July 21, 2014

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.

How was your business born?
Jack n’ Jill is one of the most iconic children’s stores in Birmingham. We first opened our doors in 1954, right across the street from where we are now.

Back in those days we were owned by Mr. Burman and his wife Jeanette. When the neighbor Mr. Sikes from Sikes Children’s Shoes asked the Burmans to move in next door to his children’s shoe boutique and unite the two businesses for the convenience of the customers, Mr. Burman knew he couldn’t refuse. He made the hop, skip and a jump across the road, and the rest is history. Today our customers still come to us to buy an outfit for the children, head over to Sikes for a pair of matching shoes and then stroll down to Savages Bakery for a special post-shopping treat. It’s been that way for three generations, and we hope it continues for at least three more.

When the owners of Jack n’ Jill retired, the Sikes family officially purchased our store. For five decades, Frank Youngs, who married into the Sikes family in the 1960s, successfully owned and operated our store, telling riddles and spinning his yo-yo for his young customers. Meanwhile, next door in Sikes, a 16-year-old Laura Player (that’s me!) joined the team as a children’s shoe fitter, working her way through high school and college. In 1998, Mr. Youngs decided to open a second location in Hoover, Alabama, and I took over as the manager of that space before coming back to Homewood where it all began. Mr. Youngs then made me the manager of Jack n’ Jill. In 2014 I purchased both Sikes and Jack n’ Jill from Mr. Youngs.

Thanks to our wonderful customers, our business has continued to grow over the past 60 years. We’ve expanded beyond children’s clothing to include the latest trends ranging from premature babies up to size 16. We’ve also introduced a wide array of gift items—perfect for baby showers or birthday presents. (And we offer free gift wrapping.)

Today we are lucky enough to serve 3 generations of Birmingham’s own. On any given day of the week, you can find a grandmother in our store recounting fond memories of shopping for her own children while she shops for her grandchildren now. We feel blessed to have become an institution in Birmingham over the last 60 years. We’ve served your grandparents, and we would love to serve your children as well.

Tell us a little about your family history.
My mother was born in Cleveland, Ohio and my dad in St. Joseph Missouri.  They met in Washington, D.C. while my mom was in college and my dad was stationed nearby with the Army.   They married after my mother graduated from college and they moved to an army post in Germany.  From Germany they lived in Fort Polk, Louisiana, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, St. Joseph, Missouri, and then the Panama Canal Zone.  After my dad retired from active duty my parents decided to stay in Alabama because they liked the climate and the southern hospitality.  My brother, Alan, was born and then we moved to Homewood which is where I still go to church and both of my stores are located.

Where is the last place you traveled?
The last place that I traveled was in June to Palm Springs, California.  My husband and I spent four days basking in the sun by the pool, hiking the San Andreas fault line, and riding the aerial tram up to the highest point in the area.

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 tell her to start with Linebacker Breakfast: 3 Eggs and a choice of 2 Meats including Bacon, Sausage Patties, or Sausage Links, Grits or Hash Browns, Toast or Biscuits, and a large bowl of Gravy at Bouge’s Restaurant on Clairmont Avenue South in Birmingham.  Bouge’s has been serving breakfast in Bham since 1938 and they have been famous for their cinnamon sweet rolls which the locals call “sticky buns.”

After breakfast I would suggest taking in some of the historical sites.  Birmingham played a crucial part in the Civil rights Movement of the 1960’s and we have a wonderful museum located on 16th  Street North, right across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church where 4 young African American girls were killed in 1963 during a church bombing.

After visiting the museum and church I would suggest heading to the North side of Birmingham to eat lunch at Niki’s West.  Niki’s has been serving 3 meals a day, cafeteria style, since 1957.  All of their meat, fruit and vegetable selections are prepared fresh daily (never canned) and they are known for excellent service!  There can be 50 people waiting in the cafeteria line and I’ve never waited more than 5 minutes to get to served.

Once you are stuffed from lunch you will want to travel on to Rickwood Field, which is the oldest standing professional baseball park in the United States.  Opening in 1910 Rickwood was the home to the Minor league team the Birmingham Barons and then in the 1940’s the Birmingham Black Barons.  Such greats as Ted Williams, Dizzy Dean, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and Reggie Jackson played at Rickwood Field.  It’s definitely a “must see” in Birmingham!

After exploring the historic Rickwood Field you will want to head over to the Birmingham Baron’s new baseball stadium, Region’s Park.  Opening in 2013 and centrally located at 14th street and 1st Avenue South the Park has fabulous views of the city.

By now it’s time for dinner… I would suggest heading over to Highland’s Bar & Grill for a gourmet meal cooked by the legendary Frank Stitt.  Highland’s has been honored with several national awards including ranking 5th in 2001 in Gourmet magazine’s “50 Best American Restaurants.”

When dinner is finished you have to take the short car ride from Highland’s to Vulcan Park.  The Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and is the city symbol of Birmingham, Alabama, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The 56-foot tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge.  Taking the elevator to the top at night you can view the entire skyline of Birmingham, a truly beautiful site at night.

What advice do you have for local mothers?
Since I also own a children’s shoe store, my advice to new mothers is to make sure that their babies feet are measured and fit by a specialist in the correct length and width shoe.  Children only have one set of feet to walk with and they need to feel good for a lifetime to come.

What types of events and promotions do you run in your boutique?
We have two semi-annual 50% off sales.  Our spring sale starts the weekend after Memorial Day and our fall sale starts on the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend.  Our next big sale will be the Downtown Homewood Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, July 26th.  All of the merchants on 18th Street markdown all their summer goods and put them out on the sidewalk to drive traffic into the stores.

What is one thing your customers would be surprised to learn about you? 
My customers may be surprised to learn that I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice and Political Science.  In high-school I was an officer in Airforce Junior R.O.T.C for 4 years and also participated in the Boy Scouts Explorer program for law enforcement.  The Explorer program gave me the chance to wear a uniform and do ride alongs every weekend with the Homewood Police Department.  I know all the police radio codes and can shoot a 9mm Glock at marksmanship level.  I even worked on Wednesday nights at the police station processing female prisoners into the local jail.  Not many people can say that they have been in a high speed car chase inside a police car, which crashed!

July 17, 2014

DIY Bauhaus Inspired Stained Glass

Stained Glass Craft

Inspired by the sharp shapes and bold colors of Bauhaus, here’s a craft that’s sure entertain. Bonus: Use this stained glass craft as a teaching moment for your little ones. Create warm and cool color schemes. Layer primary colors over each other to create secondary colors, you’ll be amazed by what they come up with!

Stained Glass Materials

Colorful Cellophane Paper
Self Adhesive Laminating Sheets
(2 sheet per stained glass craft)

DIY Stained Glass

Cut shapes of all different sizes in various colors from your cellophane paper. This might be best with an adult’s help, the cellophane paper is very delicate and we found that sharp scissors work best.

DIY Stained Glass

Create your stained glass! With the sticky side up, place shapes anywhere and everywhere. Remember this is a very sticky surface, where ever you drop your shapes that’s where they’ll end up!

DIY Stained Glass

Attach the second laminating sheet to the edge of your stained glass and carefully remove the paper to reveal the sticky side.

DIY Stained Glass

Softly drop the top sheet to have it lay flat on your stained glass.

DIY Stained Glass

Pat your top layer down onto the bottom layer and your stained glass is complete!

DIY Stained Glass

We created stained glass windows a few weeks ago during Room & Board’s Family Fun Fest and they were a big hit. We can’t wait to see what’s created in your own homes!

July 15, 2014

Around the World: Family Friendly Beaches


We’ve teamed up with Kiwi Crate and The Honest Company to bring you over $500 worth of beach essentials! You could win a Tea 5-piece set, an Honest beach gift set and $125 to shop Honest.com, a $50 gift card to shop KiwiCrate.com and a six-month Kiwi Crate subscription. Where would you take all of your winnings? We’re dreaming of these five family friendly beaches…

Coast Guard Beach - Eastham, Massachusetts

Photo Credit: Flickr http://bit.ly/1mCr9FS

Coast Guard Beach – Eastham, Massachusetts

You won’t have to travel internationally to visit Massachusetts’s Coast Guard Beach in Eastham! Consistently ranked as one of the top family friendly beaches in the United States, Coast Guard Beach offers many free activities along it’s sandy shore. Take a bike ride along the 24-mile bike path or paddle through Eastham’s unspoiled marsh. Need to rent a bike? Castaways Marine has you covered and when you’ve finished the ride, set sail on one of their kayaks or surfboards. The outer beach, or “backside,” of Cape Cod has been the notorious graveyard for more than 3,000 ship since the wreck of Sparrowhawk in 1626. Have your little citizens discover a piece of American history here!

Long Bay Beach New Zealand

Photo Credit: Timbuktu http://bit.ly/1wmnzQT

Long Bay Beach in Auckland, New Zealand

With over half a mile of sandy shore and shallow waters, you’re little ones can run free along the coast of New Zealand! Book a free grill and host a mini-BBQ or take a short walk from Vaughan Homestead up through the farm land. Long Bay is a favorite of both North Shore locals so take advantage of this quiet spot, you’ll forget you’re in Auckland!

Sanur Beach Bali

Photo Credit: Swara Tours http://bit.ly/1jrVsze

Sanur Beach, Bali

While there are many beautiful beaches in Bali, Sanur is considered to be the most kid-friendly. The water is protected by reef, keeping the waters calm for your littlest family members. A perfect place to introduce your children to snorkeling!

Hanalei Bay

Photo Credit: Kauai Beach Scoop http://bit.ly/1mCXkVx

Hanalei Bay in Kauai, Hawaii

With summer’s calmer waters, this is the perfect spot to let your little surfers show off their skills with little worry. The two-mile long, half-moon beach is located at the foot of lush mountains and glittering waterfalls. Bonus: The perfect place to see Puff the Magic Dragon from the edge of the old Hanalei pier!

Luquillo Beach

Photo Credit: ViaRentals Blog http://bit.ly/1rbQyJt

Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico

Located 30 miles east of San Juan, Luquillo beach is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular spots. The water is crystal clear and extremely calm, so you won’t have to worry about your little ones in big waves. Be sure to take advantage of the local  ice cream carts and food kiosks, we hear La Parilla is one you won’t want to miss!


We’d love to hear about your family’s favorite beach spots! Leave a comment below.

And… Don’t forget to enter to win the Let’s Go To The Beach giveaway!

July 11, 2014

A Back-To-School Tradition

Kindercone Long ago, German parents told their children they would know it was time to go to school when the fruit was ripe on the Schultütenbaum (school cone tree). The “fruit” was actually  bright paper cones called schultüte (“shool-too-teh”) that parents filled with sweet treats and hung on a metal tree at their child’s school.

More than 200 years later, this fun back-to-school tradition is still going strong. Today’s schultüte (or KinderCone) can be as big as 35 inches tall and contain practical school supplies as well as treats. In honor of this long-standing back-to-school tradition, local Tea retailers are hosting a KinderCone event you won’t want to miss.

For four days beginning Friday, August 8th, we’re asking you to give back to your local community. Donate unused school supplies to participating retailers (think of it as filling up a giant schultüte for someone’s school) and you’ll receive an exclusive Tea offer.

Check back soon for a list of participating stores near you!

June 30, 2014

A Beautiful Game for So Many Reasons

We’ve had many conversations surrounding other cultures these last few weeks.  We are pulling out maps, talking about language, sharing history and stories. The World Cup is making the world super real for my boys.

We are lucky to live in the Bay Area, where children are sporting jerseys from many corners of the world.  We’re presented with the opportunity to discuss why Sean is rooting for Manchester United and why Marc loves Mexico.  We see connections between our neighbors to the world at large.

My kids have picked Argentina as their favorite team. No personal connection.  Just my eight year old’s love for Lionel Messi and my five year old’s love for his older brother.

I think this might be just the excuse I needed to start planning a trip to Argentina…

Leigh Rawdon is Tea’s CEO and co-founder.

June 26, 2014

Moroccan Gallery Wall

When we moved into our house 4 years ago, there was a cozy, sun-filled room adjacent to the kitchen that I felt would be a great mini-play space. I envisioned the kids creating artwork in this space and proudly displaying their creations on a large wall inside the room – it would be their very own art gallery! We covered the wall with magnetic paint and then added a few layers of chalkboard paint. (The kids still don’t know that the wall is actually one large chalkboard… too messy and dusty near the kitchen!) At first, we tried to mount the kids’ paintings with magnets, but they didn’t stick well (most likely because we have chalkboard paint over it), so the artwork is now mounted with colorful tape.

This past year, my son’s teacher encouraged all of the parents to make a large portfolio of each child’s work. The idea of Clement having all of his school mementos in one place seemed perfect. This portfolio or “scrapbook” idea will become a tradition; I’m inspired to create one each year. While original pieces do adorn our refrigerator, most are quickly mounted in the year’s scrapbook, leaving our gallery wall pretty blank these days. With our recent Art.com partnership, I thought this wall could be the perfect spot to feature photos from our trip to Morocco and the prints we created for the Spring 2014 Collection.

The Morocco trip was a fantastic one for me. I had traveled there once before for the wedding of dear friends almost 10 years ago. This inspiration trip was a particularly special one because I got to see, visit and connect with these same dear friends and discover parts of Morocco I had never seen before. We were shown unexpected modern art in Marrakech, which completely informed our collection. Everything seemed so fresh compared to the country I had experienced almost a decade earlier.

These are a couple photos from our visit to Chefchaouen. We were captivated by “the Blue City of Morocco” and the pigment vendors sold off the alleyways. Chefchaouen These prints and graphics are from some of my favorite pieces in the Morocco Collection. The color palette really plays off the printed Kantha quilt pillows that lay on the daybed in the playroom. Mosaic Tile Graphic The Riad Mira Pink graphic was inspired by the traditional Moroccan star, lined up in a dynamic way for a dynamic mosaic tile graphic dress. Confetti Print The Confetti Tile print was inspired by the most modern tile work we saw at Dar el Sadaka, home of French artist Jean-Francois Fourtou. Casablanca Desert Rose The Casablanca Graphic and Desert Garden print are original paintings by our in-house design team – evoking the night sky and magnificent garden we saw at the Majorelle Garden Estate. Butterflies The Butterfly Collage was inspired by the pop art of Hassan Hajjaj, the Andy Warhol of Morocco.

For our playroom wall, I really wanted to create a mix of print, pattern and texture – just like my design philosophy for Tea. For artwork, this translates to a composition of graphics and photos, as well as adding dimension to the presentation – incorporating different framing options: wrapped canvas, printed glossy photos and a 3D element to add more interest. Emily Meyer I did some research on gallery wall design and collected inspiration on Pinterest, as well as the old-fashioned way with magazine tearsheets and design books. I saw the gaffer’s tape idea in the most recently book by Remodelista (one of my favorite sources for interior design inspiration!) Finally, for the 3D element, I found these beautiful paper pinwheels made from colorful maps on Etsy. I love perusing Etsy for DIY decor ideas and these were the perfect complement to the gallery wall. They are printed with maps on only one side and when I first hung them, they naturally began to spin. So, I had the idea to tape 2 pinwheels together with non-map sides facing in. Now they are free to spin! Map Fans Clement & Georgia love the new wall! We have looked up Morocco on the map and know some of the graphics from the clothing items in their closet and drawers. One of Clement’s favorite t-shirts this summer is the “fish tee” aka Tranquil Pond graphic – now that favorite graphic is hanging over his bed! Some of the images on the new gallery wall are not Tea images, but images I found on Art.com that reminded me of our trip! The image of the Beach Boats reminded me of Essaouira. And, we visited the mosque of Casablanca where the Tile Detail photo was taken, the colors of those tiles are unforgettable. As we’re saying goodbye to the Morocco Collection, I’d love to hear if you have any favorite prints or graphics from Morocco? And, please check out our Tea Art Gallery for exclusive Tea prints and graphics to adorn your home with.

June 25, 2014

Cat Club


Tiger Mask Tee

Tiger Mask

Destination: Japan
Fall/Winter 2009

Tiger Mask is a Japanese manga (comic) series written by Ikki Kajiwara and illustrated by Naoki Tsuji. First released in print in 1968, Tiger Mask was later adapted into an anime series in 1969. After 105 episodes, the series ended in 1971. In both the manga and anime, Tiger Mask was a feared wrestler in America who was ruthless in the ring. However, he became a face (“good guy”) after returning to Japan when a young boy told him he wanted to be a villain like Tiger Mask when he grew up. The little boy lived in an orphanage… the same one that Tiger Mask grew up in during his childhood. Frightened that the boy would idolize a villain, Tiger was inspired to be a heroic wrestler.

Korean Tiger

Siberian Tigers

Destination: Korea
Spring/Summer 2010

In Korean culture, the tiger is considered to be a guardian that drives away evil spirit and brings good luck. The tiger is the symbol of courage and power. Korea’s national creation myth tells of a tiger and a bear who asked the son of the ruler of Heaven if he would make them human. He agreed, but only if they could endure 100 days in a cave eating nothing but garlic and mugwort. Determined, the bear made it through the hundred days and became a beautiful woman, who gave birth to Tangun, the legendary father of Korea in 2333 BCE. The tiger, however, grew very hungry and impatient. He left the cave unable to cope with the hunger and has been slinking through the Korean mountains ever since.

Sadly, hunting and habitat loss pushed the Korean tiger over the brink of extinction in the wild in South Korea and with it, went an important symbol of Korea’s identity. Today, the Korean tiger is known as the Siberian or Amur tiger and current estimates place the wild population at up to only 529 individuals, virtually all living between the far eastern Russian regions of Khabarovsk and Primorsky, which border China and North Korea. Did you know these tigers can weigh up to 675 pounds?


Destination: Catalonia
Spring/Summer 2011

For decades, Barcelona has been a canvas for street artists. Showing up in all forms (graffiti, stickers, stencil, etc.) the street art in Barcelona is alive and thriving. We came across this tiger stenciled art during our trip and thought an abstract mosaic version would be perfect for a graphic tee. Want to see more of Barcelona’s street art? Check out this Pinterest page. During your next trip to Barcelona, be sure to book a street art tour – not only will you see hidden art in unexpected places, it’s almost guaranteed you’re guide will share local dining tips along the way!


South African Cheetah

Destination: South Africa
Spring/Summer 2013

Did you know that cheetah’s can run as fast as 75 mph in short bursts? That’s faster than any other land animal! Although cheetahs do not roar, they rank among the most vocal felids. They’re known to chirp when looking for their cubs, churr or stutter during social meetings, growl when annoyed or faced with danger and purr when content. Listen to a chirping cheetah here!

Chinese Tiger

China Tiger

Destination: China
Fall/Winter: 2013

The South China Tiger is native to Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangxi in southern China and has been classified as critically endangered since 1996 and possibly extinct in the wild. No records of wild South China tigers have been made since the early 1970s. Throughout Chinese history, the tiger has sparked awe and admiration. The tiger is full of life an embodies the spirit and drive to achieve and make progress.


photo credits: tiger mask left, tiger mask right, siberian tigers, cheetahs, south china tiger

June 24, 2014

Made In Morocco


Moroccan style. It’s warm and welcoming. It’s often hand made and always timeless. With the increased popularity of Moroccan style here in the United States, it’s important to remember that while the modernized versions are beautiful, it’s the hand loomed blankets and intricate embroidery that started it all. The fusion of Arab, Spanish, French art deco and Berber style sets Moroccan style apart from the rest.

Moroccan Tiles

The time these artisans take to chip each tile, paint a piece of pottery and hand stitch woven totes makes the authentic pieces so wonderfully unique and original.

Art Naji

Did you know boucherouite rugs are woven in asymmetrical patterns? They’re incredibly beautiful and lush in design. Made with rags or pieces of clothing, no two rugs are ever the same. Again, this hand woven process is what makes these items so special.

Moroccan Rug

We’ve rounded up ten products that are made in Morocco and available for purchase from the comfort of your home… of course, if you’re able to make the trip… there’s no better way to experience true authentic Moroccan style!


(from left to right, starting at the top) Pom Pom Blanket // Stuffed Elephant // Book // Shoes
Boucherouite Rug // Leather Pouf // Tiles // Tunic // Handbag // Baby Moccasins

June 23, 2014

Travel Tips + Win Clean Laundry For A Year!

Leigh in Asia I fell in love with my husband in Australia. Since then, we have traveled together through Bali, Thailand, New Zealand, Peru, Italy, England, Germany, Mexico and Costa Rica… And we’re just getting started! As soon as our boys turned 5 and 7, we knew it was time to hit the road again, this time with the boys in tow. We packed our bags and traveled (as a family of 4!) to China and Thailand for an incredible journey. Traveling internationally with children for the first time comes with a bit of anxiety. How will they handle the 13 hour flight? The jet lag? The food? Rest assured, it will all work out one way or another! Here are a few things I learned after 15 days abroad with my family of four.

Booking Flights: Tactical Advice Request kids meals if you think your kids will (like mine) just eat the rolls and ice cream from the regular airline meals. Use seatguru.com to figure out the best seats for your family. Legroom and easy access to the bathroom matter with kids. We also enjoyed flights when we had a row to ourselves. This really helps the kids giving them room to drape their bodies over our legs and lean on shoulders – allowing a little more room for sleeping. Think hard about the time you want to arrive. I had heard advice suggesting to land in the day time so the sunlight helps adjust your circadian rhythms, but I am a big believer in landing late at night. I believe in pushing through with movies and iPads so that by the time you arrive, you will be tired enough to sleep through the night. Be sure to sleep with the hotel curtains open – having the sun shine in bright and early will help everyone wake up.

Pick Your Pockets When you’re one of two responsible adults traveling with your family of four, you end up with a lot of stuff. Hand sanitizer, passports, customs forms, Tic Tacs, loveys, cameras, snacks… the list goes on. Save yourself the time (and stress!) by designating each item to a particular pocket. Then, adhere to this plan religiously! I speak from the experience of searching pocket after pocket for passports. That can really get your heart rate up!

Pack Strategically + Clean Socks Depending on your itinerary, you could end up with a lot of packing and unpacking. Sometimes it was easier to keep the clothing in the suitcase, especially if we had just one night in a hotel. Decide in advance where each person will keep their clean clothes, their toiletries, and their shoes. This will save a lot of time looping in pockets and ruffling through nice stacks of packed clothes looking for the “good” sunscreen or their favorite pair of sneakers. I never knew how much I would appreciate clean socks until we went on this trip! It is unreasonable to pack 20 pairs of socks per child and it is too expensive to pay the hotel to wash socks every few days. Vaska detergents saved us. I washed a lot of socks (and other clothing) in the bathtub and hung them up to dry. The key to success isn’t just good detergent though, it is planning enough time for items to dry – especially in humid climates!

Weather Isn’t Predictable Figure out how to pack as little as possible without compromising style or functionality. To me, this was an advanced puzzle. I had a great pair of chambray pants that worked well in both warm and cold climates. I had lightweight cardigans for layering and easy  jewelry to dress up my everyday tees. I learned quickly that an umbrella was just as helpful in Bangkok’s hot sun as it was in a Hong Kong rain shower. And while packing 4 umbrella’s might sound like overkill; having an umbrella for each family member is much easier than trying to shuffle around with children under one.

Go With The Flow There is something beautiful that happens when we travel. We are almost [un]necessarily present at every step along the way. Figuring out the plan for the day, which train to take, what this museum is about. We didn’t have data plans on our phones, so no urgent emails to manage. There is no DVR full of Mad Men waiting to be watched. As a result, the whole family can be together. Connected and completely present. We followed the same (uncalculated) schedule each day. We would tuck our kids into bed when they were tired, without a rigid bedtime. My husband and I would read a book, enjoy a beer from the mini-bar, reflect on the day – and then crawl into bed ourselves just an hour or two later. Perhaps the most important souvenir of all was the bond we experienced as we explored a foreign place with our family. What Leigh Rawdon Packs 1 Chambray Pants // 2 Cleansing Wipes // 3 Night Cream // 4 Necklaces // 5 Tunics 6 Colorful Sneakers // 7 Vaska Detergent // 8 Purse with Pockets a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 lucky winners will be chosen!

June 19, 2014

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.

How was your business born? When I had my first child and was living in New York working on Wall Street, I literally spent hours searching for a very specific Liberty of London print shirt for my daughter, Agnes. I realized that I had a latent passion. When our family moved to Denver, it became very clear how important it was for me to do something each and every day that I loved. I love this industry and the people I have met as a result of my involvement in it. I love the relationships I have developed with customers and other small business owners in the community.

Tell us a little about your family. My parents both worked when I was young and when they had time off, they used those beloved frequent flier miles to show us the whole wide world. Every year, we took a trip to a foreign country.  I love to travel and I love a new adventure. I even took my daughter to Laos and Thailand when she was 9 months old! I went to China when I was 7 which was very formative for me. I think that’s why I love Tea Collection so much – my personal values are very much in line with theirs as a company. Like me, they “go there”!

Where is the last place you traveled? My last vacation was a trip to the Holiday Inn on Colorado Blvd for one night. I slept for 14 hours straight – no kids in my bed. Best ever. No, I kid. Our family went to Punta Mita in Mexico for Spring Break this year. It was fabulous. Not only did we sun, swim and eat large amounts of guacamole, but we got to experience a different culture as well.

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?  First, you will head to Snooze for a delicious breakfast (breakfast tacos and gourmet pancakes the kids will adore). Then, stop at Aviano’s Coffee in Cherry Creek for a morning-cap (Mom must have lots of coffee). Then, spend the morning at the Denver Botanic Gardens (bring some breakfast leftovers to feed the goldfish). Then head down to the historic Larimer Square in downtown Denver for a little shopping and a late lunch at Tom’s Urban 24. After that, head up to Red Rocks for a look at the fabulous amphitheater and a hike on its wonderful trails. You might see a deer! Then head down for dinner. I love Steuben’s, Ace, ChoLon and the Kitchen Next Door. Each one has a great menu for kids that goes beyond the usual suspects. And, drink lots of water. We are a mile high!

What advice do you have for local mothers? Denver and Boulder have so much to offer for families and for mothers in particular.  One of the best things about these cities is that they have much of what large metropolitan cities have to offer along with incredible access to some of the most beautiful natural settings in the world!  Denver is growing so quickly and is full of people from all over the place who are looking to meet new people – it is such a friendly city. Mom’s groups like Stapleton Moms and Mod Moms are great resources for all kinds of “mom” things. Check out our blog: Nest Moms know for other great tips for kid friendly restaurants, pediatricians etc.

What types of events and promotions do you run in your boutique? We are doing different events and fun promotions in our store all the time. Every Tuesday, we do a Facebook Giveaway of Tea Collection products. Just “like” our question or, preferably, answer it and you become eligible to win a free piece of Tea! We also do surprise giveaways on Instagram. We are so excited about a contest we will be running this August where an entire kindergarten class can win a free Tea Collection item.

What is one thing your customers would be surprised to learn about you?  I was born in the backseat of a Volkswagen and have been on the go ever since!