If you agree there’s nothing as a cute as a toddler in monogrammed duds, hophop child will be your favorite new find. Conceived by friends Caroline Nix and Melissa Moore, they roped in neighbor Lindsay Evans when they learned she had a commercial monogram machine and an eye for designing unique personalization.
The women launched hophop child in 2019 when Nix was in her fourth year of teaching in Richardson ISD and a new mom to Andrew. Moore, who works in the oil and gas industry, lived nearby with her newborn, Strickland.
“I’d visit her on my lunch break to bring her coffee or hold Strickland so she could take a quick shower,” remembers Nix. “One day, I quickly threw out the idea of starting an online boutique for baby and children’s clothing. The goal was to offer clothes that were classic styles, but affordable and in fabrics meant to be played in.”
Moore had earned a little retail experience while working in a boutique near the University of Texas during her college days. The owners were two moms who specialized in baby gifts, children’s clothes and hostess gifts, and they balanced running the store and raising small children.
“This little side hustle has allowed me to tap into my creative side,” explains Moore. “It brings fulfillment in another area that I don’t get from my corporate job.”
Evans didn’t mind the solitary work of her at-home monogramming business before joining hophop child – in fact she coveted the alone time to listen to music and podcasts. But joining Moore and Nix has been a “wonderful collaboration” she didn’t know she’d enjoy so much.
“Speaking with them and clients daily to ensure we are delivering exactly what the client has envisioned also helps keep the day moving and is a part of my job I absolutely love,” she adds. “Creating new designs for upcoming seasons is also more fun with the three of us brainstorming ideas.”
Evans says she’s always loved a good monogram on anything, and she relishes seeing a bride’s face when she sees her new last name on a beautiful lace set. She spent years in medical and technology sales, but she left to become a stay-at-home mom after having Addison. Now, her oldest helps organize all her thread colors and is becoming a handy-dandy assistant.
Most customers purchase baby and children’s clothing or gifts and accessories online from hophop child via Instagram, but their Facebook page is here and their website is here. Direct message is an easy way to communicate the details of personalization and to make certain spelling, fonts and colors are just right.
The world had never heard of COVID-19 when the trio launched hophop child, but it turns out their timing was perfect. They had their business spinning like a top by the time other stores had to shut down and mamas came home to spend hours on the computer.
“People still needed to dress their children and buy gifts for baby showers and birthdays, even if those celebrations became virtual,” says Nix. “We found that it was a great way to market some of our products, like our insulated Lizzi Cooler Tote. With so many people hanging out in their yards to socialize at a distance, it was a fun item to promote as an adult beverage cooler that is also big enough to hold sippy cups and snacks.”
Besides looking to each other for inspiration, the trio say they’re amazed by the many mommy-focused, home-based businesses they’ve found – and patronized – around them.
“I truly think Lake Highlands is a little gem,” says Nix. “Moms are finding ways to turn their talents and passions into businesses, and it seems like everyone wants to support each other and shop locally.”
“Facebook groups like LH Mamas have driven new traffic to our store and connected us with other mompreneurs in the neighborhood,” agrees Moore. “Anytime a local mom recommends our store to another mom, it’s the highest compliment. In turn, I will find any opportunity to recommend or mention another local business to a friend or neighbor.”
With hophop child’s customer base growing exponentially, you might think the trio is ready to open a brick-and-mortar store at Lakeridge Village or the LH Town Center. Think again. Evans and husband, Justin, have three children: Addison, Justin Jr. and Cannon. Addison is a kindergartener at White Rock Elementary. Caroline and Brady have sons Andrew and William. Andrew is 3. Melissa and John have sons Strickland and Pierson. Strickland is just two.
“Home-based has worked extremely well for our little shop and little families,” explains Moore, “though more space for inventory outside our home sounds so nice. I am loving the pop-up shop trend, though, with small home-based businesses coming together to showcase their product offerings for little market days. Customers love the opportunity to touch and feel our products, and we love being able to design with them face-to-face.”
The women say they collected a few lessons over the past two years – some learned the hard way. And they have advice for other mamas thinking of starting new businesses today.
“It’s kind of a leap of faith, says Nix, “but there’s no reason not to take it. We had no idea what we were doing. I’m pretty sure I watched YouTube videos and Googled ‘how to build a website’ and taught myself one day at a time. We’ve made some mistakes and learned a lot of lessons where we literally texted each other and said, ‘Oh gosh. That was dumb. Lesson learned,’ but that’s part of the fun and makes it so much more rewarding.”
The most satisfying part of the day, say the women, is pulling up social media to find neighbors and customers sharing photos of life’s moments that include hophop products.
“The first day of preschool with one of our backpacks and lunch boxes,” recalls Moore, “a newborn leaving the hospital in one of our outfits, or just a normal day at the park in a dress or hat we personalized. We love being a part of all those moments. It’s been said before, but it’s so true – and I know every small business owner agrees – every time an order comes through, we really do celebrate and feel so grateful.”