Rylee + Cru Retailer Spotlight: Dreams of Cuteness

Rylee + Cru Retailer Spotlight: Dreams of Cuteness
We’re always excited to highlight the beautiful retailers we partner with that help make the Rylee + Cru Collective what it is today. Each one all over the world has its own look, feel, and story, so this is where we get to share that local feeling with all of you and the inspiration behind each store.

For our next feature we are excited to introduce you to Dreams of Cuteness!


Q. Tell us about your store! What made you decide to open up your own retail space?
A. It all started with a love of cuteness and a love of family! I was working full time as an attorney and the long hours were leaving me with little time for my children. When I got pregnant with my third child I decided to reevaluate. I loved working in public service and wanted to continue doing something that made a difference. At that time, I was working at a non-profit that provided pro bono legal services to underprivileged families. Seeing struggling families was part of my everyday, and being able to help made my work feel rewarding. I wanted to combine my love of children with my appreciation for all things cute in a way that could still be meaningful. Since the beginning, Dreams of Cuteness has given back to those in need through customer funded donations with our buy-one/give-one “Bebox.” We also take a portion of our profits to donate necessary products to shelters and community organizations that benefit children. As it turns out, I certainly don’t work any less than I used to! But running the store is more flexible, fun, and full of new challenges.

Q. What is your favorite thing about running your store?
A. All of it! I love children and getting to work in that space is such a dream. It is a special privilege to be even the tiniest part of our customers' lives. Over time, I have gotten to know lots of customers personally and truly value those relationships. Plus it always feels like such a win when I can help save the day for a birthday or important occasion, or put together a gift for someone special to a client. One of the best parts of my job is receiving notes or emails with stories from customers, and seeing pictures of their little ones enjoying our products. Being online gives us the opportunity to interact with people all over the world. I was able to help a client in Australia choose flower girl dresses that matched her wedding dress, a grandfather on the West Coast pick out a first birthday present for his grandchild, a mother in the UK find her son’s favorite skull print blanket - and these are just a few examples! They may all seem like small gestures, but they matter. As it has famously been said, "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."

Another favorite part of running the store is getting to know and build relationships with brands we love and believe in - one of which is the Rylee + Cru Collective, of course! There are some really great people behind the brands we carry and they all have a story. There is so much work, creativity and skill behind the scenes that goes into each collection. I love getting to share our carefully selected brands with our customers. Year after year, we grow alongside our partners and it's awesome to be a part of their business and take joy in each others' success.

Q. How do you select the brands you carry?
A. We are very selective with the brands we carry. We only choose to work with companies we believe in, and we have to feel that we can fully stand behind their products. Style is important to us, but quality, comfort, function and manufacturing processes are also essential considerations. All of our brands make quality products, and many of them are organic, sustainable, and ethically made. I do all the buying for the store, though I do take an assistant on some trips. We attend trade shows to discover new brands and work with showrooms for many of our current brands. It is a priority for us to be on top of what is going on in our industry. We always want to know what companies are starting sister brands, what other labels our current partners love, and who is winning awards and making a splash. I am very particular and detail oriented, which makes it easy to know what I like and don’t like. I wouldn’t say I have a specific style though. I can appreciate looks that are modern, edgy, classic, vintage, or anything else, but it always boils down to whether I think that kids will enjoy wearing/using the products. While the parents are also on my mind when selecting brands, I always keep the children at the forefront. We put a lot of thoughtfulness and care into curating the cutest, coolest, most unique styles and collection of brands to create a streamlined shopping destination where our customers can find all the best in one place.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you?
A. My typical day involves a lot of running around. As a mother of four, the work and responsibilities of parenthood are always in play. Each morning I wake up early, make breakfast and get the kids ready for school with my husband. After we drop them off, we both head in to work. I start my workday by setting out a plan for that day and prioritizing tasks. I respond to emails, maintain our social media, assist customers, review new inventory, and assign tasks so that my team can divide and conquer all there is to do. There are just a few of us, so I have a hand in pretty much everything. I like it that way, because this business means so much to me. I strive to show that care and attention to detail in every aspect of the business. Having people who care as much as I do is so important to me, and I would never be able to do it without my right hand woman, Jessica, who meticulously packs the majority of orders. In the afternoon I pickup the kids, help with homework, get them to their activities (swim, jiu jitsu, volleyball, tutoring, and playdates) and make dinner. I usually squeeze in a little work during this time to make sure there are no pressing issues/emergencies. My youngest is only 3 years old, so bedtime comes early and for a couple hours it is a blur of bath time, reading books, and snuggling before bed. Once all the kids are settled, I do one last email check before spending the remainder of the evening relaxing with my husband. My days are very full and can be hectic, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Q. If we had one day in your hometown, where should we visit?
A. The city of Miami Beach has a unique mix of city life and island life. One day isn't nearly enough to see it all, but if you really did have just one day, I would tell you to stay on Miami Beach and save the “mainland” for a longer visit. Hitting the beach, as in the actual sand, is a must. For a spot with lots of action, Ocean Drive between 9th and 10th streets is home to our own Muscle Beach. Adjacent to this spot, you’ll find tons of volleyball courts with ongoing games and even a playground for little ones. One of my favorite parts of our beach is the boardwalk, where you can walk, skate, or bike. It runs for seven miles along the sand all the way from 1st street up to Surfside.

For a more relaxing scene, I love the beach behind the Faena Hotel on 32nd street and Collins Avenue. The sandy area is wide with big, beautiful rocks at the edge of the water in some parts. Plus the Faena hotel is worth a walk through on your way to the beach because of its impressive art, and the maximalist design which make it a sight to see.

While you are in town, you have to sample the local Cuban food. Puerto Sagua restaurant on Seventh Street and Collins Avenue is a classic spot to stop in for a casual lunch. If you like to shop - or even if you don’t - Lincoln Road should be a part of your day. It is a pedestrian-only street lined with tons of shops that go from the beach side of town almost all the way to the bay on the opposite side. While strolling down Lincoln, you can enjoy art deco architecture, fountains, play areas, and the beautiful western block designed by landscape architect Raymond Jungles (inspired by the Florida Everglades).

Finally, you should head to South Pointe Park for sunset. Located at the base of Miami Beach, this park is big and has something for everyone. There are lots of big grassy fields for picnicking and running around, a playground for little ones with an ice cream window next to it, plus a long sidewalk along the water where people exercise or just stroll. South Point Pier is here, too, and is stunning to walk at any time of day, although just before sunset is my favorite. If you’re hungry, next to the park there is a Smith & Wollensky with outdoor seating right on the water. The burger is delicious, or if you are feeling fancy you can go with oysters and champagne. There you can sit back and enjoy the cruise ships passing by, the waves crashing below, and the feeling that life is good.

Connect with Dreams of Cuteness
Instagram: @dreamsofcuteness