At new Main Street clothing store, kids are the stars
Gina LeBlanc was looking for a change when she moved to Park City.
She sold the business she owned in New York and made the trek here, where she had vacationed every year for more than a decade, to escape the stress of life. She wanted something new and Park City seemed like the perfect place to call home for the rest of her life.
"The people up here, it doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone for a year, it’s like they’re old friends," she said. "They’re welcoming and they’re filled with love. They love where they’re at and love their lives. That overflows onto the people who are visitors. I think I wanted to be part of that."
One of the best ways to become part of a community, LeBlanc figured, is starting a business. So she decided to open a children’s clothing store, calling on her experience putting on fashion shows for children in New York through the casting agency she owned. Months later, Catwalk Couture Kids sprang up at 255 Main St., in the Treasure Mountain Inn building.
"This business is about meeting people on the mountain," she said. "It’s about becoming part of an extended family. Owning this business and this type of business is a big change for me because I have the ability to build long-term relationships. I was excited to move here. I was excited to meet the people."
LeBlanc’s interest in children’s clothing stems from her love of children. She has three daughters of her own and frequently worked with children in New York. The shop offers a mix of name-brand clothes, as well as budget-friendly options to meet the needs of all families. She said she hopes the shop shows brings a bit of European flair to Park City, with offerings made of fabrics such as linen.
"This was opened because of the joy and the fulfillment that we get working with children from all over the world," she said. "The joy is not only in letting people give their children gifts, but also in the dressing and the fashion shows. It’s about keeping the joy of the children alive."
She added that opening a children’s clothing store feels like a natural fit for her.
"Dressing beautiful little children is so much fun," she said. "You see their eyes light up when they feel so pretty in something. I think that is because we worked with children’s designers and clothes for so many years, it was just a natural thing. Out of all the fashion in all the world, the kids are the ones that are most fun."
In addition to selling children’s clothes, LeBlanc wants to bring a little of the fashion world to town. She is planning to put on a fashion show similar to the ones she threw in New York sometime in May. The show will feature clothes from her shop, as well as a few other clothing stores in town. Those interested in participating can stop by the store and inquire about auditions.
"We made lifelong friends from those kids and those families that participated," she said. "Moving to Park City, I think we want to bring a little bit of that here. We would love to see us plant some seeds and Park City to eventually have a fashion week. Shows in other cities are popping up, with their own mini fashion weeks, and we hope that’s what our show will do."
LeBlanc also wants Catwalk Couture Kids to be known as a store that gives back. She said the store will give away handmade hats to keep children who come into the store warm. For LeBlanc, it all goes back to her love of children.
"They’re our trial-and-error hats," she said. "We wanted homemade stuff. So if you can’t afford a hat, we’ll give you a hat. We’ve probably got the largest hat collection in Park City — we’ve got bags of them. We love working with children and watching them grow into the beings that make a difference in this world. It goes a little deeper than just a pair of shoes on a runway. It just makes us happy."
Catwalk Couture Kids
255 Main St.
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