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Welcome to our new series Small Wonder, which explores the stylish side of raising (and dressing) tots.
Photo: Courtesy of Monica + Andy
Monica Royer knows firsthand how brutal Chicago winters can be—especially for new parents. After giving birth to her daughter two winters ago, Royer was looking to build a wee wardrobe of boutique-quality clothing. Not up for pushing a stroller over icy streets, she did what lots of folks do: she started online shopping. And she didn't love what she found.
Fashion entrepreneurship runs in the family—Royer's brother, Andy Dunn, runs men's clothing line Bonobos—so Royer decided to take matters into her own URL-clicking hands. She enlisted her sibling to help her build an online clothing line that would address the issues of moms like her. And speaking of moms, it was Royer's mother who suggested Monica + Andy as the name of the just-launched line.
Royer and Dunn created a so-called "mom board" to help them decide the fundamental issues that the brand should address. And, they called in the big guns to manage the business side: A University of Chicago Booth school of business grad, Brian Bloom.
The trio spent a year hunting down the perfect blend of fabric with which to make onesies, tops, dresses, and bottoms for the 0 to 3T age crew. Utter softness was essential; they also wanted a blend that was free of lead and phalates, and clear of any choke hazards.
Named after the team's own tots, the styles have hallmarks ranging from girly embellishments to wild animals. The Stella dress has polka dots and ruffled shoulders, for example, while the Jack Baby onesie is decked with foxes.
The company believes big-time in providing opportunities for local mothers. Called, adorably, "service storks," a team of job-sharing moms comprises the customer service team. There will also be a Market Mom platform that allows local moms to sell their small-business goods on the site.
Of course, dads come into the picture too. "Daddy and Me" was the theme of the brand's first fashion show, held earlier this month at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Photo: via Monica + Andy/ Facebook
· Monica + Andy [Official Site]
· Bonobos [Official Site]