INDIANAPOLIS– When Alla Kapchunova and her kids’ favorite local toy store closed last year, she realized there were not a lot of options outside of big box stores when it came to children’s toys.
So, she decided to open her own shop!
Monon Toys & Crafts, located on Cornell Avenue in Broad Ripple, opened on May 12 of this year, offering unique toys with sustainability in mind and even some international inspiration.
We’re playing around in Broad Ripple Village on this trip In Your Neighborhood.
When Kapchunova opened Monon Toys & Crafts, she set out to offer sustainable, eco-friendly toys meant to foster imagination and free play.
Many of the toys are European made and often hard to find, like their new Olli Ella dolls.
“They are supposed to be gender neutral, so they can be boy or a girl because when you look at them you cannot tell,” she explained. “For example, to me it looks more like a boy right now but if you do something like [add a certain accessory] and change her outfit into something like this, it will be a girl.”
Inside the store, they also sell a French doll brand called Minikane, which Kapchunova says is quite hard to get in the United States (and are one of the only items you will not be able to purchase through their website.)
“They have all the gender attributes, “she explained. “Now, at the time when there’s a lot of conversations about gender… I think it’s a cool thing to introduce little kids to the gender topic early on, so they know the boys and girls — they are different, but we are all valuable.”
You’ll also find crafts, art supplies, soft toys and interactive toys, plus shelves full of books to transport your child’s imagination into adventures and destinations like the jungle or Paris.
For even more Parisian flair, there’s the puppet theatre.
“This [puppet theatre] was a collaboration between a French toy maker [named] Vilac and Nathalie Lete, who is a celebrated French artist,” said Kapchunova. “She made all of the designs on the French theater, which is so beautiful [and] so whimsical.”
One of the shop’s most popular items are the shadow puppets.
All you need is light, a screen or wall, your puppets and some imagination.
Store-wide, you’ll see a number of toys made of wood — from pirate ships and tree houses to one of their newest additions: blocks.
You’ll notice these aren’t the kind of blocks we were raised with. These blocks are so beautiful, they’re actually meant to be showcased when playtime is over, much like an art piece.
“We’ve all seen peoples’ houses full of toys, which honestly looks not very pleasing,” she noted. “So, I thought how maybe toys could be incorporated and be part of a room’s décor.”
With sustainability in mind, they’re also meant to stand the test of time.
“I really hope this store maybe gives some idea to the parents how one single set of blocks can live in a house for a long time and can be passed down to siblings and maybe kids of your kids,” Kapchunova said.
Four Things You Need to Know About Monon Toys & Crafts:
- Monon Toys & Crafts (located at 6510 Cornell Avenue) is open Monday-Saturday from 11AM-6PM and closed on Sundays. You can also shop online through their website.
- The store is a one-stop-shop for buying a gift for a birthday party or special occasion since they have cards and offer matching giftwrapping for $5 per sheet. “It’s a small selection but it’s very special,” owner Alla Kapchunova said. “We import them straight from Italy.”
- The shop is dedicated to offering sustainable, eco-friendly, high quality toys that cannot be found in big box stores. “They are very special, very selective kind of toys that are supposed to foster imagination, creativity and free play,” Kapchunova explained.
- Monon Toys & Crafts offer an array of unique toys, including many European-made and rare toys that are often hard to find (and tend to come with a higher price point.) There are several toys made of wood and natural fibers, meant to stand the rest of time. The shop also sells art and craft supplies, books, puzzles, educational toys, games and more.
For more information about Monon Toys & Crafts, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out the shop’s Yelp profile. You can also connect on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
While in Broad Ripple Village, check out these other locally owned favorites: