NORTHFIELD - Shopping for clothes with a few children in tow can be difficult, particularly if the store is not geared to accommodate them, said Margate resident Raina Tallent.
Tallent is the owner of Simply Fly, a 4-year-old Northfield women's clothing boutique. She is also the mother of three sons, ages 9, 7 and 5.
"I was a stay-at-home mom. When I opened up my own store, I made sure it was kid friendly," said Tallent, 34. "We have things keeping kids occupied, so their parents can shop. It's based from my own experiences being a mom. It's hard enough raising kids and then you have something to do, somewhere to go. "
Originally selling women's and men's fashions, Simply Fly opened in 2009 with Tallent and two male partners - her brother and her cousin.
Tallent said that in 2011, after her partners left the business, Simply Fly focused exclusively on women's clothing and changed some of the decor, including eliminating a graffiti wall, which had given the store more of a masculine edge.
The change also meant the store could double its inventory for women, she said.
In the clothing store industry, the 50 largest companies account for nearly two-thirds of industry revenue, giving large companies advantages in purchasing power and marketing, according to research firm Hoovers. But smaller stores can compete by targeting specific demographics, having unique merchandise or serving local markets.
From 2008 to 2012, the biggest players lost market share in the weak economy, giving smaller businesses a bigger window to the market, research firm IBISWorld says.
New Jersey had more than 1,300 women's clothing stores in 2010, with more than 14,300 paid employees, according the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau's County Business Patterns.
Tallent, who grew up in Margate and lived in Miami before moving back to the region, said the clothing business requires honesty and a strong resolve when it comes to buying from various clothing vendors.
"You have to realize the people you're buying the clothes from, they're not your friends. They're trying to make a sale, so you have to be on your toes. You have to be as stupid as a fox and stick to your guns," she said.
"You can't give in to them when they say this is a great seller. I know there are things that won't sell here. You have to put your foot down," she said.
Contact Brian Ianieri:
Location: 521 Tilton Road, Northfield
Owner: Raina Tallent, 33, of Margate