HARLEM — Tirzah Brown was in Bergdorf Goodman buying a special outfit for her daughter in 2009, a year after the economic markets collapsed. To her surprise, she wasn't alone.
"I thought to myself, 'Isn't the economy bad?'" said Brown, 31, the mother of two daughters, a 15-year-old and 2-year-old. "But there is aways a birthday party or christening that growing kids are going to need clothes for. If the clothes and the fabric are good, as a parent, I'd spend money to buy it."
Already looking to leave her job as an executive assistant at a Wall Street firm, Brown decided that she would open a kids clothing boutique in Harlem where she grew up.
Named after her youngest daughter, Kennedy Dupri, "You, Me 'N Dupri" on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and 135th Street is trying to bring a bit of "downtown to uptown."
"We are targeting the prince in every little boy and the princess in every little girl," said Brown.
The store is inspired by Brown's youngest daughter in addition to her own desire to be an entrepreneur.
"[She] is a princess. She is dainty but very outgoing and friendly. She thinks she's the boss. She patrols the floors of the store like she's the owner," said Brown.
In addition to carrying the latest kid brands such as J. Brand, Joe's Jeans and Aqua Kids, Brown is planning a monthly tea party for girls, etiquette classes and twice monthly yoga classes for kids and their parents.
"When I was living here, I had to take my daughter downtown to experience yoga," said Brown. "This is now a very diverse neighborhood and parents should be able to do things like that here with their kids."
Some of the events will also be free of charge to encourage parents of all income levels to expand their children's horizons, said Brown.
Since Brown loves shopping for her daughters and was looking to start her own business, the store is a perfect fit, she said.
"With the economy the way it is I thought it was time to put my energy into my own business. I wanted to start something that I owned," said Brown.
The long-term plan is to start an original clothing line that the store will carry while continuing to expand the offerings to accessories such as backpacks.
Brown is not only looking to expand her offerings, she wants to see the store in different cities as well.
"In five years, I see this place being so packed that I'll be looking for a new location on 125th Street and then opening stores in Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles," said Brown.