Mother Essentials: Erin Jang of The Indigo Bunting
Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
Prolific is the word that comes to mind when we think of New York-based designer, illustrator, and mama of two Erin Jang. The force behind creative studio The Indigo Bunting, Erin worked as an art director at magazines such as Esquire and Martha Stewart Living before venturing out on a solo freelance career. Most days, this includes juggling many impressive projects at once. The current fruits of her labor include a capsule collection with Les Gamins, a feelings-themed board book, gorgeous baby blanket, and a playful collection of digital invites for Paperless Post. Below, the multi-talented creative shares her top MOTHER ESSENTIALS for herself and her boys.
Notebooks. “We take small blank notebooks with us wherever we go—they save the day when we’re passing the time on the subway or waiting at a restaurant. I love peeking in my kids’ books and seeing their drawings of Pokemon and birds, sketches from museum visits, and their own versions of Wordle games. When we travel, these slim crossword puzzle books have also been fun to keep on hand.” Sketchbooks, $4, Collage Collage. Crossword Puzzle for Clever Kids, $7.95, Amazon.
The Cook Deck. “My boys want to learn how to cook some more this summer. This spatula and whisk is just the right size for them, and they’ve been having fun inventing some creative recipes with The Cook Deck, which I made with children’s book author and food writer Joshua David Stein.” The Kids’ Set, $45, Material.
Skittle Lamp. “I got this lamp for my kids recently, and they love using it for bunkbed reading. The silicone bulb is dimmable and can change colors.” Skittle Lamp by Lund London, $80, Mochi Kids.
Chapter Book Read-Alouds. “During the pandemic, I started reading aloud chapter books to my kids, which became a really sweet ritual that brought us closer. I love reading the same books as them and hearing what they think about it. Some of our favorites have been A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus, Sweep by Jonathan Auxier, and the Vanderbeekers series by Karina Yan Glaser, which we especially love because the family lives in NYC.” A Place To Hang The Moon, $16.73, Bookshop and Amazon. Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster, $9.99, Bookshop and Amazon. The Vanderbeekers, $7.43, Bookshop and Amazon.
Citi Bike Rides. “I bike everywhere on Citi Bike—it’s the most efficient way to get around after camp drop-offs and when I’m running errands. I don’t wear much jewelry, so this shiny helmet my husband and kids got me several years ago for Mother’s Day is the ‘blingiest’ thing I own, and I love it.” Gold Helmet, $50, Bobbin.
Paperless Post x The Indigo Bunting. “I’m usually super last-minute about sending invites and cards. I especially liked making this pixel / Minecraft-inspired card because I was able to include several options of kids’ faces, including one that my boys feel looks like them.” PaperlessPost.com.
Audio Books & Podcasts. “I rarely have time to sit with a physical book for myself, so audiobooks are my best friend when I am working during the day. I love the free Libby app to download books with my library card. I also love a good podcast and two that I like listening to regularly are On Being and Lisa Damour’s teen parenting podcast, Ask Lisa.”
Kapla Blocks. “It’s the best when kids rediscover old toys. My boys are five years apart, but they’ve been into building bigger structures with these blocks again.” Kapla Blocks, $120, Kapla.
How Are You Feeling? “I loved making this board book about feelings. As a little kid, I was pretty shy and scared, so a book like this would have been helpful for me to put words to my emotions, and to know that it’s possible to feel different things at the same time without being defined by them.” How Are You Feeling?, $13, Mochi Kids.
Les Gamins x The Indigo Bunting. “My kids love wearing Les Gamins basics, so it was a treat to collaborate on a collection with them, featuring some of our kids’ favorite summer foods. 25% of the proceeds go to CHiPS, a local soup kitchen and shelter that helps mothers and kids.” Les Gamins x The Indigo Bunting Summer Collection, $20 to $42, Les Gamins.
HAY Boxes. “These minimal, colorful boxes are great for storing all the origami and drawings my kids leave scattered around the apartment.” Colour Storage, $9.80, HAY.
Play & Grow Blanket. “These soft knit blankets are the perfect gift for a new baby—and can even be personalized. They’re also the perfect size for my kids to snuggle under for our movie nights on the sofa.” Play & Grow Biquette x The Steve Nash Foundation Blanket, $120, Biquette.
Liewood May Storage Caddy. “This caddy for pencils and art supplies is out on our coffee table all the time; I love the color and simple shape.” May Storage Caddy, $27, Liewood.
NYT Kids Section. “We get The New York Times delivered on the weekend (long live print!), and my favorite is the Kids insert published once a month. The design and content of the whole section is brilliant. The editors’ note on the cover emphatically states it should NOT be read by grown-ups. But everyone in my family knows to give me the section first.” NYTimes Kids.
Puzzles. “I love the artist Charley Harper, and these nature-themed puzzles are beautiful. My oldest loves the illustrated bird puzzles, and the 500-piece Tree Of Life one is perfect for my boys to do together on their own.” Tree Of Life Puzzle, $19.95, Charley Harper and Bookshop.
Summer Smoothies. “These are the best and my favorite way to give my kids all the greens. Our favorite recipe is: kale, spinach, apple, frozen pineapple and banana, frozen edamame (for secret added protein!), water, and a date for sweetness.”
Jellycat Amuseables. “I know kids are all about the Squishmallows, but my favorite stuffies to give as gifts (and that I secretly love myself) are the Jellycat Amuseables. Who can resist a happy scallop, pretzel, or shrimp nigiri?” Amuseable Pretzel, $23.50, Merci Milo.
Gracious Child Art Print. “A couple years ago, my friend gave me this print illustrated by Abbey Lossing. I love it so much. Each of my boys asks if it is a portrait of them with me. Although it isn’t, I tell them that yes, it is us.” Gracious Child by Abbey Lossing, $12.75, InPrnt.
For more MOTHER ESSENTIALS, peep our recent features on Chicago party mom Kristen Kaza, Hedley & Bennett founder ELLEN MARIE BENNETT, Mochi Kids founder AMANDA STEWART, chef CRISTINA KISNER, chef CAMILLA MARCUS, artist CAROLINE Z HURLEY, Just Date founder SYLVIE CHARLES, food icon AMANDA HESSER, Prickly Pear founder MONA BAHRAINI, Solace Summer founder MEGAN BRE CAMP, Wonder Valley co-founder ALISON CARROLL, OZMA designer HEIDI BAKER, author TIFFANY ROSE SMITH, HEIDI BAKER of OZMA, and PHOEBE SUNG of Cold Picnic.
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