Welcome again to our continuing series In the Spotlight with one of our favorite California retailers Shannon Baldwin of The Little Red Barn in Calabasas, California.
What inspired you to open your own children’s store? While having a corporate job in pharmaceutical sales, I used to make blankets for friends for baby shower gifts. I always had a great response on the designs and fabrics, so I figured I’d try to open my own business doing wholesale bedding. I opened my first store, Baby Cakes in 2001 and continued to offer wholesale bedding to boutiques throughout the US and grow my retail presence. I never would have imagined opening up a children’s store, it just sort of happened, and almost 12 years later, I haven’t looked back.
Why children’s furnishings? Initially, I figured that the decorating business for babies and kids would be pretty recession proof. After being in the business for so long, I like the fact that it is always a happy environment. I love working with a pregnant mom and then getting the opportunity to design nurseries & big kid rooms for all of their kids.
What is your design philosophy? What inspires you? My basic design philosophy is that a nursery or kids room should flow with the rest of the house. I tend to use colors and designs that can be used for years to come.
What sets your store apart from other similar retailers? Our customer service is #1. We truly care about our clients and go above and beyond to satisfy requests. Much of what we offer at The Little Red Barn is custom…Custom furniture, bedding, window treatments, artwork, etc. We also offer in home design appointments & can help with all aspects of design. We have resources for just about anything!
What is your favorite aspect about owning your own business? The fact that I bring my bulldogs to work is pretty fantastic! They are the best coworkers I could ask for. ( Editor’s note: Rudy and Izzy are the sweetest dogs!)
What is your favorite Newport Cottages piece or collection and why? For girls, I LOVE the Provence Collection! I think it is so beautiful & can easily go from baby to teen. For boys, it’s hard to beat the Taylor Collection. It has everything and can cover different styles depending on the colors you choose.
What is your favorite color palette? I love working with grey…Whether it is grey and orange for boys, grey and pink for girls, I just think it is a great sophisticated neutral that is really versatile.
What magazines or blogs do you read on a daily basis? I enjoy Houzz & Pinterest. I also read all of the kids trade and furniture magazines.
Who is your dream client and why? My dream client would be one that gives me a hint of what they would like to see in a room & then I take it to the next level for them. It’s always fun to have a client be open to new design ideas, colors and textures because they can make such a great statement.
And a few just for fun:
Dream vacation? Dream vacations while owning your own business are a bit tough, but I would love a great trip to Napa for some wine & relaxation!
Favorite design tool? edesigntrade.com
Can’t live without? My husband, bulldogs, exercise & morning coffee.
What are you reading now? I’m a tiny bit embarrassed that the last books I’ve read are the Twilight books!