25 years ago, my brother (Jeff Stone) and I (Robert Stone), stepped in to take over the family business. Our father, Alan Stone, had been creating and manufacturing traditional children’s clothing for over 20 years here at Renzo Company. He sold Italian knit garments and blankets but found a niche in the market which led him to create a traditional brand called Petit Ami. Petit Ami’s heirloom quality garments use old sewing techniques like hand smocking and hand embroidery. My father not only filled this niche of traditional children’s clothing, but he created a company with a very loyal customer base selling to over 3000 specialty stores and small department stores. Now our Petit Ami brand has been bringing special heirloom quality children’s clothing to its customers for over 50 years.
Zubels? Well, I started my career in the toy industry so when I decided to join my brother in taking over the family business it only seemed natural to try our luck at designing toys. Having made numerous trips to many different countries looking for factories that could carry on our smocking tradition, we found that our own factories in the Philippines had a special talent that went undiscovered for years. At the time they were knitting sweaters for us, but we stumbled upon something unique. They could knit on personal sized knitting machines and hand craft dolls. These amazing artisans (whose story I will tell below) work together to hand-craft our Zubels as well as sew each little detail on by hand. In addition to that, they impress us every time we design a new one. Born in the Midwest and hand made in the Philippines these Zubels dolls are our babies. We love them all!
*OUR STORY IN THE PHILLIPPINES
Our company can be called a (micro - cottage) small medium enterprise. These types of companies make up the majority of the Philippine businesses. In the cottage industry, we focus on incorporating communities, especially women, elderly, and the marginalized (LGBTQ, and ex-convicts).
These women, elderly and the marginalized can't go to factories because it can be too far and tiring. They are either taking care of their children or simply their husbands and/or partners don't want them to leave home. For the marginalized like the LGBTQ and people who have had a bad past, they're usually discriminated against because we are in a country that is very religious and very old fashioned. We offer a safe environment to earn a living and a space where they are free to be who they are. We offer work in the factory and we offer them a work- from-home option (they are given what they need in order to do the work from home). These operations range from light sewing, knitting, hand embroideries, attachments and other small elements like that. We also have an employee who goes to the different communities and asks people if they are willing to learn a specific skill (i.e. embroidery), then if they are willing, we teach them and bring the work to them.
For the knitting, someone goes to the far Provinces (away from the city) to bring work to the elderly and women. They don't go to the city because traveling for at least 100km will consume 1/4 of their day plus they are too old to travel or their husbands don't allow them if they have children at home. These places that we bring work to are where informal settlers are camping at (Novaliches) or in the far provinces (far Batangas). Once they finish, we check their work, then pay them in cash. In each community, there's about 10-15 people we employ.
We also offer our employees a safe place to stay so they do not need to pay rent and they don’t need to spend so much of their salaries on transportation. We offer them all benefits including social security, health, housing, and bonuses.
From this, you can see why we were interested in bringing these special knit toys to our loyal customers. Helping those who cannot get work to help their families thrive is a wonderful gift our factories overseas give. We are very proud of our factories and proud to continue to help them help others.
We started with a simple line of 10 Zubels in 2007 and have now grown to over 150 different animals and characters.
Our loyal customers
We have generations of loyal customers who have been buying our heirloom quality garments from boutiques for over 50 years. Yes, Alan Stone, my father, started this business over 50 years ago and it’s still running strong. In fact, since adding Zubels in 2007 we have grown so much we have added whimsical hats, blankets, mobiles, and sweaters.
We not only have a loyal customer base but a loyal team as well. We have employees who have worked with my father and have been here over 20 years plus a younger generation of staffers who are innovative and push us into the future.
We have a small team of designers who keep the traditional looks of Petit Ami with designs that are classic yet contemporary for today’s mothers and grandmothers. As for Zubels the designers have recognized the needs of the modern mom, who is environmentally focused, therefore we use eco-friendly dyes for all our Zubels toys, dolls, sweaters and hats.
We would like to create a wonderful experience for you and your child. Our traditional clothing for all those precious moments and our hand knit toys/dolls that will spark your child’s imagination.
Here at Renzo Company we have our toys tested and graded safe for ages 0+. They are all tested and pass the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission Standards. Our toys are designed with you in mind, which also brings me to the point that they wash beautifully! And yes, in the machine, not by hand. Well, by hand if you’d like.