A Milwaukee-based children's clothing retailer is expanding its e-commerce operation to a brick-and-mortar location on the city's East Side for the summer.
BlackBear Children's Boutique
, which sells high-end baby and children's clothing and accessories, will open a pop-up shop next month at 2622 N. Downer Ave., the former Roots Underground Outfitters space.
It plans to take over that 895-square-foot retail space, situated between Cafe Hollander and Robert Laurence Hair Studio,
from mid-June through late August. The store will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays.
[caption id="attachment_380459" align="alignleft" width="218"]
A beach ensemble from Egg New York and Louelle. Courtesy of BlackBear Children's Boutique[/caption]
Owner Emma Carollo launched the business as an e-commerce site in 2017. It carries ethically produced products from almost 30 local and global brands. Most items are geared toward children ages 0 to 6, but its website includes a section for "big kids," ages 7 to 12.
In addition to the online store, BlackBear offers in-person shopping by appointment at its showroom, which Carollo has set up at her parents' home in Shorewood, she said. The business has also hosted pop-ups at various stores and farmer's markets throughout the area.
But a long-term pop-up concept will allow customers to better experience BlackBear's products, Carollo said.
"It's an opportunity for people to walk in and shop and to get the feel of the clothing," she said. "The clothes sell themselves with their soft, organic material. You can really see the difference in quality."
Having her own retail space for the summer will also give Carollo a chance to meet customers face-to-face and to test drive the area's retail market.
And if the pop-up is successful, Carollo said, she will consider expanding the boutique to a permanent brick-and-mortar store or showroom.
"I want to grow and this is a great opportunity," she said.