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a children's boutique with sugar and spice
story by Audrey Hanes, photo by Amy Long

AAbbi Swindle Whitley and Alicia Hadley’s dream of opening a local boutique was
realized this past February with the opening of their specialized retail store, Sugar & Spice Children’s Boutique. The two mothers hope that the boutique offers Jonesboro a unique destination for clothing and accessories for babies and children of all ages. Whitley says she has always dreamed of opening a boutique, and after marrying her husband, Justin, and becoming a stepmom to 3-year-old twins Abigail and Alivia, she realized that children’s clothing was her passion.

“I have always loved children,” said Whitley. “I spent my college years working at Walnut Street Baptist Daycare and being a nanny for Alicia’s four girls, so I already had the passion for children and clothing. Why not combine the two?”
“I have always loved dressing my girls in boutique clothing and have business
experience with my pediatric therapy clinic, Playtime Therapy LLC, so I decided to take my love for fashion and business experience and join them,” added Hadley, who has four daughters, 8-year-old Emma, 6-year-old Sophie, 4-year-old Sloan Avery and 1-year-old Harper Scottlyn with her husband, Eric. “With the two of us having a similar vision, it seemed like Sugar & Spice was the logical thing to do.”

The children’s boutique carries girls’ clothing sizes layette through 16 and boys’
clothing sizes layette through 20 in many popular brands, including Peaches ‘n Cream, Molly & Millie, Sado, Vintage Havana, SheBloom, ZaZa Couture, Swanky Baby Vintage, Owl’s & Bat’s, Jak & Peppar, SaraSara, Jack Thomas, Appaman, Fore, Lucy, Andy & Evan, Hudson and Jach.

“I feel that Jonesboro needed a children’s boutique that put more effort into clothing boys and the tween-age girls,” said Hadley. “The tween girls were still being shown ruffles and lace when most of them are preferring to dress with an older look now. … We definitely wanted to specialize in boys clothing and tween girls, but we wanted to include an excellent infant and toddler section, as well. We wanted to offer the whole package.” The owners hope that their 2,000-square-foot boutique has something for everyone, no matter their budget or the children for which they are shopping. Sugar & Spice also offers a baby registry with shower delivery.

“I feel that Jonesboro was in need of a trendy children’s boutique that offered all the flair but a more affordable cost,” said Whitley. “We have cut our mark ups in order to reach out to all groups of customers. We wanted each person to feel that they could find something affordable in our shop.”

Whitley and Hadley say that they have experienced overwhelming support from the community and are thankful for their loyal customers.

“We wanted to start a business that catered to all ages from birth to the youth of our area,” said Hadley. “We love working together; not only do our styles compliment each other but our personalities do, as well. Having so many kids in our families has been the biggest reason for starting this venture with each other.”

Sugar & Spice Children’s Boutique, located at 509 Southwest Drive, Suite C, is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 761-1940, email sugarandspicejonesboro@gmail.com or find Sugar & Spice Children’s Boutique LLC on Facebook.

How do you decide what to carry in the boutique?
Whitley - My approach to picking out items for the next season is to try to find something unique. We love the brands we carry but are always looking for the hot new look/brand.

Hadley - While at market in Dallas, I look for what is a hot seller, what our customers are asking for and something that offers a different look than our competitors may carry.

What are a few of your favorite accessory and clothing items at Sugar & Spice?
Whitley - My favorite accessory items we carry in the store are the Enchanted
Shimmer newborn cocoons. They are crafted from hand-woven cashmere and
French silk and make for the most precious newborn pictures. The boys’ cocoons
sport a French silk tie down the front, while the girls cocoons have gorgeous
flowers, feathers and sparkle. My favorite clothing line we carry for girls is Sado; with gorgeous earth tones and a vintage feel, you can’t go wrong with this line. For the boys, my favorite line is Appaman; it possesses a modern and grown-up feel.

Hadley - My favorite accessory item in the store is the Razzle Baby blanket line. They offer fun patterns for both genders with a luxurious feel. My favorite girls clothing line we offer is SheBloom. From the layette gowns to the toddler swing sets, their patterns are funky and bright with a vintage twist. My favorite boys line we carry is Jack Thomas. It has the structured and preppy feel to it that
looks gorgeous on all the little boys.

How is your personal style reflected in Sugar & Spice’s merchandise?
Whitley - My personal style can be seen in the store with brands such as Sado and SaraSara. I love soft colors and an overall vintage feel but with a funky twist. Also, the trademark leopard print bags and walls have Abbi and Alicia written all over them. If it is leopard, we love it.

Hadley - Our style ranges from ruffles to trendy, allowing us to appeal to all age
groups. Abbi and I have always tried to keep up with the trends of the times; we pride ourselves on arranging the boutique according to what’s hot at the moment. We both have a unique sense of style that compliments each other in style and décor.