Maternity clothing store that will sell both new and used items set to open on 23rd Street
photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World
Maybe the online buying trend has gone a step too far. (I’m not saying that because Amazon has asked whether my home has a loading dock.) One new Lawrence entrepreneur believes online shopping has taken hold in an area that doesn’t make much sense — maternity clothing.
Kisha Cranston is in the process of opening The Bump Store in The Malls Shopping Center at 23rd and Louisiana streets. She came up with the idea for a maternity clothing store after realizing so much of that market had moved to online shopping, despite what many mothers say is an obvious drawback.
“If your body is literally changing shape every week, you need to try things on in person,” Cranston said.
Soon, expectant Lawrence mothers will have the chance to do so. The Bump Store is opening in the large space formerly occupied by the clothing resale store Lasting Impressions. The space has gotten a complete makeover with new flooring, new changing rooms, a small play area for children, and upgraded bathrooms with changing tables and other amenities that mothers can appreciate.
The store will sell a mix of used and new maternity clothing. Originally, Cranston said she planned to sell only used items, but then realized it would be important to have new items so that she could ensure she had a mix of sizes in her inventory.
“I don’t want people to walk in and find only medium and small sizes,” Cranston said.
The store, though, intends to make used maternity clothing a big part of its business. Cranston plans to buy maternity clothes from area mothers who no longer need that type of wardrobe. That’s a large number of people, Cranston said. After all, many mothers are not eager to keep their maternity clothes once they are done having children, and many times the clothes are in very good shape because they have been worn for a relatively short period of time.
“People can get a little bit of money back from their maternity clothes, and other people can save a little bit of money buying maternity clothes,” Cranston said of the system she envisions.
The store will have other items for sale, but it won’t delve much into selling clothing or accessories for babies. Instead, the store is meant to really focus on expectant mothers because Cranston said that seems to be a part of the market many retailers have been abandoning.
In addition to maternity clothing, the store will sell some items for baby showers and gender reveal events, a specialty line of greeting cards for mothers, and a few items for those who surround mothers and also want to celebrate a pending birth.
“You’ll probably be able to get a shirt that says something like ‘Grandpa in Training,'” Cranston said.
Cranston understands the idea of being in training. She’s getting a crash course in retailing, as she’s delving into the industry for the first time. She spent about 10 years as an employee at the University of Kansas helping international students make a smooth transition to KU.
But then the pandemic hit. When it was time to return to an in-person office environment, Cranston said she wasn’t yet ready to do so, in part, because she has two young children who at that time couldn’t yet be vaccinated.
Coming up with an idea of something else to do as a job wasn’t a problem. Narrowing down her choices might have been.
“We’ve always had about a million business ideas,” Cranston said of herself and her husband.
The maternity clothing business rose to the top, and the pandemic complications ended up being the event that caused the couple to take the leap from idea to action.
Now, Cranston has begun buying inventory for the store, and recently completed the major construction at the site. She hopes to have The Bump Store, 711 W. 23rd St., open by late December, but said the opening could stretch into January.