Championing independent businesses and creatives: Hear Leah’s story of founding kids store Nordic Stork

At Nordic Watchlist we love to champion independent businesses and creatives, and particularly those with strong values on sustainability and making the world a better place. One such brand is Nordic Stork, an online shop for Scandinavian gifts and toys for kids, which was an idea born from a very personal story and need from its founder.

We met Leah, who founded Nordic Stork with her partner after their child became ill and they couldn’t find the right sensory and developmentally supportive toys that they needed that didn’t cost a fortune. 
We ask Leah about the story behind her business, what motivates her, and what you can find on Nordic Stork.

Nordic Watchlist: Leah, how did you juggle your family’s needs with starting a business during the pandemic? Did the pandemic help or hinder your progress? 

Leah: The pandemic was a crazy and difficult time for our family. Our lockdown baby, Daniel, (now 2), was born poorly and our eldest twin, Jacob (4 at the time) was having a very difficult time and we realised that he was Autistic and had ADHD. We had no support because of Covid and had to work everything out on our own. We became carers completely out of the blue and it’s definitely been a journey for us. 

I set up during the pandemic and through these most stressful of times. But the pandemic forced me to work harder at a time when we had little and in hindsight, was a wonderful driving force to grow and nurture something positive from a very dire situation. 

Nordic Watchlist: How would you like to grow Nordic Stork in the future? 

Leah: Our vision is to be able to offer as many ethical, natural and sustainable toys and gifts to as many families as possible and for those families to know that their valued custom would never be taken for granted. We’d like to be their ‘go-to’ place for beautiful toys.

We have always been a customer-customer-first business and that will never change. 

Nordic Watchlist: Your strong values are at the heart of your brand, tell us what the key influences and motivators are for you to do this?

Well, did you know that less than 22% of adults with autism are in any form of employment? This is an awful statistic and we are in a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) crisis.

We do not want our son Jacob to be part of this statistic, so naturally, our own children motivate us every day. In addition, we want to employ adults with additional needs as grows so we can put right some of what is wrong. 

We also believe in what we do. All children deserve to play with open-ended, natural toys that aid their development and do no harm to the planet.

Nordic Watchlist: What are some of the most popular products on Nordic Stork and/or your kid’s favourites?

Leah: Like most, our own children love imaginative play. Some of their favourite toys that they and our customers can’t get enough of are from our brands Little Dutch and Tender Leaf Toys. It is so hard to choose, but many of our customers also love Mushie, which is perfect for mealtimes and weaning. Oh, and Wee Gallery is popular for new baby gifts. 

We’ll be expanding our product range over the next few months so I am sure we’ll be able to add more to this list soon!

Be sure to go and browse Nordic Stork and discover their wonderful choice of gifts and toys – just in time for Christmas!

Interview by Claire & Alex Minnis