Smocked Polkadot is an online children’s store dedicated to beautiful, unique, and affordable clothing for both girls and boys from babies up to 12 year olds.
The business was launched by Ashley Henlsey who lives in Virginia in the USA with her husband, two sons and daughter. Ashley’s vision was to give the world the chance to enjoy the same design concepts and fashions that she was designing for her own children, so that children across the world can wear comfortable, practical and fashionable clothes.
House of Coco Magazine is interested to find out more about Ashley and her company Smocked Polkadot.
HOC. We love your original company name, Smocked Polkadot, how did you decide upon the name?
Ashley. When I started the company I wanted a very unique but fun name. I knew that I wanted Smocked in the name because we offer traditional classic clothing but I wanted fun in it also , and that is where Polkadot came from because they are fun and colourful. So that is where Smocked Polkadot originated.
HOC. We’ve learned that it was your personal hands-on approach to sourcing the best designs for your own children that led you to want to design your own fashion line for children, is that right? How did you get started?
Ashley. Yes that is correct. I loved dressing my children in clothes that were fun and fashionable but still made them look little. I also loved matching my kids. I decided to create my own line at that point. I researched for a while and ordered different samples from different manufacturers over the world until I found the perfect one to work with. I wanted to make sure I connected with them and that they understood me and my brand.
HOC. At Smocked Polkadot you stock everything from diaper sets to dresses, and layettes (Rompers) to shorts and pant sets with lots more too, do you have a favourite design from your current online collection?
Ashley. I do have favorites. I tend to gravitate towards the more classic sets. I also love all of our Pajama wear ( as my kids do too) and our knit collections are some of my favorites as well because they are so soft and comfortable for the kids. Pretty much I love them all ☺
HOC. Your website is easy to navigate from the moment the customer types in your web address; did you know straight away how you wanted the site to look and how you envisioned it working?
Ashley. I knew which colors I wanted to use right off and the platrform I wanted to use. I did however hire a graphic designer to bring my visions to life for my logo and to set up the website exactly how I wanted it to look.
HOC. You have setup a foundation to help families with the adoption process, can you tell us some more about this foundation and how it fits into the Smocked Polkadot business plan?
Ashley. We set up the Seecaas Hope for Adoption foundation this year. We are very excited about this, as 2 of our children are adopted. We wanted to be able to help others in their expenses throughout the journey because it can be a very expensive process. A proceed from every item sold at Smocked Polkadot will go into our foundation. As well as a portion from my Seecaas women’s shoe line that will be lauching the end of this year. Which I am very excited about.
HOC. Smocked Polkadot is a well-established online business; what has been the biggest learning curve you have come across since you launched in 2014?
Ashley. I have learned that you always have to have an open mind and be ready to change as needed. You will have obstacles that will come your way but just be ready to work around them, maybe take a different approach and always keep being you and your brand.
HOC. What was the best piece of advice you were given before you launched your children’s clothing company?
Ashley. I honestly didn’t tell anyone but my husband that I was going to do this. So I just took my dreams of wanting to start my own company, ran with it and never looked back.
HOC. What advice would you offer someone who is setting up a clothing business online?
Ashley. I would say to make sure you are ready to work hard! Never give up. Ever. Even if you are told no from someone, go somewhere else. There is always a way. Follow your dreams and make it your reality.
Visit Smocked Polkadot for more info
Thank you for sharing your business story for House of Coco Magazine’s Women Worldwide series.