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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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
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!
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.
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.
"We really focus on sustainable and responsibly made items with a lot of brands designed and manufactured here in the States. "
- Maia of Bitte
We opened our shop in August of 2015.
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.
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.
Getting to see families enjoying our items and also getting to make my own schedule so I can spend time with my daughter.
Probably San Francisco because it's one of my favorite cities in the world and I have family and so many friends there.
Finding and sharing with our customers newer or under the radar brands that are creating beautiful items in a responsible way is the best!
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.
"...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
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!
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.
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.
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!
NYC - because it's my favorite city in the world. There is so much beauty there and the energy is incomparable to any other.
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.
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.
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.