Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eco Gift Festival 2008

In search of inspiration, we headed south to catch the last day of the 2008 Eco Gift Festival held at the Santa Monica convention center. I haven't been to a tradeshow style event in a very long time.

I approached the festival like one approaches the louvre--knowing it will be nearly impossible to take it all in--but willing to try. My endurance approach soon melted away, as I found myself testing natural lotions from Winona, Minnesota's J.R. Watkins Natural Apothecary, talking to the dynamic co-owner of CHIVAS Goat Milk Skin Care, and marveling over the beauty of her bars of soap made from goats milk that her own mother milks on their farm, and exploring the plethora of organic clothing for children.

I had a lot of favorite kid's booths. The first that struck my fancy was Bamboo Hugs.
They offer organic bamboo towels that double as blankets for wrapping up a post-bath baby or toddler. The bamboo is ultra soft and thick, and the Panda bear hoody on this towel is totally adorable. The co-owner, a former sound engineer if my memory serves me right, is a hip woman who's genuine excitement about her product makes you think of who on your list or in your family might need to go bamboo.

If you are still of the mind set that organic clothes for kids are all about muted colors and funky hemlines, think again. Green Edge Kids offered a broad array of high fashion and practical clothing for kids ages 2 to 12 in a pleasant range of colors in every type of organic fabric you could imagine, save sustainable silk, and Happy Green Bee took color to a new level with a whole line of brightly striped clothing in organic cotton. It was a happy booth.

I've had a hard time finding pjs for my soon-to-be-2 year-old (!) boy, and today I found my new source! Garden Kids. Simple, high quality cotton in solid combos.

Ezra came with us and did extraordinarily well due to two factors; His awesome papa, who kept him company while I explored, and a children's section in the festival where solar girl sang songs and an ugg-clad, felt-hat-topped storyteller kept him entertained. Strategically located in that corner (this vendor must have had some pull with the coordinator) was Eco-Kids, They had two crafts tables set up in front of their booth with gluten-free eco dough at one table and eco-fingerpaint at the other. Ezra was in heaven. Guess who's getting some eco-fingerpaint for Christmas?

After shopping and observing and learning, we ate a vegan chinese lunch (didn't catch the name of the restaurant) in the all vegetarian food court and then headed to the beach walk.

This was the most relaxing commerce experience I've had in years, surrounded by healthy people choosing to live sustainably. No stampedes over a poor Walmart employee, no altercations in the parking lot. Love, joy and save the planet.

Peace out!



Chryss said...

Thanks for the report. I can hardly wait to get my fingers on some eco-fingerpaints!

Trekking Left said...

It's like eco-Disneyland!