Ask a Shopkeeper: Black Wagon
We spoke to the owner of the Black Wagon. they sell their clothing and products online and also at their store in Portland, Oregon.
What inspired you to start your shop? How long have you been in business? How did you come up with your store’s name? Do you have a physical store as well? What categories do you cover?
I have been a retailer for 15 years, selling vintage and then fashion forward pieces for the hip young adult crowd. I took my son to his first trade show at 3 months and shopped for children’s apparel, while my employees shopped for our adult store. At the time the market was ripe and ready for fun and tasteful modern baby clothes and cool kids clothes. My goal was to bring in a selection of tasteful, timeless, beautiful and fun clothing for babies and kids. After our 1st year on-line, we opened our flagship retail location in the very hip and happening Mississippi neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Black Wagon is 2.5 years on-line, 10 months brick and mortar. We came up with the name Black Wagon, because the Wagon is an iconic representation of childhood. We are all about items that stand the test of time from artful 1960’s books ABC and ZOO from designer, Bruno Munari, to Vans classic slip ons. Black represents an alternative to everything that is mainstream in the children’s marketplace. And we all know that black is the preferred color of fashionistas everywhere! We sell modern children’s furniture and bedding. We have a cool, eclectic book selection. We sell mobiles, toys, plates and special items for the home. We specialize in apparel by independent designers for children ages newborn to age 8. Sum up your store’s style and sensibility in one sentence.
Who is your ideal customer?
Black Wagon is THE style destination for babies and kids, and their parents! Our customers are hip parents and cool aunties and uncles who want to find something stylish and modern to give to their children and friends with kids.
What age range do you cater to?
We also cater to parents living abroad, who turn to us when they need a little flavor for their kids. We carry items for newborns to age 8 and some items for their parents.
What are the hot trends this season you’re excited about? Which trends are a hit with your customers? Tell us about your favorite pieces this season.
For girls and boys we’re seeing a lot layering. Girls are picking up our dresses that will take them through several seasons, from Kit + Lili sun dress to Egg + Avocado tunics with jeans and a long sleeve tee. Ashor’s Room Ruby dress works great alone, but I love it best with their heart leggings, puff sleeve modal top and constructed zip hoodie. Boys are wearing hoodies, with tees, polos, and button ups. Lots of boys are walking out with our Signature Black Wagon Hoodie, great with Ashor’s Room shorts or Small Paul jeans and Monster Industry tees. The laid back surfer kid look is still hot. We sell tons of kids vans sneakers for boys and girls. I love seeing young boys with long hair. The best thing we’re seeing is fashion that complements children, but mirrors the sophistication of adult apparel.
Pick 3 of your favorite brands you carry – How did you decide to offer these 3 brands?
This is a difficult one: Egg+Avocado, Pixel Bedding, Ashor’s Room. I love all of these brands because they are all run by small independent designers, who are bringing to the marketplace exciting, fresh items for children.
What are your top selling brands and products?
Small Paul, Dwellbaby Kids, Vans sneakers, BabyLegs.
What’s next for your store?
We’re very excited about fall! A few of our designers are expanding their size range to size 10 or 12, and many customers can’t wait for that. We’ve also found some organic and sustainable lines, like Fig Organic and Argington, that we are proud to carry.
What is the average order total?
There’s never an order too big or too small at Black Wagon. We pride ourselves in having something for everyone, whether it’s a special book, a complete wardrobe or nursery set.
What products do you carry that celebrity babies and parents have/use?
From what I see on Celebrity Baby Blog, we have: Harajuku Lovers Fleurville Appaman, C&C California, BabyLegs.
Can you tell us about any celebrity clients and what they have ordered?
We get a lot of musicians in our store. Just last week Anthony Kiedis and his girlfriend were in here shopping and they purchased a Dolly Parton onesie from Reckon.
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