Each month Studio T features one of our retailers. This month we sat down with City Sprouts owner, Molly Curlee, to learn more about the store and Molly herself – it’s not every day you get named “Best All Around Kids’ Store” by St. Louis Magazine!
How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store? How long has your store been in business?
My first child, Maxine, was the inspiration for the store. When I was pregnant I searched for modern nursery furniture and clothing that was not frilly and pink but could not find it anywhere in St. Louis. I knew it existed because I saw so many cool products when I went to market to buy for Phoenix Rising, our gift store. We created a small baby section at Phoenix Rising and people loved it. When a space opened up across the street I jumped on it and opened City Sprouts. That was 8 years ago.
What is something that your customers would be surprised to learn about you?
I have owned another great boutique with my sister since I was 19. Also, I have a degree in biology with a minor in math. I loved science when I was a kid, it was like magic to me.
What is your favorite part of your day at the store?
Playing with the kids is the best. I also really enjoy putting together fun outfits for the kids and merchandising the store.
We know how special and unique all of our stores are, what makes your store unique?
We have an annual birthday celebration at the store and a great customer rewards program. We sell the best and most contemporary collection of children’s merchandise in St. Louis. We also have a great staff that provides excellent customer service.
At Tea, we “Go There”, how do you share in that mission at your store and/or in your life?
I try to sell merchandise from all over the world. We have bilingual books as well as wooden building blocks. I love to travel and cannot wait for my next adventure.
What is the biggest trend you see right now in either shopping or kid’s fashion? What are people coming in for?
People are still looking for products that are made in the United States. They are also looking for kids clothing that is fashion forward and easy to wear.
What do you do in your “spare” time? Laughable right?
Ha, what is that? I love my hot yoga class, but often do not have time to attend. I play with my three beautiful daughters and my German Shepherd.
How do you balance it all? What tricks can you offer us?
I currently live in a constant state of chaos. I have learned to let go of the little things and focus on the big picture. My house is messy, but my kids are happy – most of the time! I do not second guess my decisions and always look forward.
Each month Studio T features one of our retailers. This month we sat down with Dawn from Dawn Price Baby. From Taekwondo to running her own business, Dawn really is a mom who juggles it all. Continue reading to see how she keeps everything moving!
Tea: What is your favorite part of your day at the store?
Dawn: Before we open, I get to look around and evaluate the store — how it looks, what it needs, how beautiful it is!
Tea: We know how special and unique all of our stores are, what makes your store unique?
Dawn: We host two major events a year – Mom’s Night Out. It has turned into a fun night of shopping and socializing with friends. We really try to focus on customer service and expertise as we have a lot of bigger stores in the area. We also have a great rewards program that we offer our customers.
Tea: We love sets!
Tea: What do you do in your “spare” time (if you have any)?
Dawn: I actually do a lot, but I sacrifice sleep and “me” time. I help with the kids running club at their school and my child’s lacrosse practice. I don’t miss their practices or games. I make a big deal out of birthday parties and friends over and, we are in taekwondo (as a family). Trade off is lack of sleep, migraines and circles under the eyes. I am currently in the kid stage of life, even though I am running a business. I try to enjoy every second I have either with the kids or a work. I joke around a lot in both areas and try to have a lot of fun.
Tea: Since you do it all, would you mind sharing your secret to success with us?
Dawn: Stay organized, stay focused and make the decision — whatever decision it is. I am not right all the time, but I do try to keep moving forward. I empower the people that work with me to look at the big picture and contribute versus just clocking in and out. I expect a lot and give credit where credit is due.
How are you celebrating Earth Day?
Today, we have Corey Villicana back on Studio T to share a beautiful DIY with you.
What better time to repurpose some of your children’s stained and abandoned tea brand clothing. Make a set of braided bracelets that your little ones can wear well into the summer!
Make sure you follow Corey’s adventures on her website and facebook page. We can’t wait to see the colorful bracelets you create. Take pictures and tag @tea_collection on instagram, your bracelet may just end up here on Studio T!
Thank you Corey for this gorgeous how-to!
Each month Studio T features one of our retailers. This month we chatted with Marlow from Lolly Garden. Dive into the whimsical world of Lolly Garden and discover their philosophy behind their success. They are the only children’s boutique in Midtown Tulsa with stroller- friendly aisles. (Moms love this!)
Take key pieces from winter into spring. Make them work extra time by mixing and matching. Double up on layers for the colder months and when it starts to get warmer, leave the long layer at home.
Here is one of our favorite layered girls outfits:
For the little guy in your life, shop our Rhinos and Stripes boys outfit:
Here’s a history lesson that not only is short and sweet but fun to say. We bet you didn’t know that our Vilakazi Henley was named after the only street to once have housed two Nobel Prize winners. Nelson Mandela, one of the most famous anti-apartheid activists and President of South Africa, lived at 8115 Vilakazi. Mandela’s former home is now the Mandela House- a museum that preserves his story as he fought for equality. Just down the street, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu still lives with his wife. Desmond as he is fondly known aided to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa. During his quest to bring the fall of apartheid, he coined the term ‘Rainbow Nation,’ when speaking about his beloved South Africa and its ethnic diversity. It is said that Desmond can still be seen strolling down Vilakazi.
Our designers were so inspired by their trip to Vilakazi Street that they wanted to share it with you. Bring a piece of our experience home with you, shop from our boys’ tees.
Image courtesy of SouthAfrica.net.
Each month Studio T features one of our retailers. This month we chatted with Kyle from Style Child. We invite you to discover Style Child, an innovative children’s boutique nestled in sunny San Diego. Maybe you know Kyle and all of her friendly staff but we bet you didn’t know she was once a Captain in the Air Force.
Tea: How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store?
Kyle: Style Child has been open 6 years. I was formerly an engineer for 10 years, and after having a baby, I found I gravitated to all things baby: cute clothes, toys, furniture, decor. It was a combination of needing a career change, plus my changing interests, plus a lack of children’s clothing opportunities in San Diego that led me to the idea of opening up a boutique myself.
Tea: What is your favorite part of your day at the store?
Kyle: When I do the buying! I am always so excited to find new and amazing fashions, or cool toys.
Tea: What makes your store unique?
Kyle: We like to be on the cutting edge of design and fashion and we have a sophisticated flair. We are very different from traditional baby stores. We carry hardworking pieces whether it is toys, clothing, or furniture.
Tea: At Tea, we “Go There”, how do you share in that mission in your life?
Kyle: I love learning new languages and have been known to play Russian language tapes while commuting in my car! I have French and Spanish and English toys in the store. We even have German products and Canadian products, by having a global influence in your selection you guarantee an interesting and thoughtful mix of your products. It helps broaden the horizons of your customers too!
Tea: We love that you really bring the world home for your customers.
Tea: How do you balance it all? What tricks can you offer us?
Kyle: I like the Kaizen Principle. It’s about making small steps forward instead of trying to do too much all at once. And it’s about streamlining.
Tea: That is a great tip for all of us who need to keep our New Year’s resolutions.
Visit Style Child on your next trip to San Diego! Find Kyle and her team at 1070 University Avenue, J-101 San Diego, CA 92103.
Triangle prints hit the runway for fall style. We couldn’t be more thrilled as we saw tons of geometric pieces to inspire our fall collection while on our inspiration trip for Nordic Design.
Above: From Tea Collection’s trip pics
Will you be following this fall trend? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
The following is written by Emily Meyer, Tea Collection’s Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer.
How awesome is Modern Family the TV show?! It’s so funny and I just love the weave of contemporary themes and some of the most socially relevant story telling. It turns out that the actress that plays Lily, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, is a huge Tea fan!
I met Aubrey’s mother, Amy Anderson Emmons, at the Mom 2.0 bloggers conference in May … she was super friendly and spoke about managing the social media audience for Aubrey’s fan base. I introduced myself and she said they knew Tea, that Aubrey even had a couple of pieces … I mentioned that we would LOVE to dress Aubrey for any special occasions.
Well … I was travelling overseas just a few weeks ago and received an email from Amy – she says Aubrey is going to the Emmy’s and asked if we would be interested in dressing her? Of course!! What an awesome project and it would be an honor for us!
Marjorie, our designer, was traveling with me – we immediately started brainstorming in the courtyard of our hotel at 12:30am!! Marjorie sketched. We started with our iconic wrap neckline styling and created a bubble in the skirt for fun, matching Aubrey’s playful personality. Then we added a sash similar to one we had seen on the traditional Korean costume, called a hanbok.
Our amazing Technical Design team drafted the pattern and made a prototype before we returned home from the trip. We found beautiful silk taffeta fabric at Britex in downtown San Francisco. And then I went to LA to visit Aubrey in person to try on the dress. The sash captivated Aubrey and the wrap neckline was gorgeous on her – elegant and youthful.
Marjorie traveled to LA herself to help Aubrey get dressed, including final touches, for the big event.
I am so proud of our team for making this happen so fast and so beautifully. It’s literally the art of couture, globally-inspired, made with heart and soul.