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Posts Tagged ‘le top Spring 2010’

Our Darling of the Day, Kolae (4-months-old), is living the charmed life dressed in her Le Top spring 2010 Tulip Garden dress and panty (top) and  Sweetheart Butterfly sun hat (bottom). This tot looks like one blissful bambino.

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We just had to share this amazing photo from one of our Facebook fans of her adorable kids, Matthew and Samantha, all dresses up and ready to celebrate Independence Day in their Brother/Sister Le Top Playful Pups outfits. Have a Happy 4th! 

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It’s a baby bug’s life! Read about our 6th premier retailer in our weekly “Store Spotlight” series where we feature one of Le Top’s best stores.  Judy Novinger, owner of Baby Bug & Me, gives us the fun facts of the state bug of Pennsylvania (where her store is located), her launch of a “shoetique,” what mommies buy in her store versus her online boutique, and what celebrity mommy she would love to meet!

1.      What made you decide to enter the children’s business and what did you do before?

Judy: Baby Bug & Me is a spin off of my previous retail gift shop named Lightning Bug, Inc. There was a major closing of many of the children’s boutiques in the greater Harrisburg, PA area a few years ago.  I opened Baby Bug & Me in September 2003 to fill this retail gap.

2.      The name of your store is very playful – where did the name come from?

Judy:   My original gift shop featured a whimsical little girl lightning bug as our logo.  Our baby boutique logo shows the little girl lightning bug all grown up and pushing a buggy with a baby bug.

Thus the name “Baby Bug & Me.”  Oh by the way, the “Lightening Bug” is also the state insect of Pennsylvania!

3.      What would people be surprised to learn about you and your store?

Judy: I was formerly a gift buyer for a large department store and decided to interview for the children’s clothing buyer position. I was told that I ‘didn’t have what it took to buy children’s fashions’ and did not get the job.   As time went on, I moved on to pursue other opportunities in sales and retail.  Ironically, had I been selected for that original position there probably would not be a Baby Bug & Me today.

4.      Who is your target customer?

Judy: The grandparents are my strongest supporters!  Being a grandmother of eight, I know the thrill of having the child of my child in my arms.  My customers share stories, pictures and what they want to buy for their families. The grandparent shopper is looking for the clothing that “keeps children looking like children”. That is why Le Top is our largest clothing retailer source.  They give quality and take cute to the limit!

5.      As a couple, you and your husband must have incredibly demanding schedules with the store. What’s the key to your successful marriage?

Judy: My husband Jim, whom I am married to for 40 years, is the man behind the scenes.  Even with having a full-time job, he still finds the time to support Baby Bug & Me.  From my visions, he builds my fixtures.  He supports my business computer needs, and he is the MUSCLE behind the heavy “grunt work.”

6.      What products do your clientele like the most?

Judy: Layette, playwear and shoes are our strongest categories.  We provide sizes preemie to 4 toddlers for boys, and girls’ sizes expand from preemie to 6x with a move to 10/12 in the fall. This fall we will have completed our expansion of “The Shoetique”.  This is our store within a store concept for shoes.  Fortunately, my customers are very forthcoming with what they want for their shopping needs.  They want good quality shoes to match the clothing they purchase.

7.      Any Celebrity customers over the years or do you have any celebs buying right now?

Judy: Most of my celebs are from our diverse local TV and radio personalities.  It’s fun meeting the person behind the voice on the radio.

8.      There are so many famous celebrity mommies that we see each week in the weeklies such as Us Weekly, InTouch, etc. – if you could meet one celeb mommy or daddy, who would it be and why?

Judy: I think I’d like to meet Sandra Bullock.  She seems like a good, caring working mother and an all around nice person.

9.      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 come together as a parenting community?

Judy: I have learned that the computer savvy mother turns to the Internet for their children’s needs.  After hours, when moms are finally settled, she browses the Internet to shop and network with other parents.  We actually just hired a new associate for our store that set Baby Bug & Me up on Facebook.  Wow! What a network!  I also have learned to surf the net to find new and exciting product for the store – it helps me with the necessary planning to attend seasonal kids trade shows.

10. I heard the Lemoyne area in Pennsylvania is pretty cute; describe the neighborhood your store is in for us.

Judy: Lemoyne is located approximately 2 miles south of Harrisburg, PA, our capitol.  We are 1 of 14 upscale businesses located above the West Shore Farmers Market.  Picture a smaller scale Quincy Market type atmosphere as seen in Boston.

11. What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?

Judy: Customer Service, Fine Quality Merchandise, and Product Knowledge.  We always want our customer’s time in Baby Bug to be a good experience.  They deserve individual attention when buying for whatever the occasion.  We supply free gift wrapping for one stop shopping and a special play area to keep those little people occupied.  Customers want a unique look that screams quality.  We feel the customer deserves to know the origin, manufacturer and the proper care of all our products.

12. How do you select your products for the store? Do you find that there is a difference between your online boutique consumers for your brand versus your typical store consumer?

Judy: We have a three-part formula.  One third is what I feel the customer will like.  One third is what is trending i.e. organic.  One third is what the area demands, shoes, christening, seasonal, preemie, etc. We find our online customer wants to buy accessories and toys rather than clothing.  The store customer wants to touch the merchandise.  They like to see the colors, evaluate attributes and talk with us about proper sizing.  How frustrating it is to buy something on the web only to find it needs to be returned for one reason or another.  We do shipping for the continental US and military APO and FPO addresses for both online or store sales.

13. If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?

Judy: Always begin with a financial business plan. It is not a matter of just going to the market place and buying pretty things. Do your homework to meet both the area’s needs and your financial plans.  Mentor with other business people.

14. What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?

Judy: I believe that most people, when asked this question, would probably respond with a happy story, and I have many of those. However, my most memorable moment was when I was able to personally assist a grieving grandfather in selecting the burial clothing for his deceased new grandchild. I felt so humbled in helping this family.

15. What collection or piece from Le Top and/or rabbit moon are you loving from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?

Judy: I am wowed by the oranges and blues of Lots ‘o Fish, a true step away from the traditional blues and pinks. The style and fashion make this a fun group for either boy or girl.  I love the mixing of patterns and stripes and the use of the whimsical orange fish appliqués.

Baby Bug & Me
900 Market Street
Lemoyne, PA 17043
717.763.1780
http://www.babybugandme.com

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Here comes the Parade!

Petaluma is more like a Norman Rockwell painting than one would think in the urban sprawl of the San Francisco Bay Area.  The city prides itself in maintaining the traditions of a small town with parades and family friendly events. My mother-in-law lives in this happy little hamlet, and we regularly get calls asking  if she can have “her girly” for the night so they can attend this event or that.  A couple of weekends ago, was one of these occasions, as it was Petaluma’s 29th Annual Butter and Egg Days celebration!

Lilah watching the parade sporting her Le Top Sweetheart Butterfly shirt and capri set plus sunhat.

At one time, Petaluma was known as the “Egg Basket to the World,” and it had a rich agricultural history as one of the premiere dairy regions in the country.  What a better way to celebrate than to dress the kids up as baby chicks hatching out of a giant egg or enter a Cow Chip Throwing Contest.  Yee ha!  With its large stock of historic buildings, Petaluma has been used as the filming location for numerous movies since the 1940s. Some of the most well known movies included American Graffiti (1973) and Pleasantville (1998) .  If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend you visit this quaint little town. I’m sure they’ll have an event happening whenever you stop by!

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We are launching “Store Spotlight” today and will feature a premiere le·top specialty retail store each week.  Read more for an exclusive Q&A and “sneak peak” images of our featured store of the week! 

This week we interviewed one of New York City’s finest boutiques, Granny-Made.  Visit our Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/le-top/117553138255670 to preview our new video mini webisode introducing owner, Michael Rosenberg and head buyer, Adele Salzberg from Granny-Made!

We want to give you the inside scoop on Granny-Made’s latest and greatest news, and what YOU don’t know about one of New York’s hottest children’s stores.  

1.     Granny-Made is a distinctive store name – does it have a special history?
Michael: Well yes, I named it after my grandmother.  She was my Muse and my Inspiration.  I left the corporate world in ‘85 to start the business with her sweater designs.  I remember it was a hand-made catalogue of her sweater designs…I had a small contractor who produced them, and then I decided to advertise [the product] in The New York Times, The New Yorker and Harper’s Bazaar.  The press had a great reaction and the brand took off.  The store was named after her and actually my brother and I came up with the name!

2.     Describe the neighborhood your store is in. 
Adele: The upper side of Manhattan demographically has more young families with children than any other neighborhood in New York.  It is ethnically mixed and there are a lot of multiple births – lots of twins and even some triplets!  There are a lot of great schools, so it is a very desirable neighborhood.  It is the perfect location for a children’s store such as Granny-Made.

3.     Who is your target customer? Do you specialize in any certain types of product?
Adele: What I have found when I started working at Granny-Made is that Michael’s idea was to have very unique store with women’s sweaters. As I saw what the neighborhood was becoming over the years because of so many families with children, I thought it would be only natural to take an approach of [including] childrenswear.  What we wanted to create was a very special store where you could find merchandise that no one else carried.  We have now become the “go to store” for gifts, special occasion and novelty.  My background has always been novelty, which is why in particular le·top performs so well, because no one does novelty better than you [le•top].

4.     What products do your clientele like the most?
We do 20% volume toys, 20% is dresses and 20% of our volume is onesies and our business is anywhere from newborn up to size 8 for childrenswear.

5.     Any celebrity customers over the years or do you have any celebs buying right now?
Adele: Oh! Lot’s and lots! Well, we have had Julia Roberts, Stanley Tucci, Isabella Rosallini, Frank Langella, Richard Kind, and Cynthia Nixon to name a few!

6.     What’s coming up for Granny-Made? I heard you are moving your store location – what will the new store offer?
Adele: The new store is on Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd and 83rd Street and the new address is: 467 Amsterdam Avenue.  I feel that as the children grow, we are growing, and we will now be offering up to size 10.  We’re also have started to offer christening items, which is not available at that many stores. When people ask for something – we bring it in!  We are also going to branch out into special little sparkly shoes to match the cute dresses we carry – pretty much whatever the customer wants, we will do.

Michael: We will also have small furniture, toy boxes, little chairs, something more unique, such as customized rocking chairs.

7.      You have a remarkable history and have been around 25 years, do you have any special plans or events for your anniversary?
Michael:  We will be making the new move to 82nd Street!  We plan on having a celebration after Labor Day with an opening party and champagne! Stay tuned.

8.     What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your 25 year success?
Adele: Well…we are very unique in that:

•   We give amazing customer service – people know that when they come here they will be properly taken care of.
•   The quality of our merchandise is extraordinary – in fact, the Zagat has rated us as “E: extraordinary”.
•   From the beginning of the sale ’til the end, it is all about the SERVICE.

9.     How do you select your products for the store? 
Adele: Well, I shop all of the [childrens’] shows. Whenever a new vendor calls, I will always take the call and listen to what they can offer.  I also shop new resources. The business is constantly evolving and you need to constantly bring in new designers to keep it fresh. We are always one of the first to test a new designer.

Beautiful pieces from our rabbit moon 'passage' and 'fleur-de-lys' collections

10.     What is one trend you’re currently seeing with customers?
Michael: Our girls dress business has exploded! We are surrounded by little girl’s dresses in here!

Adele: In fact, the le·top girls’ dresses were among the first tested in our store, and have bought so many of them. When it comes to little boys, they don’t want the “cutesy” things, parents nowadays sometimes want them to look like little men.

Michael: With that said, it is not that we resist this trend [of little men], but little boys have plenty of time to look like dad.

Adele: Yes, we try to keep a balance between “cutesy” and “little men”, but for girls – they want it VERY girly.  What we hear a lot about our dresses from young women who walk into the store is, “I wish you had that [a little girl dress] in my size!”  The dresses we carry are very girly. We don’t want our little girls to look like they are going to a cocktail party; we want them to look like they are going to the Nutcracker [big smile].

11.     If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Adele:

  1. Do your homework.
  2. Find out who your customers is.
  3. Shop stores and see what is out there.
  4. Talk to your vendors – GET the information and don’t go into it blind. Research is one the most important things when opening a business.
  5. Talk to the other stores on the block – find out traffic patterns.
  6. Walk around the neighborhood – see how many baby carriages, how many toddlers, and do your homework!

12.     You probably have seen thousands of mommies and their children come in and out of your store doors – what is one of the funniest things you have heard come out of parent or child’s mouth?
Adele: “I Want IT, I want it, I WANT IT!”

13.     What are your top 3 fashionista tips for dressing a child?
Adele:

  1. When it comes to toddler girls – they only wear 3 colors: pink, pink and PINK. So, make sure you have pink!
  2. When it comes to boys, they like dinosaurs and trucks.
  3. It is important to have the right accessories for your perfect outfit – the dress, the hat, the tights, and the sweater – the perfect assortment to complete the outfit!  That’s what is so great about le·top is that you have all of the merchandise to “build the right package/outfit”.

14.     And your #1 kid fashion “no-no”?
Adele: Dress your child as children – they don’t stay children very long!

Michael: The reason we carry up to size 10 is because lots of children can wear bigger size childrenswear, and until they get up to the teen years where parents don’t have a lot of say on what their kids wear, parents still want that “say” and influence on their clothing. For us that is important.

15.    What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?

Michael and Adele [together]: That is hard! Every day is a special day here.

Adele:I just love it when they come in here and tell us they love our shop. I love it when they just get off the plane from Oklahoma and they say, “This is my first stop and I come to your store first.”  Every day, just the joy of making the customer happy and making the sale is Marvelous.

Swimsuit from the le•top Gone Fishin' Spring collection

Michael: Yes, it is truly gratifying. Now we are seeing the children that were growing up the last two dozen years coming in here now with their own children, and now their parents are grandparents… just moving on to the next generation is great!

16.    What collection or piece from le•top do you love right now from the Spring 2010 collection?
Adele:
We love your duck collection [for Spring].  Nobody does ducks better! For Fall 2010, I can’t wait for your bomber aviator jacket to hit the store.

Visit our Facebook page @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/le-top/117553138255670 and put a face with the name from our latest interview.  Preview our latest “Store Spotlight” video webisode introducing owner, Michael Rosenberg and head buyer and connoisseur, Adele Salzberg.

Granny Made
381 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10024
212.496.1222
www.grannymade.com

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Not only is it reminiscent of a song, but also one of the most flourishing flowers in New York City.  As I admired mothers picking their children up from a local playground in the Greenwich Village, I came across a charming park (where Miranda from Sex in the City was married) and saw these lovely tulips. They reminded me of the new le·top ‘Tulip Garden’ collection that just hit stores this spring.  My, wouldn’t my darling niece look cute tiptoeing through these tulips in le·top’s latest garden sundresses!

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Spring has sprung and it’s time to discover le•top’s adorable spring fashions. I recently showed my daughter Lilah what I brought home from the new le•top ‘Sweetheart Butterfly’ collection. I will never forget how her eyes lit up as she said, “Wow, look at those pretty butterflies!” (She insisted on showing off her new outfit to grandma as soon as she walked in the door to visit.)  Lilah had a pretty new tunic and legging set to brag about! The pink and yellow flowers, hearts and butterflies couldn’t be more perfect for the blossoming season ahead – it is one of my favorite groups in the latest le•top spring collection.

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