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Fairfield County Moms Create A New Kind Of Online Marketplace

Gena Mann, Left and Carissa Tozzi, right of Wolf + Friends.
Gena Mann, Left and Carissa Tozzi, right of Wolf + Friends. Photo Credit: Kristin Chalmers Photography

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- By now, most everyone knows Autism Speaks , a nonprofit dedicated to promoting solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support.

But what about autism shops?

Two Fairfield County women, both mothers of children with sensory issues, were frustrated with the lack of websites featuring real-world products that worked for their kids.

So, they created their own.

Wolf + Friends, live since April 2016, is the product of Carissa Tozzi of Easton, an editor and celebrity casting director for media and fashion brands such as Refinery29, Seventeen and Madewell, and Gena Mann, of Weston, a former photo editor for such national publications as Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and CosmoGIRL!

Mann is the mom of four, two of whom have autism; Tozzi's son, Wolf, whom the site is named after, has sensory sensitivities. Both knew each other from the magazine world --and grew up in the same Long Island town.

Wolf + Friends, billed as "a modern shopping and lifestyle platform designed to support your child's unique developmental needs," is meant to be a marketplace for clothes, toys, decor, and furniture.

The two women are quick to say it's not only for those with autism but for any child facing delays in social and emotional development. Basically anything from autism, to anxiety, ADHD, and sensory processing issues.

Prior to launching their site, Tozzi felt the market only served parents of typically developing children or children with learning differences and special needs—not both.

"I wondered what I could do in the kid’s space that was design-minded, inclusive, and compassionate," she said.

After meeting with Mann, who had also struggled with finding the right products for her children, the site was born.

Products are carefully curated and include information, advice, and inspiration so parents understand what they are buying before they make a purchase.

Some of the most popular content (with shoppable links) revolves around the following:

Items, which appeal to kids from birth to age 10, are sold online only though the two are discussing a pop-up store sometime in 2018.

New this year: Wolf + Friends' first-ever event "Tykesgiving Family and Friends Feast" at Ai Fiori Restaurant in NYC on Saturday, Nov. 18. Details HERE .

Learn more at www.wolfandfriends.com/ .

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