Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Kindergarten’ Category

This little Le Top piggy went to market to interview one of our favorite premier store retailers for this Friday’s “Store Spotlight” – Tiny Toes.  Boutique mother, Tina Lewis and daughter, Karen Jacobs, tell us about working as a mother and daughter duo business, what Karen packed away in her lunch (and what melted), and what’s hot from the Le Top Fall 2010 collection.

GET “IN THE LOOP” AND BECOME A FAN OF THE
LE TOP
FACEBOOK PAGE
CLICK HERE


1.     Where did the name Tiny Toes come from?
Karen: A mother and grandmother’s “mild” obsession with my sons little toes. 🙂

2.     How long have you been working as mother and daughter duo in the business? How would you describe the benefits of “keeping the business in the family”?
Karen: We started the store together just over 4 years ago and are still going strong.  We love helping new moms select all the gear and goodies for their new arrivals–particularly when they come shopping with their moms.  We each bring something different to the table, whether it is a different perspective on what moms versus grandmoms like to buy or our skills in merchandising versus marketing. 

3.     What is one special or fun fact about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
Karen: Our fixture system came from IKEA, so by the time we opened our doors we had assembled a collection of over 200 Allen wrenches.  We still have them should you ever find yourself in need of one.

4.     What sets you apart as a successful children’s store?
Karen: We really make an effort to get to know our customers. We work hard to remember things like grandchildren’s sizes, who loves which brands, what outfits have already been purchased by other family members and more.  We have wonderful customers and we really enjoy going the extra mile to make their shopping experience special and fun.

5.     Describe the neighborhood of Bel Air, Maryland where your store is located.
Karen: Bel Air is a sleeper suburb of Baltimore. We’re a bit in the country, but with great access to both Baltimore and Philadelphia. Our store is located on a historic main street with lots of other independent shops.  The area is continuing to grow and expand and we have been very fortunate to be part of this growth.

6.     Back to school is here – do you remember what you wanted to wear on your first day of school or a childhood memory of your first day at school? Can you share a picture of how your mother dressed you when you were a child?
Karen: Per my mom–a yellow polly flinders dress–I hope the photos have all gone missing 🙂

7.      Tell us about the school lunches your mom or dad made for you when you were a kid? What would someone find inside your brown paper bag?
Karen: One time in kindergarten we were given ice cream for a special treat.  I couldn’t finish mine, so I packed it back up in my lunchbox and brought it home for later. You can only imagine the mess mom found when she opened that lunch box.

8.     What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall? Any hot trends?
Karen:
We love separates for back-to-school time. September can still be hot, so we love to find short sleeve tees, tops and dresses that will work for a great “fall” back to school photo but that can be layered later on and worn throughout the fall and winter season.  And we’re always on the look out for lines that bridge the gap between comfort (number one priority for the pre-school set) and fashion.

9.     If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to break into children’s retail, what would it be?
Karen: Ask tons of questions-of your sales reps, other store owners, other businesses in your area.  It’s amazing what you can learn from others experience.  Once you are open ask those questions of your customers–they continue to be our best source of information on what will work in our store.

10.     What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Karen:
We have a photo board in our store where customers post pictures of their children in Tiny Toe’s outfits.  We love seeing the children who we dressed for coming home (from the hospital) now come in shopping for pre-school outfits. Having a small part in creating special memories for those families is one of our favorite parts of the job.

11.     What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Karen: The Pocket Full of Posies dress with tights and coordinating cardigan.

Le Top Pocket Full of Posies ensemble

Tiny Toes
4 North Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
410.420.6727
http://www.shoptinytoes.com

Read Full Post »

First day of school and I whispered my parting words of advice to my son. Then I overheard him tell his mother excitedly,

Mom, Dad said I can hit them back if they hit me!

–Renzo, age 5

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

Read Full Post »

Miranda proudly accepts her diploma in Le Top's Sweetheart Butterfly drop waist dress.

My daughter has passed another milestone… Kindergarten! The beginning of the 2009-2010 school year was a day to remember. I dropped off my baby in her classroom with other nervous little children who were sharing their first experience of school. Then the teacher shuffled out all the anxious parents and closed the door. It seemed like a long year full of homework, projects and field trips, but yet it also seemed like the first day of school was just yesterday. In a blink of an eye, I now have a first grader.

Has it really been a year since “Grajuration Day“?

This event was so much more different than graduating from preschool. First of all, these six-year olds are sassy and smart. They learned A LOT this year, not only in the classroom but also from their friends. There was so much attitude in the air, for many reasons:

  1. It’s summertime, which means no more homework. They can stay up as late as they want and sleep in. (HA!)
  2. Next year they are first graders which means they get to have two recesses, and they get to play on the big kids’ play structure.
  3. There are cupcakes after the graduation.

As happy as this day was for the kids, it was bittersweet for the parents. I am happy that she did so well in school and has made a lot of friends, but I am sad that she’s growing up so fast. All I can do is take a mental photograph of this day and cherish it. Tomorrow is another day, and I’m sure summer will be a drag because she’ll be bored not seeing her friends every day and wonder why Mommy and Daddy are still working, and shouldn’t we all be on summer vacation.

Read Full Post »

Then: Me dressing up at Nerd Day; Now: My daughter dressing up for Twin Day

I fondly remember my school days and celebrating Spirit Week. Back then I never really understood WHY we had Spirit Week. All I really cared about back then was that I got to be creative and got dressed up for some weird and wacky-themed days, such as Nerd Day, Crazy Hair Day, Hawaiian Day, Toga Day, Pajama Day, etc. Fun times! I am amazed and can’t believe that I now have a daughter who is making her own fond memories and showing her school spirit, even as young as Kindergarten!

Now that I’m older (and supposedly wiser), there is actually an importance to Spirit Week–in all levels of school. Not only is it enjoyable, but it gives students the chance to express themselves creatively. Spirit Week provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn about leadership. The week is led and planned by the students (with the guidance of teachers). They come up with their own ideas (activities, games, plans) and learn how to put their ideas into action. Students also learn teamwork. Spirit Week encourages students to participate collaboratively and competitively in activities to collect points and achieve success. Spirit Week teaches students community-building as well. By creating excitement and a certain level of energy around Spirit Week, students learn that there are multi-levels of community within their school. They develop a sense of homeroom, grade-level, and school loyalty.

Spirit Week: It’s fun and education!

Read Full Post »

Singing her heart out in le•top's 2009 Deck the Halls collection (She was able to wear it for Valentine's Day.)

The past couple of months has been quite busy for my daughter. Her school was having a talent show and she wanted to be IN the talent show. I needed to explain to her that there is an audition and that not everyone will make it in the show. I thought I was going to have a tough time explaining this concept to her, but she knew what “audition” meant.

“You mean, just like how Gabriella and Troy had to audition in the movie ‘High School Musical’?”

“Yes, just like ‘High School Musical’.” (Never, since the creation of this movie, have I ever appreciated this movie UNTIL NOW!)

Through the month of January, Miranda and I had been practicing the song I selected for her to sing (“A – You’re Adorable”). She never heard the song but I thought it would be appropriate and cute for a Kindergartner to sing. So we sang in the car, we sang during breakfast, during lunch, during dinner, she sang in the shower… We sang everywhere and any time so that she could memorize the words and remember the notes to the song.

The day of the audition, I was a ball of nerves. Miranda, however, was as cool as a cucumber. She even asked, “Why are you nervous, Mommy?” I didn’t want to transfer my fears into her confident little soul, so I just said, “I’m just nervous that your baby brother might start fussing while you’re performing.” To which she replied, “Mommy, if I don’t make it, it’s okay. I can still watch the talent show.” (That totally melted my heart!) I watched her audition and she didn’t miss a beat. As soon as she heard her song start, her game face was on. With a big smile on her face, that little girl of mine sang her heart out!

The selected acts were posted the day after the audition. Out of 65 acts, only 15 were chosen. And guess who was one of them? It was a proud moment for me and her dad (who had been texting me all day wondering if we had found out the results yet). The talent show was last week. She had three performances but I felt like I was running a marathon! I don’t know if I can handle being her manager if she continues in this career path. 🙂

Read Full Post »

firstdayofK

Miranda Wearing Cute as a Button Rib Knit Shirt and Baby Wale Corduroy Skort Set

The long-awaited day has arrived. My daughter has been so excited! Alas, it is here…The First Day of Kindergarten.

The night before, we carefully selected what her first-day-of-school outfit will be. She wanted to wear a dress (to give her teacher a good first impression) but I wanted her to wear shorts or pants because sitting on the carpet will be more comfortable. So, we decided on le•top’s 2009 Fall collection Cute As A Button ensemble. The skirt has built-in shorts!!! (My favorite part—why didn’t they have those when I was growing up?) And it went so well with her new Back-to-School ‘do!

For the past month, I have been mentally preparing myself NOT to cry when I drop her off at school. All I could think of was that my baby is growing up, and from now on until she graduates from high school, she will be in school everyday, five days a week, with only a few weeks during the year when she can enjoy childhood. But on the flip side, I realized that I would now have mornings to devote to my 5-month old son who needs my attention now more than ever.

Today, as we drove to school, there was no time to cry. We were running late, the parking lot was full, cars were parked all along the neighboring streets, and the classroom was filled with paparazzi parents snapping cameras and videotaping this monumental day. It was hard to just get my daughter INSIDE her classroom, let alone me and my stroller. After 10 minutes of listening to the teacher take roll and the students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the teacher instructed the students: “Please look for your parent and wave goodbye so they can leave and we can start class.” Miranda found me, waved goodbye with a big smile, then sat down for Circle Time.

I exited the classroom then walked back to the car. A single tear rolled down my cheek. All I could think of was that my little girl is a BIG girl now.

Read Full Post »

Miranda in Viva Les Fleur from le•top's 2009 Fall collection

Miranda in Vive Les Fleurs! from le•top's 2009 Fall collection

It’s the end of the school year, and for me it was a special one. My daughter graduated from Preschool!

Before I had children, I used to think that Preschool Graduation (or as my daughter calls it: “grajuration”) was a feeble event that parents made up to make something minor into something MAJOR. Well, I still think that, but now that it’s happening to my little girl, I’m all over it! It is a very big step for these little tykes to finish Preschool and go out into the world as accomplished, uh… Pre-Kindergarteners.

This morning, my daughter woke up and said, “I’m free! No more school! No more homework! No more waking up early! So… what are we doing today, Mommy?” (Ugh.) Well, she may be on summer vacation, but I’m still working. All summer long, I’m going to have to listen to her say, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do!” How many more days until fall/back to school? 😉

Speaking of fall… Here’s a sneak peek from le•top’s 2009 Fall Collection: Miranda’s print knit dress from the Vive Les Fleurs! line is coming to stores near you  — in fact, the first of these dresses are leaving our warehouse and being shipped to stores this very week. The Giant Peach in Annapolis, MD is taking phone orders for this dress. Give Jean or Mary a call: 410-268-8776. Stay tuned for more fall sneak peeks!

Viva Les Fleurs! print knit dress and matching tights from le•top Fall 09 Collection

le•top Vive Les Fleurs! print knit dress and matching tights available in 3mo - 6x.

And for all you parents with young “grads”… please share your event photos with us by clicking here. We’d love to feature your scholars!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts