Robyn Coden is making it happen, launching Sum Girls Boutique with her daughters in downtown Berkley.
By Karleigh Stone
Photos by Hayden Stinebaugh
There are three types of people in this world: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.” — Tommy Lasorda
Robyn Coden is one who makes it happen.
Growing up, she knew very little about her maternal grandmother. She passed away when Coden’s mother was only 13 years old so her own mother had few memories to share. When she became a mother herself, Coden couldn’t fathom the thought of her girls not having her memories or advice in the event something unexpected should occur, so she began chronicling their lives in a blog.
Preserving these stories and lessons means so much to Coden and, instead of just thinking about it, she’s making it happen.
“Dim Sum and Doughnuts isn’t so much about my girls as it is for them. It’s for them to have when they get older. It’s all the things I wish someone had told me and things someone did tell me. It’s their frame of reference,” Coden says. “I want my kids to have my take on everything from mean girls to finding a mate to Eminem.”
Family is at the core of Coden’s endeavors. Her husband, Mark, or “Cody,” as everyone likes to call him, is a co-owner and director at Camp Tanuga in Northern Michigan. According to her blog, Coden thought she would end up in New York City, but instead fell in love with the “coolest guy ever” and loves their camp life. The Coden family spends every summer living there. The pair adopted 10-year-old daughter Frankie from Chongqing, China, when she was 11 months old, and their 8-year-old daughter Jaye was born while they were up at camp in 2009.
The process of Frankie’s adoption spurred Coden’s foray into blogging.
“I just figured it would be cool to have something for our friends and family while we were gone, something to keep them connected. Somehow, though, the blog started to attract fans from all over the place and they encouraged me to keep writing,” Coden says. “I ended up writing ‘Fu-Lanmania: A Blog About Chinese Adoption and Clueless Parents’ for a whole year. It made me happy to connect with all kinds of different people from all over the world.”
Dim Sum and Doughnuts was born when her youngest daughter turned 2, with the goal to eliminate Coden’s worry of her children not knowing enough about her or having her advice should something happen, and to avoid any confrontations with Jaye on why Frankie was the subject of a blog and she was not.
Her family and their daily lives are the sources of inspiration for her writing.
“I don’t care what we’re doing; it’s up to us to make it all fun,” Coden says. “For sure, we love to travel and go to parties, but hanging with our friends, being around good music, stuffing our faces with frosted treats and laughing about stupid stuff … that’s our sweet spot.”
You can see why her blog posts have found a place in the hearts of so many. The content of Dim Sum and Doughnuts includes parenthood and parenting tips, marriage and family, friendship, camp life and adoption.
Additionally, Coden wanted to create an experience she could share with her girls and, therefore, she is making her new endeavor, Sum Girls Boutique, a reality. Coden says the girls are excited about the store and are helping to promote it.
“Retail was not something I ever considered for Dim Sum and Doughnuts. I always figured I’d do something with writing, but the store is actually a very natural fit,” she says. “Sum Girls Boutique is our way of bringing the blog to life. Growing up, making mistakes, having fun … We will be living our Dim Sum and Doughnuts mantra, but we’re also going to build sum confidence, do sum recycling and donating, and offer sum style at reasonable prices.”
Sum Girls Boutique will carry new and gently worn apparel, accessories and shoes for ladies in their “tweens” to adults. The boutique offers a consignment opportunity with a 60/40 split; all unsold items will be returned or donated. Anyone interested in partnering with Sum Girls Boutique can visit SumGirlsBoutique.com to review the guidelines for this opportunity. Acceptable items, brands, sizes and more information on how the selling process works can be found online.
The store is located at 3015 12 Mile Road in Berkley. Opening is slated for fall, but the exact date is still to be determined. Sum Girls Boutique is now accepting fall seasonal items.
“We want the store to be fun, whimsical and happy, but with a little ‘edge’ and a touch of class,” Coden says. “We want the store to be a comfortable place for anyone — any age, race, ethnicity, gender — just like our house.”
Additionally, Coden is available for speaking engagements. “I just like speaking about things I’m excited about or passing down things I have learned that might help someone else.”
For pricing and more information on having Coden speak at your next event or girls’ night — preferably with cake, as she points out on her website — contact Cody at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robyn Coden is making it happen with a relatable family-life blog, a boutique that builds self-confidence as well as recycles and donates, and by embracing the fun, little moments of everyday life with her family. NS