New on the US West Coast, Thumbeline  was launched just a few months ago. Co-founder and buyer Lisa Wong worked as a fashion editor and stylist in New York before moving to the brand side as the fashion director for a women’s fashion/lifestyle label, a few years ago.  That’s where she started being obsessed with children’s style.  Let’s share a moment with Lisa, chatting about children’s fashion, books, movies, online destinations, Los Angeles’ hot spots….

Tell us more about why and how you started Thumbeline  I’m very inspired by the kids that I know. They’re so expressive and unselfconscious about how they move through life.  If you’re not living in a metropolitan area, or even if you are, it can be challenging to find something that really does them justice and is creatively, thoughtfully designed. Some larger design houses create scaled-down versions of their adult lines for kids, and they are beautiful; but our focus is on smaller, hard-to-find collections that take inspiration from kids themselves.  To design for children with both style and functionality in mind is wonderful talent.  I can’t lie…more than a few times I’ve contemplated trying to squeeze into a size 8y.  Sigh.

The brands that you selected for Thumbeline? Ada Ada, Alter Ego, Antik Batik, April Showers, Babylady, Bangbang Copenhagen, Birdskull, Bodebo, Esp. No. 1, Fellhof, Hélène Cousin Bébé, Kidscase, Koolabah, Lucas du Tetre, Le Toit de la Lune, Louis Louise, LuckyBoySunday, Makie, Mini Rodini,, Nico Nico, Oeuf, Petit Nord, Petitbo, Popupshop, Shampoodle, Soft Gallery, Sudo, Surface to Air, Suvi Ainoa , Swedish Hasbeens, Talc, Tutu du Monde, We Were Small, Wildfox, Wovenplay…and many new surprises coming up for SS12…

The 3 items that you particularly adore this season from Thumbeline Bangbang Copenhagen’s hoodie has style + humor and is easy to wear (picture 1); Soft Gallery’s owl print leotard for everyday dress-up (picture 3); and LuckyBoySunday’s Beauty Baby (picture 2).  She’s the anti-doll with that cranky face but so loveable.

The children’s trade shows that you visit Playtime (Paris and New York), Bubble London, and I’m looking forward to CPH Kids and Kleine Fabriek.

The missing items in the current children’s product offer I’m always on the hunt for innovative things for boys, something streamlined and modern and definitely logo free.  There are some great choices to be had but there’s so much room still in this market.

Your beloved online destinations I’m a total design nerd.  Love The Glow, The Cool Hunter, Big Play, Anais Genot.  For personal style, Tales of Endearment and Bleachblack for California-based style.

How do you see the business in your field? It is a very challenging era at the moment.  In a positive sense, I do feel our difficulties have resulted in many new small scale entrepreneurial and creative efforts.  The children’s industry seems to be holding its own, with so many fresh exciting labels and ideas to enjoy.  I have so much appreciation for small scale ethical production and will always try to support those businesses.

The children’s stores that appeal to you Tang Roulou in Beijing is the brainchild of two French designers whose design aesthetic is China-inspired.  Beautiful and so unique – it’s located inside a ceramics store in the Chaoyang district.  The Bonpoint flagship in Paris – I could live in that store.  Chellis Wilson in Portland, Maine. OK on West 3rd in Los Angeles for a modern take on children’s design objects and toys.

A movie you recently saw and that stayed with you ‘Last Train Home’, a documentary about one family among the millions who migrate en masse from the city back to their villages for the Chinese holidays.  A very intimate and poignant look at a rapidly growing country.

The book on your bedside table Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.  I really miss the bakery now that I don’t live in New York, and I’m in nesting mode now that fall is here.  The fact that it’s sitting on my bed and not in my kitchen means that I’ll probably just drool and never actually bake anything