Naturally you want nothing but the best for your children, grandchildren and the unique kids in your life. Walking Stick is a local mama-owned and operated toy, clothing and craft store in downtown Missoula, Montana. We provide many locally made environmentally friendly products made from wood, wool, cotton and silk. We've chosen these products made from natural resources with confidence; we know they are the safest and healthiest for your children and ours.
I had every intention of doing this much earlier than today, better late than never. There is a lot of magic floating around this tiny little shop of mine. I never refer to it as "my" shop, so re-reading that last sentence, and leaving it as is, feels wrong. I need to leave it just so - just this once - though for the purposes of honoring those that pour their magic into this place.
When I opened this place 8 years ago it was with another Mama. We shared the space, shared the inspiration, shared the love, shared the duties, shared the feedback we got from the Mamas in this community, & shared our families with one another, and grew. Although our businesses were separate entities, nothing else really was. Without that jump start, and one another, Walking Stick Toys wouldn't still be around.
The movement that took place in January of 2012 changed this place even more, and I credit the successes we have to the magic of the new swarm of Mamas that have brought their love, their families, & their lives to this shop. There were many moments at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 when I doubted my decision to keep this place alive. I searched for desire deep down in my being to make it successful, to keep trying sounded really hard. I long for a beautiful garden that feeds my family through the seasons. I long to hang every load of laundry on the line. I want to make meals for my family. I want to be home with my kids. I want to sew more often, knit more often. I pour a lot of my life into this shop.
My kids are in Kindergarten and 3rd Grade. They still need me as much as before, in fact probably more than before, and they will need me more and more as they get older. The needs are different. I've always been able to bring them with me to work. I've always had that freedom that other Mamas/Papas maybe aren't as fortunate to have. They love our store, they have grown up here. This little 2nd home at 829 S Higgins holds many memories for them.
I love the the thought of the other Walking Stick Toys kiddos making memories in this place. Baby Oliver spends a lot of Saturdays here with his rockin' Mama, Aubry.
Aubry brings a lighthearted love to this place. She is a little bit quieter than the rest of us (until you get to know her) but so much funnier than you'd ever imagine. Consider yourself lucky if you hear her crack a joke, because her jokes are amazing. She's a super loving Mama and I'm so proud to have her work at my little shop. And, someday, Olligator will let me snuggle him on a regular basis, for now I'm stoked with the occasional chance I get to hold him while he faces away from me, jovial, unknowing. I trick babies into loving me.
Melinda and her kiddos, Madeline and Parker, are at the store a few afternoons a week from 3-6 and you'll see their sparkling faces on many Saturdays as well.
I love these little dumplings. They are spunky and not shy at all. They have a pretty amazing Mama (so it all makes sense) she is a doula, a lactation counselor and an amazing resource for new Mamas. I feel really fortunate to have her right in our shop on a regular basis. She's crafty, she's funny, she's more organized than most of us, and just all around awesome. I feel awfully lucky I hired her, before someone else nabbed her up.
Lexie, Sloane and Roman are part of our 'store family' and my real family. Lexie is my sister (in-law). Roman was just born in January, almost exactly 2 years after his sister. You'll see Lexie and her wee ones working from time to time. I am proud to be "auntie" to these little monkeys.
Lexie is one of the best Mamas around. She loves her kids like nobody's business and it shows in their demeanor. They are all smiles and love. If you get the opportunity to meet Lexie, hear Sloane jabber and Roman coo, your day is made. I love the sunshine these loveys bring in the door when they come to "work."
Oh my gosh those cheeks.
Chelle, Penelope and Lucinda are just slowly coming back to work. Lucinda is only about 12 weeks old - she's the newest little Walking Stick baby.
And, here is the big sis, Penelope, with her Mama.
Chelle and her kiddos are a sweet mellow addition to this growing store family. Penelope will steal your heart away. I mean just look at her. I know, it is stolen. Chelle will be filling in some Sundays as she slowly makes her way back to be with us more often. She too, is one of the sweetest souls around, you'll love her if you are so lucky to run into her when you visit us.
Erin is the last Mama working magic in this place. Erin has two kiddos, Willa and Oliver. You probably won't see Oliver around here too frequently, since he's starting high school in the fall, but you're almost sure to see Willa when Erin is working her shifts.
Willa is a feisty little sprite. I'm not sure exactly where it comes from but her personality isn't lacking. Her Mama is a sweet gentle very close friend of mine that I'm happy has stuck with me this long at this fun little shop. Erin will be teaching a lot of our crafting classes through the summer, that you ought to get signed up for if you like to make felt things. Erin is the person responsible for a lot of the rearranging in here (for which I'm so grateful). You might have to bear with us if you are looking for something and we aren't even sure where to find it. It just got moved by the rearranging master. She's always keepin' it fresh around here.
Of course, I wouldn't want to forget about our precious little Inga. She's not a Mama yet, but a pretty kick ass auntie, someday she's going to make a stellar Mama. Inga works a lot of our short weekend shifts so you might run into her if you pop in on a weekend.
I have a garden, it won't feed my family through the summer, just supplement. I wash a LOT of laundry and about 1/4 of it ends up on the clothesline. I make dinner nearly every night for my family, because someone covers the shift at the day's end. I don't work many weekends anymore, but I did for 7 years. The happy people that come through that front door make my heart sing and remind me that it is so worthwhile to keep our doors open.
But the real magic comes from all of these Mamas/ladies that pour heart and soul into this little shop during their shifts, and think about it even when they aren't here. It isn't something I could do solo, and I feel really fortunate that I don't have to. I love you ladies and all of your babies. Thanks for being a part of my family.
Earth Month is our favorite month.
It encompasses all that we are about. We love the earth, and that is the most important thing we keep in mind while making our toy, clothing and crafting selections. We've spent the last year bringing in even more earth-lovin' delights to share with our community. We pride ourselves on the wood, wool, cotton, silk and wax selections we make. These selections are very important to us, as parents, for the safety and well-being of our children. We like to pass these same options on to the rest of the parents that make sustainability and safety a priority. There are so many ways that we can show our love for the earth, so many ways we can give back to Mother Nature, so many ways we can teach our children the importance in taking care of our earth.
We recently started a Facebook thread to hear about what each of you do in celebration of Earth Month. We've heard from so many of you and are loving your ideas. Keep them coming!
We're having our annual Earth Day Sale - 30% off - storewide on Monday, April 22nd. If you haven't been in to visit us yet we'd love to show you around. You'll be happy to find so many local delights, local creations, upcycled products, safe art supplies, wooden toys/teethers, organic cotton toys, clothing, bathing suits, baby carriers and other new baby necessities, eco-friendly lunchbox supplies, reusable water bottles/sippy cups/baby bottles, books, kites, garden tools, rainbows!, and so much more.
If you want to see what our little shop is looking like these days, check it below.
Visit us, in person, to see everything up close and personal.
If you are shopping online your Earth Day Code to save 30% is ED201330. Happy Earth Month!
I want to get in your office, Auntie...
I'll use the tools (toys) provided.
If you haven't had a chance to dye eggs yet, and that is a tradition in your household, make note that we still have a handful of eco-eggs kits available.
Our lovely friend Jenna took this photo of her eco-eggs and hens. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Special of the week: If you purchase an eco-eggs kit between today and Saturday you can save 50% on any single playsilk - the perfect Easter grass in your eco-friendly basket. You must mention this deal to the cashier at checkout to receive your discount.