By: Jen Bobby
Monkey Business Kids Boutique is located 1 hour outside of Vancouver in downtown Maple Ridge, British Columbia. This adorable kids boutique has something perfect for new babies, toddlers and trendy big kids. The shop has a large playroom in the back of the store which is a dream for a relaxing shopping experience. The space also hosts story time, mommy meet ups and info sessions. I had the opportunity to chat with owner and mompreneur Karen Pukesh about her amazing boutique!
When did you open monkey business and why did you choose a kids boutique?
We just celebrated our 7th Anniversary in October of this year. We chose to open a children’s store due to a lack of this kind of retail being available in our community here in Maple Ridge- there was big box stores selling low cost, low quality products for kids or consignment stores dealing only in used clothing. Being a new mom, I was frustrated with the lack of options for shopping for quality children’s products and brands, so I decided to use my 15 years of retail experience and open a storededicated to great stuff for kids.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by kids and their passion for life! Our son is a big inspiration as well, as he embodies a kid who loves to have fun, is active, doesn’t mind dressing nicely (when mom tells him to lol) and he puts our products and brands through real world tests- the kid lifestyle! I am also inspired by fashion and the ever changing styles and trends that fashion brings each season. Just because they are kids doesn’t mean they can’t have fashion in their world.
How does Monkey Business stand out from other children clothing retailers and why has it been a success?
I think we stand out by doing our own thing and not worrying about other retailers or online sellers. Like I mentioned, my inspiration for the store was based on being a mom, so I always look at products and brands with the eye of a mom as well as a business woman. Does the product look good, is it functional, is it made with quality and care, is it made with respect to our environment, is it priced well, and will kids like it? I think when I look at what we carry in the store and apply these kind of criteria, it sets us apart from other retailers. We are also local, we live in our community, and we value the personal connection that a small business like ours can provide and offers. Being open for 7 years now has let me watch kids go from new borns to big kids, and some bigger kids now teenagers! We have so many great customers who we consider friends as they have allowed us to be a part of their family’s life because of what we do here at Monkey Business. That’s not something you can have at a big box store or an online retailer. I’d like to think our customers value our level of customer service and our knowledge that we have of our brands and products, which when packaged up right, gives a great experience when you shop in our store.
What clothing lines do you carry and what are best sellers?
For clothing lines we carry number of unique lines and brands. From Europe we carry fashion forward kid brands like Mexx and Noppies. We carry Canadian brands like BLU and Baby Bean. We also support local “mompreneurs” like Chic and Cheeky (Tutus, hair bands, and soother clips) As well we have brands like Roxy, Quiksilver, DC, Fox, and Under Armour. We have a great selection of kids footwear too from brands like TOMS, Native, DC, Vans, See Kai Run, Jack & Lily, and Converse. Each season we have a number of best sellers from each brand, so it really depends on the time of year to see what the best sellers are.
What are some hot fall and winter trends that you are seeing?
For Fall and Winter for Girls its about the sparkle! We are seeing lots of our brands bringing in some fun sparkle and glitter to tops, dresses, and even shoes! Sequins, sparkles, glitter- it is all the hot look for this Fall and Winter season. I love this time of year as it tends to be a very “dressy” season for our girl’s collections- fun dresses, tops, and outfits make it special for the holidays. Shoes for girls have been fun with bright colours whether its a slip on runner or a mary jane. For boys, the classics are hot for Fall and Winter fashion- Sweaters with simple darker colours, low key hoodies in bold colours, dark wash denim, and ball caps and toques to complete the look. In shoes for boys, the classic looks from brands like Vans, DC, and Converse are super popular.
Do boys have as much fun with clothing as girls do these days?
I’d like to say YES lol..Being the mom of a boy, my eye has always had to look at what I’d like to dress our son in, and then try to keep it fun. I think good brands have always had an eye to keeping boy’s collections fun and stylish. Many of our kids brands follow their adult collections for direction which have some good fashion sensibility for men, which then translates into fun stuff for the boys.
How is Monkey Business involved with the community of Maple Ridge?
We are always trying to be active in our community as we value our customers, friends, neighbours, and the people who live where we live. Each year we pick a charity of organization to support and then try to help them out with the help of our customers. This year we are going to be working with Team Keian’s Toy Drive. Keian and his parents were regular customers at our store. At the age of 5 Keian was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. While he was battling this disease he started collecting toys for children who he met during his stay at Canuck Place who wouldn’t be able to be home over Christmas. He was able to donate 16 toys to his cause. Sadly, Keian passed away on January 1st 2014. This year his parents have set a goal of collecting 300 new toys to donate to the children and families at Canuck Place. This year we are going to be acting as a drop off point for toys and help them reach their goal. If you want to learn more about Keian and his legacy you can visit their Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/events/749473331773172/?fref=ts
Stop in and check them out when in the Vancouver area, 11947 224 Street in Maple Ridge BC.
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