When a new baby comes into this world, the surrounding circle of family and friends want to ensconce her in love, warmth and kindness. This from-the-heart feeling evolved into Swell Forever, a brand and boutique that creates thoughtful heirloom gifts to make every man, woman and child — from every background — feel special and loved.
Atlanta native Brooke Henze founded Swell Forever in 2014 with The Forever Blanket, a gorgeous line of throw and baby blankets featuring a custom cotton fabric tag that can be personalized with someone’s name, birthday, wedding details or a special message. These charming blankets, which can be monogrammed, are created with American-made textiles; the baby blanket collection adds French satin for added softness.
The best part (besides the wonderful goods) about Swell Forever is the push to not only make the children and families who receive these blankets feel good, but also those who may be on the other spectrum. Swell Forever was created with the goal of raising awareness and providing funds to help improve the chance of waiting children in foster care find their “forever” family. A percentage of every product sold contributes to the Swell Forever Adoption Grant, a program to show the beauty in adopting out of foster care.
“I loved the idea of creating beautiful products that reached the heart of a person buying and giving and using that opportunity, while someone’s heart is open, to share a topic that doesn’t always get attention and definitely does not feel ‘beautiful,'” says Brooke. “Foster care is a hard topic I wanted to address and shed light on, through stories that evoke strength and hope and motivate others to want to know more and support the village that is the foster care community.”
This attention to joy and sympathy for all children can be felt beyond The Forever Blankets, now that Swell Forever opened its first brick-and-mortar store earlier this year in Sandy Springs. As you walk through the adorable space, every corner focuses on children with varying needs, wants and backgrounds. For example, in the reading nook, books are organized in altruistic categories: History and Overcoming, Compassion, Diversity, Adoption, Love and Friendship, and Bravery. So while parents enjoy perusing the store, kids can nestle into a small chair or lay on the rug, find a story about what makes us human and have their parents purchase it, bring it home and always have a reminder that kindness is a lesson we all need to practice.
“I was heavily inspired by the Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks movie, You’ve Got Mail, and her fictional Shop Around the Corner,” says Brooke, describing Swell Forever’s retail space. “Those kind of stores are fading from our everyday life and culture. To host a new brand of story time, special events for kids and families and be a place that people equate with happiness is such a fun opportunity. I take it seriously. If we fail, our community faces yet another loss at something special that feels authentic and part of home.”
This sense of community extends far beyond Brooke’s Sandy Springs retail location. Swell Forever’s online presence is an amalgamation of blog meets support group meets craft aggregator — and lots of resources in between. Their Swell Mamas page is a digital village to support and help other mommies needing inspiration and advice; the Swell Hearts page includes first-hand testimonials and articles focused on the highs and lows of family life, including adoption and foster care, as well as the physical and emotional struggles we all face; and the Swell Hospitality and Swell Celebrations pages help put your best foot forward by sharing ideas to let others in on your happy events.
The Atlanta flagship shop offers whimsical products, beyond the brand’s signature blankets and throws. Lovely items like organic cotton pajamas and onesies, adorable felt flower headbands for babies and teething bracelets in sweet wooden shapes like rabbits, flowers and hoops pop up throughout the charming space.
“Shoppers so far seem to love the vibe, the colors and décor,” says Brooke. “We also carry a lot of lines people have never seen before or rarely see in gift shops. It is always fun to hear someone gleeful, that they found something so new to them … even those who are savvy shoppers.”
And though Swell Forever has amazing baby and child gifts, like custom, wooden Sandy Springs firetrucks and plush toys, there’s also a corner filled with fabulous merchandise perfect for cherished adult gifts. Swell Forever carries Southern skincare line Green + Lovely, which donates part of its proceeds to adoptive families (the brand is owned by an adoptive mom) and sells all-natural, organic products including soap bars, salves and its signature belly oil, which is used to fight pregnancy stretch marks. Another Southern line with a cult-like following is Susan Gordon Pottery — timeless, unique ring dishes, bowls, charms and more, which can be personalized, available at Swell Forever.
When it comes to describing her goals for her flagship shop, Brooke puts it simply: “I want to matter to the community. I want my children to grow up with a special place to go that fills their childhood memories. I want an older woman in the community to come into our store and walk out with a sweet gift to give a friend who has lost a husband, sister or parent. I want a tired mother who has been inside with kids all day to come and escape for a minute — find something beautiful to spoil herself while her kids goof around in our kids’ corner. I want a grandfather to come in and revel in an heirloom doll to gift his beloved granddaughter so she will always remember him. I want a bride to find something truly one of a kind for her bridesmaids or a Forever Blanket to gift her parents as a thank you on her wedding day.”
Regardless of why you visit Swell Forever, your heart will forever be changed for the better.
Swell Forever’s flagship store is located at 203 Hilderbrand Drive, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can also order the signature Forever Blankets and other cute products on their website, swellforever.com, as well as read inspiring stories about parenting, hosting and getting involved with adoption and foster care causes.
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