inside Little Monsters, young mothers’ hearts go
pitter-patter, and grandmothers swoon with delight. As
Andie Zacher, owner of the delightful shop with a
kid-sized teepee in the window, likes to say, “I’m a
purveyor of happiness. Everyone is welcome here.”
Nestled on Milwaukee’s East Side, Little
Monsters opened seven years ago. The name came out of a serendipitous
conversation between Zacher and daughter Bella, who is also her creative
consultant. Bella was talking about how adorable and mischievous baby
goats are. When she compared them to little monsters, Zacher immediately
knew she had the boutique’s name. Bella is also responsible for the jars
of brightly colored candy beneath the checkout counter. They are
situated at eye level for the convenience of school children, like those
directly across the street at Maryland Avenue Montessori School, who
stop in with allowances.
How did you become a
Experience. I’ve been involved with retail for years — both adult and
children’s clothing, starting out at Aversa, then Ma Jolie, Just Kidding
and Boutique Bebe. When I created my own business, I wanted it to be as
if you were coming into my home. I can still remember the first day I
opened here, because it felt like I was playing store.
Tell us about your
unique lines of clothing and toys.
My selections are special items of high quality. Twice a year I go to
New York for the Children’s Club Show and Playtime markets. Bella lives
in Brooklyn, so those purchasing trips are special.
Those markets are where I find lines like Pink Chicken, (which is) by a
New York-based designer; Tun Tun from Peru, which makes hand-knit items
of baby alpaca; and the Winter Water Factory, started by two sisters
from Germany (and) now located in Brooklyn. My clothes are either
organic cotton, like the selections from Pink Chicken, or pima cotton,
which is also used by Tun Tun. Some are bamboo fabric. They are all so
soft; the colors (are) unique, and the designs are classic. Recently,
fox, hedgehog and bear figures were prevalent. The color orange,
especially for trim, is currently popular. Next up, I’m predicting
Markets are so large (that) they can be overwhelming, but I buy only
what I love. If I have to think about it, I don’t bring it to the shop.
I don’t sell trendy items or hot toys. When people visit, they want to
touch, and that’s fine with me. Many of the toy lines I carry are
European, such as Moulin Roty, Goki and Kid O, as well as classic
Fisher-Price. Just look at this exquisitely painted wooden box with
small wooden figures inside to dress up, or see this dollhouse-sized
wooden castle with little king, queen and knight figures.
What unique service
do you provide customers?
We gift wrap free using paper or a see-through bag with matching
lime-colored tissue and ribbon. That’s our cheery wall color paint.
How do you answer the
“Good afternoon, Little Monsters!”
Share the names of
some special neighborhood establishments.
Comet Café is great for coffee and a “naughty” lunch — meaning it might
have some extra calories. I go to Beans & Barley when I want a super
healthy meal. Boswell Books is a treasure to the neighborhood and the
city. The author events amaze me. The Waxwing is an incredible gift
shop. There are fine items — and mostly from Wisconsin.
Visit Little Monsters: 2445 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 964-2323,