Category: Featured Retailers

Passport to… Seed Factory

Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers. This month we caught up with Rachel, the wonderful woman behind the Atlanta, Georgia boutique, seed factory, whose “goal has always been to find smart classic gifts for children that your family will trust and enjoy”. 

Tea is proud to announce that seed factory is one of our first ambassador stores. Ambassador stores are the ultimate Tea experience, offering the biggest in-store selection of products. You can think of them as your personal Tea storytellers and count on them as your neighborhood place for the widest assortment of sizes and Tea Collection styles.

Seed Factory Atlanta

How (and how long ago) did Tea find it’s way into your life?
Tea Collection became a part of our little shop first called sprout back in 2003. It was one of the first brands we ever carried.

Describe how Tea resonates with your customers
Tea Collection resonates with our customers on three levels…

Passport to Jack n’ Jill Shop

Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers. This month we caught up with Laura, owner of Jack n’ Jill Shop. Learn about the story (and city’s) rich history below!

Have you always lived in Birmingham?
I was born to military parents while they were stationed in the Panama Canal Zone. When I was 3 we moved to Fort McClellan, Alabama.  When I was 4 my dad retired from active duty and we moved to Homewood, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. I graduated from Homewood High School in 1992 and then attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham for the next 4 years.  My husband, son and myself live in Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham.

Passport to Nest Children’s Boutique

Nest Boutique Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers. This month we caught up with Caroline, owner of Nest Children’s Boutique. In the Denver area? Stop by and say hello at one of her locations near Cherry Creek North or Larimer Square!

Have you always lived in Denver?  I have lived all over the place (I am the Tea poster child!) I grew up in Evanston, IL, studied abroad in Germany and Vietnam and have lived in Philadelphia, New York, Boston and London.  I left New York and moved to Denver with my family after I had my first to child and this is where we have been ever since.

Passport to Magical Child

Magical Child Logo

Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers. This month we caught up with Meri, the lovely woman behind the Encinitas, California boutique, Magical Child.

Have you always lived in Encinitas?
I was born in Brooklyn New York and moved to Puerto Rico when I was 8. We moved to California when my parents divorced one year later. I have stayed in SoCal ever since!

How was your business born?
I met the previous owner of Magical Child at play group. My daughter was only 4 months old at the time. I fell in love with Magical Child and bought all my cloth diapers and my sling here. I worked here part-time before my son was born. When my friend announced at playgroup she wanted to sell the business, I said I would buy it! (Without even asking my husband!) The following Monday we wrote it up on a legal pad and the deal was done! (well then I had to tell my husband!)

Tell us a little about your family history…
I arrived in San Diego from Puerto Rico where my parents met. Even though my dad was Puerto Rican I don’t look Hispanic and I never really embraced my heritage.  Now that I have kids and they ask questions we have really gotten into following our family tree. My daughter and I plan to go to PR when she graduates from High School next year. As for recipes, I do love rice, beans and guacamole!

Where is the last place you traveled?
The last place I traveled was a road trip to Scottsdale, AZ for Spring Break with my son. We visited cousins who were the ultimate hosts and filled our every wish! Cypress learned to play tennis and we experienced an early morning hot air balloon ride! It was a fantastic bonding time for us!

Your best friend is visiting your city for the first time and only has 24 hours to explore—what would you tell them to do?
I would start at Lofty Bean for an amazing cup of coffee and gluten free scone. This also puts you at the perfect spot to begin your walk thru beautiful downtown Encinitas! After coffee I would walk over to Moonlight Beach, to work off the scone and enjoy a beautiful ocean view! I would wander down to heart of the town and get a mani pedi at one of the many boutique style lounges. Along the way are endless shops to meet everyone’s tastes from clothing to home décor. I would definitely have lunch at Solace and eat upstairs on their outside ocean view deck. After lunch there is more sight seeing along the way to the Swami’s Gardens, a must see! Of course there are the boat houses – built in the 1920’s. To work up your appetite for dinner the 1.5 mile walk down the famous Cardiff Kook statue is a must! On the way back take to the beach at low tide and come up the Swami’s staircase – super cardio! Once back on the mainland its time for dinner at none other than 3rd Corner. Excellent food, atmosphere and wine shop! Buy an extra bottle from a local winery to take home with you. Finish off the day with a stroll down the 101 and perhaps catch a late showing at La Paloma Theatre established in 1928. Now, go home and start your search for real estate because you are absolutely going to want to move here!

What advice do you have for local mothers?
There are so many great parks as well as endless playgroups to fit every mom. MOPS is really big around for the more experienced mom. Getting started I would join a stroller strides group to test out a few different types of groups.

What types of events and promotions do you run in your boutique?
We host several annual events. Our Magical Mothers Day is always a huge hit as is the Winter Wonderland Holiday Bash! We sponsor trunk shows and host Doll Parties. With the move to our new location this summer we look forward to adding even more Magical events.

What is one thing your customers would be surprised to learn about you?
I was really shy and quiet as a kid! Seriously. 

Passport to Glee Kids

Glee Kids North Carolina

Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers.  This month we caught up with Noelle and Jim Garstka, the husband and wife team behind Glee Kids in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Glee Kids North Carolina

Have you always lived in Chapel Hill? 
We moved to Chapel Hill in 2011 shortly after our third child was born.  After 8 years in the Bay Area we decided to relocate our family to the East Coast and attempt to slow things down a bit.  Although we love (LOVE) California, our careers were all consuming and we had very little time to enjoy the wonderful things around us.  Chapel Hill is a vibrant, small town with so much to offer.  It is family focused and we spend very little time in our cars, which makes a huge impact on our quality of life.

How was your business born?
Glee Kids opened in 2008 by a local mom who, after spending years in California and New York, saw the need for a modern children’s boutique in Chapel Hill.  In 2012 she decided to move on and sent out an email to her customers about the closing sale.  As a customer, I was heartbroken to hear this news and contacted her to see if she was willing to sell the shop – three weeks later we were business owners.  This didn’t exactly follow our plan to “slow things down”, but we were and continue to be excited about Glee Kids and our involvement in the community.

Where is the last place you traveled?
The last place I traveled was New York, which was supposed to be a quick trip to finish up our fall buying for the store.  But thanks to a snow storm, it turned out to be five glorious days alone (yes, my husband was stuck at home with all three kids), in a pretty hotel, with a coffee shop below and plenty of great things to see and buy.  I read a book, made lunch and dinner reservations, stepped in lots of melted snow puddles (lesson learned) and recharged.

Glee Kids North Carolina

Your best friend is visiting your city for the first time and only has 24 hours to explore—what would you tell them to do? 
Oh wow, to narrow it down to a single day – too much pressure!  Well, after waking up at the Carolina Inn, you should step outside and take a nice long walk around the University of North Carolina campus.  The weather here is quite nice and should make for an enjoyable morning.  After working up an appetite, I would suggest grabbing something delicious from Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen and taking it over to Caffé Driade to devour with a great coffee.  Although Glee Kids is in Chapel Hill, we are but a few short miles to Durham and Duke University, so a visit to the Duke Gardens is a necessity.  It’s incredibly beautiful and always full of visitors and families.  Since you are already in Durham, you should have lunch at Nana Taco and don’t forget to order the Mexican Chocolate milkshake…spicy.  After lunch, you can head back to University Mall in Chapel Hill where you will find Glee Kids, Kidzu Children’s Museum and many other local shops.  Southern Season is not to be missed and you can find the perfect gift at Peacock Alley.  And since you somehow scored tickets to the UNC/Duke game you can take a shuttle and get a taste of some great North Carolina basketball.  After the game, head over to the bar at Lantern for great drinks and food and then walk back to your beautiful suite at the Carolina Inn.

What advice do you have for local mothers?
One of my favorite parts of working in the store is hearing all the wisdom I get from our precious grandmothers.  They always have such great perspective and remind me to relax and stop putting our children’s lives under a microscope.  Someone recently passed on a piece of advice – “if it isn’t dangerous or mean, let it go”.  Invaluable.

What types of events and promotions do you run in your boutique?
We try to have fun in store events, facebook promotions and partner with our neighbors.  Sometimes we have the fairies come in to do “fairy hair”, other times we hand out balloons at Kidzu Children’s Museum and we always offer our GG’s (Glee’s Grandmas) 10% off their purchase.

What is one thing your customers would be surprised to learn about you? 
Hmmm…I talk too much so our customers probably know everything!  Some of them might be surprised to find out that I am software consultant for a California based company.  Or they may find it funnier that I twirled a baton as a kid!

Passport to Little Star Kids Gear

Little Star Boutique

Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers.  This month we caught up with Rebecca and Brea, the amazing duo behind Little Star in Franklin, Tennessee.

Little Star Franklin Tennessee

Have you always lived in Franklin?
Rebecca: I’ve lived here for 21 years. Grew up in Tampa. Ended up back in Nashville because I love the people, the scenery and the pace of life here.
Brea: I have lived in the area for almost 13 years now. I married a musician and we followed the music here from Kansas where I grew up! And now it’s just home, we love it and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

How was your business born?
Rebecca: We saw a need in the area for a modern contemporary baby and kids store. We were both new moms and didn’t feel the traditional southern style fit our families!
Brea: Rebecca and I have been in business together for almost 8 years. We originally owned a maternity store and then opened our kids store, Little Star, next door to it 4 years ago.

Tell us a little about your family history.
Rebecca: 4th generation Irish/German and I love all German food. I love traveling and exploring my roots. My Grandmother was an amazing cook. Favorite recipe passed down would be homemade noodles.
Brea: I’m a farm girl from Western Kansas where I learned a lot about hard work and making business go through growing up on a 3rd generation farm as one of six kids. My mom and all of my aunts were the best cooks and were always so resourceful. They could make anything work, I have definitely picked that up from them! My favorite recipe is from my full German Aunt, everything she makes is divine, but she taught me to make her homemade sauerkraut, it is unlike any other… So, so good!

Where is the last place you traveled?
Rebecca: Our last family trip was to Disney World and it was amazing! Wonderful time of wonder with our kids, Samantha, 6 and Mack, 5. Next big trip on the radar – Penang, Malaysia to visit dear friends that are missionaries there.
Brea: My last big trip was to Napa Valley California with my husband and our 6 month old little girl! It was for “Live in the Vineyard” which is a music festival and wine tasting experience weekend all together and it was dreamy! I know that doesn’t sound dreamy to most, but when you have 3 kids only taking the smallest and easiest one is delightful and quite easy, really!

Your best friend is visiting your city for the first time and only has 24 hours to explore—what would you tell them to do?  
Definitely take them to the Frothy Monkey in downtown Franklin, love the local food and the people watching! Then I would take them shopping downtown Franklin, stop in to Savory Spice Shop which is a fun, everything-you-need spice shop.  Then I would recommend a Nashville must see, Loveless Cafe, their biscuits and preserves are amazing! After lunch, I would bring them over to McEwen South for great local boutique shopping.  For dinner, I would head into downtown Nashville to stop at Patterson House for a unique drink. And lastly, of course down to Broadway to see some good ole fashion Honkey Tonks or the Bluegrass Inn to catch a songwriters round and hear the amazing musicians that write the hits you hear on the radio, share the story behind their songs.

What advice do you have for local mothers?
My nugget of wisdom is find a friend who is going through what you are going through, it makes it so much better!  Comparing stories, giving advice, love on each other – we are not alone! Also, there are so many resources for events for moms to get involved in and honestly that can get a little overwhelming, my advice is to try to get time to yourself everyday, it makes you a better mommy!

What types of events and promotions do you run in your boutique?
We are about to start a regular mom’s night out event! Mom’s desperately need breaks and time with girlfriends so we are thinking we will have wine and cheese and different events going on! We also love to keep in touch with our moms over Facebook, it’s easy for them and for us! Facebook is also a place moms can ask us questions and we can help them before they even make it into the store!!

What is one thing your customers would be surprised to learn about you? 
Brea: Most people don’t know that I used to travel around in a bus as a “roadie” for my husband’s band, for years! I did everything from book shows, manage merchandise, load and unload gear, make food, do accounting and a million other things! We traveled all over the U.S., it was such an adventure to say the least! It was truly the hardest and most fun job ever, besides being a mom!

Passport to Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

 Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers.  This month we caught up with the lovely couple behind Sweet Pea in Traverse City, Michigan!

Sweet Pea

How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store? How long has your store been in business?

We were looking for a change in lifestyle that would allow us more flexibility. Retail was something we knew and a children’s store was what we felt was needed in our downtown. It was an easy decision! We will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary this May!

What is something that your customers would be surprised to learn about you?

That we do not spend any time stressing about our Tea orders! We have an awesome rep and the brand sells itself! We love the line and find it to be our easiest and most profitable line we carry.

What is your favorite part of your day at the store?

We both agree that it is in the morning when the store isn’t open yet. There is time to go through everything and it is quiet!

Sweet Pea

We know how special and unique all of our stores are, what makes your store unique?

We have a great Facebook following and a strong community that believes in shopping local. We are both pretty laid back with running the store which keeps the atmosphere fun! We have an awesome downtown with numerous festivals and activities bringing thousands of people to us!

At Tea, we “Go There”, how do you share in that mission at your store and/or in your life?

Our store was a “risk”, but the reward has been worth it! Don’t be afraid to “go there” because you only get one chance at life 🙂

What is the biggest trend you see right now in either shopping or kid’s fashion? What are people coming in for?

People enjoy spending money on their kids. They want quality clothing, shoes, toys etc. and we are constantly making sure that we are offering that to our customer.

Sweet Pea

What do you do in your “spare” time?

Our spare time is spent with our kids! We enjoy traveling with them or taking advantage of beautiful Northern Michigan! We really try to make sure there is separation from the store and our family.

How do you balance it all? What tricks can you offer us?

Jeff and I each have different “duties” we are responsible for at the store. It can be hard to run a business as husband and wife when you both want to be the “boss”. But when each of our job descriptions are different then that works smoothly for us!

Sweet Pea Owners