PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Palm Beach contemporary women's retailer is seeing green in sprouts.
After successfully testing infant apparel in her two Rapunzel's Closet stores, Randi Evans ditched tchotchkes and completely revamped direction and decor to cater to hip children's wear ranging from newborn to tween sizes. This summer, Lil' Rapunzels bowed in the 650-square-foot space at 253a Royal Poinciana Way here with lavender walls, bubble gum jars and a black-and-white striped cabana.
"Many girls were fitting into the smallest size from my women's wear brands that have since added kid's divisions, so I figured the time was right," said Evans, who also carries boys' clothing for infants and toddlers. "I would buy boys' for every age, too, if vendors offered it."
As their children play with toys and lounge on miniature rocking chairs and pillows, brand-conscious mothers get down to shopping. Evans reports they come to the store for basics the island's department stores don't carry, like sweatshirts for the occasional cold snap, cotton sundresses that withstand multiple washings and tracksuits for travel or to throw over a wet bathing suit.
"I don't think buyers in New York understand our lifestyle. We're a vacation spot. People want easy," she said of bestsellers like Splendid's sundresses in pink and white stripes with ruffled bloomers retailing for $50 and $20, C&C's T-shirts starting at $28 and Juicy Couture's cream fake fur hoodie for $245, which is only available through the online store (shoprapunzel.com) due to a distribution agreement. "It's always something pink for girls, especially when they're babies and you can't tell the sex, and blues or greens for boys."
This fall, Evans is expanding with Tocca's belted minidresses in pink and gold for $136 to $165 retail, and Puella Petit's A-line dresses and leggings in jewel tones and soft prints averaging $55. She will also carry Trumpette's socks packs for $25 and patent leather baby moccasins for $27, Converse's low- and high-top sneakers for $20 to $25 and Havaianas' flip-flops for $15 to $20. Still surprised that parents splurge on children's jeans from Seven For All Mankind or J Brand starting at $100, Evans expects first-year sales to reach $1 million. She is also on the lookout for property around the store for possible expansion.
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