Local Children’s Apparel Line Finds Downtown StorefrontBusiness Profiles — By Susan Post on November 29, 2013 at 8:00 am
Another downtown retail space will be filled thanks to the KickStart 2 competition. Children’s clothing designers Team Chipmunk will soon have a retail storefront just south of the Columbus Commons on Third Street.
Owner Liz Bourgeois outfits tiny tots with her classic hand-crafted designs. Team Chipmunk’s store will feature both off-the-rack and custom-order options for kids and women. The kid’s line that brought the company to popularity is designed for infants to six-year-olds, with some styles ranging older and others geared specifically for tiny tots. Since their 2010 launch, Team Chipmunk has mainly focused on spring lines, citing it as their biggest season. However, the company is branching into fall and winter clothing.
The shop will also feature an adult line that Bourgeois calls Cloth. The Cloth line will create a custom experience for women searching for the perfect dress.
“They will choose from stock designs and pattern styles and make modifications to their taste,” Bourgeois says. Eight different styles of draped dresses will be modified for different body types. Customers can make decisions on things like fabrics and sleeves.
All of Team Chipmunk’s clothing is hand-sewn by seamstresses throughout Columbus. The lack of garment production facilities in the area led Bourgeois to hand-production. As things developed quickly over the first year of businesses, she had to figure out a way to manufacture styles in hundreds of units at a time. Thus, production has become a fluctuating crew of six to 12 seamstresses. Pieces are hand-cut and delivered to the group who then assemble the garments.
Highlighting their unique production style plays an important role in the new storefront. Seamstresses will be performing their handy-work from the shop, taking some of the mystery out of the production process.
“It will be part of the retail experience,” she says.
Bourgeois is also excited to have Team Chipmunk in one place so the seamstresses can work together, helping each other with tips and tricks.
The new space represents a new phase for Team Chipmunk.
“We’ve been pretty happy and comfortable with what we’ve had,” Bourgeois says. “We’re curious about this adventure and want to see how this impacts our growth.”
Team Chipmunk can now also answer a question they often receive – do you have a storefront? A physical location can increase consumer confidence, and also provides a constant location where consumers can find the designs.
Designs for Team Chipmunk were born when Bourgeois and her husband, and now business partner, Hays had their son. The couple was living in Los Angeles, with Liz working as a costume designer for films and theater productions. Her ability to work with clothing soon carried over to her son’s styles. She began tinkering with his clothes, opting for better design choices and trying to solve the problems she saw with the construction.
The move to Columbus was strategic. After adding another member to the family, the couple sought a new city. An artistic city, with a good economy that felt urban but not too congested was on the list of criteria. Columbus fit the bill.
For Bourgeois, Columbus has, “A healthy incubating lifestyle for artists and creative types. Columbus is very receptive and open.”
Look for the store to open mid-January with some possible pop-up opportunities during the holiday season.
For more information, visit teamchipmunk.com.