November 14, 2016

Retailer Spotlight x Mac and Mia

Each day is different and brings it's own set of unique challenges and incredible rewards and that's infinitely exciting.

- Marie of Mac and Mia

 

 

When and why did you open your shop?

I began working on the company when I was on maternity leave with my youngest child, about two years ago. When I returned to my day job I kept at it nights and weekends. In early 2015, I hired two part time employees and we started to slowly grow. In the summer of 2015 we moved from the garage into “real” office space, brought on a few full time people and raised an angel round of funding to focus on growth. We recently outgrew our 2000 sq ft office and moved into a 10,000 sq ft warehouse. Mac & Mia came from my own experience as a working mom. I’ve always worked full time and with five kids I was constantly looking for ways to simplify my life so that I could spend more time with my family and less time running errands.

What is a typical day for you?

I have to say that no day is typical and that's what I love best. Each day is different and brings it's own set of unique challenges and incredible rewards and that's infinitely exciting.There is one, however, one thing about my days that is consistent, which is my time with my kids. I relish the mornings and evenings when I can leave my phone on the charger upstairs and direct all of my attention to my little ones. They are the reason I do what I do.

Shop: www.macandmia.com

Follow on IG: @MacandMia

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November 14, 2016

Retailer Spotlight x Starship for Littles

I love the connections and new friends that owning a business has opened up. I’ve met so many sweet, like-minded people that I feel like are kindred spirits.

- Heather of Starship for Littles

 

When and why did you open your shop?

I was about a week away from my daughter Luella's due date and told my husband in conversation that all I’ve dreamed about since I was 20 was owning my own kid’s shop. He gave me the courage to just do it and not look back. I come from a family of business owners and entrepreneurs and grew up learning about the children’s industry in regards to fashion. My mom had a children’s clothing line that she sold to Nordstrom among other high end stores. I learned by observing what styles sell, what doesn’t and how to deal with customers and buyers.

What industry/career were you in before you opened your shop?

I went to college for photography at Minneapolis College of Art and Design but eventually ended up in many different fields! I initially worked for my dad who ran a successful business and gained a lot of valuable insight on how to run a business that I apply so much of to Starship for Littles. I then ventured off into my childhood dream of fashion design and had my own womenswear line of dresses and skirts that I designed, and did both the pattern making and sewing. My line was sold in high end brick and mortar boutiques and I had a little studio in a port town called Excelsior off of Lake Minnetonka just outside of Minneapolis. It’s a charming town that gave me so much inspiration for my designs. From that point on, I had my line and worked as a sales representative for Minneapolis based company Manhattan Toy. While working there I was able to gain further insight on buying, selling and trends in the children’s market. I soon after had my son Rowan and stayed home with him full time. I continued to work on my womenswear line and sewed moccasins and children’s clothing that I screen printed by hand with my son as my inspiration.

What is a typical day for you?

My husband and I start the mornings off with a cup of coffee to connect before the day starts to get busy and he leaves for work. Then my kids wake up and I make them their first breakfast. I homeschool preschool my son and we usually work on that first thing in the morning. All three of us sit around the kitchen table and read books, work on letters and do art projects. Then I make them their second breakfast (yes, they eat two breakfasts!) and I get to work on business. In the morning I pack orders that came in since the night before, reply to emails, catch up on social media and any other pressing business matters. Then I either take the kids out for errands or a library/ park run and then come home for lunch and naps. The kids have quiet time in the afternoon while I get back to work. Then my husband comes home, we have dinner together, get the kids bathed and into bed. My husband and I then catch up, have a decaf latte and then back to work! I’m usually up late working on the business, doing graphics, creating listings for new items, packing orders and doing research on potential brands. The days are long and crazy, but I love every bit of it!

What is your favorite part of owning a retail shop?

I love the connections and new friends that owning a business has opened up. I’ve met so many sweet, like-minded people that I feel like are kindred spirits. We’re all spread out all over the world and to me that makes it even more special.

What inspires you when you are curating your shop?

Whenever I look at a new, potential line for Starship for Littles I ask myself if it is something that I would want in my home, would I dress my children in it or does it fit the aesthetic of my market and clients? If it doesn’t tick any of those boxes, then I will not bring it in. I gather inspiration from my own children and pay close attention to what they like to be dressed in and what toys and home goods they most enjoy.

What makes your shop and the collections that you carry different from any one else?

The collections I carry are primarily hard to find in the United States, up and coming or specific to a select market. Many of the lines I carry are actually designed by work at home moms. I love to support other mothers who are either living out their dream of having their own line or making it work so that they can spend time with their kids.

Shop: www.starshipforlittles.com

Follow on IG/FB: @starship_forlittles

November 14, 2016

Retailer Spotlight x CocoMingos

"Having a shop is something that I've truly always wanted to do, so the fact that it's now a reality makes me smile… and feel proud that I can show my kids, by example, that you should give your dreams a go."

-Erin of Cocomingos

When and why did you open your shop?

We opened our shop online this October. We're so excited! I started my first job in retail when I was 14 years old and since then, I always knew I wanted to open a store “when I grew up.” I always envisioned opening a shoe or swimwear shop, but after having children, my world became all about kids. I love that kids can have so much fun with what they wear and have a style all their own. There are so many amazing children’s designers out there so it was a no brainer that this was the best direction for CocoMingos.

What industry/career were you in before you opened your shop?

I started my career in Public Relations. I worked at an agency, so we wore a lot of hats and did a good amount of marketing and social media work too. I decided to get my MBA about 4 years after college and subsequently made a career change into the technology world. I worked at an amazing technology agency as a project manager and copywriter and I learned a ton! Because of my husband’s career, we had to move a lot. I was able to work remotely for the technology agency, but I decided to stop working once I had my first child. After taking 3 years off to stay home with my munchkins (2yrs old and 3yrs old), I decided to take the leap into opening my store.

What is your favorite part of owning a retail shop?

There are so many awesome things about owning and running a shop. I love going to trade shows, seeing new lines, and being surrounded by so much creativity. It's inspiring to meet people who have put their heart and soul into creating a collection. I also feel like I have grown so much as a person since starting on this journey. I have to wear many different hats so everyday is different and exciting. The knowledge and education that comes with having your own business is priceless. Most importantly, having a shop is something that I’ve truly always wanted to do, so the fact that it’s now a reality makes me smile…..and feel proud that I can show my kids, by example, that you should give your dreams a go.

What makes your shop and the collections that you carry different from any one else?

We aim to help customers make quick, informed decisions through an easy, user-friendly shopping experience. We provide as much information as possible about each garment, including materials, special details, the fit, and washing instructions. We know it's hard for buyers to have complete confidence when making purchases online so we feel this helps makes those decisions easier. We believe people really appreciate useful content and transparency. We also offer a complimentary gifting service with no obligation to buy, in the hopes of helping people find amazing gifts, without having to spend tons of time shopping around. We focus on curating collections that are ethically sourced and produced, made from quality materials, and are comfortable. Kids want to play and they should be able to move around and be free to have fun in their clothes. There’s no sense in looking cool or fabulous, if you can’t enjoy yourself in what you’re wearing. We stand for quality materials and quality craftsmanship. It seems to be a bit of a lost art these days, so we love supporting brands who truly care about what they are putting out there. It’s also super important that everything we offer is ethically sourced and produced. We want to help put smiles on children’s faces, not take those smiles away. From a style perspective, our collections range. Growing up in Miami, I was surrounded by many different cultures and influenced by so many styles. Overall, I’d say that we focus on offering products that are “effortlessly cool” - pieces that are easy to wear, comfortable, and look sharp or chic without too much fuss.

Shop: www.cocomingos.com

Follow on IG/FB: @cocomingos

November 14, 2016

Retailer Spotlight x Chasing Skully

"Working with children’s clothing is whimsical and fun. It allows me to be creative and take risks in ways that I never imagined were possible as a caregiver to my kids."

- Lindsay of Chasing Skully

 

When and why did you open your shop?

I launched ChasingSkully.com in May 2015. My oldest son, Chase, who is three years old now, is the inspiration behind Chasing Skully. Once he was born, I wanted to dress him in comfortable, unique and, on-trend clothing. I became an avid curator of fashionable children’s clothing. I spent hours online researching and discovering new brands I hadn’t known existed. I purchased most of my son’s clothing from small, mom-made and designed labels and we began receiving compliments everywhere we went. Each morning, I would carefully choose his outfits to best represent his personality and our style. Over time, I realized there was a void in the marketplace for an online shop with a highly curated selection. That is when I decided to launch the Chasing Skully online boutique. My goal was to provide all moms with a hassle free online shop where they could find a hand-picked selection of the adorable and hip brands I had grown to know and love. Moms are busy enough in their daily lives; they should be able to find and purchase great products without scouring the Internet for hours!

 

What industry/career were you in before you opened your shop?

I worked in celebrity and fashion PR and VIP services for almost a decade, specializing in celebrity dressing, styling and product placement. During my fashion PR years, I worked with several high-end fashion brands, including Burberry Prorsum, David Yurman, Nanette Lepore, Max Azria, and Etro, as well as popular fashion-centric companies geared toward a larger audience, such as Anthropologie.

 

What is your favorite part of owning a retail shop?

Chasing Skully has allowed me the opportunity to have a creative fashion based career while still being able to spend a lot of quality time with my two young sons. My online store gives me an identity apart from my roles as mom, wife, sister, and friend. I find excitement in researching social media for new brands. Working with children’s clothing is whimsical and fun. It allows me to be creative and take risks in ways that I never imagined were possible as a caregiver to my kids. Running this shop is so different from my past work experience, which was very serious, fast-paced, and high-stress. Chasing Skully is less of a job than a joyful, self-preserving and uplifting outlet. I wake up each morning excited about maintaining and growing my business.

Shop: www.chasingskully.com

Follow on IG/FB: @chasingskully

November 14, 2016

Retailer Spotlight x Bitte

"We really focus on sustainable and responsibly made items with a lot of brands designed and manufactured here in the States. "

- Maia of Bitte

 

When did you open your shop?

We opened our shop in August of 2015.

What industry/career were you in before you opened your shop?

I worked as a graphic designer and art director for brands such as Shopbop.com, Williams-Sonoma and Rue Magazine. My mom had started her own business when I was a toddler that had many of the same ideals as Bitte. She grew it and sold it years later and then went on to work for Faber Castell before starting Bitte with me.

What is a typical day for you?

I work from home it’s also a balancing act coordinating everything with a toddler running around. But usually I try to take the morning to answer emails, help my husband send out orders, photograph new product, discuss new items that we want to add to the shop with my mom and making sure to post to our social media accounts and keep on top of marketing. Typically we have lunch together as a family and then I will usually get back to work in the afternoons but I also slow down a little more after lunch and try to take time to spend with my daughter. I make dinner every night so between 4-5 I stop to start dinner and just spend time with my family. After my daughter goes to bed if I’m not feeling too exhausted I’ll try to get a little more work done.

What is your favorite part of owning a retail shop?

Getting to see families enjoying our items and also getting to make my own schedule so I can spend time with my daughter.

If you could open a shop in any location in the world, where would it be and why?

Probably San Francisco because it's one of my favorite cities in the world and I have family and so many friends there.

What inspires you when you are curating your shop?

Finding and sharing with our customers newer or under the radar brands that are creating beautiful items in a responsible way is the best!

What makes your shop and the collections that you carry different from any one else?

We really focus on sustainable and responsibly made items with a lot of brands designed and manufactured here in the States. While also being very design oriented. As an art director bringing products into the home that are aesthetically pleasing and can be played with and also displayed prominantly was something I strived for and I want to be able to offer that to our customers.

Shop: www.bitteshop.com

Follow on IG: @bitteshop

Follow on FB: @shopbitte

October 26, 2016

Retailer Spotlight x Design Life Kids

"...It's all about the designers we work with. Who are they and what do they stand for? These pieces are their dreams that have come to life and to share theirs within mine... I love it."

- Kim of Design Life Kids

 

When and why did you open your shop?

In 2014, after the life changing event of suddenly losing my husband, I decided to take a chance on a dream I've always had. That dream was to open up a shop that combined our love of modern design with fashion, decor and furniture for like minded families. Life is too short, not to live every day and love each moment!

What industry/career were you in before you opened your shop?

I was a lifestyle and design blogger for a few years, but prior I ran a call center for an e-commerce turn key company that managed several fashion retail brands.

What is a typical day for you?

I start my day with breakfast with my girls, once they're off to school I head to the gym to take care of myself and release all the stress of being a single parent, business owner. The rest of the day I spend working on all things DLK.

What is your favorite part of owning a retail shop?

Everything. I love searching for new products (i.e. shopping) and wrapping up orders like little gifts... imagining that they are as excited to receive them as I am to fulfill them!

If you could open a shop in any location in the world, where would it be and why?

NYC - because it's my favorite city in the world. There is so much beauty there and the energy is incomparable to any other.

What inspires you when you are curating your shop?

Design first. How do I feel when I find a product? Would I buy it myself? I'm incredibly picky about what comes in and out of my own home, so I make sure to be the same with DLK. Next, it's all about the designers we work with. Who are they and what do they stand for? These pieces are their dreams that have come to life and to share theirs within mine... I love it.

What makes your shop and the collections that you carry different from any one else?

I focus on goods for everyone. DLK is not only about families, but about those who have a passion for good modern design. I want DLK to be the spot that you can find something for yourself and maybe something for the special little ones in your life so you can share that design love together.

Shop: www.designlifekids.com

Follow on IG/FB: @designlifekids

April 20, 2015

Retailer Spotlight x Smoochie Baby

Located in the hip Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, is trendy kids boutique, Smoochie Baby! As I was roaming NYC a few years ago, I wandered into this shop and instantly fell in love with their selection of cool brands and fun toys. Their service is top notch and the shop is always organized and filled with the newest kids products. Congrats to Penelope, owner/buyer of Smoochie Baby, and her team who celebrated their 6 year anniversary this year! We were able to chat with Penelope and find out more about why she started this exciting venture and her favorite parts of running her business.

 

Talk to us about how you started your shop and what was the aesthetic you were aiming to have!

Smoochie Baby was born in 2006 shortly after my son, Max.  I was a new mom, immersed in the world of baby clothing and we were moving from NYC back to our native Toronto.  At the time Toronto was seriously lacking cool baby clothes, so I decided to open a "New York style" shop for babes and name it after my littleSmoochie Baby.   The aesthetic was fun, colorful, and approachable.  Nothing too precious or overly expensive.  It was an instant hit but we missed New York terribly so we decided to move back and move the store back with us.  Smoochie Baby Brooklyn opened in May 2008.

What are some things you look for when you are shopping for products to sell?

Dressing kids should be fun.  I love lines that use lots of color and have a sense of humor.  Price point is also very important.  Nothing too expensive or too delicate.  I want to sell clothes that kids can run around in and moms can throw in the washing machine.   I also love to support brands that are made in the U.S.A.  This is why I am such a huge fan of Kira.  Christine has a real whimsical approach to her designs.  I love her sense of humor and the fact that she uses organic cotton is an added bonus.  

What are your favorite things about running the store?

I'm a real people person so I love interacting with our customers and getting to know them. Visiting trade shows is my absolute favorite part of owning Smoochie Baby.  This is where I do most of my buying as well as connect with the designers and sales reps behind the brands.  It's a lot of work but so much fun.

What is your favorite piece from the new Kira Kids SS15 collection?  

I'm a sucker for anything gold so I love the Golden Girls tulip tank and Burger tee.  I'm not sure if Christine intended for the tulip people to look like the band Kiss, but they totally do and I love it!

Lastly, what is your ideal summer vacation?

My parents are both from Greece.  I try to visit every summer with my husband and our Smooch.  There is no place on earth I love more in summer.  The people, the food, the islands.  It is just magical.  
April 03, 2015

Retailer Spotlight x Pink Olive

In the past few years, we've spent countless days in our favorite east coast city, New York! The big city is filled with endless rows of beautiful boutiques. Always standing out from the crowd is our first ever Manhattan partner, an adorable shop called Pink Olive in the East Village! Since working with Pink Olive, we have witnessed their amazing growth: including three brick and mortar locations (East Village, Park Slope and Williamsburg), an online shop and also a monthly subscription service for paper lovers. Grace, the owner, is a master curator of whimsical gifts with a keen business sense. We were lucky enough to catch her and pick her brain about running a retail business and learn more about what inspires her.

Talk to us about how you started your shop and what was the aesthetic you were aiming to have!

I’ve been a stationery lover as long as I can remember. I spent my toddler years in Korea, which is notorious for their paper goods and little stationery shops. Finding and collecting perfect stationery with my little allowance was something I looked forward to every weekend.

I always knew I’d have a store of my own, so after I graduated from college I was determined to learn as much as possible. So after over a decade working as a buyer for companies such as Bloomingdales, Saks.com and Barney’s, I decided it was time to open my own retail business.

Right around this time, I also became an auntie to my adorable niece Katie. I felt overwhelmed going into a mass children’s store, and wanted to walk into a place where I felt inspired to give and find something unique and creative for my niece … and maybe find something for myself.

I opened my first brick-and-mortar store in the East Village in 2007, followed by my second location in Park Slope in March 2008 and the latest location in Williamsburg in April 2014. Each boutique caters to the stylish aunties of the world and all creative types, with an aesthetic emphasis on whimsy and great design. 

What are some things you look for when you are shopping for products to sell? 

Our team scours creative brands online, on blogs and social media, and through our travel adventures. Many designers approach us, but we also reach out to many brands that appeal to our shop aesthetic. We’re always looking for products with unique, eye-catching design, as well as an understanding of packaging and price. But most importantly, I love doing business with people I like. At the end of the day, there are thousands of lines and products on the market. I want to do business with people I enjoy and can grow our businesses together.

What are your favorite things about running the store? 

As customers often share with us, Pink Olive is their “happy place.” Life is all about celebrating the little things, and I love sharing that celebratory vision with all of our visitors! We actually just launched a new Instagram campaign to encourage our customers to add a #dailydoseofwhimsy to their typical routine – that’s the sort of joy I hope to inspire in as many people as possible.

What is your favorite piece from the new Kira Kids SS15 collection?

My favorite piece is this strawberry dress! Funnily enough, it reminds me of an adorable strawberry-shaped bag that my father gave me as a kindergarten graduation gift. He always brought back fun presents when he returned from business trips and was such a great gifter in general. He will forever remain a big inspiration behind Pink Olive’s manifesto: that a whimsical gift can really make someone smile and make them feel loved.

Lastly, what is your ideal summer vacation? Since Kira Kids is all about vacationing this season! 

Since I'm a summer baby, my ideal summer vacation is anything by the water. Whether it's taking a brief staycation by the Williamsburg wa​terfront or traveling to the Hudson Valley or flying to the Caribbean, I find those sorts of settings so relaxing and inspiring. And of course, good coffee and food always help, too!

 

SHOP: www.pinkolive.com

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