The Little Grey Sweater is a shop for hand crafted and hand picked vintage inspired children's clothing. Run by two sisters out of American Fork, Utah, The Little Grey Sweater offers the sweetest collections for baby and toddler. We reached out to co-owner Taylia to find out more about their inspiration and business.
Tell us a bit about you and your family.
I am a wife and mother of 5 small children. I got married a “little older” and had these sweet babies pretty much as fast as I could. It gets overwhelming at times (especially for people watching us ;)) but I never doubt that I am loved. There are always at least two people who want to share my food, who want to play with me every second, and my lap is never empty. And I think that’s pretty cool.
Marisa just had her first baby and she is enjoying this new chapter of her life. Her baby boy is the most adorable thing and between grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins he is probably the most loved little guy on the planet. She is an amazing wife and her and her husband look forward to more future children to spread the love to.
What inspired you to start The Little Grey Sweater? Give us details on your journey from idea to shop owner.
I was born in the wrong era. That is really how this all got started. I have always loved everything about the 1950s and 60s, including the fashion. I remember seeing a picture of Jacqueline Kennedy with her two small children and thinking, “This is what I want to look like.” And so I find myself emulating Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn and giving their vintage inspiration a modern twist.
Now that I am a mom I found myself spending a lot of time making and finding classic childrens clothes for my children. I often got compliments such as, “I love the your children’s style.” I thought that if other mother’s out there liked this style maybe I could save them time and money by offering what I had already spent a lot of time producing.
Marisa and I are sisters. All growing up we came up with all sorts of businesses, in which the three of us (we have another sister!) played all the parts from CEO, to secretary, to maintenance man. So when I told her I wanted to start this shop she was all in! She is very helpful in keeping our style relevant to today's consumers and keeping me from getting too off the path of what people actually like in vintage inspired clothing. So starting The Little Grey Sweater is literally a dream come true and we tell each other all the time, “We’re doing this!”
You're a two-sister team. How do the two of work together as siblings?
Marisa and I live 3 hours away from each other but thanks to unlimited call and text and the internet we have been able to effectively get this business going. We are a great team. My mother raised us right and we are always kind and respectful to each other and our ideas and I think that’s the only good way for partners to work together. For each collection we each throw out ideas of what we’d like to see. We narrow it down and move forward together. We get excited with each other and every collection gets better and better.
We have been learning a lot together. She is a teacher and I am a social worker so business and marketing are all new to us. We have enjoyed the challenge, and go with each other’s strengths and pick up for each others weaknesses. Marisa is super good with people, so she takes great care of our customers! I like to write so I usually do the messaging portion of our business and she’ll edit. As mentioned above I keep things vintage and she keeps things relevant.
What percentage of your items at The Little Grey Sweater are handmade in-house as opposed to from other shops?
Handmade, handpicked, and all designed with vintage lovers in mind! We have been lucky to have skills to sew, friends who do things that we don’t know how yet (such as knitting), and great sellers who we’ve established relationships with that provide quality products for us. We design and sew in house about 1/3 of our items. There are some things that we just have to have in our collection, and we’ll work on creating our own patterns and make them happen. This is both exhausting and exhilarating! We love the design element of our business and look forward to growing this part of The Little Grey Sweater.
How do you choose your "Item of the Month"?
There are so many fun things that we want to provide for our awesome customers! We try to keep our collections cohesive. The item of the month lets us choose something fun that may not go with our collection. It’s usually something seasonal and fun for the holiday that is closest.
What's your favorite item at the moment?
My favorite item right now is the Nicholas overalls, for boys, and the Scarlet dress for girls. Both seem like quintessential Christmas attire, and yes my kids have each of them!
You mention on your website that a portion of each sale is donated to children's organizations. What are some of the organizations that you have given to?
We love children, we value them and appreciate what it takes to be a kid. We love working with The Little Grey Sweater and recognize that we have an added opportunity to do good in the world. We try to donate anonymously but we like to look for foundations that help with crisis intervention and foster care in the state of Utah.
What advice would you offer to other small business owners?
We still feel so new that I’m not sure we have any real advice other than, “Go for it!” We have been so pleasantly surprised with how kind and welcoming the small shop community is. Building relationships with other owners and our customer base has proved to be the most rewarding part of our business, an one that we cherish.