Most children's apparel is, how should we put this, of a certain genre, if you will. Tiny sizes almost always equate to highly saturated colors and cheesy sayings—and it's not that those things aren't necessarily cute (who among us hasn't felt the pull of a hot pink, unicorn-emblazoned onesie?), but what if your taste is a little more sophisticated, a little more minimalist? Where do you shop then?
"I think, what would I want to wear? And I want to buy that for my girls," says Missouri City mom Bridget Carruthers. "I honestly want them to have my wardrobe in mini size."
There are four toddlers to dress between Carruthers and her sister, Brooke Swint, and both were coming up empty in the aisles of big box stores like Carter's. "We wanted something that's relatively affordable and also super cute, and a little bit more of an elevated aesthetic," Carruthers says. "We thought, maybe we can just do it and see what happens, see if anyone likes it."
Now a stay-at-home mom of three, Carruthers has a background in corporate retail at major companies like Neiman Marcus and Pier 1, while Swint still works in finance. Together, the two—who live just miles apart outside Sugar Land—are Bee + Birdie, the Etsy shop they launched in May that's earning fans across the country for its simple pieces in muted colors and buttery soft cotton blends.
The tiny tees are as chic as you'd imagine from moms with daughters named Indie, Ellie, Poppy, and Sloane, and Instagrammable as all get out. Offerings—mostly $20 a pop—come in colors like heather grey, mauve, peach, and charcoal. In bold, all-caps sans serif font they say things like "blonde," "brunette," "hunk," and "y'all," though Carruthers says the most popular styles are "babe" and personalized pieces.
"You can't go to Nordstrom and say, 'I want a t-shirt with my kid's name on it.' They don't have the capacity to do it," she says. "One of the benefits of us being super small is we have the ability to create new things and get them up super quickly. We can react to trends almost immediately."
Bee + Birdie is so small, in fact, that they're only sold on Etsy, though they drive a lot of business from their adorably curated Instagram full of flat lays and shots of their own daughters turned mini-models. Carruthers says the sister act might consider expanding into brick-and-mortar boutiques sometime down the line; first, they're focused on launching their website.
But even before that, they're taking on a new venture: grown-up sizes. Later this month, Bee + Birdie will introduce a women's line of a handful of designs in six colors and sizes XS–XL. "It's going to be very similar to the kids' [line]—a very simple design, but definitely more mom-inspired things," Carruthers says. And yes, that includes options for mama-and-mini matching.
And they'll be just as soft, too—all Bee + Birdie products use tri-blend or 100-percent cotton. "No one wants to put on a stiff, scratchy shirt," Carruthers says. "We spent so much time researching. Our number-one thing was that it has to be super, super soft."
So far, moms all across the country appreciate it. Most Bee + Birdie customers come from both coasts and, predictably, Texas. "With social media now, people buy something and they post it," Carruthers says, "and it's the coolest thing to see your designs anywhere from California to New Jersey."