Paddycake…Paddycake…Baker’s man…HOLD the nursery rhyme song and check out this week’s “Store Spotlight” with Chocolate Pattie Boutique in Rockford, Illinois. Pattie Crichton-Hill, owner of Chocolate Pattie Boutique, gives us an insider peek of pictures of her as a child and hand-me-downs, the importance of “making it your own” in the children’s industry, and her special baby due date calendar.
Visit Le Top’s Facebook and become a Fan to receive weekly “Store Spotlight” updates — Become a fan and Click HERE
Not a fan of Chocolate Pattie Boutique yet on Facebook? Click here to visit their page and join!
1. Have you always been interested in entering the children’s business?
Pattie: I studied mechanical engineering and have always loved math and art…life has taught me to keep an open mind to new opportunities that may not be part of the original plan.
2. Are you a Rockford, Illinois native? Describe the neighborhood your store is in for us.
Pattie: I grew up in Rockford and went to southern California for college. After 11 years in So Cal, I moved home to be near my parents again. Chocolate Pattie is in a quaint neighborhood with a wonderful reputation and no big box stores. Many customers are thrilled when they don’t have to go to the mall.
3. 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?
Pattie: I am the 4th girl in my family. My dad had 5 sisters, 4 daughters, 4 granddaughters…and then I broke the streak when I had my son. My mom told me at one point I would not wear anything new (the hand-me-downs must have been very comfortable). If she could see me now surrounded by beautiful new children’s clothing! As a parent, I believe children crave structure…a choice between 2 outfits should be enough responsibility at any age.
Pattie as a child
4. What is 1 tip you would give a parent on how to update your child’s wardrobe this summer?
Pattie: Hats are always fun and protect their young skin. Bracelets seem to be popular this year also.
5. What is one fact about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
Pattie: Shortly after opening the store, I was stunned at how many customers took me into their lives with their joys and sorrows. I write on my calendar when babies are due and quietly worry with them.
6. 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.
Pattie: I am impressed with the new generation who researches issues such as cloth diapers and then decide what will fit with their family’s lifestyle.
7. What sets you apart as a successful children’s store?
Pattie: I listen carefully to my customers and do my homework on how brands vary. Customers realize I am in the store 95% of the time. When I shop, l tend to run from pushy sales people so I am constantly aware of my words so I do not push. For me, it is not all about making a sale.
8. If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Pattie: Make it your own because it won’t last long mimicking another business.
9. 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?
Pattie: Many children think my name is Chocolate Pattie, not Pattie. I love to hear family members tell me the child asked to go to Chocolate Pattie to play. The play area makes everyone more comfortable and occasionally I get to play!
10. What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Pattie: I am honored each time someone tells me their child or grandchild wore a Chocolate Pattie outfit for their milestone picture. I take pride knowing I choose every clothing and accessory line for my store. It makes me smile knowing those pictures will be around for a very long time.
11. What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
Pattie: Daisy Duck Group – just when I think Le Top can not design another cute duck line, you do…
Chocolate Pattie Boutique
1676 North Alpine Road
Rockford, IL 61107-1415
Read Full Post »