Margaux DelCollo is the CEO of TWEE, a Philadelphia maker's studio specializing in reimagined, eco-friendly crafts children use to create (hi sidewalk chalk and glitter!). All TWEE products are handmade and perfectly designed for littles, helping to increase grip strength and fine motor skills while encouraging creative play and imaginative making. TWEE provides the much-needed break to take a step back, to make believe, to share experiences with friends and to create your very own masterpieces.
Started as a classroom project at her son’s preschool, Margaux stumbled upon a healthy alternative to a favorite childhood pastime. We were honored to catch up with the mom-preneur to chat about pops of color, donut-inspired chalk, and childlike imagination and whimsy.
The idea that something as joyful as glitter could actually be bad for the environment honestly never crossed my mind. It wasn't until we started doing product testing that we realized it’s made up of thousands of tiny pieces of plastic. Once we discovered that we knew we had to make a serious change in how we made it. (I prefer a sparkle that stays out of our oceans any day of the week!) Now we get all our sparkles from mica, which is a non-toxic mineral.
TWEE is actually British slag for "too cute" and we pretty much live that everyday. Glitter, rainbows, and unicorn horns are definitely a big part of who we are, but we are also a serious business and I think that's communicated in all of our designs. No corner is ever cut. No easy way ever taken. Weeks are spent going over every aspect of a new design. TWEE is made up of makers and creatives who are serious about what they do and lead with the desire to make the most beautiful, handmade crafts possible. That's what makes TWEE so special — we literally make everything by hand in Philadelphia. How many other companies can say that?!
My hope is that TWEE brings a sense of whimsy to each child. The best is when I say, “Can you believe it's not a real donut?” and their eyes get really wide and they smile. It's like I can see their mind working as they think about what I'm saying — that this thing — what appears to be a donut is actually sidewalk chalk.
I often think of the quote attributed to Booker T. Washington: “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” That's what we strive to do at TWEE everyday.
How does every parent keep their sidewalk chalk? In a ziplock bag that's thrown under the stroller! In an effort to minimize the amount of plastic use, we elevated the humble plastic bag and created a limited release, hand sewn and screen-printed bag. Our Park Pouch is the perfect way to carry your TWEE Handmade Sidewalk Chalk to the playground in style.
Each design is named after a specific city park and with every purchase of a TWEE Park Pouch we donate a portion of the proceeds to that park. I know how important parks and playgrounds are to us and this program is a way to thank each park for being such a fundamental part of city living.
At TWEE, we often pair a design or product with a giveback. We believe strongly in supporting organizations that have missions that touch us. Right now Mason's Planets has a giveback to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Autism Research. Sam's Slider & Rainbow Fries is connected to GLSEN, which promotes gender inclusion in grades K-12. And Maya & Siona's Succulents gives back to KidsGardening, an organization that gets kids outside and their hands in the dirt.
We are so lucky to get to do what we love everyday and giving back is just a small way to express our beliefs and gratitude to our community near and far.