By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough??””I designed my store not just to appeal to new moms or grandmothers, but also to children,” said Vanessa Bono of the store she opened in April in downtown Westborough.
Little V Designs showcases a carefully selected assortment of clothing for both boys and girls in a shop that will charm parents and kids alike.
Parents and grandparents will find clothing for a variety of occasions, from sturdy school clothes to christening gowns, and dresses and suits appropriate for flower girls and ring bearers. The store also carries outerwear, shoes, pajamas and an array of accessories and gifts.
Meanwhile, the children can enjoy a play area with a chalkboard and toys from nearby Learning Express. Little girls especially will like the assortment of sparkly tutus and glittery accessories and a line of matching outfits for girls and their dolls.
Sometimes the store entertains children with visits from characters such as Batman and Belle, courtesy of Bono's oldest son and his girlfriend.
The mother of four boys ranging in age from six to 16, Bono selects the clothing she carries with an eye to the practical, looking for items that mix and match across brands and seasons, and insisting on quality construction.
“It's important to be able to get three seasons of wear from clothes and to be able to hand them down,” Bono said. “I don's carry clothing that doesn's hold up or that goes out of style.
“A lot of the stores that cater to “tweens are not living up to their previous reputations for quality,” she added. “If a line doesn's live up to my standards, I won's carry it again.
“I's also trying to bring in lines that will turn the “tweens to a different look that is still fashionable, because a lot of moms are not happy with the looks and styles available in many stores.”
Little V starts with infants and goes to size 10 for girls and size 8 for boys, and Bono expects to expand her assortment for boys in the coming months.
She got started in retail back in 2009, making tutus and custom bows for friends” daughters, before opening Little V in the Natick mall in 2011. When the family moved to Southborough, she began exploring free-standing store locations and settled on the Westborough shop.
“I have been so welcomed here,” Bono said. “The town has been great, and all the local businesses around me have been wonderful. Many of my existing customers have followed me here, and I'se met so many new customers.”
When she is on buying trips, Bono is careful “to consider what my customers are going to respond to and not just what I like. There are a lot of different customers with different preferences.” She often asks her husband's opinion and has friends” daughters circle what they like in catalogs to broaden her perspective. Customers are encouraged to add their thoughts on the store's Facebook page.
Little V Designs features clothing from such companies as Persnickety, Servane Barrau, Isobella & Chloe, Mustard Pie, Joules, and Wes and Willy and Johnnie-O for boys.
The store offers gift wrapping and has plans for events such as a Matilda Jane trunk show and a moms” night out. Bono can craft custom bows, headbands and barrettes to match specific colors, for example if a child will be in a wedding. Specialty items such as christening gowns and boys” dress suits can be custom ordered.
Little V Designs is located at 5 Milk St. in Westborough, just off the rotary. More information is on the website, www.littlevdesigns.com or Facebook, and by calling 508-836-5458. The store is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is closed Sunday and Monday. Bono noted that hours are likely to be expanded as the holiday season approaches.
Editor's Note: The preceding is not an endorsement and is presented for informational purposes only.