Focus on… Petit Chou

Petit Chou is an independent toy shop nestled away in the peaceful St Christopher’s Place area, just a stone’s thrown away from the crowded department stores on London’s Oxford Street.

The shop was opened 10 years ago by the Czech printmaker and former classical ballerina Iveta Petrakova, and her husband Marty St James, a well-known British video artist and Professor of Fine Art, who are parents themselves. The store offers a beautiful selection of wooden and educational toys and lovely clothes along with friendly customer service.

PetitChou_June13Iveta believes people are drawn into her shop by the vibrant colours. Her customers often express their dissatisfaction with the surfeit of pink and blue toys and clothes that dominate the nearby high street shops, and are pleased to find an alternative. Petit Chou does not have any “boys” or “girls” signs, and there is no colour or other gender stereotyping in the toy displays. One arrangement features a large fire engine, doll house, old-fashioned wooden scooter and several stuffed toys, alongside two blue dresses and several rainbow-coloured wooden toys.

Iveta mentioned that a particular dollhouse (with pink, white and green detail) tends to be very popular with boys who visit her shop, while the traditional-style wooden fire engine is a big hit with a lot of girls. While she stocks clothes in a wide range of colours, she mentions that both the pink and blue clothes are not popular sellers, and nearly always end up on the discount rack.

Petit Chou gets top marks from campaigner Tessa Trabue for its gender-neutral displays; she has nominated the store for a Let Toys Be Toys good practice “Toymark” award.

For further details about the store, please visit

For more on the Let Toys Be Toys best practice scheme, see our Toymark page.

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