Meet Lynn and Alan Fleigel, a couple that crafts!
Handmade artists come to craft show festivals with incredibly varied backgrounds. But Lynn and Alan Fliegel, owners of Babytoes Clothing, are probably more unique than most. In any case, they certainly seem destined to be running a business together.
Back in the 1970’s, Alan operated a Space Age underground variety store in Soho in Lower Manhattan. Lynn came into the store with a fur coat she wanted to sell him. Alan put it in the window and it sold the same day. Soon after she came back with some of her handpainted childrens’ t-shirts for him to sell. Into the window they went and he sold out immediately. From these auspicious beginnings, a partnership was born.
The name Babytoes Clothing comes the Carl Sandburg poem, Baby Toes. The poem is addressed to a woman named Janet and Lynn’s first name is Janet. In addition, the infant clothing they sell comes with an adorable pair of baby socks attached. It seemed like the perfect fit for them.
They sold infant clothing as NYC street vendors, walking up West Broadway with a baby carriage full of merchandise. They would sell out every weekend. Later, Lynn worked out an arrangement with the owner of The Pepper Factory building in Soho to use the ledge of his building to set up shop every Saturday. She continued to set up shop at this location for 12 years.
On Saturday, October 15, 1983, after a full day of selling clothing, they returned home to their apartment and got married surrounded by their families and a few friends. After their children were born, they moved to a little town in the Catskills of NY and started doing craft shows instead of New York City street vending.
Over the years, they have had their share of celebrity encounters. The owner of a recording studio ordered a spatter design T-shirt for Paul McCartney and instructed Alan to deliver it to his studio. Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams and Eddie Van Halen also bought Babytoes clothing. They also made handpainted clothing for LaMirage Hotels, Disney, Macys, the Jackson Pollack Museum and the U.S. Army stores.
They’ve expanded their clothing line to include women’s jackets, dresses, tunics, shirts and scarves. Lynn designs all the patterns and employs a team of sewers in Allentown, PA to put them together. Then they’re sent to upstate NY to be dyed and hand painted.
Lynn and Alan are at every Sugarloaf Crafts festival this fall. Stop by their booth and wish them a happy anniversary!