You can’t mistake a Boe Couture design. Stephanie Tooke made sure of that.
This local Edmonton Mama and Fashion Designer combines colourful patterns and fun designs with all the baby and toddler clothing she creates. It’s a completely different style — guaranteed to impress your mom friends, because it’s not mass-produced.
Think Star Wars, Skulls, Harry Potter, Unicorns, Mermaids, dinosaurs, fun patterns, plaid, checker, funky designs, anything nerdy and amazing. Your friends will be asking you where you got that hoodie, tee, pair of grow-with-me pants, or the mommy and me set you and your little one are sporting.
I had to share the story of local maker, Stephanie, behind Boe Couture.
1) Tell Edmonton Moms what Boe Couture is all about.
I created Boe Couture (previously Boe Baby Boutique) in 2015, just after my son Boe was born. It’s my home studio clothing business, making baby, toddler and women’s clothing. I’m going into my third year of business and can hardly believe how busy I’ve become. I sew items by hand out of my home here in Edmonton, and sell at markets and through private message, usually on Facebook.
My demand keeps on growing!
I started my business because I desperately wanted original and inspired designs for my little guy to wear. Clothing can be beautiful — like wearable art — and I pride myself on making one-of-a-kind pieces for toddlers and children.
When Boe was a baby, I’d scour the aisles at stores, hunting for original boys clothing. I had no luck. Even at homemade markets, I couldn’t find a lot of selection for boys. I began making what I wanted to wear and then thought — why not grow it as a business!?
It was a difficult and slow start. I would even cry at the beginning, thinking I wasn’t successful. However — I trusted the process and knew it would take time to grow, and it has. I originally started with cloth diapers but struggled breaking into that market. I realized that my passion was in clothing; I did that well. I shifted my perceptive of what “success” would be and just worked on doing what I loved.
2) What originally got you into designing and sewing costumes and clothes?
I’ve always sewn. When I was little, I would make Barbie clothes and Halloween costumes.
When I was 19, I joined a Medieval Historical “recreation” group. I would design Medieval gowns and corsets and more. It was so much fun. I also started Belly Dancing (Arabic Dancing) and I really wanted a beautiful outfit, but couldn’t afford the $800 one, so I just scouted out my own accessories and made my own.
When I moved to Edmonton in 2009, I took a corporate job, but felt fairly uninspired. On the advice of a psychic, I opened a dance studio. I know — crazy. But, it ran strong for over three years. I had a boutique portion of the studio where I would sew active wear and costumes for my students and for shoppers. In 2012, I closed my studio and got a corporate job again. I experiences a huge creative “dry spell” after I closed my studio; I didn’t look at my sewing machine, I grieved my studio and thought I’d closed that chapter of my life. It was a quiet time for me.
I met my husband and we got married in 2014 — and got some inspiration back. I designed everything for my wedding, the decorations and more. I was already pregnant with Boe and didn’t know it. Inspiration was about to blow me away again.
I started Boe Couture after he was born, and haven’t lacked creativity since. Starting this business has helped me build so many skills. It’s expanded my idea of what “job” can look like and helps me think outside the box, constantly opening my mind to new possibilities.
4) Which of your baby boy items is most popular? Why do you think that is?
Hands down, my hoodies are my top seller.
They are colourful, unique, and recognizable, with mixed patterns and fun graphics. But it’s not only that — they are soft and fit such a long range of time for kids. It will fit a child for anywhere between 1 to 2 years, which is a long time, which is rare for kids clothing.
Toddlers love the hoodies, too, sometimes refusing to take them off! My nieces wore theirs until they literally were smelly and had to be washed. (Hahaha)
5) What do you want your designs to represent?
I want my pieces to be recognizable, wild and eclectic. I want my designs to represent thinking outside the box and embracing your own sense of style. People recognize my ascetic in public — you’ll see mix-and-match patterns, like floral and plaid, which actually go well together. It’s fun to make clothing bright and unique.
6) Do you think Edmonton is a great place to raise a family?
Yes, I do. It’s all about family and community. I’m from Calgary, but I love Edmonton for its family-friendliness and socially conscious culture. With our activities, festivals, businesses and restaurants here — it’s very family focused city — and I appreciate that.
7) What was it like as a new mom in Edmonton?
When I was a new mom, all of my friends were older than me. They had teenagers, so I had to find a different way of connecting with new moms. I found my social circle in a unique place: markets. My peers and customers became my friends. If my business was only online, I wouldn’t have had that. I have friends who started shopping with me while they were pregnant and now I’m making their child’s second birthday outfit.
8) What is your vision for Boe Coutoure in the next 5 years?
Right now, I focus on selling at markets and through private message, but am developing my website for online sales in the future. I will make items available through my website in 2018. I will also work on stocking my items at local boutiques and stores. I would love to grow and hire a team, or have my own boutique, which is a real possibility. I could grow in unexpected ways and welcome it all.
9) Any advice for other moms starting small businesses?
Always say sorry and own up to your mistakes — always — and stand behind your products.
Doing this, you can establish integrity and trustworthiness with your business. For example, I will fix any clothing item, no matter what the issue is. That’s my promise. I never question my customers and that’s why they love my service.
10) Finish this sentence: Motherhood is __________________.
…. a wild ride!
I was compensated for this post by Boe Baby Boutique through an exchange of product, however, all opinions within are my own.