How did you come up with the idea and aesthetic behind Advice from a Caterpillar?
When Emily was pregnant with her first daughter, our family went to Paris for a visit. The lovely children’s shops and the general inclusion of children in daily life captivated us. We thought that Toronto would love a children’s space where everyday clothes could be presented with décor, toys, books, necessities and furniture. Our aesthetic evolved over the year of planning but we all have a strong sense of style that connected us with our favorite brands.
How have you managed to capture the “enchantment of childhood” in your store?
We play with proportion as much as possible and we look for engaging toys, books and objects that make the clothes and furniture feel relatable and touchable. We wanted the store to be a place of discovery so that it changed frequently and small details could capture the imagination. For us, the enchantment is a combination of nostalgia and promise.
What’s it like working with family?
We are a family that likes a good discussion so we have been collaborating all our lives together. It can be challenging when personal dynamics enter business relationships but at the same time, the support you get from family is unconditional and it allows us to build a business alongside our young families.
What is the most rewarding part of running your own business?
When you take a chance on something and people respond to it — it feels very exciting.
Any kids fashion tips for dressing stylish yet functional?
Kids respond immediately to their clothes and we have noticed that too much choice can be overwhelming for them. We love how Bonton mixes soft t-shirts and leggings with dresses and how Bobo Choses’ always makes you smile. We love to see children happy in their clothes.
Where are your favorite places to travel?
As a family, our favorite place to travel is to Great Dixter in East Sussex, England. Our parents have been involved with the garden for many years and our hearts soar when we’re walking in the meadow or entering the medieval great hall. It’s a very magical place.
We love to cook and eat by culture so we are always on the hunt for interesting flavours and textures. Some of our favourites are Chinese dumplings, Salvadorean pupusas, French pastries, Terroni pizza and bbq’ed veggies.
What drives you?
Opportunity – to live well, to try new things, to learn and study.
What inspired your Hand Made For You collaboration?
We wanted to support some of the local Toronto designers that inspire us. Together with, Daniela Bosco, we approached designers, Mercy, to work on three silhouettes we think many women want. We wanted the looks to be easy and timeless and could take you anywhere. This year we will expand these projects and have a series of collaborations in the works.
Who inspires you?
People who are adventurous, resilient and grateful.