Here’s a newsflash for you if you haven’t already heard. Babies are expensive. And because there is nothing you wouldn’t do for that small (and sweetly manipulative) little human, you are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on whatever new gadget you read about in parenting magazines. You’re also willing to buy 18 stroller toys because the sales assistant at that mega baby department store told you that your baby needs constant stimulation. And he must be right. Right?! By the time your bundle of joy hits the six month mark, you’re drowning in swaddles and have maxed out every credit card trying to keep up with all the latest baby trends. But fret not parents because two very savvy moms had the brilliant idea of bringing you the top baby items at a fraction of the cost. Where is this mecca of good deals I speak about? It’s right in our great city waiting for you to come shop and consign!
The Children’s Exchange is simply put, every parent’s dream. Babies outgrow everything from newborn swings to that Burberry trench coat you swore she would wear more than once. And those items end up stored in a garage or a basement without much further use. But at a boutique like The Children’s Exchange, located in South Miami, you have an opportunity to not only put money back in your pocket, but it allows those items to have a second chance with a new family. Plus, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in those ginormous baby stores. At The Children’s Exchange, owners, Rebecca and Cecilia, make sure your visit is personalized to help you find exactly what you’re looking for!
Besides having a knack for finding great baby deals, Rebecca and Cecilia have a fun and ambitious entrepreneurial spirit that allows their business and friendship to thrive. I got a chance to speak with these two mommy moguls about what it takes to run their fashionable neighborhood spot.
FSF: I am so excited to feature The Children’s Exchange on the blog’s style spotlight because it is such a great store that is every tiny fashionista’s (and parent’s!) dream! Was the store something you created when you yourself became a mom?
TCE: The store was actually first opened in 1981 by two moms just like us! My partner, Rebecca and I purchased it about five years ago and totally revamped it. At the time, she had one child and I was a newlywed. We had worked together at a boutique in the Grove for about two years then we went our separate ways to work as buyers. We had both always wanted to open our own store one day and she first heard about the business being for sale and during one of our buying trips, she suggested buying it together and re branding the business to really reflect modern day families. We have both always loved fashion and retail and when this opportunity came up we just couldn’t say no! Five years and five kids later, here we are!
FSF: Being a mom and a business woman is not an easy task. How do you find, or at least try to achieve, that balance with two small kids?
TCE: Finding a balance between home and work definitely isn’t easy, but it really helps having a business partner that has the same passion for her family as she does for her business. Because we have one another and a great team behind us, we feel like we are very lucky to have the luxury of family time without leaving the business unattended.
FSF: The baby industry is a big bucks business. There’s a new gadget out every week, a new stroller, a new clothing collection. You spend a lot of money buying into every baby fad. But here, parents can get a break. How does the store work?
TCE: The store is an amazing concept for new parents and “veterans” alike. We are extremely careful that everything we take is in perfect condition which allows new parents to purchase high-end baby items in tip top shape at a fraction of retail price. For the parents that have baby items just lying around, they simply drop off the items at the store and we take it from there. Once their items sell, the consignor can either pick up their check or, most often, use the proceeds as store credit.
FSF: What are your most popular items that parents are always in the market for?
TCE: Strollers. Parents are always in need of some kind of stroller…jogging, double, umbrella, etc and we ALWAYS have strollers.
FSF: How do you determine what to consign and what not accept?
TCE: For clothing consignment the pieces must be freshly laundered, with no defects and they must meet our brand criteria. If for whatever reason something is brought in that we cannot accept, we donate the items to one of three local charities. The larger items need to be brought in clean and disinfected and with all their corresponding pieces.
FSF: What would you tell parents if they have any hesitations to purchase something that’s been previously own?
TCE: We are VERY careful with everything that is accepted. We have a meticulous three point check system before any article of clothing is put out on the sales floor and the larger baby items need to be personally inspected by one of the owners before it’s sold. We make sure all our employees are knowledgeable on recalled items and receive daily notices from the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission that keeps us informed as to what those products might be.
FSF: The clothes here is out of this world. You carry so many unique pieces for both girls and boys. Why is it important to you to feature some out of the box wardrobe staples?
TCE: We pride ourselves on only choosing the best of the best clothing and products when it’s brought in and our customers really appreciate our selective editing efforts. Also, since we both have always loved fashion we thoroughly enjoy finding special, one-of-a-kind pieces for our kids and customers.
FSF: Every season, there’s the must have baby item or fashion trend, what are we seeing for spring/summer?
TCE: Aden + Anais “easy-swaddle” blankets! They’re the best, they’re super soft and they simplify the swaddling process so parents don’t have to struggle for the perfect swaddle. We absolutely love this product!
FSF: What is one item every new parent should have for their child?
TCE: An Ergo baby carrier. They allow you to carry your baby hands-free in a super comfortable carrier and the babies absolutely love being so close to their mom or dad!
|The Children’s Exchange owners, Rebecca Millares-Macias and Cecilia Herrera, have made this consignment store for tiny tots a shopping destination for all Miamians.
FSF: Between both of you, you have five delicious kiddos! When you aren’t running the store, what are some things you and your family like to do for fun in Miami?
TCE: Our kids love being outside so whether its a park, beach or boat day if we’re outside – they’re happy!
** To learn more on The Children’s Exchange, go on their website at http://www.thechildrenexchange.com/ **