Well, I can finally let you in on the secret, because “coming soon” is about to be switched to “now open.” My friend Susan has spent years building her children’s apparel business, Dandelion Wishes, from idea to brick-and-mortar store—and I’m the lucky gal she asked to help her develop the look and brand of her shop.
Susan is putting the finishing touches on the place, and making sure everything is pitch-perfect for her grand opening this weekend—
while I’m piecing together (literally!) the final visual details.
(I’ll reveal more about that on the blog at a later date; or if you’re local, come to the grand opening and see for yourself!)
Dandelion Wishes isn’t your average kids’ store; this is something really special. Susan has curated a beautiful collection of clothing, accessories and gifts that paints a picture of what she believes in (and so do I): Support independent artisans. Buy local and domestic whenever possible. Choose natural fibers over synthetic ones. Offer the highest quality available. Bring these ideals into affordable balance and you’ll bring good design within reach.
This project was something special, too. I’ve done lots of identity and branding work for clients, but I’ve never had this much free reign before, to help develop the entire conceptual basis for a business. It was so much fun to dive in and really see what I could do.
Since Susan’s shop is so invested in this story, I wanted to create a story out of the shop. Together we invented a world of characters and narratives that make stepping into the shop feel like stepping into a children’s book. Each character has a story and a secret wish, and a personality that fits the different brand stories of the clothing companies Susan carries.
You’ve already met Ruby and her imaginary friend at the start of this post.
And here’s the rest of our quintet. Once we had our full cast of characters, it made building the shop’s collection of clothing much easier. All of a sudden, Susan was piecing together the wardrobes of actual people with personalities and tastes and preferences—rather than just an inventory list in her head.
I loved weaving the stories behind each character—
—and getting to mix actual clothing samples with whatever else I felt like dreaming up.
As the seasons change—
—and so do the kids’ outfits—
we’ll be creating new stories and scenes to go with them. Keep an eye on the shop’s website to watch the tale unfold.
In the meantime, I already find myself thinking of these kids as real people that I know—and wondering what they’d think of each idea I sketch out for the future.
So help Susan make a splash with Dandelion Wishes—if you’re in the Tacoma area, stop by the shop this weekend. And look for an online shop to appear soon.
For now, I’m going to ask Frank what his summer plans are.