I’m a girl who loves shopping, but I’ll admit – a children’s clothing store is a bit of a mystery to me.
So slipping into Peanuts Maternity & Kids was a new experience for this SLNK (single lady, no kids). I zigged past clothing racks buried under adorable mini hangers displaying the cutest tiny outfits to find owner Nicki Zuchowicz Horne in her cheerfully crowded upstairs office.
“Temporary insanity” she laughs, when I ask why she started Peanuts. This Santa Barbara native (Peabody, SB Junior High, SB High School) spent years in the Bay Area in the tech industry. Pregnant with her first, she returned to Santa Barbara and was inspired to open Peanuts when her boys were 1-year and 4-years old. And then she discovered what became the real reason behind her retail decision. “Pregnancy and raising young children can be a challenging and vulnerable time – I wanted to create a space where families feel supported and moms feel beautiful.”
Racks of cute kids’ clothes abound.
To that end, Peanuts not only serves families from conception to kindergarten, they’re also building a strong and loyal community of moms – and dads and grandparents – with maternity/nursing apparel plus some toys and party supplies. Feeling strongly about families of all income levels benefiting, Nicki sells gently used clothing on consignment alongside new fashions, “That way, we cover all price points.”
Customer service is the secret to nine years of success – her staff keeps tabs on customers’ likes and sizes and calls them up when, say, a new shipment of mermaid-inspired apparel arrives.
But the most unique feature of Peanuts is the classes - they offer not only a variety of weekly low cost classes for children (music, movement, photo sessions, preschool ballet – even a Father’s Day Ceramic Foot or Hand Print Workshop!), they also host free monthly parenting classes for adults.
The bright counter welcomes shoppers.
“We just want the whole parenting experience to be as easy and magical as possible,” Nicki says.
Peanuts Maternity & Kids (9 E. Figueroa), www.peanutvine.com; 805-618-1640
Kate Schwab has lived and worked in Downtown Santa Barbara
since opening Borders Books & Music in 1995. Originally from the
landlocked state of Indiana, she is thrilled to be near the ocean but
doesn’t surf. She loves a great book, a good movie, a fine glass of
wine, a bit of shopping and a heck of a meal – so her role as
Marketing & Communications Manager of DSB is her dream job.