Join us today as we meet one of my favorite local Moms, Diane Jennings of Luca Boutique. Luca has quickly become my go to place for amazing children’s clothes at great prices. Diane’s super friendly approach and and thoughtfully laid out store (it even has a play space with a gate!), makes shopping with my own small kids, really enjoyable. Diane lives in Somerset, MA with her husband and 7 year old son, Luke.
Kidoinfo: Tell us about your business.
Diane Jennings: Luca is a fun and fresh consignment boutique for kids located in the heart of Water Street, an eclectic shopping and dining district in Warren. We carry premium and better brand children’s apparel, baby gear and trendy maternity clothing for the stylish Mom to be! You’ll also find a wide array of new accessories and gifts.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?
Diane: I was compelled to re-invent the typical consignment experience from top to bottom. As a frequent consignment shopper, I was disheartened with the majority of stores I visited and knew there had to be better way to both shop and consign apparel.
Kidoinfo: How did you start your business?
Diane: A close friend owned a small store and was looking to sell her business. She approached me in 2010 and within 30 days I had rented a storefront on Water Street. With unparalleled support of family and friends we opened in January 2011 and never looked back.
Kidoinfo: How do you balance work and family?
Diane: My husband and I are a team and honestly I couldn’t make it work without him. He keeps me focused and grounded. Communication and time management are essential for me.
Kidoinfo: Please describe a typical day.
Diane: Begins at 5:45 with lots of coffee! We are out the door by 7:40 am on our way to school drop off. I allow a cushion from 8:15-9am to allow for scheduled and sometimes unscheduled errands and am at the store no later than 9:15 to get ready for 10am opening. Most days I am there until closing at 5pm and arrive home for dinner, homework, and extra curricular activities depending on the day. After picking up around the house and attacking the never-ending laundry, it’s time for some reading or TV watching with my husband then lights out no later than 10pm.
Kidoinfo: If you could give your past self (Pre-kids or Pre-business) any advice, what would it be?
Diane: Listen to your gut. I read every parenting magazine, blog and website trying to be the best Mom I could be. At one point we had a question about something (now deemed trivial but at the time seemed pressing) and my husband suggested calling the pediatrician. I had an overwhelming urge to just stop searching outside myself to find answers and listen to my own thoughts and it worked. We have an extraordinary 7 year old!
Kidoinfo: Where do you find inspiration?
Diane: Listening to those around me provides all the inspiration I need. My family, friends, clients, and mentors, are part of my life for a reason.
Kidoinfo: What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?
Diane: My planner. I am a visual person and I need to write everything down. I’ve tried multiple electronic devices and they just don’t work for me. Seeing it in my own writing helps me to own my commitments and not over schedule.
Kidoinfo: What is your favorite children’s book?
Diane: Being a native Bostonian- Make Way for Ducklings is an all time classic.
Kidoinfo: What do you do with your family on a rainy day?
Diane: Typically a rainy day equates to a pajama day with lots of cooking!
Kidoinfo: What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved?
Diane: As an avid reader Cutting for Stone is one of my top 5 favorite books. The story of twin brothers and how their lives twisted and turned was epic. It stayed with me for a long time upon completion. I cannot recommend it enough.
Kidoinfo: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Diane: Red wine and a good book whether my feet are in the sand or in front of a warm fire always relaxes me.
Kidoinfo: If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?
Diane: I would love to say taking that Pilates class I’ve been trying to get to for the last year, but most likely it would be catching up on my sleep!
Kidoinfo: Can you share a story that is symbolic of your dual life as a business owner and parent?
Diane: I meet so many amazing parents at Luca and have made lasting friendships as a result. Meeting a fellow mother who delivered her daughter on the same day at the same hospital as my son stands out. She has been a client for 3.5 years and now has 3 children!
Kidoinfo: How has the experience and on the job training of being a mom prepared or changed you in business?
Diane: I think we all need to be more kind and compassionate with one another. The so-called Mommy Wars can really take a toll. I make it a point to let a Mom know that she’s a doing a great job. Whether it’s a temper tantrum, potty training accident, or just an overall tough day, we all need to hear someone else has been there and knows “this too shall pass.”
Kidoinfo: What is next for you and your business?
Diane: We are always researching new product lines to carry and ways to streamline our intake processes. We plan to offer some innovative new products in late 2014 and perhaps another store…you never know!