Category: Small Business Spotlight

Published: February 14, 2018

Sophisticated and playful. These two words could be used to describe the clothing, gifts, décor and, yes, even the owner of the French-inspired children’s boutique, Heloise. Here, Alli Perkins dispels myths about European clothing, while confirming what it is that she looks for in beautiful, but durable, children’s attire for her five-year-old boutique. 

Who is Heloise?
Alli: Heloise was a friend of mine that I met when I lived in Paris. I always loved that name, but my husband wouldn’t let me use it for any of our kids. We do have a little girl named Ellie, and we own a speakeasy downtown that we named “Saint Ellie.” We also have two boys, Coulter and Grayson, and we named our restaurant “Colt and Gray” after them. So, our children definitely have their namesakes. I suppose by naming this store “Heloise” I really wanted to reflect that we carry French and French-inspired clothing.

What do you think the French bring to world of children’s fashion?
The French have such an amazing attention to detail. The quality of the fabrics they use is incredible. The stitching, the pockets, the collars…every piece of detail shows a love of design.

We lived in New York for a couple years after we had children while my husband attended the French Culinary Institute. There were all these awesome small boutiques with great independent lines of clothing. When we moved back to Denver, we decided to open this store because we didn’t see much of that same kind of quality.

Some adults will splurge on “investment pieces” that they know they’ll wear indefinitely, but children can be really hard on their clothing…and they outgrow things so quickly! How do your clothes compare from a price and durability standpoint?
Alli: I think there is an assumption that European clothing is super expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You really aren’t paying that much more for any of our clothing…no more than you would spend in a Nordstrom or J Crew, for example. Our pieces are going to last, and they’re not things you’ll see every other child wearing.

My sister has three daughters who have received all of our hand-me-downs. Her youngest is wearing things my daughter and her older sisters all wore over and over again, and they still look incredible. Our pieces can definitely be passed down, because they will hold up.

Tell me about one of your favorite pieces in the store right now.
Louis Louise is one of my favorite lines. Their stuff is really sophisticated but playful at the same time. This dress, for example, is made from a black fabric with some fun gold metallic detailing, ruffles, beautiful little buttons and a sweet collar. It’s incredibly soft, which is another critical element for children’s clothing. Egg is another one of our biggest brands. They’re out of New York City, and their pieces are wonderful because you can dress them up or down so easily.

Do you carry clothing for boys as well?
We do. Egg makes some great boys clothing, and the rest of our boys clothing items are by Johnnie O. Their logo is a surfboard, so they call themselves “West Coast Prep.” We sell a lot of newborn gifts for boys, but our polo shirts go up to size 16. We generally sell up to size 12 for girls.

Your store also has a sophisticated and playful feel to it, much like the clothing you sell. Can you describe the racks your clothes are hanging from for our readers?
Alli: So these dresses are hung from tree branches that we’ve covered with a metallic paint. A friend of ours is a sailor by profession, and he used fishing wire to help us hang the branches from the ceiling so they almost appear as if they’re floating.

Tell me about this beautiful little play house behind you. I’m sure this is a popular place for kids to play while their parents shop?
Alli: My husband actually made this! I wanted a place where kids could play but it needed to look authentic…with a European flair. So, we built a frame and then bought some beautiful weathered looking wood. The ironwork on the doors and windows was actually welded by a really talented woman out of Lafayette, Colorado.

What do the next five years have in store for Heloise?
Well, there are a lot of changes happening in Cherry Creek North. I love the changes, though. There are some great new places that have opened in the area, like Perch or A Line, but then we still have places like Max and Garbarini that have been here forever. I think it’s so great for Denver to have this area where people can shop at independently-owned boutiques like these. Cherry Creek North has always had such a great artisanal and walkable feel to it. With so many more residential places about to open, I can imagine we’ll have more families…a lot of grandparents as well…who are going to be shopping with us.