Editor’s note: Since publication, Olive Mae has moved into a new location. Details can be found here.
Stepping into the whimsical childrens’ clothing boutique Olive Mae, you may think you’ve stepped into a garden party, old sport — the kind evocative of the bygone era of Gatsby or Kennedy summer parties at the Cape. It’s no accident; owner Lacy Gutierrez looks to the past as inspiration for the adorable line of childrens’ clothing she and her team of seamstresses create and sell right here in Plano.
Taught by her mother and grandmother, Lacy started sewing at age five and grew up making many of her own clothes. Marrying young and finding herself with a bouncing baby boy, her clothing line started initially when she made outfits for her son. She found that most store-bought clothes weren’t her particular style. Adding a baby girl to her family a few years later gave Lacy even more reason to design and sew cute clothes.
Lacy began to sell her designs online under the label Olive Mae (named in honor of both her grandmothers). Business was booming, yet she felt it was impersonal. Lacy decided to do less wholesale business and move into a storefront with room to both make and sell her quirky designs. In April of 2014, Lacy set up shop in a gorgeous old building in downtown Plano, where she’s able to design and sew in the back and connect with her customers in the front. As well as selling girls’ clothing, she also offers adorable accessories and party supplies.
The process for the design and production of her clothing line is intensive. To create the finished product, Lacy scours the nation at fabric shows, calls on companies around the world for design accents, and researches not only modern designs, but trends from the 1920s through the 1970s as well. Although her designs may be reminiscent of the past, she uses modern technology to create the final product. Digital software helps scale the patterns for all of the different sizes. It also specifies the amount of fabric needed for each garment.
When she talks about the process of creating each frilly frock, it’s obvious Lacy loves her job. She designs about six silhouettes each season and then bursts forth with the task of buying the fabrics and trims to make the garments a reality. She usually has a color palette in mind, and focuses on finding a range of colors that will blend between different silhouettes. She explains that “one popular trend of late is vintage reprints of fabrics,” which she hopes continues.
The guiding philosophy for Olive Mae? Make beautiful childrens’ clothes that are durable, made from quality materials, and are a bit more modest than what you’d find in some modern retail shops. Lacy’s favorite part of her job is seeing her sample dresses come together after so much planning and designing. She says, “each one is my new favorite!”
Olive Mae also does custom orders for special events, including weddings. Lacy adores doing these small batches because they afford her the opportunity to try something new or different that she may not be able to reproduce on a larger scale for her store line. One such example is the tea staining she just did for a wedding in order to make the fabric appear more vintage.
One reason that people are requesting these custom orders is the same reason why Olive Mae has been successful: parents recognize the inherent sweetness of the designs. Today’s childrens’ clothing is constantly growing more trendy, urban and adult-like. Olive Mae designs are modest yet completely quirky and fun, just like kids. And did I mention that all of these beautiful, handmade outfits are also quite affordable?
Lacy remembers going to sweet birthday parties in downtown Plano as a young girl where she and her friends dressed up as princesses and held tea parties, so she converted the space adjacent to her clothing store into a girls’ party venue. It’s a beautiful little place where moms and daughters can customize their party experience. She has done her fair share of winter-themed princess parties (thanks, Anna and Elsa) but says that her customers never fail to surprise her with their theme suggestions. Some favorites of late have been Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy. With a small army of high school and college age party wranglers, little princesses can have a regal time while the queens mix and mingle.
As far as Olive Mae’s future is concerned, Lacy would love to see the party venue business continue to grow, but she also has dreams of a far more noble nature. Lacy would genuinely love to implement a program for young women who lack other career skills or women just down on their luck that teaches them to sew and gives them a career path. It’s not a reality yet, but she has already put wheels in motion to get this idea moving.
So grab your little Daisy by the hand and bring her into Olive Mae for some adorable designs. And who knows? Maybe Daisy’s next birthday will be the garden party of the season.
Get 10% off your Olive Mae online purchase. Enter code PLANOMAG at checkout. Expires 8/19.Olive Mae Website>