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Dandelion Wishes

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel logo and illustration by Chandler O'Leary

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.

Dandelion Wishes shop photo by Chandler O'Leary

Susan is putting the finishing touches on the place, and making sure everything is pitch-perfect for her grand opening this weekend—

Dandelion Wishes handmade shop decorations illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

while I’m piecing together (literally!) the final visual details.

Dandelion Wishes handmade shop decorations illustrated by Chandler O'Leary

(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 shop photo by Chandler O'Leary

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.

Dandelion Wishes shop illustrations by Chandler O'Leary

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.

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel character illustrations by Chandler O'Leary

You’ve already met Ruby and her imaginary friend at the start of this post.

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel character illustrations by Chandler O'Leary

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.

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel "Spring" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

I loved weaving the stories behind each character—

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel "closet" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

—and getting to mix actual clothing samples with whatever else I felt like dreaming up.

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel "Spring" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

As the seasons change—

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel "closet" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

—and so do the kids’ outfits—

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel "Spring" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

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.

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel "closet" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

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.

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel "Spring" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

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.

Dandelion Wishes children's apparel "closet" illustration by Chandler O'Leary

For now, I’m going to ask Frank what his summer plans are.


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NOTE: I am working away from my studio and inventory for a few days. The shop will reopen on Monday, July 10, 2017. I apologize for the inconvenience!