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Friday, November 28, 2014

shop & support moms - North Berwick Bundle Children's Boutique

I am super excited to feature this dynamic, caring, hardest working momma around, Aryn Wintle, owner of North Berwick Bundle Children's Boutique! As an avid thrifty shopper, I adore consignment shops - and Aryn's is AMAZING! She is 100% dedicated to what she does here - helping others in need, providing a place for moms to easily and comfortably shop while they're kids are entertained, and giving a place for moms to drop off their things they no longer need but could be of use to someone else. 

She is so passionate about the work she does and really trying hard to make this the best little boutique you've ever shopped at. I really believe she's well on her way to reaching her goals! You HAVE to check out this adorable store! I've found awesome things here - including a H&M snow jacket that was literally like brand new for my niece for $6, and tons of Gymboree, Gap and Ralph Lauren items. 

Thank you, Aryn, for your dedication to your community, and more so - for the GREAT deals! 

Scroll down to the end to see the awesome discount she's offering Mommy Stories readers this month!

Images from Aryn Wintle

You will love shopping at this store! I've been there multiple times this fall, tons of great clothing for all sizes!

Above: Just a few of the GREAT bargains I've personally scored at the North Berwick Bundle Children's Boutique! Above: A Gymboree fall jacket that would easily be at least $40-50 at the store.... for $6!!! Also, three leotards for dance.... a few bucks each!

Below: Three of these shirts below are NEW with tags on them... for a few dollars each! And yet it was all FREE to me after store credit from things I dropped off.

LOVE being a #thriftymama!

1. How did you start your business? Why did you want your own business? When did you start your business? 
I actually bought the store from the original owner. After managing it for a month or so, I fell in love with the concept and my customers. Unfortunately, the owner wasn’t going to be able to sustain this location so I offered to buy her out of it. I really came into this looking for summer work until my son went off to preschool in the fall- I never dreamed it would become my life! The location was started in April, I came in as a manager in May, and owned it by July!
2. Why was this business a perfect situation for you and your family? 

Originally, this “job” was great for my family because it allowed me to start getting back into the work force, but I was able to have a flexible schedule and still be there for my family. Now that I’ve taken it over, it's become a family project. 

My teens are learning customer service and retail, as well as how to keep the books, how to price inventory and overall run a business. My husband is so helpful, he loves helping with procurement, reviews all my financials (He’s in finance) helps me figure out how best to manage inventory and grow at a steady but sustainable rate. Our 4 year old is in R & D, as well as quality control (He plays with all the toys and makes sure they are fun and work) When I come home, every one wants to know how the day was, how the week is going, etc (as we are still just starting out, it can be nerve-racking to have a slow day!). Having the shop has been a great project for us to do as a family (oh, and my kids love having first dibs on great clothing that comes in)
3. What does your business specialize in? What's your favorite product you sell? 
We are a children’s consignment/thrift store specializing in excellent and new condition clothing for children newborn through Juniors. 

My tag line is “Re-Sell. Re-Use. Re-Imagine” which sums up my favorite product- Anything I can re-home, re utilize and give new life to. 

(ok, and socks. I love to sell socks because they are SOOOO expensive new and babies don’t really wear them! (we sell them for $.25))!!
4. What do you love best about working this business? 
My customers. I have the BEST customers EVER! They are always looking to help each other out - case in point, had a mom looking for a booster seat for her child- which I don’t sell- and another mom instantly spoke up and offered her one her child had grown out of. It was here the very next day, and is being enjoyed instead of sitting in a basement. 

The whole concept of getting something for your outgrown items, then passing them on as a great deal to someone else, who got something for their outgrown items, which went home with someone else for the items they could no longer use… It's very rewarding when you can help this many people have a little “win” in their lives every day.

5. When do you work in the day/evening? What is your goal with this business? 
I work 6 days a week (and Nanny the day and a half I’m not at the shop, but that’s another blog!) I work 10-4:00 Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Tuesday Evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons. Oh, and I do intake at night, as well as managing the Facebook page and responding to inquiries, and balancing the books, sorting and tracking inventory… I work all the time, LOL.
My goal at this point is A) stay in business! B) moving into our new space in November is a huge risk, but after talking to many of my customers I think it will be a good change. The new space is about 3xs what I had, which will allow me not only to spread out a little, but also to create a play space. 

My vision is that the shop becomes less of a store and more of a Community Center- where kids can come to play with the toys, we can host events like Meet and Greets with local sitters, story hours, music with local musicians, scrapbooking/couponing/baby wrapping etc classes, dress swaps for semi formals… things to bring value to North Berwick and the surrounding areas.
6. Take me through your typical day at work. Picking up the shop and hanging new items (which currently can only really be done when no one is here!). Most of my day is spent working with my customers, catching up on what's going on with them and their kids, helping them find whatever they are looking for, doing intake for consignments, picking up the toy area (I encourage all the kids to play with the toys and make a mess- because the toys want to be played with, and its soooo much more relaxing to shop with an occupied child!)
7. What is your success rate? Why do you think people return to your store? 
I guess I don’t know how to define a success rate. Besides outgrowing this space so soon, I guess the fact that most people who come in, come back says I’m doing something right. 

I love when people ask me if I forgot to ring something up because their total is lower than they thought it would be, or when they happily pick up their check or store credit and are full of “thank you!”s (I feel like, as my inventory suppliers, I should be the one grateful to them!). I hope people are returning because they feel like they got a great value- whether as a buyer, consignor or both!
8. Why do you think people should buy consignment clothing for their children? Why should moms consider selling consignment? 

For me, consignment has several benefits- first, it's cheap. Everything in my shop is in great condition, so instead of spending $30 on a pair of new jeans, you can get a great, almost new pair for $3.50. Second, it reduces waste- items that no longer fit one child still have a lot of life left in them- reusing them reduces the items that go into the landfill. Third, it benefits your community and neighbors. When you consign your unused items, you are giving someone else a chance to snag them at a great price.
9. What are your favorite consignment stores for kids? 
Honestly, all of my policies are based on all the things I have hated at every other consignment store I’ve been to- Like making an appointment to drop off- then having to wait around for an hour or two, or come back within 24 or I forfeit my things, charging more for brand names (they are used at this point!), being sent home with stuff I was trying to get rid of, and hate seeing that stuff get thrown away- we do the exact opposite- no appointments, your check or store credit is good forever, even if you don’t pick it up for a month, brand names and knock offs are all the same price (let's be honest- they are pre-worn. It's about great condition clothing cheap, not who’s name is on the tag!)100% utilization of your drop off (things that can't be sold will still be worth a small amount of store credit, then will be donated out to your community members in need)

10. How does your business allow you to be a great mother? 
Owning my own business means I set my hours, based on what my kiddos need from me. I am able to drive my kids to school in the morning and be there when they get off the bus. If someone is sick, I can be there. It also allows me to continue nannying- something I’ve done for the past 3 years and can’t give up. Being able to work those two jobs, and still be home to make and eat dinner with my family almost every night is pretty special. I can also make time to volunteer at the schools, attend sporting events or other extra curriculars and just be a MOM (my most important job!)
11. What do you think would surprise readers to know about you? 
Hmmm, I don’t know! Anyone that has been into the shop probably knows my life story (and I probably know theirs!) I’m a pretty open book! Maybe that I need at least 3 ice cubes in a cup of hot coffee before I can drink it? 
12. What is the coolest thing you've ever experienced as part of working with this business? 
Donating my slightly imperfect items out. And there have been a couple times when someone has come to me really down on their luck and I’ve been in a position to help them. I do love all of my customers, but there is a special place in my heart for knowing I am making a difference to someone- whether it’s a young mom trying to get through school, and the free clothing means she has to work 3 hours less a week and can study and be with her baby, the blankets for the foster child expecting her first and needing the basics, cash for consignment items that helps someone buy diapers and formula when their husband’s check got messed up, or just helping a local business owner provide her employee with all the necessities - All of those circumstances are times when, without the shop, I might not have known, or been able to help. It really is an amazing feeling to hear that you made a difference to someone.
13. What is one of your favorite gifts to give someone for the holidays? 
For the last 5 years my kids have forgone any “big” Christmas gifts in lieu of a trip. They pick the destination and we go the following year. It saves a LOT on clutter, and gives us memories instead of “stuff” (Our first year we did Disney, then a cruise to Mexico, Then California - and Legoland of course!, and a week long ski vacation) we still do little gifts, and Santa comes of course.
14. How many kids do you have? Give us one word to describe them. 
I technically have 3 of my own- Mackenzie, 15 “caring” (you’ve never met a more helpful or caring kid). Travis, 13, “able” (ie, he can do just about anything he tries to- and generally pretty easily!). Thomas, 4, “Sunny” (he can brighten your day, no matter how bad it is! (he can, also, ruin a good one, but those are few and far between!). I also “have” a 4yo girl (sassy), 2 yo 
I’d like to offer 10% all clothing and shoe purchases for anyone who mentions the Mommy Stories for the entire month of November

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