· By Evelyn Wong
Retailer Spotlight x Starship for Littles
I love the connections and new friends that owning a business has opened up. I’ve met so many sweet, like-minded people that I feel like are kindred spirits.
- Heather of Starship for Littles
When and why did you open your shop?
I was about a week away from my daughter Luella's due date and told my husband in conversation that all I’ve dreamed about since I was 20 was owning my own kid’s shop. He gave me the courage to just do it and not look back. I come from a family of business owners and entrepreneurs and grew up learning about the children’s industry in regards to fashion. My mom had a children’s clothing line that she sold to Nordstrom among other high end stores. I learned by observing what styles sell, what doesn’t and how to deal with customers and buyers.
What industry/career were you in before you opened your shop?
I went to college for photography at Minneapolis College of Art and Design but eventually ended up in many different fields! I initially worked for my dad who ran a successful business and gained a lot of valuable insight on how to run a business that I apply so much of to Starship for Littles. I then ventured off into my childhood dream of fashion design and had my own womenswear line of dresses and skirts that I designed, and did both the pattern making and sewing. My line was sold in high end brick and mortar boutiques and I had a little studio in a port town called Excelsior off of Lake Minnetonka just outside of Minneapolis. It’s a charming town that gave me so much inspiration for my designs. From that point on, I had my line and worked as a sales representative for Minneapolis based company Manhattan Toy. While working there I was able to gain further insight on buying, selling and trends in the children’s market. I soon after had my son Rowan and stayed home with him full time. I continued to work on my womenswear line and sewed moccasins and children’s clothing that I screen printed by hand with my son as my inspiration.
What is a typical day for you?
My husband and I start the mornings off with a cup of coffee to connect before the day starts to get busy and he leaves for work. Then my kids wake up and I make them their first breakfast. I homeschool preschool my son and we usually work on that first thing in the morning. All three of us sit around the kitchen table and read books, work on letters and do art projects. Then I make them their second breakfast (yes, they eat two breakfasts!) and I get to work on business. In the morning I pack orders that came in since the night before, reply to emails, catch up on social media and any other pressing business matters. Then I either take the kids out for errands or a library/ park run and then come home for lunch and naps. The kids have quiet time in the afternoon while I get back to work. Then my husband comes home, we have dinner together, get the kids bathed and into bed. My husband and I then catch up, have a decaf latte and then back to work! I’m usually up late working on the business, doing graphics, creating listings for new items, packing orders and doing research on potential brands. The days are long and crazy, but I love every bit of it!
What is your favorite part of owning a retail shop?
I love the connections and new friends that owning a business has opened up. I’ve met so many sweet, like-minded people that I feel like are kindred spirits. We’re all spread out all over the world and to me that makes it even more special.
What inspires you when you are curating your shop?
Whenever I look at a new, potential line for Starship for Littles I ask myself if it is something that I would want in my home, would I dress my children in it or does it fit the aesthetic of my market and clients? If it doesn’t tick any of those boxes, then I will not bring it in. I gather inspiration from my own children and pay close attention to what they like to be dressed in and what toys and home goods they most enjoy.
What makes your shop and the collections that you carry different from any one else?
The collections I carry are primarily hard to find in the United States, up and coming or specific to a select market. Many of the lines I carry are actually designed by work at home moms. I love to support other mothers who are either living out their dream of having their own line or making it work so that they can spend time with their kids.