Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Featured Boys-Only Boutique: Ochanga

What I love about Ochanga--besides the fact that it's a boys-only boutique--are the shirts they sell. Talk about ultra hip! And forget boring boy colors. These are bold! Bright! LOUD! (Just like my boys.) My favorite has to be the Rainbow Polo (right)($32.50, 2T-6), but there are so many other fabulous pieces in their shop to choose from.

Recently I spoke to Cynthia Betterson, owner of Ochanga, about how she goes about selecting the pieces she sells and what inspired her to open a boys-only boutique.

Cynthia: As a mother of two boys, I was unhappy with the selection for boys at department stores and children's clothing chains. Also I didn't have time to travel to Manhattan to shop the trendy boutiques because I'm a full-time working mom. So I turned to the Internet and started shopping at small online boutiques for unique styles of boys clothing. This inspired me to put all the venders I liked in one convenient place.

Unboring boys: What are the unique challenges of owning a boys-only boutique?

Cynthia: I find that many moms love my styles, however, their boys wear the bigger sizes. I don't carry anything over a 6 yet but I'd like to soon. Another challenge is going to children's clothing trade shows looking for new venders. There is a dominance of girls clothing, which can be frustrating.

Unboring boys: How do you go about selecting the brands you sell?

Cynthia: First I think, will this style look cute on my son? Is this something that I would like him to wear and will he enjoy wearing it? I also ask myself, is this style different and unique enough to make him stand out from the crowd? I also consider the product quality. How will this product handle the wear and tear from an active young boy? I try to stick to 100 percent cotton fabrics when possible. Last and most importantly, I consider the manufacturing location, making sure to avoid countries known for usage of child labor.

Unboring boys: Which items are your bestsellers?

Cynthia: Anything from Wonderboy. No matter what style or season, I always sell plenty of this brand. The designs are unique and trendy, the pricing reasonable, and the quality exceptional. I also sell a lot of euro-style swim trunks from Claesens. They are the number one underwear manufacturer in the Netherlands. The swim trunks are so unique and cute and they come in a cute plastic carrying case for wet transport.

Unboring boys: Where do you see boys' fashion going in the future?

Cynthia: I see trendier designs for boys in the future. Venders are finally beginning to understand that mothers of boys want their sons to look cool and hip and are looking for styles that set them apart.

Unboring boys: Can you give us some hints as to future trends in boys' clothing and accessories?

Cynthia: I see lots of miniature versions of adult male styles. Really cute.

Unboring boys: Anything new and exciting coming up for Ochanga that you can tell us about?

Cynthia: I'm looking to widen my age base to include bigger boys, perhaps up to 10 years. I am also looking to offer a signature line of Ochanga jeans and tees for boys!

Thank you to Cynthia for taking the time to speak with Unboring Boys! She is offering a 20 percent discount for Unboring Boys readers through 3/1/09! Use code UBB09 at checkout!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Tribute

Shopping for hip and adorable clothes for Nick and Henry was something my mom and I did together from the time they were babies.

When she died of cancer in 2007, just four months after being diagnosed, I lost my heart for a lot of things, including shopping for the boys.

It took time, but I'm now at a place where it's fun again. Often when I run across a cute outfit, I find myself thinking, Mom would love this.

This being her birthday, I wanted to dedicate Unboring Boys to her. It may sound silly--this being just a blog about kids' clothes--but I feel like I'm carrying on with something we started together.

(This photograph, by the way, is of my mom in her early twenties. It's one of my favorites.)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Not Your Common Toboggan: Hats from ThatFunkyBoutique

There's a lot about winter I don't like: icy roads, germs, being stuck inside. One thing I love: outerwear. Maybe it's from growing up in south Florida, where I owned maybe one sweater as a child, but I am obsessed with winterwear.

There's nothing cuter than my boys all bundled up in coats, mittens and scarves on a snowy day. I especially love hats, and ThatFunkyBoutique's hats for boys are the cutest I've seen this year.

Each is funky, unique, and hand made from recycled 100 percent wool sweaters lined with comfy fleece. Our favorite is the Black Deer hat (above) but there are other adorable hats to choose from in their collection. We dig the vintage look and fun details, like tassels and patchwork and quirky shapes, that make each piece special. If you haven't gotten your unboring boy a winter hat yet (hurry, it's getting cold!), or if you're looking for a boys' hat with more personality, check out ThatFunkyBoutique.

Giveaway update: Congratulations to Natalie from Maine who won the free Times Square t-shirt from TotStops (featured previously on the blog). Thanks to all our readers who participated and to TotStops for being a sponsor. Just a reminder that all readers who sign up for e-mail updates from us are automatically entered in our giveaways! So sign-up! We promise not to harass you with junk mail and it's a great way to stay up to date with what's happening on the blog.