When fashion designer Gary Osborne and his partner moved out of the city to start a family, they wondered how they’d manage to juggle parenthood with two commuting schedules. Gary volunteered to leave his job for at-home entrepreneurship. Given his 12 years experience as a fashion designer, creating merchandise for kids seemed like a natural fit. But given that one of his personal philosophies was, “never produce something that is not needed,” he says, another business idea took shape.
“The first time I ever shopped for children I found it stressful,” Osborne explains. “How does a parent navigate all that’s out there and still have time to be there for his kids?” Noting a pronounced lack of American-made products on the circuit, Osborne began scouring craft fairs for handmade products so other parents wouldn’t have to. Familes that place an order for one of Osborne’s custom-curated packages get a personal call from Osborne and answer questions from “What are your favoite bedtime stories,” to “How would you like your name displayed?” Osborne then puts together a package of high end, domestically made (often by hand) products that speak to each family’s particular lifestyle. Osborne calls himself a curator connecting families to companies too small or specialized to market them selves.
On a tour of his airy at-home office-studio, Gary introduced us to Oliver & Adeilaide’s adorable namesakes, his 1 and 2 year-old son and daughter. While his daughter played with her favorite toy, a hand-carved wooden pear, Oliver played on a handmade zip line and relaxed with his nanny in a teepee that Osborne himself had fashioned out of white birch tree branches. Osborne explained that each of the beautiful domestic products he carries possess a “soul energy,” because he personally knows their makers. His interest in USA-made products, while partly environmental and partly economical, is mostly developmental. “The best lesson you can teach your child is gratitude,” he says, adding that they will feel gratitude more deeply if they know their toys are made by real people: “The way you teach children to value,” he believes “is by not buying an overabundance…The less a child has, the more engaged he will be.” Though heirloom items come with heirloom prices, Osborne says they also invite parents to understand that this is all they need.
Parents sign up for a one-time delivery or seasonal deliveries at three levels: small, medium, or large. If ordered from anywhere in the tri-state area, Gary Osborne will make a seasonal package delivery in person so that nothing at all is discarded or wasted. A personal business from beginning to end, parents willing or able to spend a little more up front might be surprised to find just how far an Oliver & Adelaide investment takes them.
Cashmere bear, Ggrippo; lambswool bear, Pogo Shop; red iPad clutch, Feel Handmade; ankle boots, Chickpea Kids; matching mommy robe and baby onesie, Bedhead Pajamas; personalized cotton blanket, Blue Ox Goods; golden tutu, Oliver & Adelaide; plate, K Studio
Osbourne’s desk in his studio
A sample winter delivery: doll and knits in chashmere and wool
Parisian Wooden Blocks, Petit Sauvages
The smaller packages arrive in these custom-built collapsable wool boxes
A large package arrives in this wood box, customized by Oliver & Adelaide; stuffed giraffe, Woolbuddy