VISIT THEIR NEW ONLINE BOUTIQUE!
LAUNCHES TODAY @
Three, Four Knock on Magnolia Charlie’s door! Check out our 4th premier retailer in our “Store Spotlight” series where we feature one Le Top’s best stores of the week. Not only did they JUST launch their online boutique TODAY (where you can buy the best-of-the-best of children’s and baby clothing) – we were lucky enough to get an exclusive inside “peek” of images of her latest arrivals in her freestanding boutique in California!
Karen Seeber, owner of Magnolia Charlie, gives us the So Cal low-down on what any good mommy, daddy and kiddie shoppers would want to know, plus what she would bring to a deserted island if she sailed away from Balboa Island, California!
1. What made you decide to enter the children’s business?
Karen: My love of children’s clothing… I had 2 children and another on the way. Everyone told me how beautiful my children were always dressed and they never knew where to shop. So I decided to open a children’s store.
2. What was your background prior to this business?
Karen: I was a mom who could not find traditional style clothing so I opened Magnolia Charlie in 1997. My husband, David, a builder transformed the store into a beach cottage. I knew the look of the store was just as important as the merchandise I carry. Everything had to blend together.
3. The name of your store reminds of me of a Charlie’s Angels but sweet – where did the name come from?
Karen: Magnolia Charlie is a town in the south… I love the south with all their smocking, appliqués and southern hospitality – so, I wanted to bring that to Balboa Island, California.
4. The harbour looks beautiful in Balboa Island, describe the neighborhood your store is in for us.
Karen: Our neighborhood is small town AMERICA with a lot of tourist from all over the world. The people we meet are incredible. They come back to shop year after year whether on vacation or business. We are always making new friends.
5. Who is your target customer? Do you specialize in any certain types of product?
Karen: Our target customers are grandmothers… they want their grandchildren to look like children. All completely dressed from head to toe. We carry a wide variety of smocking and appliquéd dresses, shortalls and capri sets – all with coordinating bows, hats and shoes.
6. Having a store in Southern California you tend to dress the warm weather type of babies who love the water, whether it be the beach or sailing – what would you say are the 3 essential clothing items for any baby or child?
Karen: Our beach babies always need sunhats, sweater or sweatshirts. We always seem to have a sea breeze blowing and it gets cool in the mornings and evenings.
7. What products do your clientele like the most?Karen: Our customers like the WOW factor whenever they are giving a gift. They like dresses, capri sets, rompers, etc. all to have coordinating pieces so the child is dressed complete. That’s why Le Top does so well for us because of the coordinating hats and toys.
8. Any Celebrity customers over the years or do you have any celebs buying right now?
Karen: We have so many celebrities and athletes who shop with us. What an honor to see our clothing on their children whether walking around town or in magazines.
9. If you were a new mom and sailed away on one of the cute boats from Balboa Island and got stranded on a deserted island – what 5 items could you not live without?
Karen: Stranded on a deserted island? I could not live without…the cutest swimsuit with matching cover-up, coordinating sunhat, jog suit and my monogrammed beach towel.
10. Between all of the social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, and more – what do you think about social networking and how it allows moms and dads to join cyber parenting communities where they can meet, gain knowledge, as well as get recommendations and support.
Karen: I’m just learning about Facebook and Twitter…I think it is great for new moms and dads!
11. Do you think that you will make the big leap soon and have Magnolia Charlie join Facebook? You know Le Top will be your first fan!
Karen: Someday we will join Facebook! I will keep you updated more on what I think about the cyber mommy and daddy world once I join!
12. What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?
Karen: My 3 keys to success:
- Customer Service – Having an incredible sales staff that is always kind and knowledgeable about the merchandise. We will do anything for our customers. Even if we have to go to another store to find it!
- Store Appearance – Your front window tells the world who you are. Always keep your displays fresh and merchandise the walls where every grouping tells a story and color palette.
- Knowledge – Know the fashion industry and always keep learning.
13. How do you select your products for the store? Do you find that there is a difference between your online boutique consumers for your brand versus your typical store consumer?
Karen: I buy what I love and what I would put on my children. Each season I have fun and pick a theme – this season it was “Nautical” – the Le Top ‘DAISY DUCK’ group was incredible. Our web site with ecommerce capabilities is launching today! Visit us at:
and check out our latest arrivals to buy online!
14. What is one trend you are seeing now that you love and one that you want to go away for dressing children?
Karen: The trend I am seeing right now are parents buying simple, fun clothing, yet traditional in style. Traditional clothing never goes out of style. You can always add a bit of “trendy” to make it your own style.
15. If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Karen: My advice would be to read and talk to as many people as you can in this profession. I learned from the best … Mr. Pete Frasca (He was the original kid’s sales clothing representative that taught me about the children’s industry way back when).
Special Note from Le Top: Le Top values our sales representatives as being a very special part of the Le Top family. As much as we value our sales representatives, we equally value our retail customers like Magnolia Charlie. We think the relationships that are developed over the years are extraordinary and continue to make the Le Top family exceptional, loving and a unique children’s community.
16. 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?
Karen: I can’t think of a thing at the moment… But what I do know is that you never know what a child will say…
17. What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Karen: My memorable moments is when I see customers from all over the country come back and buy entire wardrobes for their grandchildren and they say, “I will see you in 6 months for another season!” I love them all.
18. What collection or piece from Le Top and rabbitmoon are you loving from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
Karen: It is hard to pick one group because we do so well with Le Top. I would say Le Top’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection of Daisy Duck, and Lots O’ Fish too!
317 Marine Avenue
Balboa Island, CA 92662
SHOP TODAY ON THEIR NEWLY LAUNCHED
ONLINE BOUTIQUE AT