Cotton is the perfect clothing fabric for the month of July, especially when it comes to kids.
That’s according to Eun Hee Kim, a Northbrook mom of three young children, who is also the creator of her infant and children’s clothing line, Sam and Coop.
“Cotton is the most breathable children’s clothing fabric,” said Kim, who has been manufacturing and selling the line for six years using 100 percent cotton on every piece of clothing. “It helps them not to overheat while having fun in the summer sun.”
NORTHBROOK — Sam and Coop, named after two of Kim’s children, six-year-old Samantha and nine-year-old Cooper is known for its onesies and sun hats, as well as its skirts, t-shirts, bloomers and sundresses for kids up to the age of 10.
Sold in several boutiques, along with her website, Sam and Coop merchandise is truly handmade, with everything manufactured in the Northbrook home Kim shares with her husband, Grant and their children.
“The clothing is light, comfortable, casual, everyday clothing,” said Kim, a former biochemist for Abbot Laboratories who left the field several years ago to obtain an associates degree from Harrington College of Design. “The colors are bright and they’re pretty. People gift these items a lot to new moms because they want something special and unique.”
Kim is also the owner of EHK, her 11-year-old interior design company that specializes in model homes and small offices.
She said her decision to start Sam and Coop was based on the downturn in the economy in 2008, when the model home industry went down. The year also coincided with the birth of her daughter, Samantha.
“I wanted another creative outlet that was fun,” said Kim, who is also the mom of 22-month-old, Kenzie. “But the clothing business is a hard business, and you have to have a passion for it to be successful.”
Kim said she broke into the wholesale market three years ago when a well-known Los Angeles-based clothing rep saw her line in a Chicago boutique and asked if she could take on sales of Sam and Coop.
Kim also sells the line at several summer art shows, mostly in Chicago.
Rachel Nass is a manager and buyer for Babydreams in Highland Park, a baby boutique that carries Sam and Coop.
“Not only is it made locally, which customers are always supporting, but the colors and patterns are different,” said Nass. “They’re artsy and they look adorable on babies.”
Nass also said Sam and Coop’s two sided sun hats, which Kim launched this summer are a huge hit.
Kim said she buys her materials at fabric shows in Chicago and Los Angeles, and that Sam and Coop’s prices are all under $50.
“The best part for me is seeing the moms’ reactions to the clothes,” said Kim. “It’s a great feeling of accomplishment.”
“The line sells really well,” said Kirstin Martin, who is the owner of Chicago’s Smitten Boutique, a gift and custom invitation boutique. “We have a modern sophisticated shopper who wouldn’t want something too handmade, but they appreciate something locally made that has that extra something. That’s what Sam and Coop is. It looks handmade but not too handmade.”