Here I am in nursery school, sewing a pillow as chubby as my cheeks!

Here I am in nursery school, sewing a pillow as chubby as my cheeks!

About Hazel Village

My name is Jane Van Cleef. I have always loved making things. In 2010 I was 25, and I wanted to strike out on my own with a big project. But I was nervous because with my (many) previous handmade businesses, I had never found a big market for my offerings. I would spend a lot of time and money making inventory, and then struggle to find buyers. 

But I decided to just make something that I would want for myself, and one weekend I made the first Hazel Village doll - a tiny Annicke Mouse. I was inspired by the toys and crafts I had loved as a child, and by my favorite childhood stories like Brambly Hedge, Uncle Wiggly, and the Little House stories. 

Early sketches for Hazel Village animals

Early sketches for Hazel Village animals

After the tiny Annicke, I made a few more woodland friends, and their Hazel Village world became clear to me. It was really more of an art project at that point. But I decided to try selling them on Etsy and around Brooklyn, just to see how they did. And people loved them! It was so so gratifying, and before I knew it I was racing like a lunatic to keep up with demand.

In the six years since Hazel Village started, we've expanded our ability to produce the animals responsibly, striving for heirloom quality at a reasonable price. We've sent animals to over 200 stores, including Barney's, J.Crew, and ABC Home. And every Christmas, we go into high gear, sending thousands of animals far and wide. Basically, I'm a professional elf now, or maybe I'm Santa...Seriously, we think about Christmas all year!

I'm so lucky to get to do this every day. I love making quality toys that can stay with children as they grow up - first as soft, snuggly friends, then as companions for storytelling and dress-up play, as the inspiration for craft projects (kid-made clothes, furniture, etc. for the animals), and eventually as treasured keepsakes.

Hazel Village is named after the American Hazelnut tree: a source of delicious nuts, magical divining rods, useful twigs for basketry, and food for caterpillars. 



How can I wash the animals?

If your Hazel Village friend gets a little grubby, we recommend the following: First, try spot cleaning with a sponge. If that's not enough, try hand washing in hot soapy water. Rinse well, squeeze all the water out, and air dry. If necessary, you can wash your animal in the machine on the most gentle cycle. We suggest dressing it in one of our rompers, to protect their necks and extremities, then placing it in a delicates bag before it takes the plunge. You can machine dry it on low, but be careful - the stuffing may clump. Wool friends can only be washed by hand.

What are they stuffed with?

We stuff the regular animals with polyfill, which is clean and hypoallergenic, and stays springy for a long time even if washed in hot water. It is naturally fire-retardant, so it doesn't need to be treated with chemicals to comply with toy safety law. The products from our Brooklyn workshop are stuffed with wool. For custom work, we can use either.

Where are they made?

We work with an organic-certified, fair labor factory in India for our regular line. They make small batches, so every one is slightly differnt. Monograms and all the items in our workshop are made in Brooklyn.

Are they safe for babies?

The animals are suitable for all ages, because their faces are embroidered and they are soft. But if you leave an animal with a very young child, please remove any loose doll clothes (socks, scarves, hats, etc) that the baby could rip off and eat. You can learn more here.

What do monograms look like?

One to six letters, hand stitched on the animal's heart. See examples here.

How do I order a monogram?

Choose "Add Monogram" as you're shopping. When you click "Add to Cart," a form pops up and there's a spot where you can tell us what to stitch. If you missed it or the internet is letting you down, you can email with your monogram details.

My order is a gift. Will you make it nice?

Absolutely! The animals know ALL ABOUT making and giving presents, so naturally we offer complimentary gift wrap. You can add gift wrap instructions for each item as you check out. If there's anything else we should know, you can tell us in the "comments" field at checkout. We will wrap your order, hand write your note on a little card, and ship to the recipient's address with no pricing in the box. Please rest assured that smart humans are handling this.

How do you ship the animals?

We ship within 3 business days via USPS. We can keep to the same timeframe whether or not you've ordered monograms. The mail takes about 3 days for US addresses, and about 7-10 days for overseas addresses.

Many countries assess customs fees on packages sent from the US. Our shipping charges don't account for those, so you would be responsible for sorting it out in your home country.

When we ship internationally, we usually leave the lavender sachets out.

Do you take custom orders?

We do! You can order one under the Workshop section. A custom animal includes:

  • The animal of your choice (woodland or otherwise) lovingly hand made in our Brooklyn workshop.
  • Your choice of wool or poly fill.
  • One outfit for your animal to wear.
  • A monogram, which we usually do on the animal's heart.

I want an older version of a Hazel Village animal or outfit. Do you make it anymore?

Sometimes we have a couple of older products stashed away. Sometimes based on customer requests, we make small batches of older versions for our workshop.

What is your guarantee / return policy?

We want you to be delighted with your woodland friends! If you're not happy with your order, let us know within a month of receiving it. You can send it back for an exchange or a full refund. You can reach us here.

If your animal breaks or you find a problem, we want to know about it. If the problem happened within the first six months as a result of normal use, we will fix it for free. If it's been longer, or your animal had a run-in with the cruel, cruel world (e.g. puppies, mud accidents, overzealous playing of doctor), we will work something out on a case-by-case basis.

Will I be allergic to the animals?

The animals are made of organic cotton and stuffed with hypoallergenic poly fill. They are stored in our workshop, which is smoke and pet free, and as tidy as we can manage. The lavender and mint sachets are not packed with the animals until we ship them, so if you're sensitive to scents, let us know and we can leave the sachet out.

Where do you sell the animals? Can I carry them in my store?

We are honored by the number of beautiful shops that carry the Hazel Village animals. Here is the list of stockists – well worth a visit if you can!

If you're interested in retailing the woodland friends, please get in touch! We will need to know the name and location of your store, the URL if applicable, and some other lines you carry.