Svea West’s new children’s clothing store takes its name from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles.
Marmalade Skies — named after a phrase in the song’s opening line “Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies”— celebrated its grand opening on Bayview Avenue at Hillsdale Avenue East in October.
“I bought stuff that adults would want to wear, so grown up clothes for little kids,” she says. “So little kids look like little adults basically.”
The store features a selection of lines from Europe, Australia and the United States like Ryder & James, La Miniatura, Ben Sherman, Munster Kids and Blu Pony Vintage, which replicates styles from the 1920s.
“There’s not a lot of children’s stores that offer this size and this style of clothing,” she says. “I also have a little bit of toys too from Kidrobot, which are collectable and a lot of artists design them and the kids like to collect them because they’re all different.”
West says her background as a fashion photographer and prop shopper gave her a lot of experience sourcing products, which she now applies to the store. She says a lot of research goes into picking the items she stocks like frequenting trade shows and scouring magazines.
Opening her own store was a dream come true, she says, and was also inspired by her 7-year-old step daughter, Riley.
“I found that it was really hard to buy clothes for her age group,” she says.
West also designs the shop’s storefront displays, which currently includes a paper maché tree that took her 12 hours to complete. She also brings her dogs Edith and Macaroni to work with her, where she can be found seven days a week.
Although the majority of her shoppers to date have been moms, West says the store has also been a hit with grandparents. In addition to kids who want to look stylish like their parents, West says she also gets a lot of parents who want their children to dress like them.
If things go according to plan, West hopes to grow the store and open more locations throughout the city.
“Hopefully they find what they want and keep coming back and enjoy shopping here,” she says. “This area has tonnes of kids and elementary schools and everybody’s been really great, the neighbourhood’s really great, a lot of really, really nice people.”
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