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From left to right, the Tiny Treasures Boutique’s partner Camille Osterhout, employees Ashley Osterhuot and Jeannette Hager and partners Tiffany Osterhour and Alisha Treasure. Customers to the Chubbuck, Idaho, shop find a blend of unique gifts for infants and toddlers.

ince babies grow quickly out of one size and into another, moms are always looking for new outfits for their little ones. And excited grandparents, friends and other family members are often on the hunt for the perfect baby gifts. What are some of the best ways to catch customers’ eyes and convince them to buy? Baby boutique owners’ strategies are multi-faceted.

Customers at Tiny Treasures Baby Boutique in Chubbuck, Idaho, discover a blend of unique gifts for infants and toddlers. “We carry handmade crocheted hats, custom blankets, dresses, diaper cakes, shelving, decoration, tutus, hair bows, wooden plaques and similar items,” said owner Alisha Treasure. Although best-selling items vary from month to month, Treasure said hair bows for baby girls are always a hit. With a wide variety of merchandise in the store, Treasure said that the secret of selling well is presentation. “It’s definitely in our displays. We try to keep up with the holidays and come up with something to match. For example, during Superbowl season, we used different team colors and dressed the mannequins up as cheerleaders. Our store recently moved, but at our old location, we had huge front windows and were always doing something fun for the displays.”

Kalea Harrison, manager at Sela’s Small Couture in Seattle, Wash., agreed that mannequins are effective tools for portraying a store’s image to the world. “We get a lot of positive comments on the displays in our windows,” she said. Harrison also said keeping the store’s merchandise fresh is vital. “I think it’s important to have new items all the time, and to know what the trends are. It’s also vital to know the going rate for various things. We aren’t going to sell items if they’re priced incorrectly.”

Tiny Treasures Boutique's partner Alisha Treasure photographed with a Fourth of July window display. With a wide variety of merchandise in the store, Treasure said the secret of selling well is presentation.

At Buttons & Bows, a 4,800-square-foot baby boutique in Richmond, Va., owner Amanda Ayers said shoes are a best-selling item. “We also carry infant and toddler clothing, baby gifts, craft items, books and some jewelry for christening gifts and other special occasions.” When designing displays, Ayers strives to assemble combinations of coordinating colors. “It really makes the items stand out more than simply putting matching colors together,” she said. According to Ayers, storytelling within a display is important. “We try to incorporate a lot of our gifts into the apparel displays to add on to the stories we’re telling,” said Ayers. To boost sales, Ayers has used email blasts and newspaper ads in the past—but lately, she’s turned to social media as an effective way to reach potential customers. “We’ve started posting new items on Facebook when we get them in.”

Crystal Pollard, owner of Bellies to Babies in Minneapolis, Minn., also uses the Internet to bring new items to the attention of potential customers. “We highlight specific items on Facebook and we’re constantly putting up photos to let people know about them.” The 1,600-square-foot shop sells a variety of clothing for newborns to toddlers, as well as maternity items. “We have shoes and hats for babies, costume jewelry for moms, teething necklaces for babies, maternity and baby name books, and cute onesies that are locally made.” As an added convenience for expectant mothers, Bellies to Babies also rents special occasion maternity dresses.

From left to right, employees Jeannette Hagar and Ashley Osterhuot, Kayson Isaacson, product control, and partners Camille Osterhout, Alisha Treasure and Tiffany Osterhout of the Tiny Treasures Boutique. Treasure said hair bows for baby girls are always a hit.

When it comes to organizing merchandise, Pollard believes presentation is important. “We have everything arranged by size, and color coded within the sizes. All the hangers are uniform, which looks nice. I’m pretty picky about that.”

At Spoiled Sweet Boutique in Germantown, Tenn., owner Kendra Vickery augments her selection of baby gifts, apparel and accessories by offering customers an extra service: monogramming. “We have embroidery machines at the back of the store so we can monogram on-site instead of having to send it out,” said Vickery. The 1,100-square-foot store also sells infant and children’s clothing, picture frames, diaper bags, bibs, burp cloths and hair accessories. For increasing sales, Vickery said nothing works better than a staff member’s enthusiasm. “My employees have favorite items that they’ve used for their kids or grandkids—such as a particular blanket that one employee really likes, and she sells the heck out of it. When a staff member is excited about an item, customers are more likely to buy it.”

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