Would you hate us if we featured clothes designed for toddlers in our daily “Buy This One Thing” column? After viewing the peplum dresses, on-trend overalls and striped shorts that make up the merchandise offerings at Chloe & Tatum, a new online boutique that features what owner Stephanie Taylor Jackson calls “luxe fashion for your little lady,” we admit: The temptation is strong.
And though it seems like there’s a new brand collaboration (Altuzarra for Target, H&M X Alexander Wang, Kate Moss for Topshop) and expanding e-commerce options popping up each week for the grown-ups, the kiddos hardly get any high-end love. Sure, they grow right before our eyes and are always at risk for ruining their threads with Nutella smears, but that’s where the range of price points comes in: Taylor Jackson has made luxury accessible for all of us with “little ladies” in our lives with dresses that hover under $30 and leggings for less than $20, along with irresistible big-bowed tops and candy-striped blazers that run about $65.
We caught up with the 26-year-old entrepreneur in the midst of Chloe & Tatum’s launch last week to talk about the inspiration for the online boutique, how she came up with that adorable name, her first international customer and what’s next for her and the brand.
Name: Stephanie Taylor Jackson
Hometown: Carrollton, Texas
Current Location: Aubrey, Texas
I’m a Stylish Standout Because: I am a fabulous and fashionable lady who goes after what I want.
The Stylish Standout:Tell us about your life before you decided to start an online boutique?
Stephanie Taylor Jackson: I consider myself to be pretty blessed with all that I have been able to accomplish in this life with the help and support of my family; however, prior to starting the boutique and focusing my energy on my passions, my life felt unfulfilled, like something was missing. I would come home from work, hang out with my husband and sons and then watch TV until it was time to go bed. And to me, that’s not living. I am a store manager for a big box retailer and even though it’s a great career, I wanted something more, something that was mine.
TSS: In your own words, what is Chloe & Tatum?
STJ: Luxe Fashion For Your Little Lady. Chloe & Tatum is a unique take on girl’s clothing. We are a luxury brand that focuses on delivering high quality pieces to consumers across the globe. We bring high fashion to moms with daughters.
TSS: What was the inspiration behind creating an online boutique? Had you always intended to dive into small business ownership?
STJ: I have always known that I would launch my own business. It has been something that I have thought about for years, but I could never put my finger on what I would do first. I knew that I loved fashion and that my venture would be within that industry but it wasn’t until my best friend had her daughter, Chloe, that I had my “a-ha!” moment and got focused. My girlfriends and I were discussing children’s clothing and styling and how we wanted Chloe to be styled. We all love fashion, creativity and unique pieces and I wanted Chloe to enter the world beautifully dressed. This may sound silly to some, but when you love clothing, styling and all things retail as much as I do, it’s a serious matter [smiles].
TSS: Walk us through the beginning stages: Were there late nights, early mornings, jam-packed weekends? You’re a mom of two young boys, so we imagine the work-life balance to be hectic.
STJ: The early days were filled with a lot of researching and trying to figure out the who, what, when, where and how of this venture. I knew that I wanted to launch a boutique. I knew that I wanted it to feature trendy, designer, children’s clothing that were different than what you can find at any other retailer. But what I didn’t know was how to get the clothes, cost associated with buying clothes, taxes and required licenses for Texas, etc.
I literally spent and continue to spend, every single free moment that I have working on this business. There are both late nights and early mornings. I am a mother of two, a wife and an MBA student, so I am very busy, but what I have learned is that every single second of every single day must be maximized. I used to sit and watch Bravo for hours on my days off and just hang out, but now, I’m focused and I try to keep myself on a schedule. You have to be focused when you’re pushing toward a goal and trying to balance a million different things at once. I know what I want and I’m not going to stop until I get there!
TSS: What were the biggest challenges during the process?
STJ: The biggest challenge during this process in the beginning was obtaining financing to fund my venture. I used cash for the first few months to purchase all of the clothes and other things for the business, but once I got the funding I needed through a company called People Fund (based in Austin, TX), things got a lot easier. From there it was learning what steps I needed to take to launch the business the right way.
TSS: Explain your duties as Chole & Tatum’s owner. Is it a one-woman operation? Do you have help?
STJ: As the owner of Chloe & Tatum, I am responsible for the buying of all of the merchandise, customer service and marketing. I have help from my wonderful husband who crunches the numbers for me and helps me stay on track with budgeting and maintaining sales plans and forecasts.
TSS: What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned through it all?
STJ: The most important lesson I have learned through all of this is to trust my instincts and go after what I want. When I went after what I wanted, that knot in my stomach that kept reminding me that I wasn’t doing what I was called to do went away.
TSS: What’s the most rewarding part of this journey?
STJ: The most rewarding part of this journey is knowing that this project all spurred from me following my heart. I take a step back and look at my inventory, my website, our Facebook page and know that I built that. It’s a great feeling.
“I used to sit and watch Bravo for hours on my days off and just hang out, but now, I’m focused and I try to keep myself on a schedule.”
TSS: While all of them probably qualify, what are a few standout pieces from the boutique that you’re especially fond of?
STJ: Wow, that’s hard, because I love them all! But my personal favorites are our Daisy Chain Dress in Marigold and Aqua, Luminaire TuTu – Powder Pink and our Poison Arrow TuTu.
TSS: And though the boutique just launched, have there been any standout moments thus far?
STJ: Receiving an order from South Africa on our first day was pretty amazing! We have had several companies contact us about distributing clothes in other countries, and even though we are not quite ready for that yet, it has been incredibly encouraging and helps validate for me even more that I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing.
TSS: Now that you’ve launched launched the boutique, what’s next?
STJ: Well, I want to expand our brand to include women’s clothing and eventually all categories. After that, I intend to design my own line and ideally have it distributed in major retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, et cetera. I have a lot of ideas that I want to go after, but I am keeping my focus on one thing at a time.
TSS: What advice would you give our readers who are hesitant about standing out and chasing their dreams?
STJ: My advice is more of a reminder that this is your life! Don’t live it doing what other people think you should do. If you fail. So what? You had the courage to do it. You can’t be afraid to stand out and live your dream. Go for it.
Browse the entire selection at Chloe & Tatum and to take advantage of 30 percent off your first purchase, use the WELCOME30 code at checkout.