Before toys entertained children the best toy of all was their imaginations. With all the toys on the market that whizz and beep I think it is more important then ever that we offer our kids creative toys that can transform into just about anything. One of my favorite open ended toys are playsilks, we have a small basket filled that Ila has been playing with since before she turned two. Her silks have been oceans, mountains, volcanoes, super hero capes, picnic blankets, forts, doll slings…the list is endless. I have known about Sarah’s Silks for years and even bought one as a gift for Ila locally so I was thrilled to invite her to share the story of her business that has been supporting her family and making children happy for over 15 years! This is a perfect example of how one family is creating a handmade heritage for their own children and others around the world.
Sarah has also offered a very generous giveaway of TWO $100 gift certificates to two lucky winners, thank you!
Hi Sarah, thank you for visiting us and sharing your business story! Can you please tell us a bit about you & Sarah’s Silks?
17 years ago I was a mom at home with three little ones and I needed a way to make money to stay home with them. I saw the children at our local waldorf school playing with cloth in the kindergarten and had the idea to dye some for my own kids. Then my neighbor wanted some, and a friend and I thought, wow, maybe I could sell these. No one was telling them at the time I found out from a few phone calls to natural toy stores, teachers would just dye their own as needed. So I decided to try to dye up some silk squares to sell.
Magic cabin was then owned by a friend, Sara McDonald and she bought some silks from me. Also, we sold some to a local toy store Hearth song. Soon after we found the Ark in San Francisco and they were eager to buy them. Then came the idea to dye rainbows as they are so popular in kindergartens, and fit with the rainbow bridge stories the children hear on their birthdays. It became a bit of a tradition to give rainbow birthday capes out at the 6th birthday celebration!
Soon, my husband Mike joined in helping me, and our little home business has been supporting our family now for about 15 years. My job around here is to design new products, keep the web site going, find new shops who would like to carry our products. And many other various jobs.
Mike is an important part of our business for many reasons. He is excellent with computers and helped us get set up with an invoicing system on QuickBooks. he is also good with his hands and makes many of our products, like the streamers, cotton rainbow, dyed stuffed animals and more. He is also Chinese and interested in agriculture so it is a good fit for him. He loves to grow our own mulberry trees and raises silk worms on his desk! Just for fun as we have no way to effectively spin and weave cloth from them yet.
Mike has also been to China many times. We work with a small group of women in a village near Sujou China. These same women have been sewing our scarves in their homes for 15 years. We pay them higher than the going rate and they get to be home to watch over their grandkids. Mike has also traced the silk making process from the famers growing the Mulberry trees and raising the silk worms, to the spinning, weaving and dyeing of the cloth. He speaks some mandarin and loves to visit.
Silk has been cultivated in China for over 8,00 years. The trees that are grown to feed leaves to the hungry silk worms are so important for China, as is the cultivation of bamboo. Mike is pleased about all of the trees as he says there is so much pollution in China one rarely sees the sun! Mulberry trees help!
I am a big fan of your silks and don’t allow plastic toys in my house-I believe children should have to put their creativity to work at play time. Why do you feel it is important for children to spend time playing imaginatively with natural toys?
Of course most children are fascinated with realistic toys, toys with buttons that beep! But only for a little while. There is little to be learned or gained by playing with them. The true work of the child is to become engrossed in play, to put as much of their own inventiveness into what they do, it is creative, enriching, joyful. In a way it is what we as adults try to find, a “getting into the zone”, loosing ourselves with abandon to work we love. Plato wrote about it, as did Einstein. Encouraging the imagination is more important and more satisfying than anything.
One thing I am super proud of is that Life Is Good Foundation is using our playsilks in their playmakers work around the world. Their motto is “Life can hurt, play can heal”. They have been in Haiti, Japan,and all over the US doing playmaker workshops to help children remember the joy and healing power of play. Watch this amazing little video to find out more about the power of play.
Our silks are sold all over the world. On our web site there is a link to shops, and we encourage our new retail web site for shoppers! You can also connect by reading our new blog called a Silk and Wood Childhood. Here is my blog post about my job and why I love it, you can also find posts about China, our family and much more.
Sarah is giving two $100 gift certificate for anything on their web site!
Entering is super easy:
1. Sign up to receive Sarah’s Silks e-mail newsletter (visit their website & scroll to the bottom of the page)
2. Like Sarah’s Silks on Facebook
Be sure to let us know in the comments too: )
Sarah will choose one winner from each list and contact you directly~good luck!
This giveaway closes next Tuesday, August 16th at midnight EST with the winners announced on Wednesday the 17th. By entering this giveaway you are agreeing to the Oh My! Handmade giveaway policies.
This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Renee Tobvin & Jessica W-winners were chosen by Sarah & will be contacted by email.
Jessika.. I’m jumping for joy with this newest post.
I adore Sarah’s Silks and read a Silk and Wood Childhood so often… this giveaway is so generous, I’m excited!
I’m already a fan on Facebook & am going to sign up for the newsletter right after I hit “submit”.. so please count me in for both.
The Life is Good Foundation motto made my eyes tear up.. what a completely amazing group of people.
My mind is already imagining the stars on night sky huge silk over little R’s bed… ;D
I had never heard of Sarah’s Silks before this post. I loved looking at all the creative things on their website…I just love the mermaid costume:)
I look forward to reading the newsletter and am a fan on facebook.
Thank you Jessika for another wonderful post!
Now why wasn’t I already a fan of Sarah’s Silks on Facebook? Situation rectified! Thanks for the great interview too.
Oh how beautiful!! How I would luv to win and share these creations with the children I will
Be working with at am ethiopian orphanage.
Ps Oh yes this was a like on fb!!! I will look forward to the uPdates
What an amazing company! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. I liked them on facebook so that I can keep up with everything they continue to do!
I’m a big fan of Sarah’s Silks! I’ve just liked Sarah on FB, both me and my shop facebook page.
And going through Sarah’s website I’ve found out that she has an European distributor. I can’t wait to contact Myriad to see if I’ll be able to sell her beautiful playclothes in my shop!!!
But, of course, it would be great to have a 100$ gift certificate to slurge a little for my beloved daughter!
I love not only the product, but the relation with China. I have worked there in the past and adore the people and culture.
Silk is a wonderful, beautiful, constantly giving material. I own a silk quilt and would love to win so I can give my On the Way granddaughter her own blanket.
I adore playsilks for kids and have a fairy god-daughter that would love to have a giant one. 🙂 Liked!!
This is such an awesome family buisness! I grew up with my mother and grandmother painting silks and it looked almost water color ish. I can really tell this is high quality stuff!
p.s. I am now signed up for the newsletter
I also like sarah’s silks on facebook, thanks for such a great giveaway!
Your products will help raise up lots of creative thinkers. Such a great idea. I liked you on facebook as Rustic Patriot Girl.
Thank you so much for the opportunity, and all the best to you and your company.
Its so wonderful to finally ‘meet’ Sarah!! Way back in 1999 I took up the challenge of creating a curriculum-based gift shop in my son’s Waldorf School (Oakland Steiner in Rochester Hills, Michigan) and ordered from Sarah’s Silks. The service was wonderful and the product…well, simply magical! It was always such a pleasure to share these lovely silks with others.
It’s great to finally know the ‘story behind the story’. My very best wishes to you for continued success, and thank you for doing all that you do!
Oops! Of course, I’m heading over to facebook right now to ‘like’ you : )
what a fantastic highlight on Sarah! Thanks for hosting such a generous giveaway.
I “like” sarah’s silks on facebook. 🙂
my kids love the sarah silks.. we have the big starry sky one that is perfect for space exploration 🙂 have “liked” on facebook for a while too.
I liked Saraha Silks on FB!
I already Liked Sarah’s silks on Facebook, and I just signed up for the emails ^_^
Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures, my favorite is of the older woman with a big smile!
It is so important to understand where things come from, especially in our society’s rampant consumerism. A big hug for the silk makers, vegetable growers and anyone with a big imagination!
Great interview! Beautiful story!!
I’ve signed up for the email newsletter. Unfortunately I’m having trouble “like”-ing on FB. (?)
Thanks, Sarah, for the work you do, and the care you put into it!
Oh, look at that, the “like” went through after all! Good ol’ FB.
Now I can tell my friends about your wonderful work!
Love the family store behind the shop! I liked her on FB.
liked sarahs silks on facebook, stephanie rowe miller
OH BOY! Im a Waldorf baby! I know those colors!!! So GBless whoever wins but when i read that I just had to leave a comment. * years to b exact…God luck with your business
Thanks for sharing the story behind the business. I always love to hear how others have gotten started and developed their passions. I just connected with Sarah’s Silks on FB.
I’ve just signed up for the Sara’s Silk Newsletter- I would be so happy to win this and buy some silks for my daughters. Thanks for the chance 🙂
I signed up for the Newsletter!
Lovely! Thanks for the chance.
I signed up for the newsletter.
Jessika, I am truly inspired by your wonderful interview with the magically, delightful Sarah’s Silks! : ) Such true to heart beauty and kindness of heart. My son and I so adore Sarah’s creations and all the magic these beautiful silks create. : )
I just signed up for their newsletter as well as “liked” them on Facebook.
Thanks so very much for this truly generous giveaway! : )
The Silk Road… love how your company came about…
I am a fan on face book and now receive email too! Thanks so much!
I “stumbled upon” this and LOVE IT! I am signed up for emails and liked on Facebook. I love finding awesome things like this blog and Sarah’s Silks! Beautiful work!
great product and background story. I admire your business model. receiving newsleter + FB like
be well, -heather
I liked Sarah’s Silks on facebook. What a great interview! Very inspiring and I love the direct connection to China. Love these silks and so do my kids 🙂
how fun do these look. i am pretty sure my 2 year old would love to play with one. i signed up for their news letter.
thanks so much.
We love Sarah’s silks! i get the newsletter and am a facebook fan! tree tiemeyer
I’ve loved Sarah’s Silks for a long time. Now I Like them on facebook too.
Love Sarah’s Silks! We have some of their toys and LOVE THEM! I’m a Facebook Fan!
So exciting! I liked sarah’s silks in Facebook.
I signed up to receive Sarah’s Silks e-mail newsletter.
I like Sarah’s Silks on Facebook.
Love this! Was just talking about silks with my 5 year old. Fanned Sarahs Silks on FB.
Signed up for the newsletter via my personal email address!
My daughter would love your playsilks!! I liked you on FB – wendy ritchey
i signed up for the newsletter (through the blog) and liked on FB!
I love rainbow silks….. Just became a fan on facebook! Thanks x
I love Sarah’s silks and I liked them on Facebook.
I’m a fan on facebook and receive the emails. Love their stuff!
I liked Sarah’s silks on Facebook!! We love silks!!
I signed up for the newsletter and already like on FB. Thanks for the opportunity!
did both! love your stuff!
We love Sarah’s Silks! (I “like” them on FB too). We have bought other silks before and they are not the same as Sarah’s.
I just L O V E Sarah’s Silk! I didn’t know before they have e-mail subscriptions, and getting their updates directly to my mailbox will be perfect.
I’m already fan on FB (Sandra Mil)
I just signed up for the newsletter and I have been fan for a long time on Facebook. A Sarah’s Silk sky blue silk was one of my son’s very first toys when he was a tiny newborn and he still plays with that one plus many more now that he is 4 and a half!
Just signed up for email newsletter !
i have signed up for sarah’s newsletter and liked her fb page. we love sarah’s silks in our home and in our classroom!!! 😉
Comments are closed.