I recently spent a bit of time with Courtney Hardman, 32, who has quietly started a great little children's boutique in the Short North. (It's at 27 E. Russell St., in an office building behind Homage.) You'll have to look to find her, but if you're into dressing your babies and toddlers well (or gifting parents with stuff they won't normally buy!), it's worth a visit. (You can also find her at BabyBirdFashion.com.) Here's a recap of our chat.
- Kristy Eckert
Q: You run a children's clothing boutique. What's your focus?
A: We have lines and brands that are new to the market. They are new designers that moms really haven't heard of. I love putting together gifts. If you email me and say, "I want a $40 gift, " I love putting that together.
Q: What do you have for babies?
A: I have my own onesies (with the Babybird logo), leggings, blankets. I guess I would say baby essentials -- burp cloths, bibs, hats, take-me-home outfits. I'm getting into bows -- making bows. Personalization is an offer, too. I can do monogramming.
Q: You carry sizes up to 4T. What are your highlights for toddlers?
A: For boys, I just picked up this line called Wonderboy. It's very much like the baby cords with the check-button-down and Henley. I also have a line by Joah Love. They do cute separates that are really soft, and it's kind of a little retro. And then for girls, it's about dresses. I have Anthem of the Ants, and the designer has only been designing for about a year, and she's great. Girlie details without the frills. The patterns are just amazing.
Q: You are obsessed with your shoe line. What is it?
A: Bobux. They're better than Robeez. It's breathable leather. Forms to the foot. We have them for babies, pre-walkers and walkers. It's a line out of New Zealand. They're $20 to $50. And they stay on.
Q: You don't have children, but you are a very proud auntie, yes?
A: I get to test out everything on my nieces. I have four nieces, just got a nephew.
Q: Your niece Sophie, who is 3½, is actually who inspired you to quit your buying job in New York and move back to Ohio to open this shop, right?
A: I worked for Ralph Lauren and also New York and Co. out there. I moved home two weeks after my sister called to tell me she was pregnant. We're really close. I thought, there's no way I can't not be around. Sophie's so unique. She's such a cool kid. And I didn't want her to look like anyone else's child. I fell in love with kids' (products) when I fell in love with her.
Q: You started a website, then created a showroom. People have to be looking for your shop to find it. When can they find you here?
A: I'm here 11 to 4 weekdays. People can (also) call and make an appointment if they want.
Q: What do you love about running the business?
A: I've never been happier. I sold myself to the corporate life for 11 years and woke up one day and said, "What is this all for?" It's funny how you get older and different things mean something different than they did before.