LONG ISLAND CITY — A longtime children's clothing designer has set up shop in Hunters Point to cater to the neighborhood's littlest residents with looks that break free from the mainstream.
Jill Callan opened Tiny You this past weekend at 10-50 Jackson Ave., selling clothes, toys and accessories for newborns and kids up to age eight.
Callan, who runs another children's boutique in family-friendly Sunnyside, said she decided to expand to Long Island City after noticing a similar influx of couples with kids to Hunters Point.
"There are so many families moving in," she said.
According to the 2010 Census data, there are approximately 11,000 residents in Hunters Point — up from 6,000 who lived there in 2000.
The waitlist for the neighborhood's only public kindergarten at P.S. 78 jumped 50 percent this year compared to last, and a number of large scale housing projects are expected to bring even more people to the area in the next several years.
"You've got so much to offer the kids out here," Callan said, pointing to the neighborhood's abundance of parks, children's classes and daycare centers.
A mother of two herself — her son is 15-months and her daughter is almost four — Callan said she tries to stock her stores with items you can't normally buy a chain clothing store or boutique.
"With all the big box stores, I wanted to stay away from that and [feature] very unique, independent artists," she said, saying she scours Etsy.com and local flea markets to find neighborhood designers who might want to feature their goods at Tiny You.
While her own designs do not make an appearance in the store, she does plan to come out with a line for boys this fall.
Callan, 40, worked for nearly 18 years designing kids clothing herself and worked for Little Me. She was inspired to open her Sunnyside shop three years ago after she lost her job.
"In the whole fashion industry, everybody was getting laid off. The idea was...wouldn’t it be great if we could stop having our fate in other people's hands and finally be able to do it ourselves?" she said.
"My whole point of opening the first store, even, was that I wanted designers to be able to sell their goods."
Callan said she plans to also host community events at the shop, like parties and children's book signings. She's throwing a grand opening party with face painting and other kids' activities on Saturday, June 15.
"I'm very excited to be here as part of the community," she said.