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Source: @jdayela

Exclusive: Founders of Elfin Los Angeles Melissa Marks and Staci Pearlman Want to Show Others It Is 'Possible to Pursue' Any Dream

Dec. 4 2023, Published 12:10 p.m. ET

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Prior to starting elfin los angeles, a children's clothing store in Los Angeles, Calif., founders Melissa Marks and Staci Pearlman already had the motivation to become entrepreneurs, as Marks' father ran sports retail stores when she was growing up, while Pearlman started making tie-dyed and rhinestone tank tops in middle school with a friend.

"Both of us have worked since we were 15, and now, it’s really exciting to be able to grow a business for ourselves," the pair exclusively tell Morning Honey of their venture. "We launched elfin while we were on maternity leave. We both had backgrounds in fashion: Melissa on the business side, and Staci on the creative side. So, we figured with both of our skill sets and our interest in kids fashion, we would make the perfect partners."

Additionally, the two knew what it was like to build a business from the ground up, as Pearlman was one of the first employees at Fabletics, while Marks was one of the first at FarFetch.

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Source: @stacinicolepearlman

The store is in Los Angeles, Calif.

Though there's plenty of retail stores out there, the duo thought there was a need for a "one-stop shop for kids pieces that were both stylish and functional," they explain. "Also a space to find pieces that aren’t everywhere — we really make it a point to scour the globe for brands that aren’t at all the big department stores and all over the internet."

"We’d like to say the community space we’ve created," they add as to what makes their store stand out. "We’ve made our store a space that moms, dads and kids want to hang around in. We have comfy couches, snacks, drinks, all the things. We want to get to know our customers and their families and creating this inviting space is definitely something we pride ourselves on."

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The store sells clothing for kids.

Of course, running a business can be tough — something the two know all too well. "It definitely ebbs and flows. One month, things could be crazy busy and inventory is getting low, and another, it can be slow and scary. For us, we’re learning how to innovate the kids retail space and make ourselves stand out by adding different elements like our patch bar, which sets us apart from the other kids boutiques in the area," they share.

However, they are "so grateful" that they've been welcomed into the small business world with "open arms" — and feedback from customers has been amazing.

"We love getting to know all of them on a more personal level. The best part is watching their kids grow! Some mamas have shopped with us before they even had their babies!" they say. "Our favorite part is buying, styling and meeting our customers. They’ve truly become friends and we love that so much. Most challenging is managing budgets, inventory, and some of the more mundane day to day stuff."

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The pair are learning the ups and downs of running a business.

"We only buy pieces that have been tried, tested, and approved by our own kids. They’re tough critics, so we really value their feedback. And, we tend to steer more toward timeless pieces that will grow with our customers’ kids, rather than opting for trends," they add. "First off, we love the idea that we can even be inspiring. That said, we’ve made it our mission to carry a huge assortment of small, mama owned businesses. We love stumbling upon a small brand and bringing it into the store to watch it grow. This has happened many times already and it brings us so much joy texting the designer of the brand to tell her how well her line is selling. We also hope to show other moms that it’s absolutely possible to pursue a dream and also be a wonderful mama and present partner."

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Source: @stephanielorenphotography

The duo have some big goals in mind for the future.

As for what the future holds, the two have big goals they hope to achieve.

"We really want to become more of a destination. We see ourselves in a larger space, with additional categories like women’s and gifting. Sort of like a Fred Segal of the valley. We also hope to expand and open a few other locations! Online customers are always giving us insight on where we should be and we’re definitely listening," they declare.

For more on elfin los angeles, click here.


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