Classic Children’s Clothing at Affordable Prices
What started as an idea turned quickly into reality for moms and sisters-in-laws, Anna Shuford and Parmelee Miller.
Miller originally had the idea of creating a children’s smocked clothing line in 2012 while living in Panama with her husband and two children.
With people constantly complimenting her son’s clothes, she realized Panama had a need for her particular line of clothing, but before her idea could take off, the family relocated to the States.
Miller expressed her frustration to Shuford on not being able to follow through, then the two realized they could still make it happen and it did, in 2013. At the beginning of 2014, the sales came in.
Smockingbird was born.
The goal was to offer smocked clothing at an approximate $30 price point. The traditional, bishop dress incorporates a specific type of sewing—a pleated plate or insert. The friends knew they could make that pricing work if they operated online versus a traditional brick-and-mortar store.
Neither had a background in clothing or design, but they both shared the desire to dress their children in cute clothes—without spending a fortune doing so.
Shuford, a Mount Pleasant mom lives with her husband, David and two daughters; four-year-old Rebecca and two-year-old Jane, with a mystery baby on the way. Her background in Occupational Therapy and working with a children’s hospital in Atlanta, prepared her for handling the communications with Smockingbird’s manufacturers. Her keen eye for children’s clothing design is a natural talent and a bonus for the business.
Miller, who was in the finance industry in New York prior to her time in Panama, now oversees the office and warehouse in Cartersville, Georgia, where she lives with husband, Cade and their son, Hampton and two-year-old daughter, Robinson. She handles the shipping, day-to-day operations and the financial side of the business.
“There’s something great about the working mom and the at-home mom balance. Owning our own business, we have weeks where we put in overtime and then weeks where we have flexibility,” Shuford says.
For a lot of clothes, it’s about what the trends are and what’s “in,” but for Smockingbird, the clothing is very classic.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be in at the moment because when you’re shopping for your kids, as long as you think it’s cute, you don’t care about what other people are wearing,” Shuford says.
Each year, they offer a Christmas, Summer, Spring and Easter collection.
“There are similar themes each year: crabs, beach balls, bunnies, Santas. We come up with new color schemes and things that appeal to us,” Shuford says.
“Anna is great at seeing the style and tweaking it to make it work for a $30 outfit,” Miller praises.
Their customer base is broad and nationwide, with Georgia and Texas making up the majority; but they supply customers in Canada, the U.K., Australia and some Norwegian areas as well.
“We’ve definitely had an incredible growth rate. In the beginning, we worked 80 hours a week for no money. A year and a half ago we didn’t even have an office or employees,” Miller says. “Today, we have a warehouse and a team of six women.”
Both women grew up with community service playing a role in their lives. They continue that tradition by choosing an organization in the Atlanta or Charleston area each month, child or women-related, and donate a portion of the money made.
“It’s great camaraderie being made up of entirely women. It’s neat having women helping women, moms helping moms,” Miller says.
For more information visit smockingbirdkids.com.