Archive for July, 2010

Congratulations to Sasha Schreiber, son of actor Liev Schreiber, who is turning 3-years-old this Sunday, July 25th! Warm wishes from the team at Le Top on your special day! 

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Check out this week’s “Store Spotlight” with The Toggery in Little Rock, Arkansas. So what is the meaning of “toggery”? Phil Olinghouse, owner of The Toggery children’s store tells us about what The Toggery means to him and about his fun “Elf on the Shelf” blog type items, where he shopped as a kid, and the evolution of his store since its inception in1948.

 tog·ger·y  (tg-r, tôg-)
n. pl. tog·ger·ies
1. Clothing; togs.
2. A clothing store.

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The Toggery in Pleasant Ridge Town Center

1.     What is one fact about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
Phil: The number of hours that Penny (my wife) and I put in trying to respond to the needs of our customers. We spend untold time on special orders and special requests.

2.     What sets you apart as a successful children’s store?
Phil: We have been able to relate to the needs of our customers, and make every effort to supply those needs in a timely manner with a fair price that provides good value. We have consistently provided service that focuses on our customer first and foremost.  

3.     You probably have seen hundreds of mommies and daddies come through your store and hear them speaking with their children – what is the funniest or sweetest thing you have heard come out of a child’s mouth recently?
Phil: No talking allowed at the Toggery, I don’t know. (wink, wink) 

4.     Are you a Little Rock native? Describe the neighborhood your store is in for us.
Penny and I both grew up in Little Rock. Our Heights location is where  The Toggery started in 1948 and we have been in the same location since 1962. This is a wonderful old neighborhood where we know our neighbors. The shopping area has always attracted customers from all over the state of Arkansas because of its reputation for unique upscale shopping. On the other hand our Pleasant Ridge Town Center store, which we newly opened in January, has reinforced our commitment to that part of our city. This has been the center of growth for a number of years and we have been a part of west Little Rock since 1978.

4.     What type of clothing did you wear growing up as kid? What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child? Do you have a picture of you as a kid you can share with us?
Phil: My mother dressed me at JCPenny, Sears, and the Crystal Kiddie children’s shop. Pretty traditional stuff – who can remember that far back? I think mothers today should focus on unique clothes that reflect their taste and lifestyle. Remember quality clothes last longer and look better longer. 

5.     We love your blog –what is your daily inspiration for your blog entries? How many bloggers are on your team of writers? What has been your most popular blog item?
Phil: Last June we formed a web team whose mission is to enhance the presence of The Toggery on the Internet. The three young people that work on this project bring a ton of enthusiasm and energy to their job. Caroline Tyler, a creative writing graduate student writes our blog. She has had an incredible response. Our team brainstorms at our weekly meetings and she brings these ideas to life. This team also markets our store through e-mail and Facebook campaigns. My favorite promotion was last Christmas when we had a contest to name your elf, based on the “Elf On The Shelf” book. The response was incredible and the creativity of the names our customers had was incredible.

6.     You have a great selection of items to buy from your store from clothes to shoes to uniforms to books! What is your favorite children’s book and why?
Phil: My favorite book is “On The Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman. This book gets right to heart of what you want a child to hear early on. It is a wonderful story that should be in every library.

7.     If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Phil: Be extremely focused on what you want your store to be. Listen to your customers and never forget you are there to serve them in an extraordinary way. Last, always have a planned buy and do not overbuy. More stores fail because of how much they buy, rather than what they buy.  

8.     What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Phil: I think when Penny and I had our first grandchild and got to clothe her (and the four that have followed) has been memorable and meaningful. They have certainly rejuvenated and stimulated our buying. That was 10 years ago and we are a much better store because of them.

9.     What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
Phil: We loved the boys Choo Choo Zoo collection from Le Top Baby. It was pure Le Top, traditional and very special for our newborn boys. And the best part was it sold great!

The Toggery
5919 R Street
Little Rock, AR 72207

The Toggery
Pleasant Ridge Town Center

11525 Cantrell Road Ste. 405
Little Rock, Arkansas 72212

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This post is dedicated to all the parents who have children who have “flown the nest.” So I get home about a week ago to California (I live in New York City) to help my family out with the launch of our new online boutique this past Monday, July 19th (http://www.letop-usa.com/)…As a child who works for her parents, one might think I would stay at a hotel – NOPE! I STILL stay at home, in my old room, with the old 80s soccer trophies, stuffed monkeys and funny childhood pictures I painted as a child.  It made me start thinking about all of the other parents who hang on to the doo-dads, artwork and any other fun projects their children work on.  Who knew that 30 years later, my parents would have my projects to this day in the living room next to a Richard Deibenkorn painting (a very fancy-schmancy modern artist from the 90s) – ooh-la-la! Below are funny items throughout our house that might make you (yes, you the parents who hang onto your child’s strange artwork that makes you smile)….smile! Enjoy this inside look to my home life.

The first one is a plaster of Paris ice cream sundae I made as a child. I thought it was funny to “trick” parents to try and drinks “my milkshake.” The true joke was on me in the fact that any adult obviously knew it wasn’t real.

The one on the right is a wood-fired/glazed lion I created in 5th grade where I was graded by my teacher on the anatomy of an animal and how well I could sculpt it.

This was a man I made in 6th grade out of clay and I was graded by my teacher on how well I understand the body form. Who is this man I sculpted. No clue. Ha!

Your first question might be, what the heck is that orange thing? My mom calls him “her little man”…I always thought he was a monster with tiger stripes. Hee-hee!

This was a soap stone sculpture I chipped away to make a seal that our housekeeper always turns upside down to look like a random rock.  Here is how it is always posed when I get home…

On the right is how the “seal” should be posed.

Here is a watercolor painting I created with a train in 5th grade where I was supposed to draw a train and I was graded on the specs of my train and straight lines. I find this picture pretty funny seeing as how I thought at that time BP oil was a “big gas company” with a pretty and happy sunset.  Who knew they would be destroying our earth now!

My final picture that will really have you laughing is this professional portrait of me as a child in the 1980s. SCCCCCARRRRY.  I was 5 years old at the time. One might call this photo “black mail.”

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While at the field or

sporting the nautical look, our “Darling of the Day” Rylee (1-year-old)flashes those big brown eyes and probably gets whatever she wants.
Watch out daddy – she is gorgeous!

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Image by: Jesse Grant/WireImage

It has already been rumored that actress Christina Applegate might soon be married (who can guess the date?!?), but even more exciting news is that she is expecting with her fiancé Martyn Lenoble. Applegate and Lenoble were engaged on Valentine’s Day…now that is what we call a love child!  Cheers from all of us here at Le Top.

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St. George Reef Lighthouse on the Oregon / California Border

For those of you that have not visited the Oregon coast, suffice to say, it is beautiful. On a family trip a few months ago, we were lucky enough to have taken a boat ride along the coast and out to the St. Georges Reef Lighthouse, a.k.a. ‘The Dragon.’ It was a gorgeous day with calm waters, which was good because the lighthouse was six miles off shore in very dangerous waters. It sits on Seal Rock, only 300 feet in diameter, on the St. George’s Reef that is the peak of a submerged volcanic mountain. Pretty cool!

This post has been moved to our website. To view the full post go to: http://blog.letop-usa.com/?p=10985

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Donato Sardella/Getty

Actress Ali Larter, 34, and husband/actor Hayes MacArthur announced on Tuesday she is pregnant! Her baby is due this winter and will be quite the looker!  From everyone at Le Top – CHEERS!

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