Carolyn Hotham is the name behind Tiny boutique in Charlotte. With an eye for unique, designer pieces and a characteristic childlike hope, Hotham has curated the store for toddler trends, baby brands, and all things children’s couture. A seasoned boutique owner, Carolyn has earned a reputation for finding fine fashion and offering this expertise to the tiniest of tots. She shared with us the story behind her stylish little store.
Carolyn, what is your background and what have you been doing since you came to Charlotte?
I had a store in Florida, so when I moved up here to Charlotte, I decided to open up another. I took a small spot inside of a big warehouse, and I started out with really specialized items, antiques, and accessories. It was about 500 square feet, but it showed me that I wanted to do this. At that time, Phillips Place was getting ready to open up and I was soon able to get a location there.
How did you make the transition from jewelry to children’s clothing?
I closed my first store because I felt it was more important to be a parent than a store owner. The second store opened at the end of 2007, two weeks before the banking industry announced they were in a lot of trouble. For four years, I struggled because nobody was buying fine jewelry. After that I kept thinking,
“Somebody needs to open up a children’s store that’s not like everything else here.”
I thought Charlotte had gotten sophisticated and educated enough that they would support a store for children that carried some of the name brands people were wearing themselves, like Chloe and Stella McCartney. So, I opened Tiny. It’s been the most exciting and challenging of everything I’ve done, and I absolutely love it.
I know that you carry some exclusive lines no one else in Charlotte carries. Who are these designers and how did you choose them?
I visited a lot of stores that I admired and looked at their inventory. It’s been a real adventure to find brands that nobody’s heard of yet and at all price ranges. I have precious little things that might retail for under $50; I have things that retail for $300 – $500– there’s a wide variety of choices at my store. I think it surprises people who do come in to realize that there’s something here for them.
We’ve gotten quite a bit bigger than Tiny originally was; I’ve gone into the market for tweens and teens, and we have a lot of new brands coming in – Love Shack Fancy, Milly minis, and Les Coyotes des Paris, a beautiful brand from Paris.
Your store is not just clothing–what else do you sell?
We have accessories, bedding, and a great assortment of toys– anything and everything that a little girl or boy would like to get their hands on. Whatever a child would like is what I want my store to be.