toy story (in photographs) | monroe workshop's brilliant new collection

As a mother of a three-year-old who has an affinity for garish, Frozen-themed toys, I'm always on the lookout for any plaything that will both entertain my daughter and fulfill my inner minimalist. Enter Monroe Workshop, a handcrafted toy company born from a family-owned biz that originally specialized in custom, made-in-LA furniture: their new line of quirky wooden characters checks all the right boxes for me and then some.

I recently had the chance to tour their magical workspace, meet the creators (and their darling daughters, pictured in several of the images below), and photograph both the building process and some insanely adorable kiddos playing with the finished products. Needless to say, I'm now a Monroe Workshop devotee, as is my little one, who has all but forgotten her plastic Elsa figurines in favor of her new solid maple Robot Monkey (of Arendelle). If you have a little guy/girl (or know of any) and you appreciate great design and innovative small businesses, I cannot recommend these toys enough—and I hope the images that follow will further convince you to adopt a few for yourself.