The Boy Clothes Dilemma

The Boy Clothes Dilemma

There was that time I got called a "sexist". A customer searching through our racks of girly tutus and dresses found our little corner designated for collared shirts and chinos and told the lovely gal working that day that the owner of the shop must be "a sexist". Her exact words. 

***I should point out before I go any further in this post that I am a mom of two, a boy and a girl. But I was a boy mom first. I experienced all the frustrations of moms that come into my shop or post on social media about Target's boy section being dismal and not being able to find "cute stuff for boys". I get it. Though I must say I think Old Navy does a great job, and I did pretty well there outfitting my son on our non-existent clothing budget when he was a baby and toddler.***

Lilac Lane is a roughly 400 square foot shop. We are EXTREMELY limited on space. When I'm buying for the shop, I have to seriously consider what is most likely to be absolutely loved by our dear customers, because we just don't have the space to bring in a ton of options. So, I try to focus on photo-ready outfits, special pieces that work with a variety of daily pieces you'd find at big box stores to elevate the outfit, and things I would love to see as gifts. There's a reason that over the last three years our shop has been almost 3/4 stocked with items for girls. It's something I was warned about by brand reps who knew I was new to the business. 

Boy clothes are hard to sell. 

I know you are probably thinking, "What?! No way! Moms are always saying they are desperate to find boy clothes!" That's what I thought too. But here's what I know three years into owning a childrens boutique and watching Target and other major stores: most people will not spend money on clothes for boys. 

I see it all the time, I hear it all the time. Moms don't blink an eye at spending $45 on a dress for their girl, but you show them a boy's shirt for $38 and they literally recoil. The reasoning is always the same- "The boys are too rough and they grow too fast to spend money on their clothes." Does this apply to everyone? No, nothing ever does. Sure there are moms who have been buying their little boys boutique clothes since day one and never batted an eyelash. But small business owners and big stores alike can't focus their inventory buying in an area that isn't going to be profitable. When everything sells only because it was on the clearance rack, that isn't a good thing. 

The rep for one of our brands told me to keep a list of the moms asking for boy clothes...because every small business owner he works with had told him they brought in boy clothes, and....crickets. The boy clothes destined for the clearance rack. Small businesses cannot survive on clearance rack sales.

So, knowing that boys clothes are hard to sell and we might completely crash and burn bringing in more, WHY did we just bring in a massive shipment and take over almost half the store for the boys? 

Because I finally found a brand for boys that wasn't crazy expensive and had the quality and style worth the investment. I've been searching for three years. And  I still believe that moms will invest in clothes for their boys when the brand is actually worth it. 

Me & Henry is impressive. It's designed in London and has all of the classic style with modern design that photographs wonderfully and never looks embarrassing years later. The fabrics are beyond comfortable and the quality is amazing. My son will probably never wear any of his other shirts again. And I'm actually ok with that, because those shirts get rough and mishapen after just a couple of washes. Those shirts I can't pass down to family or friends' little ones. But investing a little more and pairing down his wardrobe a little (a sort of capsule wardrobe) I can actually get so much more out of what we do buy. 

We're giving this a try. If you've made it this far into this blog post, you deserve to know that if this all ends up in our Semi-Annual Clearance Sale after the holidays, we'll probably go back to carrying one rack worth of boy clothes and being called "sexist". But I really, really hope you love this collection as much as I do. <3 

- Bre, Owner of Lilac Lane 

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