I come from a small town, so we have a ton of little mom and pop shops. It was ingrained in me early to shop local and shop small. Yes, we have a Walmart and the next town over a Target, but for a good chunk of things, we try to shop our local small shops.
When I had both of my little girls, it was common sense to me to continue to shop small for their clothes and accessories. We don’t, however, have any kids small shops in my town. Add in the convenience of online shopping with a growing family, and I was sucked into the online small shop world. After becoming reps, and the majority of their wardrobe being from these small shops, I’ve grown close to the owners, and love and adore them, their families, and their products.
I spoke with a couple of my favorite small shop owners, as well as some great supporters of Kids Style Magazine, to find out more behind their mission and reasoning of owning a small shop, the challenges they face, as well as all the benefits of shopping small. I think when we start looking at the owners of these shops as people with families, working hard to create a unique and high quality product, we can appreciate the art of what they do a little better.
Carey Monk, owner of the bow and accessory shop, One Little Monkey, originally started her business for financial reasons, but it’s turned into so much more.
“It started out of necessity and has morphed into something I could have never even imagined. The relationships and friendships I’ve gained out of this shop far surpass any financial benefit,” said Monk.
Lauren Litton-Williams, owner of That Mom Apparel, a women’s t-shirt and accessory shop, started her shop after facing fears and losing her job amid the recent pandemic.
“I always wanted to become an entrepreneur, but was always too afraid. I had two jobs before COVID, and starting a third terrified me. But losing my jobs, in a way, forced me to face my fear of failure and take the leap. I honestly had no other choice, and also nothing to lose, in trying. And I’m SO glad that I did,” said Litton-Williams.
One thing that echoed through all the small shop owners I talked with, was the challenges of balancing home life, with small shop life. These amazing women are not only kick-butt boss babes, but also wives and moms. Several of them still have other outside jobs.
Owner of kids accessory shop, Young, Wild & Three Bowtique, LeAnne Ross, is currently attending school, while also managing the duties of running a small shop.
“I am a full-time college student majoring in Chemical Engineering. At times it gets hard to keep up with orders and school work, but I do the best I can to always make sure I stay within turnaround time,” said Ross.
Miranda Taylor of kids clothing shop, River Reign Designs, echoed the struggle of work-home life balance.
“Separation of work and home is my biggest challenge. I usually take my work home and it gets hard on family time,” said Taylor.
She, along with all the other shop owners I talked with said the rewards outweigh the sacrifices.
“Seeing the babies in the clothes I made, hands down, seeing those pictures makes my day,” added Taylor.
“The most rewarding part of being a small shop owner is seeing my creations be part of milestones and memories. Birthdays, holidays, first days of school, christenings, family vacations, it’s humbling something that I made will be forever part of those moments in time,” she said.
But why shop small when there’s so many quick and easy options out there?
“When you shop small, you are feeding a family. You are helping a mama (or daddy) make ends meet. You aren’t just supplying some big CEO, that wouldn’t give you the time of day, with a big paycheck. Small shops are more hands on with their customers. Have a problem with your order? You can talk to the owner directly! Have suggestions on new products? Shoot us an email,” said Briana Wilson, owner of kids clothing and accessory shop, Ciara’s Closet.
Litton-Williams had a similar view.
“You’re helping the mom across town pay her mortgage while she also gets to witness her babies first steps. You’re supporting the dream of someone who had the courage to follow something they’re truly passionate about! And I’m pretty sure you’d never leave Walmart with a surprise gift or hand written thank you note. Small shop owners are thoughtful and truly appreciate every single purchase that is made with them, and it shows,” she said.
Looking to become a brand rep for small shops? These owners all looked for the same things when picking their reps.
“I look for people who are going to be excited about my shop and will keep the VIP group active. I also look for clutter-free pictures. These pictures are an important part because they are used to represent my shop,” said Ross.
2020 presented it’s own set of challenges that many of these shop owners faced, from fabric delays to shipping delays, but they all persevered and are ready to finish the year with a bang!
All these owners are excited about continuing to grow their shops.
“I’m most excited about continuing to grow and reach and empower more and more women,” said Litton-Williams.
“I’m most excited to hit twenty-thousands members and hope to do so by the end of the year,” said Taylor.
Wilson said, “I’m going full time! I finally got the courage to quit my regular job and am now bringing my shop to a full time status. This is something I never in a million years would have imagined happening, but I am so thankful to have this opportunity!”
The small shop world is like its own little family. As you can tell, these shop owners have big plans and even bigger dreams!
“At That Mom Apparel, we focus on empowering women and giving them the confidence to not only be their best self, but to use that confidence to speak up about what they believe in. As mothers, we have the power to change our future and the future for our babies in how we choose to raise them. That’s an amazing thing,” added Litton-Williams.
I love being a small part of helping them reach their dreams and would encourage you to check out all of their shops when you’re in the market for your next items!
We can’t wait to see the pictures of your babes rocking their small shop goodies!
The following are each shops websites for your shopping convenience! I’ve also included our discount codes. Please also show them some love on their Facebook VIP and Instagram pages!