When it came time to go shopping for their little ones, moms Maribeth Sublette and Jill Mancuso would browse the usual children's clothing stores and walk out empty-handed, feeling uninspired. The mass-produced prints, the poor-quality fabric that would shrink after one wash, the boring designs. It wasn't for them. They wanted something else.
Though Sublette and Mancuso each have their own success stories, the Chandler moms share one thing in common: A desire for high-quality, accessible and unique children's clothing. Unable to find what they desired in both traditional brick-and-mortars and online stores, they took a leap of faith and opened up their own online clothing stores.
Enter, Modern Roots Kids. Co. and LALAthreads.
Mancuso opened Modern Roots in 2015 and it's become her labor of love. She handpicks every fabric and style and, using four different machines, she designs, handcuts and sews every piece of clothing. When that's done, she checks them to make sure they're up to her standards before she tags, packs and ships them off to their new homes.
The first day she opened her online shop, she was "terrified" but recalls finding some relief when she made a sale on her very first day.
"It was Sept. 15, 2015 and I still remember the name of my very first customer," she says. "The order was for a personalized headband for a girl named Harper. I'll never forget that."
Modern Roots specializes in blending fabrics, mixing prints and creating bright, fun, comfortable attire.
"I personally stand by every single item," Mancuso says. "They're all tested by myself and my three children. I put my kids in my items, let them play in them, wash them, and let them wear them again and again. I know these items last and I know parents and kids will love them!"
For Sublette, her inspiration to open LALAthreads happened after a lengthy and disappointing online search for matching mommy-and-me T-shirts to wear with her daughter on vacation resulted in a dead end.
"As I exited Etsy, leaving behind the overpriced T-shirts, I thought to myself, 'I could do so much better,'" she says.
In March 2016, she officially opened her online store with the goal of making high-quality, affordable, matching mommy-and-me shirt sets. To create her pieces, she comes up with a concept and then sketches it out.
"As a former English teacher, I love puns and making people smile with witty little phrases," she says.
She works with a professional screen printer who takes the sketch and creates the design on a computer before it gets printed onto the shirts.
"One of the things I pride myself on most is the quality of the products I create," Sublette says. "The shirts I use are soft, well-made and fit very well. The designs printed on the shirts are made to last."