After planning for two years, Rachel Vlachos was more than ready to open Kidtastic Children’s Clothing Company last month — but the idea still took some getting used to.
“I just had to work up the courage to leave the job I was doing for 15 years,” said Vlachos.
After all, it was a big change. She had previously sold car parts for 10 years at Cranbrook’s Canadian Tire followed by five at Creston’s Lordco, after moving to the Creston Valley with her husband and son, now six, over five years ago.
But wanting to be her own boss, and knowing that there was very little children’s clothing available in town, Vlachos took the plunge, and opened Kidtastic at 1025B Canyon St. on Dec. 1 after the Santa Claus Parade. At one point, about 40 people were in the store while she was figuring out her new sales computer.
She and her husband discovered Creston while driving through on the way to Victoria. While their Cranbrook farm was still frosty and the temperature was not yet high enough for irrigation, Creston’s cows were munching on what seemed like waist-high grass. So they didn’t hesitate to move to Creston — a move that eventually resulted in Kidtastic.
Vlachos offers clothing for boys and girls of all ages, some of it new and some secondhand by consignment.
For the new products, popular brands such as Krickets, Mexx, Point Zero and Columbia Sportswear are available, along with footwear by Bogs, Converse and DC. At the beginning, Vlachos offered tutus, which sold out in two weeks, and last week received a new shipment of another popular item, winter gloves that have a sleeve to keep them on and from getting full of snow.
The consignment items allow Vlachos to offer an even wider selection, and she’s been getting them by the bagful, some pieces with the original tags still attached. Consignors receive 50 per cent of each item’s selling price, which helps to encourage used clothing to be brought in, although Vlachos won’t take just anything — customers won’t find stains, broken zippers, tears or anything of the sort on the used selections.
Beyond clothing, Vlachos carries teething necklaces made of hazelwood, and she plans to bring in organic shampoos and creams, as well as maternity and nursing clothing. She’s even been asked about cloth diapers.
“People want to go that all-natural organic route,” she said.
Kidtastic has only been open for six weeks, but Vlachos has been impressed with the number of customers she’s seen—and they’re more than just moms.
“I’ve had parents and grandparents — aunts and uncles, even — coming in,” she said. “They’ll buy a consignment shirt and a brand-new pair of pants. By the time they’re wrapped up, you can’t even tell they’re not all new. I love helping people pick out stuff for their grandkids.”
And kids should like what they get, considering the latest fashions hang on the racks.
“They wear fun, funky colours and stripes,” she said. “It’s fun to pick out unique stuff.”