Here at Rylee + Cru we are so lucky to have some incredible retailers all across the globe. We love working with these incredible business owners and we couldn’t be more excited to feature this next one. Today we’re introducing Half Pint Shop based in Chicago, IL. Keep reading to learn more about this family-owned shop and why we love them!
Tell us about Half Pint! What made you decide to open up your own retail space?
Half Pint Shop started as an online store and we opened our brick & mortar in Chicago in 2016. Since the beginning, my focus has been to support parent-owned companies. I just love to hear the stories behind the brands and I 100% believe that the best kids products are designed by parents. If possible, I stock organic and eco-friendly items, especially our furniture collections.
It’s kind of crazy – but Half Pint Shop is really a combination of all the things I love to do! I worked in social media and marketing before I had my first son Eyan and there was no flexibility in the position so I left after he was born. I’ve always wanted to own my own business and I became really involved in kids fashion. It seemed like a natural fit to open a store and that’s where it all began, in late 2013! I of course love working with designers and helping customers find items they can feel good about and kids love too, but it’s so much more than that. I love the behind the scenes work – the SEO, website work and social media management. A huge bonus is that I still get to be with my kids every day and my husband I work closely together too.
We love that you’re a mom-owned store supporting other parent-owned shops. Who are some of your favorite up and coming brands right now?
Thank you! I’ve always tried to stay true to the core of why I opened the store and it just feels good to support other entrepreneurial parents like myself.
Some new brands I’m loving are Monroe Workshop, NoniNoni Kids and Iddy Biddy. Monroe Workshop handmakes modern wood toys in their LA studio – they are different and fun! Their robot monkey rocking horse is my favorite.
NoniNoni Kids is a family brand and they figured out how to make a safe crib that can be put together with no tools! The colors are beautiful and it’s a really smart and eco-friendly product.
Iddy Biddy is a line of children’s clothing designed in San Francisco and made here in Chicago. It’s super soft and I love the simplicity of their pieces. Their Mama Super Sweatshirt is a customer favorite!
What do you look for when deciding to bring a new brand into the shop?
I like to know the story behind the brand. Are they parents – who is behind the brand? Where are they producing and sourcing their products from? Those are my first thoughts but really I try to go by instinct. Would my kids love to wear these designs? Would I like this piece in my home? If in doubt I always group text my close group of friends with kids – they are a great sounding board!
How has becoming a mom influenced you as a business woman?
Becoming a mom really flips your world around, in the best way. It has changed how I prioritize things. I see the bigger picture and try not the sweat the small stuff. My family is #1, business #2.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually wake up way after my alarm goes off – I’m a night owl and I pay for it every morning. I send my oldest off to school then do some work at home while my youngest plays. Then we head to the shop together for a few hours before he goes to school. Which means I have a glorious 2.5 hours of free time to be at the shop, have meetings or work out during the day. After school the kids are ravenous so we head home for a snack and to unwind. I usually clean the house during this time. Once they are in bed I log back in to do more work!
What are some of your favorite trends in the baby + kids industry right now?
I just attended the ABC Kids Expo and some big trends were modern safety items and all natural items that are super functional. Think an eco-friendly, modern stroller that folds up to the size of a backpack. Things have changed so much since my youngest was born! There were also many safety items that are also modern additions to the home. Safety doesn’t have to be an eyesore!
If we had one day in your hometown, where should we visit?
I’m from Neenah, WI! Chicago has been my home for almost nine years now and I could write you a book about places to go and things to do. But if you find yourself up in Wisconsin, I’d visit the historic shops in downtown Neenah and go to a supper club and get an old fashioned sour.
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Photos by Heather Talbert