Neighbourhood Shop Spotlight: Les Petits Voyous
By Tina Christopoulos
Mama of one and owner of local Westmount boutique for kids Les Petits Voyous, Jessica Anne talks about what it’s like to be a small shop owner, how she balances her time between her son and her business, and the challenges that have made her stronger in the end.
You used to be a criminal lawyer, how did you get into the retail business?
When I had my son Henry, I knew I wanted to spend more time at home with him. The first two years after he was born, he stayed with me. I really enjoyed it, but in the end, I knew I wanted to do something more. I have always loved fashion and clothing, so I decided I would start something small online, so I can work part-time.
Do you like to be on the floor interacting with your clients, or are you mostly taking care of the back end of things?
I love to be in the store, making sure everything is in place, touching the materials and talking to my clients. I’m working very hard to show them how much I truly love what I do. I want to hear their constructive feedback, and I listen very closely to their comments. I would love to spend all my time on the floor, but of course, someone has to focus on all the other aspects of running a business. I just recently hired some more help, so I finally have my weekends back and more time to spend with my family. If I wasn’t a mother, I would spend all my time here.
What does Henry think of the store?
He loves hanging out. On a Saturday, he’ll come visit mommy and play with the toys. We want to create that kind of environment, where the kids love to come as much as the parents, and it’s fun!
Does it feel like a community with the other local businesspeople?
All the business owners I met on this street are wonderful. We often talk to each other and compare notes. It’s a very small community where everyone knows each other and supports each other. I often go across the street to Côté Cuisine for a hot chocolate—because I don’t drink coffee—but mostly, just to talk. And all of my Christmas decorations for the store, I made with products I bought at the hardware store across the street, Hogg. It’s my new favourite place, and I’m really not the hardware store kinda gal!
How do you select the pieces you will carry in your boutique?
I will never buy a piece of clothing that I haven’t touched or seen with my own two eyes, or that I wouldn’t buy for my own son. I look for brands that are less readily available in this market space. I like classic and timeless pieces that you can wear to a nice event or stand the test of time, so you can hand them down to a brother or a sister. But I also want to offer my clients the opportunity to come and buy their basics here. That’s why I really liked Miles Baby for my store.
What attracted you to the Miles Baby brand?
It gives people a nice option to buy quality playwear at a great price point. I love the minimalist designs and, truly, the quality is great.
Les Petits Voyous
To find a Miles Neighbourhood Shop near you, see here
photos by: Arianne Bergeron and Marjorie Guindon