Two-year-old Alex, of Park Ridge, has to be the luckiest little
boy in the world. After all, his mom, Rebecca Little, 34, spends
the majority of her time shopping-which is why he's super trendy
and super popular (he's got the best toys in town).
But Little-a freelance writer covering Chicago-area retail for
the past seven years-has finally decided to share the wealth with
her new blog, PinwheelChicago.com. Now all moms can figure
out where to buy everything from a 2T tuxedo to a fabulous rocking
What should Chicago-area parents expect from
Pinwheel is a style, service and shopping guide for Chicago kids
(and the people who shop for them). Postings can be a spotlight on
a local store, or just one great product, or themed roundups (like
the best robot-themed merch around). And every week, I post the
upcoming baby, kid and maternity sales at local and national
How did you think of this concept?
The idea first occurred to me last year. I am lucky to know all
the best places to find gifts, toys, adorable clothes and resale
threads for my own kid. The driving force behind the blog just came
from wanting to be able to tell other parents, "Hey look at this,
isn't it great?"
Why do we need this site in the Windy City?
Chicago has a unique boutique culture with a real emphasis on
neighborhood mom-and-pops, and this has held strong despite the
encroachment of chain stores. There are so many local shops that
offer an inspired, well curated selection of baby and kid
merchandise that are also, simply, just a pleasure to browse. ...My
hope is that if I do the legwork and post great products from local
merchants, or a sale that's too good to miss, that it will inspire
people to check out the featured store the next time their kid
What about the store directory?
It took me nearly six months of driving around Chicagoland (as
far south as Flossmoor, as far west as Geneva, as far north as
Gurnee, and everything in between) to every baby, child and
maternity store in the area. The result is more than 500 area
stores listed across 18 categories. I did about half of the store
visits with my son in tow, and that was a parenting adventure, but
it also helped me to see how helpful and friendly local store
owners can be when a toddler has officially had enough of his
How does your son influence Pinwheel?
He will be directly responsible for any "choo choo"-related
coverage, as he is quite the train aficionado these days. But more
often than not, he inspires ideas as he moves through each new
phase of childhood. (His current growth spurt and tendency to spill
every half hour has inspired an obsession with resale clothing.)
And I've often let him wander around stores to see what catches his
eye or handed him products to see how he reacts to them.
What's your favorite store to shop for kid stuff in
Oh, there are so many. Twinkle Twinkle Little One (Roscoe
Village) for baby gifts. My Sister Kate (Hinsdale) and Little
Threads (Roscoe Village) for designer clothing. Oak Ridge Hobbies
and Toys (Darien) for the wow factor. LeoLeno (Winnetka) for wooden
toys. And I just can't resist a Threadless hoodsie.
Danielle Braff lives with her two daughters and husband in downtown Chicago.
See more of Danielle's stories here.
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