Maybe you remember it from that zoology course in college or maybe because the Octonauts are on near constant-loop in your Netflix cue, but in the watery world of seahorses, it’s the dads that give birth to babies and carry them around. The strange and wonderful creatures (seahorses and dads) were the inspiration for one of Portland’s newest kid-friendly boutique stores, Seahorses – a place for modern dads and their kids.
photo: Seahorses by Ty Adams
Owner Don Hudson credits searching for the perfect diaper bag sites the opening of his store as one of the motivating factors in founding the city’s first daddy-slanted gathering place and retailer of apparel, toys, books, carriers and other kid accoutrements. That perfect diaper bag that Hudson settled on? It’s the Daddy & Co. Slide Messenger Bag, available at Seahorses, of course.
photo: Owner Don Hudson by Ty Adams
They also carry shaving supplies, Kevlar jeans, white pine furniture and Leatherman multi-tools, all carefully curated to appeal to the testosterone-enriched parents among us. The shop also offers non dude-centric items such as locally-made Serendipity dresses, which are adjustable so they can grow with little ones as they age. Other cool products include a full line of Thule strollers and carriers, Potette potty seats and the Doona infant car seat ($500) that easily converts into a stroller. There’s also a heavy helping of Melissa and Doug products, such as reusable sticker books and water-based, reusable coloring pads ($5).
photo: Ty Adams
And for those who happen to have literal minded toddlers who ask 37 times on the way to the shop if there will be seahorses, the answer is “no” on real seahorses and “yes” on toys. There’s always at least one of the store’s namesake toys available.
The focus is to offer high quality items that are durable and will get a lot of use, as well as those that are innovative and fun. Because he estimates he has used 95 percent of the products personally, this former stay-at-home dad feels very confident in the collection. The focus on quality doesn’t eliminate affordable options, with many products available in the $5.00 range.
photo: Ty Adams
In addition to the selling of helpful products, Seahorses offers community gathering space at the back of the store, including a “fenced in” toddler play area surrounded by a wooden bar (for coffee, tea and water), and behind a rolling door, another room available for gatherings.
Hudson and Wolverton are keen to see the space used in both a casual and more organized way as the community sees fit, and the store is already offering “Jam Sessions” every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. for musically oriented parents who want to dust off the old guitar (or other instrument) and rock out. A story time is also in the offing and professional kid-friendly musicians and other artists will be making appearances. Be sure to keep an eye on Facebook for dates.
4029 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Any other great finds you’ve made at Seahorses or other fun stores around town? Tell us about it in the comments below!
— Ty Adams