July 7, 2017

The Boston Globe


Think Nordstrom for kids, on wheels

Mini Emporium pops up at suburban farmers’ markets, town days, and retail centers like Chestnut Hill’s The Street.

As any parent of a child who wears clothing can tell you, shopping is an often thankless task. Jeans? Itchy. Collared shirts? Stifling. Dresses? Not if they’re too frilly.

Gia Cyrier knows the struggle firsthand: The Andover mom has four children under the age of 6. She balances a career in corporate marketing with running Mini Emporium, which she calls the only mobile children’s boutique in Massachusetts. Picture Nordstrom on wheels.
Her candy-colored rig, packed with fashions for kids up to 8 years old, pops up at suburban farmers’ markets, town days, and retail centers like Chestnut Hill’s The Street every week, so she’s drawn a steady following of fashionable parents (and gift-happy grandparents) throughout the area. She just launched a summertime pop-up storefront at MarketStreet Lynnfield, making for a more spacious browsing experience.

Cyrier stocks brands you won’t find at big-box stores: comfy boys’ shorts from Wes and Willy, bold prints for boys and girls from Appaman, headbands and accessories from local artisan Camdyn Reese, preppy wellies, and gingham from JoJo Maman Bébé (Princess Charlotte is a fan).

And because she’s a mom, she’s realistic about what her customers want. Swanky labels can only go so far.

“Jumpers are out. I’m not selling them,’’ she says. “Frilly dresses are out. Denim for boys — they won’t wear them! And it’s hard to get boys into anything button-down unless it’s Christmas or Easter. People want simple and comfortable.”

Affordable, too: Most items retail for $20 to $80.

“The store is great if you love style, like well-designed clothes, and don’t want your kid dressed like everyone else,” she says. “We stock labels that a lot of moms don’t know about. Our customers enjoy shopping locally, usually from brands made in the US, and they like the personal experience — we build relationships with them.”

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