Kute Kids Boutique, an online store that customizes sports-themed clothes and accessories for kids — and even dogs — is carving out an online niche of customers, from Detroit Lions and Detroit Pistons players to the everyday sports fan watching teams at home.
"Lions' players' wives have ordered things," says co-owner and marketer Sherrie Handrinos, who is also the president of Boost One Marketing. "Pistons staff cleared out our gear in like 10 minutes."
Michigan and Michigan State fans are plentiful, as are orders for teams from out-of-state.
The mother-daughter-run online store went live several weeks ago and quickly got a following of people wanting to dress up their kids on game days — or any day.
Handrinos, a Royal Oak resident, and her mom, Mary Anne Pacheco, a seamstress from Plymouth, have worked together since Handrinos was 19 and "we work together so well," she says. They also collaborate on Boost One Marketing, a marketing and public relations business.
"When I was little my mom would make my clothes…She's the one who knows how to do that stuff," says Handrinos. "I'm the creative one. I come up with the crazy ideas and make it happen…It's not really our main business, it's just something we love so much."
Kute Kids was inspired by Handrinos's godson, Kingston Williams, son of Derrick Williams, a third-round draft pick from Penn State who played for the Detroit Lions before moving to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Over the past two years I would call my mom and say could you make Kingston this…every time he'd change his jersey number…We'd make bibs, blankets, outfits to match."
Kingston is now two and his dad has left football, but the clothes and other kids' stuff he inspired carry on.
Kute Kids will add detail — names, numbers, etc. — to items made by Pacheco and to other products: blankets, diaper covers, onesies, bibs, etc.
Social media, especially Instagram, has been a sales driver. After Handrinos posted a photo of her and Pacheco's Maltese dogs dressed as footballs, inquiries from pet owners wanting outfits for their animals "were coming in within five minutes," says Handrinos.
"I can't say enough about the power of social media," she says. "We may some day want a store or to put our merchandise in a store, but for now with people being so comfortable with online shopping…the online store is working out great."
Source: Sherrie Handrinos, co-owner Kute Kids Boutique and president Boost One Marketing
Writer: Kim North Shine