For Carlijn Beekman-Joosten, opening a pop-up holiday store is a dream come true and an Upper West Side neighborhood effort.
She rented a 141-square-foot space on Broadway in the building where she lives. Members of her local Buy Nothing Group donated wallpaper, paint, lamps and a rug to turn the dirty, empty storefront that had recently housed Bank of America ATMs into a cozy and inviting space.
Neighbors helped her create a faux fireplace out of wood found on the street. With the brawn of Vidal, the corner coffee cart guy, and local construction workers, they rescued a heavy, 7-foot-tall mahogany bookshelf that was about to be trashed.
A Christmas tree on wheels was a stooping success story to top it off.
On Saturday, Poppie Toys pop-up opens at the northwest corner of Broadway and 83rd Street, selling Carlijn’s hand-crafted kid’s furniture and toys made in Indonesia with ethically sourced, sustainable, replenishable materials like rattan and bamboo.
She calls her products “heirloom quality; perfect for passing from generation to generation.” Everything has a nostalgic feel and is inspired by her own childhood in the ‘70s and ‘80s in the Netherlands.
Carlijn, a Dutch native and former teacher who came to the U.S. 13 years ago, was previously a co-owner of a wooden toy company, Kinderfeets. Five years ago, she created her own line of Poppie Toys, primarily sold wholesale to boutiques around the country and in Australia and Canada. This is her first brick and mortar shop; something she yearned for every time she saw an empty Upper West Side store.
Her toy line includes a toddler-sized grocery cart, mailbox, rocking horse and chairs with rainbows or bunny ears on the backs, all designed to stimulate the imagination away from electronics and inspire kids to entertain themselves. She even has a pint-sized “barista” set for kids who want to imitate their coffee-drinking grown-ups.
“Pretend play is so important for kid’s development,” she says. “And many of today’s toys do just one thing and dictate this is how you should play with it. There’s no creativity.”
A pint-sized mailbox, for example, can be used to write letters to Santa, pass messages from parent to child and lead to hours of “writing, reading and open-ended play.” Even her 12-year-old daughter Hannah and friends often find themselves playing with the toys they might have outgrown years before, in new ways, she says.
Each week until January 7, the shop will add additional items from other small, creative brands with the same values, including Clementine Collective, handknit dolls made in Sri Lanka. They’ll also carry tutus from former Upper West Side designer Karin Alexis.
You’ll likely see her daughter, mother and mother-in-law (who are arriving soon from the Netherlands) pitching in throughout the holiday season. Fingers crossed, she says, if there’s neighborhood demand, the store will remain open longer and her dream will continue.