We are launching “Store Spotlight” today and will feature a premiere le·top specialty retail store each week. Read more for an exclusive Q&A and “sneak peak” images of our featured store of the week!
This week we interviewed one of New York City’s finest boutiques, Granny-Made. Visit our Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/le-top/117553138255670 to preview our new video mini webisode introducing owner, Michael Rosenberg and head buyer, Adele Salzberg from Granny-Made!
We want to give you the inside scoop on Granny-Made’s latest and greatest news, and what YOU don’t know about one of New York’s hottest children’s stores.
1. Granny-Made is a distinctive store name – does it have a special history?
Michael: Well yes, I named it after my grandmother. She was my Muse and my Inspiration. I left the corporate world in ‘85 to start the business with her sweater designs. I remember it was a hand-made catalogue of her sweater designs…I had a small contractor who produced them, and then I decided to advertise [the product] in The New York Times, The New Yorker and Harper’s Bazaar. The press had a great reaction and the brand took off. The store was named after her and actually my brother and I came up with the name!
2. Describe the neighborhood your store is in.
Adele: The upper side of Manhattan demographically has more young families with children than any other neighborhood in New York. It is ethnically mixed and there are a lot of multiple births – lots of twins and even some triplets! There are a lot of great schools, so it is a very desirable neighborhood. It is the perfect location for a children’s store such as Granny-Made.
3. Who is your target customer? Do you specialize in any certain types of product?
Adele: What I have found when I started working at Granny-Made is that Michael’s idea was to have very unique store with women’s sweaters. As I saw what the neighborhood was becoming over the years because of so many families with children, I thought it would be only natural to take an approach of [including] childrenswear. What we wanted to create was a very special store where you could find merchandise that no one else carried. We have now become the “go to store” for gifts, special occasion and novelty. My background has always been novelty, which is why in particular le·top performs so well, because no one does novelty better than you [le•top].
5. Any celebrity customers over the years or do you have any celebs buying right now?
Adele: Oh! Lot’s and lots! Well, we have had Julia Roberts, Stanley Tucci, Isabella Rosallini, Frank Langella, Richard Kind, and Cynthia Nixon to name a few!
6. What’s coming up for Granny-Made? I heard you are moving your store location – what will the new store offer?
Adele: The new store is on Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd and 83rd Street and the new address is: 467 Amsterdam Avenue. I feel that as the children grow, we are growing, and we will now be offering up to size 10. We’re also have started to offer christening items, which is not available at that many stores. When people ask for something – we bring it in! We are also going to branch out into special little sparkly shoes to match the cute dresses we carry – pretty much whatever the customer wants, we will do.
Michael: We will also have small furniture, toy boxes, little chairs, something more unique, such as customized rocking chairs.
7. You have a remarkable history and have been around 25 years, do you have any special plans or events for your anniversary?
Michael: We will be making the new move to 82nd Street! We plan on having a celebration after Labor Day with an opening party and champagne! Stay tuned.
8. What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your 25 year success?
Adele: Well…we are very unique in that:
• We give amazing customer service – people know that when they come here they will be properly taken care of.
• The quality of our merchandise is extraordinary – in fact, the Zagat has rated us as “E: extraordinary”.
• From the beginning of the sale ’til the end, it is all about the SERVICE.
9. How do you select your products for the store?
Adele: Well, I shop all of the [childrens’] shows. Whenever a new vendor calls, I will always take the call and listen to what they can offer. I also shop new resources. The business is constantly evolving and you need to constantly bring in new designers to keep it fresh. We are always one of the first to test a new designer.
10. What is one trend you’re currently seeing with customers?
Michael: Our girls dress business has exploded! We are surrounded by little girl’s dresses in here!
Adele: In fact, the le·top girls’ dresses were among the first tested in our store, and have bought so many of them. When it comes to little boys, they don’t want the “cutesy” things, parents nowadays sometimes want them to look like little men.
Michael: With that said, it is not that we resist this trend [of little men], but little boys have plenty of time to look like dad.
Adele: Yes, we try to keep a balance between “cutesy” and “little men”, but for girls – they want it VERY girly. What we hear a lot about our dresses from young women who walk into the store is, “I wish you had that [a little girl dress] in my size!” The dresses we carry are very girly. We don’t want our little girls to look like they are going to a cocktail party; we want them to look like they are going to the Nutcracker [big smile].
11. If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
- Do your homework.
- Find out who your customers is.
- Shop stores and see what is out there.
- Talk to your vendors – GET the information and don’t go into it blind. Research is one the most important things when opening a business.
- Talk to the other stores on the block – find out traffic patterns.
- Walk around the neighborhood – see how many baby carriages, how many toddlers, and do your homework!
12. You probably have seen thousands of mommies and their children come in and out of your store doors – what is one of the funniest things you have heard come out of parent or child’s mouth?
Adele: “I Want IT, I want it, I WANT IT!”
13. What are your top 3 fashionista tips for dressing a child?
- When it comes to toddler girls – they only wear 3 colors: pink, pink and PINK. So, make sure you have pink!
- When it comes to boys, they like dinosaurs and trucks.
- It is important to have the right accessories for your perfect outfit – the dress, the hat, the tights, and the sweater – the perfect assortment to complete the outfit! That’s what is so great about le·top is that you have all of the merchandise to “build the right package/outfit”.
14. And your #1 kid fashion “no-no”?
Adele: Dress your child as children – they don’t stay children very long!
Michael: The reason we carry up to size 10 is because lots of children can wear bigger size childrenswear, and until they get up to the teen years where parents don’t have a lot of say on what their kids wear, parents still want that “say” and influence on their clothing. For us that is important.
15. What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Michael and Adele [together]: That is hard! Every day is a special day here.
Adele:I just love it when they come in here and tell us they love our shop. I love it when they just get off the plane from Oklahoma and they say, “This is my first stop and I come to your store first.” Every day, just the joy of making the customer happy and making the sale is Marvelous.
Michael: Yes, it is truly gratifying. Now we are seeing the children that were growing up the last two dozen years coming in here now with their own children, and now their parents are grandparents… just moving on to the next generation is great!
16. What collection or piece from le•top do you love right now from the Spring 2010 collection?
Adele: We love your duck collection [for Spring]. Nobody does ducks better! For Fall 2010, I can’t wait for your bomber aviator jacket to hit the store.
Visit our Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/le-top/117553138255670 and put a face with the name from our latest interview. Preview our latest “Store Spotlight” video webisode introducing owner, Michael Rosenberg and head buyer and connoisseur, Adele Salzberg.
381 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10024