Monday, February 15, 2010

Welcome to the world of Hoot Baby!

knot tunic sets from Indian Summer collection
I'm so delighted to be here on Scattering Lupines today-- thank you so much for the invitation! I'm Melissa Tarleton, from The World More Beautiful, fellow lover of Miss Rumphius and the face behind the children's brand Hoot Baby. Hoot Baby was born not long after my second son, John-Harper, in early 2009. We're a small company dedicated to creating delightful clothing for little girls and boys, with extra-special attention to comfort and a big dose of colorful style thrown in.

Chinoiserie float set from Picnic collection
When my oldest son, Grady, was very small, I discovered the wonderful world of European children's clothing. The soft fabrics, bright colors and simple, child-like embellishments were so different from much of what was offered in my local chain stores, and I was smitten. I have always loved to create-- and I was bitten hard by the bug of creating for my child. It was so much fun to design tiny outfits for my son using some of the aspects I admired in my favorite brands-- sophisticated colors, classic shapes, and a lack of "frou-frou" that could get in the way of his movement and play. I played around with different methods of seaming-- my goal was to eliminate the itchy, bulky and (to me) unattractive serged seams that hold most children's clothing together.

Peek a Pop of Daisy Dress from Indian Summer
I began to make clothing to give to friends with little girls-- there was so much wonderful fabric to choose from! Pretty soon, people began to ask if they could buy things I made. Well, OK. As I got more and more requests to sew up "whatever you think will look good"-- and began to have lots of smiling customers-- the idea took shape that maybe I should put together a group of clothing for sale. (My background is in Creative Writing-- I have an MFA-- and Montessori education-- I was a Primary teacher for many years-- so this was a big step in a different direction for me.) I spent a few very busy months (when my youngest son was just a couple months old-- thank GOODNESS for the invention of the Moby Wrap!) learning to draft patterns, choosing fabrics, designing, sampling and photographing a small (about 20 piece) collection for girls, called Indian Summer. This was quickly followed by another, larger collection for girls and boys, Schoolkids in Paris.

New School Schoolgirl smock from Schoolkids in Paris
I couldn't believe how much FUN it all was. I was very lucky that shortly after launching my website, Gabrielle Blair, of the amazing blog DesignMom, did a feature on Hoot Baby. This wonderful exposure led to a lot of other great opportunities for me, and Hoot Baby began selling through in-home Trunk Shows in the fall of 2009, as well as through our website. We are slowly moving into retail sales, and hopefully you'll be able to find Hoot Baby in a store near you very soon!

Vroom Vroom Vespa Tee and Old-Fashioned Bike Pants from Schoolkids in Paris
One of the things I'm most proud of about Hoot Baby is how our clothing is manufactured. It's very much a collaborative effort between me and a small group of local folks in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina. Our area is one that's taken a huge hit as textile, furniture, and apparel manufacturers have taken their business overseas. My idea was to start small-- and very close to home-- putting one of these skilled tradespeople at a time back to work. I still cut out every single pattern for manufacture, and I spend a fair amount of time behind my own sewing machine producing all of the hand-appliqued clothing in our boys' collection. The rest of the sewing is done by talented sewers in their own homes-- it's very much a cottage industry approach to production. I am proud of our sewers, whose attention to quality and detail show in every piece, and I'm proud to support members of my community through fair wages and sustainable production.

Picnic Shirtwaist from Picnic collection
Our newest collection, Picnic, is arriving right now, and will be available for purchse in the next few days. Thanks so much for taking a peek at Hoot Baby! As an extra special thank-you to Scattering Lupines readers, we'd like to offer you a coupon code to use on any non-sale items you'd like to purchase between now and March 15. Just enter the code lupines at checkout! Please feel free to contact us with any questions at We're currently booking our Trunk Shows, which will begin in March, and we'd love to offer our discounted prices and a special thank-you discount to all of our hostesses!

All of our outdoor photography is courtesy of the oh-so-talented Cophia Lee.


  1. the most adorable clothes around! My daughters shine when they get to wear theirs!

  2. love learning more about hoot baby. she is fabulous and the line is gorgeous.

  3. Sooo cute! I forwarded this to Dana and Mrs. Cindy. Makes me want to think of children to buy these for...Too bad I have only granddogs....Hmmm...Would any of these fit dogs? ....Lug, Mug

    P.S. I'm enjoying catching up on all of your recent postings...Looks like I missed some good ones! (Of course, they're never any that aren't good!)

  4. They ARE gorgeous clothes indeed! I am so honored to have Melissa as a guest today.

    And Mug~ I too wish that there was a Hoot line for Doggie playclothes. Khan would look just dashing in an applique jumpsuit :)

  5. Lovely clothes !!!
    Thanks for sharing with us :)

    Sweet week, dear friend !

  6. Adorable. Love the name too. Hoot. Perfect.

  7. aahhh. VeRy cute indeed! My favorite here...the outfit in the 2nd pic. I like the whole business concept too!

  8. So the name too...adorable..

    gosh..that red and white picnic dress is so cute....

    i'll check this out...i have a 4 year old neice with a birthday coming up.hmmmmmm

    thanks courtney for sharing this....

    sending love to you and the khan

    kary and buddy

  9. This is the cutest clothing line! Love that you keep it local!


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