What’s your favorite outdoor space?
Napeague Beach in Amagansett. We have a home in Amagansett, and it’s always been a part of my adult life, and my kids’ lives. The casual boho feeling of not putting shoes on for weeks at a time is something that I love.
Amagansett really does feel like a small town, I love it. Lots of small local businesses and farmers markets where you can go and pick up your fresh farm-to-table vegetables at places like Amber Waves. Our kids grew up doing that, and it’s really special.
What’s a fashion trend you wish would go away?
You know, I was gonna say Crocs, but I kinda like those too. I probably wouldn’t wear them, but I think that letting people express themselves through fashion – whatever that is – I think is really cool. I like to see everything.
What’s something a first-time founder should absolutely not do as they’re building their company?
Don’t look at someone else and try to do what they’re doing. It really has to come from within. I think that the biggest mistake you can make is comparing yourself to other people. Focus on what you’re passionate about and follow that track. Don’t worry about making mistakes, every mistake is a learning experience and will help you build and grow.
I worked in corporate design before I started Pink Chicken. I took a year off after my second daughter was born, and I started making them dresses with textiles that I had collected over the years. It was just something that I loved to do, and people were stopping me on the streets asking, “Oh, where did you get that? That’s so unique. That’s so different.”
I thought, “Maybe I’m onto something here.” We use a lot of vintage-inspired textiles at Pink Chicken, and I noticed people really connect to something from the past. The idea of a stylish garment that kids also like because it’s fun and comfortable really resonated with parents.
Have the ways you find inspiration changed since you started the company?
When we first started, we would look at everything in print. All kinds of magazines, vintage publications, things from all over the world. We would print things out, pin them on the wall … everything you can do online now.
But there’s nothing like just walking around New York City. You get inspiration like crazy, and that’s always been an important thing for us. It’s something COVID changed that I missed — walking around and seeing what people are wearing and doing. Seeing how people express themselves in the street is incredibly inspiring, so I’m glad to have that back now.
What’s a recent TV show or movie you feel has really good costume design?
Bridgerton, right? That was exquisite. It took a few episodes to kind of get into it, but I went for the costumes and stayed for the fun of it.
What would you say was your biggest parental takeaway from the pandemic?
I think a lot of parents would say their silver lining was having the time they spent with their kids, and that’s probably true for us as well. Before, with two working parents, cooking as a communal activity was a challenge. We all had busy schedules and everyone was doing their own thing. So, we got into a pattern of cooking together as a family every night. Those were precious times I’ll never forget.
Also, when serious things happen, you typically hear things like, “Oh, the kids are fine.” “They’re kids. They’re resilient.” But I think having empathy for what they have gone through this past year is so important. My oldest daughter was a senior in high school when things were shut down, so she missed her prom and graduation. She worked so hard for so long, and she just felt like she had lost everything.
Showing empathy and support to our kids and acknowledging what they missed out on is important. It’s also important to give them the tools to pick themselves up, think ahead, and look at the positives. But yeah, I would definitely say the last year brought us closer as a family.
How have you approached expanding brick and mortar locations for Pink Chicken?
It’s definitely a mix of “gut” and data. If there’s an existing customer base in an area or a neighborhood already, we’ll look at that both for wholesale and online customers.
When we opened in Santa Monica, and also in Charleston, we knew we had an existing customer base already in those places. I was in Charleston for a wedding and fell in love with the area, and I had friends there. So the feel of a place is part of it, but it has to be backed up by numbers.
For example, we just opened a store last month on Bleecker Street. That’s my neighborhood, and I’ve always wanted to open a store in the West Village. My kids grew up going to the playground across the street, but it’s always been price-prohibited.
At the height of the pandemic we were able to secure an incredible location. We already knew we had a lot of downtown customers, and we are now the only children’s store in the neighborhood. People really welcomed us with open arms. Some people knew us and some didn’t, but it was a place we always wanted to be.
Pink Chicken has a very engaging Instagram presence. Was that conscious from the beginning or did you kind of drift into it?
Little by little, we’ve organically grown our following through trial and error. We take the cue from our community on what they want to see, and we get DMs all the time, “Oh, can you show us the details of this dress?” Or, “Can you show us the fit of that?”
It’s funny, if you’ve looked at our feed, I would say most of the biggest likes are from our flat lays and our user-generated content. Our community prefers to see the product shots that really show detail and how to layer an outfit, and of course, real kids living life in our clothes!
I think that our business as a whole is built on kind of an authentic passion for our community. I think that customers can feel that because we really do care so much about what we do and who we do it for. We think about the best ways to support moms and their families, and I think that comes through on Instagram.
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