Children’s boutique owner Carla Caldwell says it was her grandchildren who inspired her to leave her 25-year career at Charter Communications behind and jump headlong into entrepreneurship.
Caldwell dreamt up the concept of her new store after shopping for her grandchildren — Karsyn, 4, and Kendall, 2 — and not being able to find the things she wanted.
That’s when she set to the task of launching Kidz Klozet at 2407 Harrison Ave., an enterprise that she hopes will keep more shoppers away from the interstate and their computers and instead in the Mining City.
Located across the street from Pork Chop John’s on Harrison, Kidz Klozet opened in November and features clothes, pajamas, swimsuits, accessories and more for both boys and girls in infant sizes through size 8. And like any good Butte store, Kidz Klozet has plenty of Montana-themed clothing by brands from the Big Sky State, such as MT Brand Apparel and Butte’s own Underground Clothing Co.
One of Caldwell’s most popular items is a line of stuffed animals, slippers and other plush products called “Warmies.” The Warmies are filled with flax seed and lavender and can be heated in the microwave for a warming, calming effect. According to Caldwell, this seemingly simple concept has flown off the shelf. Since opening, she said, she’s sold over 500 units.
In addition to sleep sacks, swaddlers and Silver brand jeans, the store carries rompers, coats and other items that fasten with magnetic snaps — “anything to make life easier,” Caldwell said.
When it came to selecting items for her store, Caldwell said she wanted to offer “something different,” seeking out brands that aren’t featured at Walmart.
“(I) tried to get some cute, fun clothing that’s different from what we have here (in Butte)” said Caldwell.
For her, operating the store is all about providing kids, parents, and grandparents with more options, especially in the face of Herberger’s recent closure.
“That’s why we wanted to do this,” she said. “We wanted to give Butte choice.”
Kidz Klozet was formerly the site of a beauty salon. Caldwell said she and her husband worked hard to remodel the space, which includes a playroom and is now decorated with photos of Caldwell’s granddaughters.
Jenny Walsh was Caldwell’s very first customer.
Walsh said she came to the store before opening day looking for a baby gift and was peeking in the window when suddenly Caldwell let her in.
“I’m a big supporter of shopping local, and since we’ve lost so many stores… I just wanted to keep coming back and support local people who are doing a great job,” said Walsh.
As for Caldwell, she said the Butte community has been supportive of her new enterprise, making operating the store all the more rewarding.