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Boutique to offer high-end merchandise for kids

New, gently used items to be sold

Sept. 8, 2009

Curious passersby have been popping their heads into a proposed new Elm Grove children's boutique even though owners Jane, Jessica and Jamie Schiro and Jen Shulander are still prepping the store for its opening.

Maybe it's the "coming soon" banner draped across the window at Bella & Bradley's Children's Boutique, 13300 Watertown Plank Road, that's drawing them.

"There have been a flurry of consignment-hungry people coming to our door saying, 'This is really exciting, these are my favorite type of shops,' " Jane Schiro - the mom in this mother-and-daughters business - said.

The store is expected to open in October; it has yet to receive final village approval.

The Bella label is set to feature new merchandise ranging from clothing to toys, books and gifts. Free gift wrapping will be available for these items.

The Bradley label encompasses the gently used clothing, toys and furniture that will be sold on a consignment basis. Those whose items are accepted for sale in the store will receive 50 percent of the sale price, Jane Schiro said.

"The idea is that you can't tell the difference between the consignment and the new," Shulander said. "With the economy, people … can find something not quite as expensive but without looking dated or worn out."

The ladies plan to offer the person selling goods to the shop the option of having their share of the proceeds donated to a charity, church or other cause in a person's name.

Ever-changing merchandise

Shulander's daughter Alyssa is only 1 year old, but she already has contributed her share to the store: She served as a major inspiration behind its creation.

Alyssa, like most children, grew so fast she barely had a chance to wear the cute clothes people had so generously given her mom at her baby shower.

The store will offer a way for parents having a similar experience to sell items they can't use anymore but that are too nice to throw away. It also will give them a chance to find some good-as-new items in the next size they'll need.

"You can get upper-end boutique items at a lower price," Jane Schiro said, adding that the women will be a little picky about the items they accept because of their desire to maintain that high level of quality.

Perhaps the best part of the store will be that it is ever-changing. With new consignment items coming in, visitors will never know what they are going to find.

Furthermore, the women believe Elm Grove is ripe for a children's store, something that they feel is missing from the downtown area.

Keeping up on trends

The four women, all Elm Grove natives, will bring years of retail experience to the shop. Jane Schiro worked for Liz Claiborne for 15 years, and Jessica Schiro was a Coach representative.

"With a careful eye on new trends, we continually educate ourselves on the latest developments," Jane Schiro said. "We also strive to offer eco-friendly and organic items."

Combining used and new retail is an emerging trend, she added.

Schiro said there has been a shift in the consumer's point of view, and it is more in vogue to go to secondhand shops and rummage sales.

The women were inspired by shops in the Old Third Ward in Milwaukee and in Chicago.

"We're looking forward to going to gift shows and little boutiques to get ideas," she said. "It's just our cup of tea."

Bella & Bradley's plan of operation will be reviewed by the Plan Commission on Monday. If approved, it will be voted on by the Village Board later this month.

Next Step

WHAT: Plan Commission review of Bella & Bradley's plan of operation

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Village Hall, 13600 Juneau Blvd.

FYI

WHAT: Bella & Bradley's Children's Boutique

WHEN: Opening Oct. 1 (tentative, contingent on Village Board approval)

WHERE: 13300 Watertown Plank Road, Suite C

CONTACT: (262) 439-8759 to set up consignment or for information

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