422 Herridge Lane, Nelson, BC V1L 6G2
There’s nothing I love more than looking great while staying within my budget, and I want my kids to look good too. Typically, cute and unique kids clothes are ridiculously expensive. And let’s face it, unless there’s a crazy sale I don’t even buy designer for myself, let alone my kids who will outgrow them in a flash! Fortunately, I stumbled upon this month’s featured boutique a few years ago. Jilly bo Billy offers designer kids’ clothing at a deep discount…so I get all of the satisfaction and none of the guilt.
Jilly bo Billy started when owner Janet Skolka had a little girl. There were so many cute clothes, but she couldn’t afford them, so she went hunting for sales. The problem was, all of the clothes she found on sale sites were boring an unoriginal. When she found clothes she liked, the usually weren’t on sale. So, being an enterprising Mom, she came up with a way to marry both worlds while still being at home with her young daughter. And so the idea for Jilly bo Billy – a designer deep-discount sample sale site – was born. As Janet describes it, “It was kinda crazy, really. In about 4 weeks, I came up with the idea, wrote a business plan, built a site, went to LA and bought inventory, and opened.”
She ran her online store from her home for two years, but found there were quite a few challenges. Living in an off-grid house, and only having driveway access via ATV and snowmobile was daunting, as was the lack of internet (she had to use her iPhone’s data connection). Eventually it was clear to Janet that she had outgrown the space. So instead of simply getting a warehouse, she decided to open a retail store. She’s now happy to have high-speed internet and stock delivered straight to her door – no more long driveway treks!
Her retail journey only started in October and she is already pleased with the wonderful reception she has received. In Nelson, there is a shortage of great kids’ clothing stores, so everyone who comes in says “Thank You” for opening. The store’s interior is a fab mix of recycled/repurposed items. Inside you’ll find a railing made of concrete and salvaged carport frame, a repurposed telephone pole, a change room door made from recycled clothes line parts, and her daughter’s old Oilily shoe inlaid in a concrete table top (check out the gorgeous flower sole, below right).
What differentiates Jilly bo Billy’s online store from other websites is samples. Everyone loves sample sales, but since there is only usually one of an item, it’s a lot of work to set up. But Janet thinks it’s fun to get samples before the full line is released and works hard to find the coolest, most unique brands around. Some standouts – Loves Me Not, an amazing ruffly, fun, yet comfy American-made brand that only has 2 retailers; Oilily, a hard-to-find brand in Canada, and Janet’s favourite (also her best-selling line); LoFff, a well-priced dutch brand of which she is the sole Canadian seller.
Other brands you’ll find at Jilly bo Billy include Misha Lulu, Decaf Plush, Kumquat, OneKid, Fore!! Axel and Hudson, Room Seven and Jack & Lily. With such a diverse lineup, Jilly bo Billy not only fills a much-needed niche in the Canadian market by carrying children’s lines that are hard to find, but it does so at a fraction of the price. What more could a Mom want?
If your answer to that is “great customer service”, then I’m going to tell you that Jilly bo Billy has that covered, too! I experienced it first hand when I placed my initial online order a few years ago. I received the wrong colour sweater by accident, and when I notified Janet of the error, she gave me two choices – either get a refund or she would send me the correct sweater. The kicker? She told me to keep the first one… it wasn’t worth my time or money to send it back and that it was her pleasure to make up for any inconvenience. WOW! I was blown away by the amazing customer service then, and it hasn’t let me down since. (I even wrote a blog post about it!)
If you love designer duds for your kids, but don’t want the designer price tag, I encourage you to visit Jilly bo Billy – either in-store or online. It’s great to purchase from a Canadian business (no duty or import fees!) and support a fellow Mom, all the while feeling good about purchasing beautiful, well-made items at a fraction of the retail price.