designer behind this amazing line of modern sterling silver jewelry, Metalicious. Make sure to check her jewelry!

And we hope that you will play again soon! Since we gave a little love to our Facebook fans, next up are our Twitter followers, and after that our blog readers, hint, hint...

Monday, February 14, 2011

An expert? Me? Really?!?

A few months ago I was contacted by a freelance writer from India, Mridula Velagapundi, about doing an interview that would be featured on her block and her upcoming book project. At first, I was very reluctant. I mean, what do I possibly have to offer to anyone? I am very new to entrepreneurship, virtual infant, have had a mild success at best with my company, and have ways to go to prove my theory of management: go with your gut!

Well, luckily for everyone, Mridula was not after my "expertise", but rather my experience as an entrepreneur. You see, and this is where we really hit it off, she understands there is absolutely no cookie cutter solution for women business owners. We are passionate individuals, often guided by intuition (a very valuable tool), and we somewhere deep inside know best what is good for our business. We just need to act on it.

So, after finishing her book, Mridula did the same thing: she self-published. Apparently, she was told, there really isn't a market for her book. Too bad, I say, because it is good. If you have a chance, please grab a copy. If not, make sure to read her blog, The Accentors, where you will find many great interviews, some of which were featured in the book.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our First Ever: GIVEAWAY!!!

For some time now, we have been wondering how to reward our wonderful Facebook fans. At this point, there are 300 of them, patiently reading our daily posts, learning about frustrations of running a small business out of the former butler's pantry, late nights with sick children, snow delays in shipping, broken sewing machines, fabric shopping, etc.

The best we could come up with was to give one of them our brand spanking new Toddler Travel Pillow. Now, these babies are so new, they are not available for purchase anywhere at this time, so you know you will be getting something special. And we hope you really like it, and enjoy it for many years, and many children to come.


To enter the contest, please go to our Facebook fan page, and let us know what is your favorite Woolly Boo product. One entry per person. You must be a Woolly Boo Facebook fan. You must be at least 18 years old, and a legal resident of the US. Contiguous states only.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

We are now on Twitter!

Who would have thought that. But, I have a confession to make: I LOVE IT! The bad spelling, the awful grammar, the short posts - it is awesome. I am totally hooked. Anyway, look for @woollyboo and let's tweet.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

NYIGF: Recap

Well, this was some week. It started with the snow, and ended the same way. If you have been watching our Facebook fan page, you might have noticed that we initially planned to set up on Wednesday, January 26. Then, it started to snow, so the truck couldn't get to us. On Thursday, it snowed even more, and while we were trying to dig ourselves out, we had only fleeting thoughts of how insane it will be on Friday, when everyone else comes to the Javitz Center.

Amazingly enough, when we arrived there on Friday, it was so orderly and calm, you would have thought you were at a spa. Just amazing. Hundreds of people, many of them waiting in various lines, no sign of stress and irritation... Simply amazing. So, we set up our booth, and were home by dinner. Kids were very excited.

One novelty that was also interesting for us this year, was a new Baby & Child "Peek-A-Boo" display, previewing new gear, decor, accessories and wearables from exhibitors in this new division. Editors of leading trade publications and representative from top parenting blogs and websites selected their top picks in several categories. Here is our entry: green damask print infant sleep sack and toddler travel pillow.

Unfortunately, we were not lucky enough to win any awards, but many of our good friends and booth neighbors have, so big congratulations to them.

Whether it was due to a fast approaching second storm, or better publicity, the show got off on a very high note from day one. The traffic on a Saturday in August was very sparse, while this time around some major buyers were there, bright and early, on a Saturday morning. By Tuesday morning the second storm had started, and most out-of-towners were already gone. So, Tuesday, with so much less crowd, the buyers from New York and New Jersey had the show all to them selves. And I don't know if it was the weather, or the smaller crowd, or lack of competition, or simply because our products are so great, so many representatives of the local shops were coming to our booth and introducing themselves. It made us all feel very proud. And it is safe to say that combined with the interest from the buyers and the press, this was our most successful trade show yet! Here's to a great year!

By the way, isn't this pair of Jellycat sheep just adorable? New mascot? Yes? No?