Utica mom Fran Johnson, 29, didn’t want to settle for store-made bedding for her son, Aiden. Unhappy with the usual sports, Noah’s Ark, or zoo animal themes, Johnson decided to take sewing classes and make her own. She crafted a preppy, argyle crib set that matched his personality, she said.
Hooked on homemade fashions, Johnson continued to create clothes, accessories and more items for Aiden and her other children, daughter Esme, 4, and son McKay, 18. months. Using Esme and her other kids as models, she posted the pictures on Facebook.
Interest blossomed in Johnson’s fashions - her friends wanted to know where she found the cute outfits and accessories - and a short time later, Sleepy Owl Boutique was born. The online retailer features homemade, unique fashions and accessories for babies and toddlers. She also sells items on Etsy.com, a site for hand-made goods.
Sleepy Owl Boutique’s popular sellers include ties for boys, lace headbands made with imported feathers for girls, and hand-crafted Taggies, soft 10x10 blankets. She also sells dresses, tops, bottoms, rompers, diaper bags, and more. Some orders are ready to ship the next day, while custom orders take about two weeks. Prices range from $15 to $50.
Rochester-based Green Baby will stock Sleepy Owl Boutique’s fall line in August. Look for little girls’ peasent dresses, and other items. “It’s such a blessing to have my line at the Green Baby store in Rochester,” she said. In addition, Johnson’s line is available at an online store based in North Carolina called Baby Ink.
Johnson, who graduated from Peace Lutheran High School in 2001, continues to manage her growing online business as well as her family. Her kids are still featured all throughout Sleep Owl Boutique’s website. “I’m definitely a busy working mom, but I wouldn’t change anything,” she said.