The Modern Tot’s Shop
Monroe Street boutique is still terrific after all these years
1813 Monroe ST. 251-6445
Those who love dressing and accessorizing stylish babies, fashionable tots and chic kids, should head over to Wild Child, one of the city’s best children’s boutiques. Why? Because they’ve got a stunning array of clothing and toys for newborns up to fourteen-year-olds—and most product lines are made in the U.S., organic, locally produced or fair trade. President Renee West opened the store in 1981 (with husband Bill) with the goal of carrying natural-fiber baby and children’s wear. These days, organic and cotton togs are all the rage for the tiny set, so West’s concept was ahead of her time.
Customers “also want to be assured that items are sweatshop-free … that children in Third World countries aren’t being used to make the clothing,” says West. “I would say that the ethics behind products have become very important to what customers are looking for when they shop.”
It’s a serious philosophy, but the high-quality duds, accessories and natural and fair-trade toys are all fun in the Monroe Street space. Wild Child even has its own line of clothing that’s made in the U.S. and hand-dyed locally with low-impact, nontoxic dyes. West’s son, Jules, (also the store manager) does much of the dyeing himself.
“I always look for colorful clothing, and [items] that are wearable every day,” says West. “I always imagine a baby or child wearing the item and how they might look in it and if they look comfortable in it. But it has to be adorable as well!”
1) PAINT BY NUMBERS
A former employee hand-paints T-shirts that shoppers can customize for their favorite child. Choose your color and style of T-shirt, then pick from a variety of pictures or have their age painted on the top. “These items are unique to Wild Child and are not available anywhere else,” says Renee. $24.50 and up
2) BABY BUSINESS
“We have loved owning our own store. We love having happy people walk in looking for a special gift for their new grandchild, niece or nephew, and they find it in our store. And of course we have seen many, many beautiful baby faces over the years—we love the way babies connect with you and smile when you look them in the eyes. Being in the baby/children’s business is a happy thing to do as a living,” says Renee of owning Wild Child with husband Bill (pictured).
3) PLAY TIME
Some of the toy lines Wild Child carries include Mimi the Sardine (eco-friendly bibs, aprons, lunch bags, backpacks), Global Mamas (a fair trade clothing line from Ghana), Haba (wooden toys), Fusseneger (soft flannel baby blankets made in Austria) and Kathe Kruse (adorable stuffed animals in all shapes and sizes). $13–$35
4) COLORFUL CHIC
Wild Child has always been known for their absolutely unique children’s clothing. That’s because much of it is one-of-a-kind, thanks to their own line of hand-dyed clothing—find leggings, tops, bottoms, dresses, hats and blankets. Jules West even tie-dyes baby dresses and headband sets, onesies, kids’ T-shirts and more. $8.50–$39.50
Contact Shayna Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.