Team Minnevangelist is in full-on holiday shopping mode and this is the first time we’ve ever bought Christmas gifts for a baby. (We’re both only children, so there are no nieces or nephews to speak of, and most of our friends don’t have kids.)
We’ve already hit up the delightful children’s bookstore Wild Rumpus and Euro-Japanese shop Kinoko Kids in Minneapolis, Mischief Toy Store in St. Paul, Legacy Toys in Edina, and the well-organized resale shop Kid to Kid in Eagan. But our favorite discovery to date has to be Fair Play Projects in St. Paul, which we stumbled across after eating at nearby Filipino restaurant Kalsada.
Fair Play Projects recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. The shop, which started life as a craft kit company in 2017, is run by Corinne Gill, Molly Schnick, and Kate Carmody, three art-minded moms who’ve collectively worked at Etsy, Sanrio, and MoMA. Their global design sensibilities are reflected in everything the boutique stocks: neon chalk from Japan, jellyfish bath puzzles from Belgium, googly-eyed coin purses from Scotland, hand-painted wooden rocking toys from Russia, and sweet little rabbits designed by Minneapolis’ own Polka Dot Club and hand-sewn in Peru.
The book selection is especially great, with the kind of unique titles (Laurence King’s Bauhaus Ballet pop-up book, JooHee Yoon’s Up Down Inside Out) you’d expect to find in the Tate Modern gift shop.
For grade schoolers, there are kits for making beaded bracelets, origami stars, paper kites, rolled candles, even a dachshund cross stitch. A kit for peg-loom weaving? Uh-huh. A build-your-own hand-crank doorbell kit? Yep, even that.
Julian is still too young for most of what Fair Play sells, but that didn’t stop us from buying chubby stackable crayons from Japan, a colorful roly-poly clown from Holland, and kawaii stationary for ourselves. (Note to fans of handwritten letters: You’re gonna love the store’s small but colorful selection of imported paper, gel pens, and washi tape.)
Fair Play is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the holiday season. Happy shopping!
Fair Play Projects
1591 Selby Ave., St. Paul, MN; no phone.