Carrie Martin, owner of Petite Cabane, tells SEEN why she wanted to open the new children’s boutique in Birmingham with a European flair, her favorite children’s items and more. Check out her shop on the SEEN Marketplace.
By Rachel Schostak
1. When and what inspired you to get into this business? It all happened really organically. I have had a dream of opening a children’s boutique for years, but it really started coming together last summer when I rode my bicycle past our current space. I looked through the window and saw everything that is actually here now. The floral wallpaper on the back wall, the big farmhouse table, everything — it was kind of magical.
2. What does Petite Cabane represent, and where did the inspiration for the store come from? The inspiration comes from years of shopping in children’s boutiques in Europe and falling in love with all the details. I think I just stored all of it, and when my vision had a home it all came to life. Petite Cabane represents a love for childhood and its simplicity. It’s sweet and playful, but also stylish. So many of the brands I loved and was buying from Europe weren’t being represented here. I wanted to give people the option to see these products in person.
3. What is the mission of your store, and how do you want customers to feel when they enter your space? The answer is actually one and the same. It is my mission to have people feel a sense of community when they visit the store. I want everyone to feel a part of our world, especially the children! We are authentically happy to be here, and I hope everyone feels that when they visit. Another part of the mission is to offer an alternative to only shopping in the bigger chain stores or online. I think people are starting to pay more attention to where their clothing comes from and the impact it has on our environment. The lines we carry care about the way they’re made and who makes them and are being produced in a responsible, ethical and sustainable way.
4. Tell us what makes the in-store experience special? We really pride ourselves in giving everyone our full attention and help them find exactly what it is they are looking for. But my very favorite part is making sure the children feel welcome and happy! We have a little play area in the store, and I have been known to give mini manicures.
5. Three words to describe your store? Welcoming, playful, unique.
6. What does a typical day look like for you? I’m up early with the children, making “super smoothies” (and a coffee for Mama). I go through work emails while my youngest has breakfast. We sort out who needs to be where, and then I’m off to the store! In the evenings Daddy usually starts dinner. We try to eat together but usually we divide and conquer until bedtime. After everyone is settled, I wrap up what needs to be done with housework/laundry and more emails, then I’m off to sleep myself!
7. What do you love most about your role managing the store? I love curating the collections we carry in the store, and I really love meeting everyone who comes to visit —and knowing I will be able to watch all the children and families grow.
8. What are your current favorite items in the store? Aigle Rain Boots, $60, Konges Slojd organic baby toys like the Activity Rabbit, $32, all of our Bonheur du Jour collection — sweet flowy summer dresses and rompers. I can’t live without Minois products! Their baby bath products, lotion and candles are amazing!
9. Are there any new products or lines that you will soon carry that really excite you? Yes! I am so excited to be bringing the Parisian brand Bonton in fall 2019! They’ve been a favorite of mine for years! I am also going to have a few Maman et Moi looks!
10. Go-to book for night time reading with the little ones? “Dream Animals” by Emily Winfield Martin.
11. Regarding your personal style, do you have a signature look or accessory? Dresses! I’m always happiest in a dress. More specifically my go-to look is a Natalie Martin or Dôen dress and I usually just wear with a simple K Jaques sandal.
13. Who inspires your style? Loads of people inspire me! Usually when I’m traveling, but honestly I don’t put a ton of effort into my personal style. My focus is always on the children’s clothing!
15. Favorite quote or words to live by? “What you seek is seeking you” — Rumi
16. Shop our favorite Petite Cabane products on the SEEN Marketplace:
SHOP: Little Cotton Clothes Bobby dress, $52
SHOP: Olli Ella piki basket, $35
SHOP: Aigle Rain Boots, $60
Stop by Petite Cabane at 205 E. Maple Road in Birmingham. Follow @petitecabaneshop on Instagram and other social media accounts for in-store events and new products!
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