Love the look of European clothes, but don't want your kids to appear too precious? Then Estella NYC is the shop for you. Every time I stop into this store I discover a new treasure--be it a new stroller line from the UK, or a specially designed battery-free toy. Owner, ChikeChukwulozie has a knack for filling his store with the toys and clothes that are both beautiful and practical. And I am delighted to get a stylish man's thoughts for my blog.
Chike, many of my readers think moms do all the clothes shopping for the kids...not the case for you right?No, not in our household, Mom shops for the kids and likes to think that she has better taste than me, but I certainly shop for the kids too.
When you are on a buying trip in Europe how do you know what will work for your NYC customers?
Experience: knowing what colors work, what details are extraordinary, whats too feminine for American boys etc. And also bearing in mind that your customers expect you to be daring and take risks, otherwise, youll just be another kids clothing store that carries what everyone else does. So its a constant balance thats very hard to strike.
What are some of your favorite non-US brands right now?
Hartford kids, Ketiketa & Album diFamiglia. The first 2 are French and relatively new to the states and Estella. Theyre very well designed and well made. And Album diFamiglia is Italian and has been in our store for years, but its always so beautiful, especially for babies.
Are you still working on developing your own line?
Yes, I am glad you asked: we make things that we have not been able to find on the market. For instance, we are just launching our new lap tee and leggings collection that we make right here in the NYC area. We made these largely because we never found anything quite right, the various brands that weve carried have either not felt great, didnt quite fit right or skipped crucial sizes. So we designed and manufactured our lap t shirts and leggings right here in the city with soft 100% cotton that is made in the USA. They are great for sleeping, lounging, layering, school, whatever and go from newborn to 6 years old sizes.
We are making baby jeans that fit great with diapers and amongst other things, we make a very popular line of hand knit baby rattles and stuffed animals that have a lot of character. The line includes a line of NYC baby rattles: New York Taxi rattle, an FDNY rattle and a NY metro-card. We made these simply because we got sick of the I heart NY onesies that have become quite trite.
What do you love about your NYC neighborhood?
Wow, well, having grown up in 3 continents and many, many different houses, I enjoy being in a neighborhood. Its comforting to know that I will encounter the same people everyday: the same doorman, grocers, sales clerks, deli owners etc. More than that though, I love that those same grocers, doormen and neighbors have very interesting and diverse stories to tell: one is Jamaican, another is from Texas, Iowa, the Philippines, Senegal etc. I learn more about life through their exotic experiences.
Why do you want an online and physical presence?
Well, I love the idea of a NY boutique that is accessible from anywhere in the world, thats what the web offers.
What do you love about your customers?
Their great sense of style!
Estella: Designed for Children
493 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10011