Unique children’s boutique offers one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items

‘Local Etsy’ store in Kennewick offers custom children’s items

A Kennewick children’s boutique is striving to make its mark with handcrafted and custom items, offering what Pipsqueaks owner Lisa Steele lovingly refers to as “fluff.”

“I’m not one that carries gear, like cribs. It’s really just the fun, finer things of life,” she said.

Steele originally opened Pipsqueaks in 2011 on Vista Way in Kennewick before moving across town to 1408 N. Louisiana St., near Costco, in summer 2018.

“We were hoping to be more centrally located and pick up a broader clientele,” she said.

Steele brought her experience in handcrafting children’s clothing and accessories. Before opening the store, she held trunk shows, hosted booths at bazaars and sold items online through eBay.

When she first opened Pipsqueaks, Steele only sold items handcrafted by herself or her friends, but she began bringing in local vendors and started featuring some store-bought items.

Nearly a decade later, Steele said, “I have been going back to my roots and doing more handmade items rather than store-purchased items. We’ve realized even in the 10 years I’ve been in business, tastes have changed. It’s a different feel and you have to be constantly aware of what people are asking for and reinventing yourself and keeping with the times.”

Steele said Pipsqueaks has become known as the “local Etsy,” offering a website that serves as a marketplace for mostly handmade, handcrafted and vintage items.

The store hosts a number of different lines, including Maisy Daisy, Steele’s line for girls that’s named for her daughter. She also has a line for boys called Deaks the Lion, with a portion of sales benefiting charity.

Other vendors are featured in the store, including the Boho Baby line, created by one of Steele’s four employees. Vendors can sell their wares on consignment with Steele, who only features brand new merchandise. Having their products featured in a store without the hassle of marketing or selling on their own can be a benefit to those who are just starting out, or creating items as a side job.

Many items are custom-made for themed parties, baptisms or other events.

“People can trust that what they’re going to get is what they’re going to get, in a timely manner and well made, that’s different and unique. We’re very much about quality and products that will hold up to wear and tear for kids, besides being fashionable,” Steele said.

Due to the uniqueness of the products, the inventory is always changing. “Nobody wants to see yesteryears stuff. You’ve got to jump on it while it’s here,” Steele said.

Pipsqueaks wants to grow its online presence even more in the coming year, as it sees online sales as its biggest competitor, following the closure of a number of local retail stores in the past year.

Girls’ clothing at Pipsqueaks usually tops out at size 10, and for boys, it’s size 6. Steele said she strives to keep an accessible price point, with nothing in the boutique over $70. Relocating next to TWIST also has helped drive new business; the neighboring women’s clothing store caters to a more mature female clientele.

“Our customers are about 40 percent young moms and 40 percent grandmas. Who has the money? Grandmas,” Steele joked.

As a mother of five and a grandma herself, Steele sees her store as a way to connect with customers she considers part of the Pipsqueaks family.

“I’ve always considered this business like my ministry, the way I can connect or serve the community instead of doing it from home,” she said.

It’s open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; and closed on Sundays.

Pipsqueaks: 1408 N. Louisiana St., Ste. 106, Kennewick; 509-628-5603; pipsqueaks.org; Facebook, Instagram.

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