If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I love to share children’s and infants’ clothing from big retailers like the Gap, Zara, Ralph Lauren and Carters. I still love those brands, but this year my boys’ wardrobes look a little different. Most of their items are from small shops I discovered on Instagram. I share a lot of my finds in my Instagram stories. If you’re wondering why I made such a dramatic shift, here are the reasons why I decided to start shopping small:
Great Boy/Gender Neutral Options
I’ve frequently discussed how boy moms get the short end of the stick when it comes to kids fashion. A few large retailers like the Gap and Zara do a good job of providing fashionable options for boys, but there are some small shops that really understand that boy moms (and dads) want more options. Small shops make shopping for my boys fun- seasonal colors and silhouettes feel well thought out and special. Some small shops also specialize in gender neutral items. And I’m able to find options that are comfortable enough for play but feature high quality (and often organic) fabric that holds up well and makes it easier to pass items down to siblings or friends. As a mom of three boys close in age, I’ve learned that quality definitely matters when I try to pass as many items as possible down from one brother to another.
Support for Women Owned Businesses
Most of the small shops that I frequent are women (and mom) owned businesses. I have a lot of respect for female entrepreneurs. Several years ago I started a small vintage and retro clothing company with my husband. It was a lot of work and I remember how excited we got every time we heard the sound of a new order (we’re running on autopilot right now with plans to relaunch soon, but we still get excited if there’s a new Etsy order). If I have a choice between handing my money over to a large corporation or to a woman who’s chasing her dreams, I’ll choose the latter.
The most frequent complaint I hear about shopping small for children’s clothing is that the cost is too high. I’ll admit it took me a little while to get over my sticker shock. Most large retailers are able to offer clothing at a lower price or with frequent sales because they can absorb the costs. When I researched this issue, I found out that making children’s clothing is actually quite expensive. Factories often charge a premium for smaller sizes, especially when they have to apply additional safety and quality standards. While it’s unfortunate that these costs have to be passed on to the consumer, I think it’s worth it to invest in quality you can trust and to avoid the hidden dangers of fast fashion. Some small shops also make items by hand and the price is a reflection of materials, labor, and love.
One of the ways that I get around the higher costs is by making money back when I’m done with an item through resale markets. This is my #1 tip to save money over time. There are many groups on Facebook that allow users to buy and sell clothing via paypal. Some are specific to one brand and some cover a variety of brands. You can usually find them by searching for “[brand name] BST” in groups. And some brands have a very high resale value; I have been able to resell some items from Childhoods Clothing for more than their original retail value when I changed my mind about a particular style.
Here are some of my favorite shops for baby and children’s clothing. If you have any favorites let me know in the comments.
In an upcoming post I’ll share some of my favorite small businesses for toys, educational resources and sensory play.