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Posts Tagged ‘family business’

This Friday we are giving you the gift of Trendy Treasures as our “Online Premier Store Spotlight.” We know the holidays are quickly approaching and what mom has time to go out into the cold and shop ‘til they drop? We know we are busy elves over at Le Top prepping for the holidays. We would love for you to check out Trendy Treasures for all of your holiday clothing needs and a gift or two for others (‘tis the time for giving right?). We interviewed Dawn Watson and Karen Schirmer of Trendy Treasures to find out about their upcoming sales and deals for the holiday, wintery style tips, Thanksgiving traditions and of course the top gifts to buy this year from their boutique!


Trendy Treasures Online


818.263.1501

www.trendytreasuresonline.com

CHECK-IN and JOIN 
Trendy Treasures
Facebook page by clicking
HERE



1.    Tell us the inspiration behind opening your own eboutique? How long has your online store been around?
My inspiration to open our Trendy Treasures Online store came from a few different things: 1) the birth of my third daughter who is now 7 years old 2) curiosity 3) and my 20 year sales background. Trendy Treasures Online was founded in 2007 and has grown tremendously since then.  Trendy Treasures Online is a family owned and operated global business.

2.    How did you come up with the name?
We originally had a cute pink treasure box (as seen at the bottom of our homepage) as part of our original logo and we knew we wanted the word Trendy as part of our name. We chose the word trendy because part of our goal is to keep up with new and old high quality clothing from all over the world.  So, we combined the word Trendy with the treasures toy box idea and magically came up with the name Trendy Treasures. Since we are currently only an online store we added the word Online at the end when we came up with our formal logo that you see today.

3.    Tell us the inside scoop about any special events that you have planned for your eboutique for this winter, especially the fun deals we can expect! Anything for Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday this month?
Although we always have some sort of a sale going on, this year we have two super special sales.  We are having two special 20% off sales on Black Friday, November 25th and Cyber Monday, November 28th from midnight to 11:59 am PST.

4.    Please tell us one fun Thanksgiving tradition you had with your family as a child that you can share with our readers?
Since most of our family lived on the East Coast in Connecticut, my parents, sister, brother and I, along with a few family members here in California, got together for a traditional Thanksgiving Feast. Part of the fun was sharing this meal while using china that was passed down from our great grandparents. What brings back my fondest memories are the times that we used our matching pewter silverware, glasses and plates because we purchased them as a family on a trip that we took together to Connecticut. We still use these today on Thanksgiving as they remind us of our father that passed away in 1990. What was also special is that we would all make phone calls back East to speak to all of our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.      

5.    What are a few of your “go-to” staples to keep kiddos warm this winter on your website?

  1. Warm and comfy brand named pajamas and robes for all ages including: Esme, PJ Salvage, B Up, Books to Bed, Petit Lem and more.
  2. Socks and leggings from Country Kids and Jeffries.
  3. Our top selling Pluie Pluie kids raincoats and matching kids rainboots and umbrellas.
  4. And our trend setting variety of Le Top and Rabbitmoon baby and toddler winter matching sibling outfits.

6.     If you had to give 3 great kids gifts for a “jump start” on holiday shopping from your online store, what would they be and why?

  1. Books to Bed matching books and pajamas because they encourage boys and girls to read and they are always kids favorite gifts.
  2. Esme and PJ Salvage mom and daughter matching pajamas.
  3. Zoobies character pets, which are plush toys, comfy pillows and cozy blankets all-in-one.

7.    Many families are looking for outfits for family holiday portraits for kids. What are some of the hottest trends right now?
Matching sibling outfits from Le Top and other brands and matching Christmas pajamas.

 

 
8.   Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?”
I swore I would never say, “Go ask your father.”

9.    What Le Top or rabbitmoon Fall 2011 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
For boys, the Le Top “Run Run Reindeer Collection” and the matching girls called “Little Deer” Collection outfits.


Trendy Treasures Online

818.263.1501
www.trendytreasuresonline.com

 CHECK-IN and JOIN Trendy Treasures Facebook page and click HERE

 

 

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We interviewed Leigh Ann Coffey, owner of the sweetest (no pun intended) boutique in Humeston, Iowa called Sweet Southern Sass, for this week’s Premier Store Spotlight! Not only does she have great style, but she is the young mom of two toddlers and knows the ins-and-outs of kiddo style. Leigh Ann gave us the scoop on where to go in Humeston for family night out and her style picks from both Le Top and Rabbitmoon’s fall 2011 collections! Read more and discover a new gem of a store that only opened 3 weeks ago! Stop by and say hello (well, and feel free to do a bit of shopping)!

 

Sweet Southern Sass

120 Broad Street
Humeston, IA 50123
641.877.6178
www.sweetsouthernsass.net

CHECK-IN and JOIN Sweet Southern Sass’ Facebook page and click HERE

1.    Tell us the inspiration behind launching your new boutique? How did you come up with the name?
Leigh Ann:  The inspiration for launching my store came in the form of my two girls, Skylar (age 5 ½) and Kinsey (age 3). I love dressing them and was getting discouraged with the selection of clothes we have in our area (Southern Iowa). I have also wanted to have my own business for a long time, especially one that my girls could be a part of in the future. So the very unique opportunity arose to build my store next door to a very well established women’s clothing and gift store, which has a thriving clientele of grandmothers, so I have a ready made market!

Sweet Southern Sass' ribbon cutting ceremony with Leigh Ann (pictured center in striped shirt) and daughter Skylar cutting the ribbon!

I came up with the name, Sweet Southern Sass, because I’m originally from the South (Kentucky) and we live in Southern Iowa, so that part was easy. I have a friend that loves the word Sassy, and that seemed to fit the image I wanted. My husband thought just Southern Sass sounded like a barbecue sauce, so I threw in the Sweet (he said that wasn’t much better!), but it seemed to fit! It’s only taken me a few weeks to be able to answer the phone without getting tongue-tied!!

2.    Tell us the inside scoop about any special events that you have planned for your boutique for fall, especially the fun deals we can expect. Anything for Halloween next month?
Leigh Ann: 
We have just had our big Grand Opening sale last week, so I’m still working on what future events to have. Actually tonight, we’re taking part in Humeston’s Back-to-School night, we’ll be open late and offering a sale on all clothing. Maybe a Spooktacular Sale for Halloween?! Check back in later in the Fall, we will be having lots of events and fun sales, just haven’t gotten all the details worked out yet (been busy trying to figure out my cash register!!).  

3.    Back-to-school is here and in full swing – what are 3 trends you can tell parents to look for when updating their kids’ wardrobe this fall?
Leigh Ann: 
I would recommend something with a bubble skirt (the girls love them!), footless tights with flats, and bright colors!  

A patron showing off Le Top's "Vroom!" collection stripe shirt and stonewashed motorcycle jeans

4.    Please tell us 1 easy tip or snack/meal for a child’s back-to-school lunchbox?
Leigh Ann: 
My daughter loves “ants on a log”. It’s just a celery stick with peanut butter on top, then top it off with a row of raisins! Very healthy and filling!  

5.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?” Please share!
Leigh Ann: 
Oh, this one is easy! My kids were never going to have pacifiers, they seemed so silly! Skylar was 4 when she got rid of hers and Kinsey was 3! I am a very weak Mom and they were so handy at bedtimes!!

6.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Humeston, Iowa. Did you grow up in the local area?
Leigh Ann: 
I actually grew up in Springfield, Kentucky. Met a farmer at a cattle show in Nebraska and moved to Iowa! But the people in Humeston and Southern Iowa make me feel as though I was born and raised there! We have a unique situation in Humeston, it’s a very small rural town on a main highway that attracts people from all over the state because of the great restaurant to eat lunch at (Grassroots Gallery and Cafe) and Snyder’s Variety and Gifts that carries womenswear and just about everything else. We’re located right next door to Snyder’s and across the street from Grassroots, we have a great location!

7.    Tell us about a “special” moment that has made your day working at your store since it has opened.
Leigh Ann: 
I’ve had a special moment almost everyday since I opened three weeks ago. Every time a customer compliments things, it just gives me warm fuzzies! But the most special times are when my girls help me in the store. We unpack boxes of clothes and they help me price them, put them on hangers, then decide on the spot to put them in the store. They even wait on customers! They love it and it is great to see them take so much ownership in the store. I want them to be a part of it and see that women can be businesswomen, as well as moms and wives. I think they’re going to be a great help in the future!

Inside Sweet Southern Sass

8.    You see celebrity children and their “celeb style” in the weekly magazines…what celebrity child has the best style and why?
Leigh Ann: 
I’m going to have to say Suri Cruise. She’s always so classy and cute! 

9.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store location?
Leigh Ann: 
Our store is located on the main street in Humeston. So the absolute most popular place in Humeston is Snyder’s Variety and Gifts, located next door. They have something for everyone! We also have a wonderful park in town for the kids to play and a great art gallery/lunch spot across the street!

10.    What Le Top or rabbitmoon Fall 2011 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
Leigh Ann: 
They are all so cute! I’ve gotten lots of compliments on the Le Top and Rabbitmoon lines! I’ll have to say the Le Top “Vroom!” and “Under Construction” collections for boys has been very popular and the Le Top “Pizzazz” and Rabbitmoon “Harmony” collections have done very well for girls! Personally, I love the Rabbitmoon “Harmony” line the best, such a cute color combination! 

rabbitmoon "harmony" collection



Sweet Southern Sass

120 Broad Street
Humeston, IA 50123
641.877.6178
www.sweetsouthernsass.net 

CHECK-IN and JOIN
Sweet Southern Sass’
Facebook page and click HERE

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We interviewed New Jersey children’s boutique guru and fashion expert, Tiffany Patch, from Mama Bear’s Childrens Boutique – one of the BEST kids specialty stores on the East Coast – for this week’s Premier Store Spotlight.  She gave us the inside scoop on working as a family business, how their logo came about, their AMAZING sales going on right now for fall, a charity the store strongly supports (and so should you!), as well as the local family hangouts for your family and kids. Read more to find out!



Mama Bear’s Childrens Boutique

8 Village Center Drive
Beckett Village
Swedesboro, NJ 08085
856.467.6100




Go to www.mamabearschildrensboutique.com for more information

 CHECK-IN and JOIN  Mama Bear’s Children’s Boutique Facebook page and click HERE

Want to send Mama Bear a tweet?  Become a Twitter fan HERE

 

1.    What is the inspiration behind your store’s name?
Tiffany:
  We are a mother/daughter business and thought Mama Bears are warm and loving. We opened our store the week after my son was born. We used a picture from his baby book as the inspiration for our first sign. It was a mama bear reading to her baby bears. Hard to believe it’s been almost 17 years. My son now helps out in the business and has been involved with our buying since he was old enough to make decisions.

2.   Tell us the inside scoop about any special events that you have planned at your store as summer comes to an end, especially the fun deals we can expect.
Tiffany: 
We are currently having a 20-75% off fall and summer dress sale, 20% off all summer clothing, and always have a 50% off rack in the back of our store. We also offer special Facebook only promotions.

Le Top "Under Contruction" Collection double sleeve fire truck shirt and french terry pant

3.    Back-to-school is just around the corner – what are 3 trends you can tell parents to look for when buying their kids’ wardrobe?
Tiffany: 
For girls the animal print trend is still a big one for us and mommies seem to want colors other than pink. Big blingy headbands are selling like wildfire and are the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. For the boys, our customers are getting a little more adventurous with color, but it still has to be masculine. Anything with dogs, motorcycles or construction equipment is always popular. 

4.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?” Please share!
Tiffany:
  I swore I would never put my son in a gown. He lived in the gowns for at least the first two weeks when he came home from the hospital. We love Le Top’s gowns, especially the converter gowns. They are practical and cute.

5.    What children’s charity do you most believe in and would love to support?
Tiffany: 
Alex’s Lemonade Stand. We have participated in Lemonade days in the past. There is a very special boy in our community we honor. His name is Mario. He has inoperable brain tumors that are treated by chemotherapy. We met him when he and his mom volunteered to help our lemonade stand. The community really comes together to raise money to find a cure for pediatric cancer. We also donate to many other charities related to pediatric illnesses and donate some of our clothing to organizations that help foster families.

6.    Please tell us 1 easy tip or snack/meal for a child’s back-to-school lunchbox?
Tiffany: 
For a break from the boring old peanut butter and jelly sandwich, try a peanut butter and nutella sandwich instead. For the mommy’s put a dollop in your morning coffee.

7.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Swedesboro, NJ. Did you grow up in any of the local area?
Tiffany: 
We are lifelong South Jersey girls. Our store is in a suburban area that is considered one of the fastest growing on the East Coast. It’s an area with lots of young families. The area surrounding our store was mostly farmland ten years ago. Now we have new businesses and lots of beautiful new homes.
 

rabbitmoon's "Harmony" Collection sweater dress

8.    Tell us about a “special” moment that made  your day working at your store.
Tiffany: 
There are so many special moments with our wonderful customers every day. Whether it is finding the special outfit to bring a baby home from the hospital, working with a customer to find the perfect Christening gown/suit, choosing a birthday outfit or helping a bride with flower girl dresses/boys suits. I am blessed to have a job that I love so much. We have a special bulletin board by our front door where we post pictures of our customer’s children in our clothing. It makes my day whenever our customers bring a picture or post a picture on our Facebook page. I have to say we have the cutest customers.

9.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store location?
Tiffany: 
I asked my son that question since our business is a family affair. He said Dave and Busters. We have been taking him there since he was two-years-old. It was our tradition to go to the Philadelphia market to meet with the sales reps to buy for the store. If he was well behaved, we would go play afterward at Dave and Busters. With fall coming, we also have farms in the area where families can pick their own pumpkins, go on hayrides and corn mazes.

Le Top "My Best Friend - Boys" Collection stripe shirt and pant

10.    What Le Top or rabbitmoon Fall 2011 Collection is your store’s favorite and why?
Tiffany: 
That was a tough choice. Both lines are fabulous as always. I love the My Best Friend collection from Le Top because I am a sucker for anything with dogs and so few companies do brother sister. I also love the rough and tough manly Under Construction group. If I had to pick my  favorite, I would say it’s Harmony from the rabbitmoon Collection. I love the unique color combination and bold prints. Our customers love that they are fashionable and still buttery soft.

8 Village Center Drive
Beckett Village
Swedesboro, NJ 08085
856.467.6100

For more information go to
www.mamabearschildrensboutique.com

 CHECK-IN and JOIN
Mama Bear’s Children’s Boutique
Facebook page and click HERE

Want to  send Mama Bear a tweet? Become a Twitter fan HERE 

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This week we travelled to Lewes, Delaware to interview one of the cutest children’s boutiques we know – Kids’ Ketch! Owner, Teresa Ford, gave us the inside scoop on what “ketch” means in sailing, their upcoming event for the Italian Fun Fest, back-to-school trends, the fabulous local hangouts for families, and a fun tidbit to leave in your kiddo’s paper bag lunch to make their day! Read more and discover fun facts about Kids’ Ketch boutique!

KIDS’ KETCH
132 Second Street
Lewes, DE 19958
302.645.8448

or go to www.kidsketch.com for more information

CHECK-IN and JOIN Kids’ Ketch Facebook page and click HERE

1.    What is the inspiration behind your store’s name? Give us 3 fun facts about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know.
Teresa:
We are located where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, so I wanted to have a name related to the sea and to children. A “ketch” is a two-masted sailboat and when I combined that with “kids” I liked the sound of it.  As for 3 fun facts a typical customer wouldn’t know:

  1. We started as a small store in 1990 with just 450 sq. ft.  After two moves, we are in our spot today, with 3,700 sq. ft, which is the only way a lot of people have ever seen us. We’ve been in this location since 1998.
  2. My two children have both worked here, my son still does, my mother who is 90 years old continues to work here, and my two nieces have worked here. So it has really been a family affair.
  3. We have a large fish tank in our store that the children love, and my husband, who is the mayor in this town, takes care of it. When people ask who takes care of our fish tank, we tell them “The Mayor does!”

2.    Tell us the inside scoop about any special events that you have planned at your store this  summer, especially the fun deals we can expect.
Teresa: 
On Friday, September 23rd, our downtown businesses are having an Italian Fun Fest where the street will be closed to cars, and we will celebrate all things Italian. In our store, we will feature Quercetti toys, which are made in Italy. We’ll raffle off a Bocce set, and have a fountain set up in the street where kids can make a wish and throw in a coin. The proceeds will benefit the Food Bank of Delaware.

(left to right) Teresa Ford, store owner, Mayor Jim Ford, Drew Laroche, and Karin Evick, store manager, celebrating the Best of Delaware award for children's clothing store in 2010.


3.   
Back-to-school is just around the corner – what are 3 trends you can tell parents to look for when buying their kids’ wardrobe?
Teresa: 
Back-to-school trends I love are:

  • The deep rich colors and mix of textures this fall
  • The mix of prints, especially in girls clothes that have cute tops and dresses, with leggings of a coordinating different print
  • Appliquéd flowers that create a 3-dimensional look on garments

4.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?”
Please share!
Teresa: 
One thing I swore I would not do is spoil kids or grandkids by giving them too much from my store.  All I needed to do was think of the kids that don’t have much, and realize that kids can get by with less than you think. I think I followed that rule with my children, but I don’t have grandchildren yet, and I bet that will be more difficult! 

5.    If you could pick one item to pack in a paper bag lunch for your kid, what would it be?
Teresa: 
The one item I would put in a paper bay lunch is a note or funny picture that would make them smile.

6.    Give us your must-have essential for a boy and a girl’s back-to-school wardrobe from your store.
Teresa: 
A must-have essential is a vibrant, colourful tunic top with fun contrasting leggings.

7.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Lewes, Delaware. Did you grow up in
any of the local area?
Teresa: 
Our store is located on an old-fashioned “main street” with small boutiques and restaurants. Shoppers often see their friends and neighbours while strolling the area. The town was founded in 1631, so many of the buildings are historic architecture. One block over is the canal where many boats are docked, and walk a couple more blocks and you’re at the beach! 

8.    Tell us about a “special” moment that made your day working at your store.
Teresa: 
The special moments that come to mind are when I get to interact with the children and they let their guard down and allow me into their world. This often happens when they are playing in our play area that has a train table and kitchen set up, or when they let me teach them a new game they enjoy playing. Special events allow us to interact with the kids more than usual, and I  guess it’s my latent “school teacher” genes I inherited from my mother that make it so much fun.

 9.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store location?
Teresa: 
The best place to go – the Beach! We have the best beaches here, plus the Cape Henlopen State Park with it’s rolling sand dunes. We  have a wonderful Canalfront Park with playground, and the best places to get ice cream – like Kings Homemade Ice Cream, the Dairy Queen, and Two Dips.

Le Top "Cute Cookie" Corduroy Dress & Footless Stripe Tights

10.    What Le Top or rabbitmoon Fall 2011 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
Teresa: My favorite Fall 2011 Collection – Cute Cookie by Le Top for its vibrant colors, mixture of textures, and easy-to-wear styles.

KIDS’ KETCH
132 Second Street
Lewes, DE 19958
302.645.8448

or go to
www.kidsketch.com
for more information

 CHECK-IN and JOIN
Kids’ Ketch Facebook page
and click HERE

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We interviewed one of the most darling and hot children’s boutiques in Edmond, Oklahoma this week – Marissa’s Room! Founder and owner, Melissa Morton, gave us the inside scoop on where the store’s name comes from, what fun events you can expect this summer, and knowing what her customers want from being a local for the past 20 years! Read below for more.

Marissa’s Room
3224 South Broadway #124
Edmond, OK 73013
405.285.7777

or go to http://www.marissasroom.com
for more information and locations

CHECK-IN and JOIN Marissa’s Room Facebook page and click HERE

1.    What was your inspiration behind opening your children’s clothing store – Marissa’s Room?
Melissa: When I was a little girl my Grandmother, Mother and Aunts looked for special things to buy for me. When I had my daughter, Marissa, my family was so excited to continue this tradition. We looked all over to find sweet things for her that you couldn’t find other places. We were so excited to dress her up! After shopping for her, I realized what was missing from the stores in our area. Our goal for Marissa’s Room is to provide unique and special gifts and clothing to our customers. 

2.    Tell us the inside scoop about any special events that you have planned at your store and e-boutique this coming summer and fun deals we can expect.
Melissa: We have only been open a month now, but our Grand Opening was a huge success! We made our own “Marissa’s Room” perfume and lotion and Hello Kitty visited. Edmond Krazy Daze’s sale is coming up at the end of the month and we will be sure to update you what days this will take place! During which, we will host a sidewalk sale. In addition to that, we are planning future special events for moms and grandparents.


3.    Tell us a secret/fun fact about your store that not that many would know?
Melissa:
Marissa’s Room is a family run store. We all play a part in the running of this business. My entire family works at the store. I think sometimes, people are surprised by that. It takes all of us, my husband, my mom, my sister, and my brother! Marissa, my daughter, who is now 9 years-old has been going to market since she was 2! Her input matters and she knows what she likes. We make our decisions about products to sell and clothing lines to carry with our hearts. We care about our store and our customers. If it wasn’t for our customers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love!

4.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?” Please share!
Melissa: I never thought I would be one of those parents that took pictures of everything that their child did. My poor daughter! Every moment of her life has been a photo-op. My grandfather used to babysit her for us. He would take pictures of her constantly. I am pretty sure she had the run of the house while he was watching her. The pictures he would share with us are priceless!

5.    Describe the neighborhood of your store location in Edmond, Oklahoma. Did you grow up in the area?
Melissa: We opened our store front location in Edmond, Oklahoma on June 4th of this year! This business is not new to us though, we have been in the children’s clothing business for over 7 years. Our new boutique is located in Edmond in Shoppes on Broadway. Edmond has over 80,000 people and is growing strong! Edmond is located in Central Oklahoma, and is a friendly and family oriented community. However, our customers are not limited to just the Edmond area; we have customers from all over Oklahoma and the world. My family and I have lived in Oklahoma for over 20 years.

6.    What would you say are the top 3 requested clothing and/or accessory items requested from your store this summer?
Melissa: We have had some very specific requests this summer. Customers know what they want. Our customers love the outfits from Le Top with matching hats. We also have a lot of requests for matching outfits in different sizes. Usually customers are trying to put together a cute family photo. Finding options for something like this is easy to do with Le Top. Another request is for special birthday outfits. 

7.    Tell us about a “special” moment that made your day working at your store.
Melissa: I love it when customers come in and are so excited to buy something special! It makes my day to see how excited they are to find that perfect gift or outfit. It reminds me of my family buying for my daughter.

8.    Where are the best/essential family hangouts and places to go around your store locations?
Melissa: Our Children’s Boutique is located in a busy area in the heart of Edmond. We are next to Bella Strada Salon and across the street from Chick-Fil-A!    

9.    What Le Top or rabbitmoon Spring/Summer 2011 collection is your store’s favorite and why?
Melissa: Oh, don’t make me pick! I love Le Top! My favorite is how they put detail on the back of the clothing. A lot of times we hang things backwards so customers can see the sweet detail. Le Top thinks of everything, and once a customer buys Le Top, they will come back for more!


Marissa’s Room
3224 South Broadway #124
Edmond, OK 73013
(405) 285-7777

or go to
http://www.marissasroom.com
for more information and locations

Check-in and join Marissa’s Room
Facebook page and click HERE

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This week we had the true pleasure of sitting down with Southern Children boutique owner, Susan Broom, to ask her about the cutest boutique in Columbia, South Carolina and discover her secrets to 22 years of business. She gives us memorable moments, funny children’s comments and the low-down on her 22 year anniversary event this Sunday, February 20th – go visit the store! Read more to find out about this very special children’s store.

Southern Children
9003-7 Two Notch Road
Columbia, SC 29223
803.736.2753
http://www.southernchildren.com/
Monday-Saturday: 10:00-5:30 EST 

Join Southern Children’s Facebook page and click HERE.

1.      What was the inspiration behind the name Southern Children?
Susan: In selecting a name for my store, I considered the type of clothing I wanted to carry, and sought a name that would represent my interest in that preferred style and niche. I wanted the name to evoke the feeling of traditional, classical, timeless and conservative styling for children. I sat down one evening with a notebook and pen, and I brainstormed twenty possible names for my store. Southern Children was my seventh name on my list. I made this name up myself, and I was so proud of it. I liked its sound and the warm feeling of traditional style it evoked. 

2.      Describe the neighborhood where your store is located. Tell us about Columbia, South Carolina. What made you pick this location?
Susan: Southern Children is located in the northeast section of Columbia, South Carolina. At one time, Columbia Northeast was ranked as one of the top 10 fastest growing communities in the United States. Columbia is the capital city of South Carolina and is centrally located within the state. I have lived in Columbia Northeast throughout my married life of nearly 32 years. I selected the site for my store because it was a new shopping center that had opened in the area, and it was a very attractive strip center with its building, grounds and landscaping.  There was very little new retail development in our area at the time, 22 years ago. The closest children’s boutique in the area at that time was 15 to 20 minutes away from our strip center. I can make the drive to my store from my home in typically seven minutes, unless there is heavy traffic, which is so convenient for me.

3.      It’s about that time to start packing up some of the old winter items and cleaning out the closet for spring clothes for your little one. What are 3 spring must-have items that are in your store?
S
usan: Three spring must-have items that are in my store are something from Le Top’s “Sunny Ducky” collection, a cute pair of sandals, and a matching hairbow from either Wee Ones or Bibbity Bobbity Bows. For boys, something from Le Top’s “Sunny Ducky” collection, a pair of blue and white seersucker (or solid white) pants or shorts from either Bailey Boys or E-Land American Classic, and a pair of white shoes or two-tone saddle oxford shoes would be spring must-have items from our store.

4.      There are plenty of blooper funny moments being around children and mom’s all day in your store – tell us something funny a child has said that made you giggle.
Susan: One episode in particular stands out in my memory that was funny to me.  I had a very young and articulate little girl in the store. She was quite expressive and interactive. I was enjoying listening to her talk and found that she was exceptionally intelligent for her young age. I said to her, after being quite amazed at her vocabulary and statements, “You are SO SMART!”  With that being said, she balled up her little fists by her side, stomped her foot, and said to me in a very furious and argumentative tone, “I am NOT SMART!” I thought I would die laughing! She did not understand that I had paid her a compliment and thought I had, instead, insulted her. I just laughed, shrugged my shoulders, and said, “Okay!”  The little girl’s mother giggled!

5.      What would people be surprised to learn about your store?
Susan:  I had wanted for years to own a retail specialty store, and I decided to open a children’s clothing boutique seeing the need for one in our community. I opened the store when Amy (my daughter) was six-years-old. From a very young age, Amy took great pleasure in attending the market shows with me. She was always a hit with the sales representatives, particularly when she would “like” their merchandise or wear their clothing to the market shows. On the rare occasions that Amy could not attend a market show, the sales representatives would all want to know why she wasn’t with me and ask half a dozen questions about her. Amy joined my staff in 2004 as an employee and has been my right hand and rock. We really enjoy working together. It was never intended that Amy would work at my store. In 2004, while Amy was still in college, I was short of employees and Amy stepped up to fill in. She’s never left! So, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and a minor in Psychology from the University of South Carolina, Amy manages Southern Children and is the web designer and webmaster for our store’s website. Amy is definitely the best thing that has ever happened to Southern Children!

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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.

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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

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