Shop Talk at Fireflies and Fairytales

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Amber Kuehn, 37

Owner, Fireflies and Fairytales

2132 Arlington Ave., Upper Arlington


What does your store, which has been in business seven years, offer?

Essentials for newborn and beyond. It's toys, it's gifts, it's clothing. It's basically your one-stop shop for anything baby or child.

You're very much into kids looking like kids -- especially since you have young children. What are your feelings on much of the little girls clothing in the marketplace now?

I think the choices that are out there in the mass market are for certain age groups beyond their years. (I like) giving an offering that's keeping a girl 7 or 8 still looking like a little girl.

You started with baby and toddler and actually expanded to the tween market, too, yes?

I had some customers who kept asking, "Will you order this size?" I started just at toddler, but right away, as I saw that there was a big hole in that 7- to 12-year-old market. Beyond baby gifts, that's a large part of the business, that age group.

What does your clothing typically cost?

I would say $20 on up to special-occasion dresses at about $125 .... And it's better quality -- it can be a hand-me-down. These are timeless but also trendy. It's worth the investment.

And your gifts?

I try to stay up on current trends -- cute chokers and necklaces for little girls, fun marshmallow shooters for boys. All very much play and imagination based. You're not going to see anything licensed at the store. It's all going to be the unique toy and gift lines that are about playing but are also about learning and fun ...The gift ranges are from your $10 gifts to sky's-the-limit with a Bugaboo stroller.

Can you talk about your background in fashion?

I have been in retail my entire adult career. I worked for Banana Republic for 10 years in management and training. Always thought I wanted my own women's apparel store -- and I did work for about a year and a half at Leal. And in working there and having a newborn, I realized that there was a real need in Columbus for a boutique where a mom wants to go and get a gift.

How many children do you have?

I have three children -- 7, 5 and 3. Two girls and a boy.

Are their closets jammed?

The girls, yes! (laughs)

What do they think of you owning a store?

They've gone on buying trips with me, and they enjoy that. They enjoy giving their opinion of what they like-what they'd like to see in the store and what they'd like to see on themselves.