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Posts Tagged ‘Le Top Fall 2010 collection’


Chocolate or vanilla cake for you today? Happy birthday to Violet Anne Affleck who turns 5-years-old today, daughter of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. We think our Le Top faux fur white jacket would be perfect for her birthday dinner ensemble! Click on the image below to see our Soft As Snow collection faux fur coat.

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We loved the oodles of doodles of facts that Misty Reynolds, owner of children’s boutique, DoodleBug’s, gave us about her store in Arkansas. She gives us the facts on first mommy and daddy essentials, what she swore she would never do as a parent and how she loves the fact that she gets to live the old quote, “Do something you love, and you will never WORK a day in your life!” Le Top loves DoodleBug’s and is proud to feature them as this weeks’ premier “Store Spotlight.” Enjoy and cheers!

 

1.    Where did the name DoodleBug’s Children’s Boutique come from? What was the inspiration behind the name?

Misty: The boutique was named DoodleBug’s when it was founded over 11 wonderful years ago by a previous owner.  It is a nickname that many, many parents and grandparents call the little ones in their lives.  It refers to sweet little children learning to crawl and walk around.  In the more than 4 years I have owned the store, I have had many customers and tourists stop and ask for one of our gift tags or large gift bags with the name “DoodleBugs” on it because that is their child’s nickname!! 

 

2.    Describe the neighborhood where your store is located. Did you grow up in the local area? Is it the same as it was growing up?

Misty: DoodleBug’s Children’s Boutique is located in a wonderful resort town! We are on the very busy and ever-growing Central Avenue in beautiful Hot Springs, Arkansas. We have a very diverse town with a wonderful historic downtown area that consists of original bathhouses and great shops and restaurants. We are a lake town so we get thousands of tourists that own or rent condos on the lakes. I did not grow up in Hot Springs, but have lived here for 6 years. I grew up in a very small town in south Arkansas (population 700) where my husband and I have owned a grocery store for more than 15 years. Having those very-small town roots, I believe, prepared me for owning a boutique. The boutique experience should be very personal!! My store is only about 900 square feet, but it is packed with lots of goodies that are ever changing! Owning a business in a small town instilled in me that knowing each and every customer, their names, and their children’s names is so crucial to building a good customer base. Every day, as I come to work, I honestly get to do something that I love. I get to visit with all my wonderful customers who I consider my closest friends. I love the fact that I get to live the old quote, “Do something you love, and you will never WORK a day in your life!” I agree! I love what I do!

 

DoodleBug's display feature Le Top outfits from the "It's a Dog's Job", "Bumper Cars" and "T-Rex Touchdown" collections

3.     What would you suggest as the top 3 essentials a busy, working new mom or dad should buy to make her life easier from your store?

Misty: 3 things that I tell parents in my store that are crucial items to make life easier, simple and inexpensive are…Firstly, I believe a good-quality knit shirt, long or short sleeved, depending on the season. The basic colors I keep for my daughter are black, white, pink, and brown! They make many clothing items work better. They are great under a vest, sweater, or sleeveless shirt/dress. They also look great under jumpers! Same for boys. A nice white shirt can be worn under a sweater vest or a little john-john outfit!  Another item is leggings for girls! Get as many colors as you can! They make dresses wearable at all times! Even at school when cartwheels are a mode of transportation on the playground! Kids will be kids, so we should make life easier by using leggings most of the time! One more thing that is so important to make mornings go smoothly are great shoes! Pick a casual pair and a dressy pair! Grab your basic colors like a nice black and brown for boys, as well as a pair of tennis shoes! For girls, go for mary janes in a black and a brown. Don’t forget to get a silver shoe that can go with anything! Dress it up or dress it down!!  Easy, easy!

 

4.    Tell us…before you “had kids or grandkids, what is one thing you swore you’d never…?” Please share!

Misty:   I swore I would never let them pick out their own clothing while they were still young! Wow, eating my words is hard! My daughter Abby (8-years-old), and son Noah (11-years-old), love total comfort! Luckily, Le Top fit that bill perfectly when they were younger! They got total comfort, and I got the satisfaction that the outfits were so adorable and easy to take care of!! I share that information with parents on a daily basis. Le Top is one of the main brands in our store because it is truly for meeting function! The pictures speak for themselves!

 

5.    The holidays are around the corner – what are your top 5 items (clothes, toys, giftables, etc.) for any parent shopping for the holidays at your store?

Misty: We love gifts at our store. I absolutely love to wrap presents. We offer free gift wrapping services all year round and with every purchase. I love beautiful wrapping paper and big tulle bows. Some fun, easy gifts for the holidays include:

1.  Hairbows and hair flower clippies

2.  Squeaky shoes in fun colors!

3.  Fun holiday clothing for school and pictures

4.  Cool piggy banks

5.  Tutus for pictures and play, of course! 

 

6.    What’s your favorite Halloween candy and why?

Misty: I love mini Twix bars. Caramel, chocolate, and a cookie!

 

7.    If you could give a toddler a makeover – Describe the perfect fashionable and functional outfit you would dress a boy and girl in.

Misty: Toddler years are my favorite! They are experienced walkers and talkers! They look adorable in their little clothing. For boys, I think you can’t go wrong with khaki cargo shorts or pants! Dress them up or down depending on the shirt! Church or playground, I love khakis for boys! For the girls, I think they need any type of casual long tunic tops or comfy dresses. Grab a pair of leggings and a big hairbow and you are out the door quickly and looking very sweet!  

Le Top outfits from "Dottie Scotties", "Lavender's Blue", "Haute Dog" and "Santa's Helpers" collections

 

8.    What’s on your agenda for the holidays for your store? Any special events or fun holiday traditions at your store?

Misty: We are preparing for our Holiday Open House on the night of November 8. Food, cocktails, and fun! We will have door prizes and special savings storewide! Great time to get to visit with my customers and get in the holiday spirit!

 

9.    What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line or Rabbitmoon do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?

Misty: My absolute favorite collection from Le Top is actually in the fall collection this year. It is called “Haute Dog.” It is deep red and features Dachsund Weinee Dogs in a sweet brown color. It has been a hit with customers of all ages. The kids love it, as well as their parents and grandparents! I grew up owning weinee dogs! Brings back memories! We have sold out of the collection in both boy and girl. We are currently waiting for some more pieces to come in. Great fun, and of course, soft and comfortable. Just the way children like it!   

 

DoodleBug’s Children’s Boutique
 3832-C Central Ave.
 Hot Springs, AR 71913
 501.525-5700

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Effervescent Audrey is all smiles wearing her Le Top ‘Botanical Garden’ print knit dress and footless tights. Look how prepared she is for her funky and fun back to school fashion – in Le Top’s ‘Pocket Full of Posies’ embroidered shirt and print pants. A big congrats to Audrey as our chosen Darling of the Day!

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Oh Zap!  We are featuring the cutest children’s boutique in New Mexico today as our premier “Store Spotlight” – Zap…Oh! We can’t get enough of how wonderful the store owner is, her merchandise, and especially her insight into the local area’s family activities and sites to see! Enjoy!


Where did the name Zap…Oh! come from?
Charlisa: I was in Argentina and thinking about opening a kid’s clothing boutique.  A children’s clothing designer and I were tossing around words.  We were thinking about the trend toward fun, ugly things like the ugly dolls and thought of toads.  The word for toad in Spanish is sapo … so it just morphed into Zap…Oh! – The name also fit since you can imagine a child putting on an outfit from our store and ‘Zap’ (Shazam), they’re so cute…Ooh! Aah!

2.      Describe the neighborhood where your store is located.
Charlisa: Nob Hill is the fun, walking, shopping, dining destination area of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The University of New Mexico is just down the street, so it also has a bit of the college town feel.  Last year this area was designated a Main Street area by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

3.      What are the best 3 family activities to do in Albuquerque, NM? Or fun spots to see?
Charlisa: We have an amazing Bio Park with a world-class zoo, aquarium, and botanical gardens.  The Explora! Museum is another highlight where the kids love to play with the hands-on science activities.   The city has done an amazing job of creating a family, bike friendly city with parks and bike paths throughout. 

4.      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?
Charlisa: Mom gave us 35 cents to buy our lunch.  Imagine 35 cents!!

5.      What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall? Any hot trends?
Charlisa: Hats and scarves are what it’s all about, especially fedoras and skinny year ‘round scarves. 

6.      Do you do anything special for Halloween at your store?
Charlisa: This year we’re going to have a local children’s author be a Zombie Zookeeper releasing stuffed ZombieZoo critters.  Each has it’s unique personality, such as Stich the non-typical Pink Pig who is obsessed with hygiene and her treasured possession is hand-sanitizer.    These cool, soft-stuffed toys will be at Toy Fair in New York in January.

7.      You have been in business a few years now and survived the economic downturn – what do you think has kept your business so strong and sets you apart from other children’s stores?
Charlisa: Lots of luck, lots of repeat customers, and constantly changing our merchandise.  The thing we notice with the downturn is that people were still needing gifts, clothes, and shoes for their kids.  However, they couldn’t spend as much and needed each item to be perfect, so we saw more exchanges (we only do returns for store credit) and more indecision.  We just upped our customer service and understanding. 

8.      What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Charlisa: The very first customer insisted on buying something the day before we opened and she still comes back.  Her daughter is now too big for our shop, but it’s great to see her. 

9.      What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line or Rabbitmoon do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Charlisa: I’m a dog lover, so all the dog and puppy motifs are a hit with me!

Zap…Oh!
103 Amherst Drive SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
(866) 473-9350
http://www.zapoh.net/

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We are obsessing over this week’s Premier Store Spotlight with “The Pumpkin Patch”, located in West Virginia.  Owner Sherry Houvouras walks us through her journey of opening her first store to reminiscing on her back to school fashions as a child to when Hollywood came to Huntington, West Virginia (and her spicy encounter with baby daddy Matthew McConaughey). We can’t wait to share our latest Q&A with the cutest store in West Virginia…read more and be as enchanted as we are with “The Pumpkin Patch.” 

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1.      Where did the name The Pumpkin Patch come from?
Sherry: When the first of our four children was born, Andrea picked up the moniker of “our little pumpkin.”  So when we decided to open our first children’s store in 1977,  it was a natural to name it “The Pumpkin Patch.” 

We opened in 1977 and were fortunate that we did not have the large malls we do now at the time, however, we did have several other small children’s stores in the area with the closest being 15 miles away.  We made every effort to carry brands that other kids’ stores did not carry.  We ventured into the world of maternity apparel after several years and found this segment of our business to be lots of fun. We enthusiasticlly accepted to open our store as we had several large local corporations with many female employees who were required to ‘dress professionally’ and they were thrilled to find career type maternity fashions at The Pumpkin Patch.  In addition, we carried a large selection of nursery bedding ensembles.  

2.      Can you share any pictures of your store with us? 

The Pumpkin Patch in Ceredo, West Virginia

City Kids in Huntington, West Virginia


3.      Describe the neighborhood where your stores are located.
Sherry:
 The Pumpkin Patch is located in a strip mall in a small town with a population of approximately 4,000 people.  However we are situated on the border of West Virginia and Kentucky.  So we draw many customers from the Kentucky area. 

4.      Your first store began in 1977 and then you expanded with a 2nd store in 1989 – what made you decide to expand and what do you think is special about each store?
Sherry: In l989, and three children later, we opened a second store approximately 15 miles from The Pumpkin Patch.  The second store, which we named City Kids, is located on a main street of Huntington, West Virginia. The location of City Kids is in a nostalgic street front store in a historic hotel, The Frederick, which dates back to the glory days when entertainers such as Dagmar, Judy Garland, Red Buttons, and others came to Huntington to perform.  A “kiddie store” (as older residents tell me) has been in this same spot for over 75 years. We chose a different name for the second store with the thought that a customer would more likely travel from one store to the other if they knew they would find different product lines – they might not venture to a second store if they thought we were a duplicate of the first.  This plan has worked well for us as we actually force customers to travel to both shops in order to “see it all”.  If we discover a shopper didn’t find an item at one store, we describe something we carry at the other location and they are anxious to make the short drive.  In addition, City Kids really caters to the working mom who is shopping on her lunch hour as we are in the center of the business district.  However, since we close at City Kids at 5 p.m. each day, if  a customer finds they can’t get at item at noontime, they can always drive to The Pumpkin Patch where we are open until 8 p.m. daily.  Huntington is on the border of Ohio, so this store has a large draw of customers from the Ohio area. 

 

5.      What sets you apart with two successful children’s stores?
Sherry: We are constantly stiving to stay abreast of current trends, yet our area has really suffered from the economic downturn, so we also must be aware of a good product at a good value.  That’s one of the reasons Le Top is one of our most popular lines.  A comment I often hear when a customer is mentioning Le Top is “Le Top makes such a quality garments and the style is always fun.”  Le Top has a wonderful girl’s line, but customers rave over the boys fashions.  

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?
Sherry: Back to school has certainly changed from the time I was a little girl.  My mother would take me shopping for 4 or 5 little plaid dresses – each a different color  plaid.  I also always had to get a new pair of Buster Brown shoes.  I was quite a tomboy and would really have perferred to have worn pants that had a turn- up flannel cuff on the pant leg.  The flannel turned up cuff would have been the same material the longsleeve flanned shirt would have been.  

7.      What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Sherry: One of the most exciting times at our store was when Hollywood came to Huntington, WV.  The movie, “We are Marshall” starring Matthew Fox and Matthew McConaughey was filmed over a three month period in our area in 2006  It was the true story of  the devastating loss our town suffered in 1970 when 75 football players, coaches, and alumni were killed in a plane crash as they were returning to Huntington from a game they had played at East Carolina.  Matthew McConaughey filmed shots inside and outside of the building where City Kids is located.  It was “really tough work” for me staying afterhours and watching them shoot scenes of Matthew McConaughey but I made the sacrifice and I have a lovely autographed picture of a shirtless Mr. McConaughey gracing our wall. 

8.      What collection or piece from Le Top line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Sherry:
My favorite group this fall has been from the Lavender Blue group. in lines where I have the opportunity,  I always choose a different style from the same group for each size range so a mom can have three little girls and coordinate a wonderful picture in like colors but each child can have their own look.  Le Top allows me to have lots of choices. We have huge windows at both stores, and Le Top offers me great options when merchandising….You cannot imagine how many customers venture in just because a ‘great look’ in the window caught their eye. 

The Pumpkin Patch
Rt. 60 Ceredo Plaza
Ceredo, West Virginia
304.453.4911
http://www.pumpkinpatchwv.com/ 

City Kids
948 4th Avenue
Huntington, West Virginia
304.525.2511

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This captivating fashionista can rock any look with ultimate style! I’m told the Le Top faux fur coat (pictured) was her favorite. Sadly, it’s been outgrown but we have two more coming soon to our Le Top online boutique. It is our pleasure to feature Maya as our Le Top Darling of of the day!  

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We interviewed our first ever online premier retailer this week for our “Online Store Spotlight” – CrabApple.Kids.com.  Husband and wife team, James and Anna Incledon, Jr., tell us about their favorite Halloween costumes as kids, common questions from internet mommy and daddy shoppers and leather biker jackets for kids!  Read more to discover about CrabAppleKids.com.

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1.      What is one special or fun fact about your e-store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
James:  Our children are the primary models for our website.

2.      How did you get into the online retail business? What inspired you? What sets you apart as a successful online children’s shop?
Anna:  We love shopping and our two daughters are always dressed to perfection!  People constantly compliment them on their attire.  Then, in preparing for the birth our son, we found it was difficult to find clothes that we liked for him.  It was at this point that we decided to enter the retail business–we could dress our children in the best of the best while making a business out of what we already love to do. 

What sets us apart from others?  We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service.  Most companies today claim to offer great customer service, but we don’t feel the bulk of them truly understand what that means. For example, it is often difficult to find a customer service number or email address for an online business to even begin the process.  Or when you do finally email them, they don’t reply back.  If a customer has a question, concern or just doesn’t like placing an online order, we are here.  If we can’t help them immediately, we will get back to them in a timely manner.

Aside from great customer service, from a product point-of-view, we offer wonderful matching family and twin outfits and boy’s clothing.  The family and twin outfits are ideal if you have twins or multiple children of differing ages and want to dress them in outfits that have a similar look and feel, while not being completely identical. This way both mom and the children are happy!  We also specialize in designer boy’s clothing because we understand how hard it is to find boy’s clothes that aren’t limited to t-shirts (but we do have some of those too!).

We also pride ourselves on having a great collection brand-name Christening clothes. 

3.      Where did the name Crab Apple Kids come from?
James:  After dreaming up 397 names (yes, we actually have a list of every one we didn’t use), some of which just didn’t test well, and some of which were already taken, finding a unique name was a lot more challenging and time-consuming than we expected.  We actually placed some of our first orders under the “no name” company! 

Our ultimate inspiration came when we were doing some remodeling and looking through paint color names.  A small change to the name and Crab Apple Kids was born.

James and Anna's son, Parker (wearing Le Top Spring 2010 Hip Hop Grasshopper), inspired them to open Crab Apple Kids

4.      Back to school is here – what have been the most popular baby and child fall “must-have” items?
James:  Our most popular item has been the Harley-Davidson Biker Jacket.  But the new must-have is truly our Weboo Shoes.  We haven’t seen anything else like them in the market place.  They are the very definition of cool, hip and fun!  We also carry some unique birthday and baby shower gifts such as cereal bowls shaped like tires and eating utensils shaped like tools, tractors and airplanes.  Our WubbaNub and Billy-Bob pacifiers have also been a big hit.  And of course, we love our Le Top—Lots O’ Fish was a hot style for us.

5.      Do you do anything special for Halloween at your e-store? What is your favorite memory of a costume you wore as a child?
Anna:  We love Halloween, or for that matter, any holiday.  Our family often makes the newspapers and newsletters because of our excessive holiday spirit.  We have some great outfits that not only will make your Halloween Season festive, but can be worn beyond Halloween.  My favorite costume when was young?  A Hippy – I loved all the bright colors, big hair and peace sign jewelry.  My husband’s… the two-person Chinese dragon (he still can’t find anyone to be the butt).

6.      What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall and how to pick the “right” outfit online?
Anna:  Children like to feel comfortable, no matter what age.  Whether they are one or eight years old – comfort is the key to a successful purchase.  Crab Apple Kids’ pride ourselves in the latest fashions with comfort in mind.  Our rule of thumb is if our children won’t wear it, then neither will our customer’s kids.  One of our favorite new items are jeggings–leggings that look like blue jeans.

7.      What questions do most mommies or daddies ask when buying for their baby online?
James:  Most questions are focused around comfort, size and matching sibling outfits.  There is no point in looking great if they are not comfortable.  Because we all know, an uncomfortable child is not a happy one.

8.      There are so many websites now that sell children’s clothing – If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to break into children’s online retail, what would it be?
James:  Don’t!  Seriously, it is a much more competitive business than we ever anticipated.  It requires a lot of start-up capital and patience.  Children’s clothing is not your typical drop ship business.  In most cases, you are ordering one season in advance of the next.  So you have to make a guesstimate of what you think your customers are going to buy, to avoid having too much or too little inventory.  And then when it finally does arrive, you need pay for it, warehouse it, photograph it, and write copy for it. And then, hopefully, ship it!  Online or not, at the end-of-the-day, both businesses require the same amount of work.

9.      What is the funniest request you have received from an online parent customer?
Anna: 
I can’t specifically think of one that is funny, but I can definitely think of one that is fun.  We recently had a bride call and request two of our Harley-Davidson Biker Jackets.  She shared with us that she was having a wedding with a 50s theme and that her nephews were going to be walking down the aisle in jeans, white t-shirts and our Harley-Davidson Biker Jackets.  How fun is that! 

10.      Why do you love Le Top? What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Anna:  We love Le Top because of the great designs, comfort and value.  The collection we like the best from the Fall/Holiday 2010 line is the Haute Dog Collection.  It’s bright and fun…and what child doesn’t like puppies or dogs! 


Crab Apple Kids
http://www.crabapplekids.com/
847.551.1212
877.327.7533 toll free

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