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Hybrid Heaven

More than just a place for enrichment classes and curated clothing, State of Kid in Miami has created a thriving community for young families with now two compelling locations.

State of Kid Co-Founders Cheryl Gonzalez (left) and Alana Oxfeld

Just when you think the retail market has reached a plateau, creative minds come along and push it to the next level. In 2019, businesswomen and mothers Alana Oxfeld and Cheryl Gonzalez took their collective brainpower in branding, baby products and clothing and parlayed it into State of Kid, their boutique spin on the children’s class business.

State of Kid’s first 1,700-square-foot location was so successful—even through the pandemic—that Alana and Cheryl opened their second location last month at Miami Beach’s premier lifestyle destination, 1212 Lincoln Road. This location offers a similarly mixed-use retail destination vibe of the first State of Kid in the Miami Design District, which boasts easy parking, 24-hour security, family-friendly eateries and a variety of shopping for parents.  “Beyond physical growth, we are evolving as a brand and what it means to be successful in a post-pandemic environment,” Cheryl says. “Families are craving a comfortable space where kids can safely play and learn.”

Cheryl and Alana are no strangers to the professional pivot. Alana, who previously led brand communications at Bai Beverages while Cheryl spearhaded operations at both Fridababy and littlehipstar, loved their corporate careers until it became too tough to balance that life with parenting. “We had three young children between the two of us, and we didn’t want to spend the majority of our week sitting behind desks in an office,” Alana explains.

They had complementary skill sets, too. Cheryl’s expertise lies in finance and operations while Alana’s is in creative and marketing. “We each bring something unique to the table.  However, it’s so important that we share the same larger vision for the business. That has been so critical to our success,” Alana stresses. “We wanted to find something that we were passionate about, but also something that served our family’s needs. We decided it was time to turn the traditional class model on its head.”

Little ones can stay occupied at a fun play table while their parents shop.

And so they did. State of Kid offers enrichment classes for young children up to age eight, educational workshops for adults and a highly curated collection of clothing, accessories and décor. Little ones can choose from a variety of classes, and parents are able to pop in or book in advance, with no membership required. “We understand the benefits of consistency and routine for young children, but we also know that there are external factors that can get in the way,” she says. “We wanted to build a business that offered a wide range of enrichment options and incorporated flexible booking.” Some of their most popular classes include Jam with Jamie for music and movement), Miss Nancy’s Petit Chefs for cooking and crafts, Dance with Miss Vicky for ballet and hip-hop, and Red Violet for art and sensory.

The clothing concept for ages 3 months to 8 years evolved simultaneously and sought to serve as an antidote to e-commerce for a variety of reasons, Alana explains. “While there are so many options online, we know that many parents prefer to shop in-store due to size variance among brands, the need to pace with a young child’s rapid growth and the hassle of online returns.” State of Kid offers a range of American, European and Australian clothing, including brands with cult followings such as Rylee + Cru, Louise Misha, Hux Baby, and Munster and mixed with smaller, discovery brands like Miki Miette, Mer St. Barth and La Lovie.

With the ubiquitous loungewear trend shifting, the owners had to adjust their buys accordingly. “Now that families are out and about again, people are looking to dress up a bit more, and we offer a range of brands that cater to them,” Alana says. “Our Fall 2021 collection includes a mix of higher-end dresses, skirts and denim in addition to loungewear, sweats, tees and of course, swim.”

As a way to sell relevant product during the pandemic, they developed their own line of reusable masks for children and adults under their proprietary label of Row + Lee–all while keeping the product true to their core brand, Alana explains. “We were able to source an extremely soft, highly breathable fabric from Italy and create sustainable masks with unique prints.”

Despite needing to offer free virtual classes during the height of Covid, State of Kid perservered and has been flourishing as a resource for newcomers. A big migration of families relocating to South Florida has shifted State of Kid’s mission of making parents’ lives easier to a community-builder. As such, the retailer has embraced a more fluid hybrid model. There’s now a mix of drop-in classes with private pods and multi-week courses focused on a single theme, such as preparing little ones for preschool.

The duo has worked harder and smarter than they ever thought they would—but that doesn’t phase them. The lessons of flexibility and meeting customers’ needs in a variety of unforeseen circumstances remain with them, Alana says. “We are still taking things day by day.  The pain points that our business was built to address are still relevant today.  However, we are living in a different world, and we know we have to adapt.”

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