Carrie Martin opened children’s boutique Petite Cabane in downtown Birmingham to bring European-inspired fashion to children.
By Ri’An Jackson
Photography by Derrick Martinez
With fashion capitals such as London, Paris and Milan, Europe is arguably one of the most fashionable continents in the world. As the birthplace of countless style trends, European fashion is synonymous with elegance and grace.
The Petite Cabane, French for “little cabin,” makes this style attainable for the little ones in Metro Detroit.
Birmingham resident Carrie Martin opened the European-inspired children’s boutique at 205 E. Maple Road in Birmingham in March.
At age 17, Martin was scouted for modeling and lived in Milan, Paris and London. This is when she fell in love with the European way of dress.
Over two decades later, the vision for Petite Cabane began when Martin started to dress her own children, now ages 5, 17, 21 and 23, and blossomed when she had an idea to bring the European fashion brands she loves to Birmingham.
Her dream came to life once she and her 5- year-old daughter, Tallulah, saw the open space that would become the chic boutique.
“I was riding my bike past the space with my young daughter and noticed that it was for lease and it was empty, so I peered in and saw that my dream was inside,” Martin says. “I knew that it would work.”
And it, in fact, did work. Today, Petite Cabane attracts customers with its beautiful selection of children’s clothes and comfortable atmosphere.
Birmingham resident Anna Price is a frequent customer. “I haven’t seen anybody walk out empty-handed,” she says. “…Everywhere you look there is something desirable.”
Martin mixes minimalism and playfulness, both in clothing and décor, to curate a unique and welcoming environment. Amid the clean, fresh color palette in the boutique are carefully placed toys that children can play with.
“I love being a part of the community,” Martin says. “I love meeting all the children and having them come in and discover this sort of wonderland.”
Regarding her favorite styles for kids, Martin opts for classic, timeless pieces and says quality is her priority. “I want them to be simple but also unique,” she says. “I want to make sure that it is not something that is already spoken for in the market, and I want it to have style, but also something they can go to play in the park in.”
Unlike large clothing retailers, Petite Cabane always features in-season clothing from vendors throughout Europe. Martin carefully selects vendors that match the store’s aesthetic and value sustainability.
“It is important to know where your clothing is coming from. Fast fashion is not always the way to go,” Martin says. “I carry a lot of small, sustainable lines…that are spending the extra time and money to make sure that things are quality and organic for babies.”
Aside from children’s clothing, the boutique offers items like toys, hand creams, bubble baths and accessories. The store also features products from local businesses.
According to Martin, connecting with the community is an essential attribute of the boutique. It is curated to be inclusive and to fit a variety of styles and budgets.
“It’s so personal,” Price says. “The second you walk in you are greeted by Carrie…and I think that, and the love Carrie has for the children and families that are coming in, is what sets (Petite Cabane) apart.”
Shop our favorite Petite Cabane items on the SEEN Marketplace:
SHOP: AIGLE Baby Flac Rubber Boots, $55
205 E. Maple Road, Birmingham