Photos courtesy of the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce.EDWARDSVILLE - If you ask Clarinda Martin, owner of a new Edwardsville children’s boutique, raising a child takes “a village and a wine rack.”

Two years ago, Martin opened the Charlie Rae boutique online to sell quality kids clothing at an affordable price. This week, she is welcoming local customers to her new storefront, located at 100 N. Main Street in Edwardsville. Her grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, promises giveaways and mimosas as she hopes to entice parents who know parenthood isn’t always picturesque.

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“I just feel like everybody is so focused on being the perfect parent and the perfect mom. I mean, I really don’t think that’s reality for anybody,” Martin said. “I want to build a community around being a real person and a real parent. Kids are messy. Life is incredibly messy. And so I just want to make some aspect of it easier.”

The Charlie Rae boutique offers clothing for babies and kids. From fun t-shirts to fancy dresses, Martin makes sure to have a variety of outfits for different occasions. She’s no stranger to the stress of planning family photos, getting a toddler ready for a wedding, or choosing the perfect gift for a baby shower.

The decision to open Charlie Rae came after Martin and her husband had twins a few years ago. Martin quickly realized there weren’t many “kid options” in Edwardsville, and it was even harder to find boy clothes for her son. She started Charlie Rae as an online store; it quickly gained popularity across the country.

While Martin was originally unsure about opening a storefront, “it was so hard to say no” when she found the perfect location in Edwardsville. In the last few weeks, she has been surprised by the many customers who have already flooded Charlie Rae.

“The front door’s open, so people are just coming in,” she laughed. “It’s been pretty busy. I wasn’t expecting it.”

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She hopes Saturday’s grand opening brings in even more shoppers who are eager for another clothing choice in the Metro East. In addition to the free mimosas and donuts (“Everybody’s dream,” Martin noted), attendees can enjoy discounts and a giveaway every hour. The first 20 customers will receive a VIP bag with “a bunch of stuff for Mom,” including face masks, bracelets and a gift card. A few extra vendors will also be at the grand opening to show their support.

As Charlie Rae’s popularity grows, Martin is excited to build her community of shoppers and parents. Parenthood is hard, but she hopes her boutique makes it just a little less stressful for people who want comfy and cute clothing for their kids.

“People are coming in looking for something, they want their lives to be easier,” she explained. “My biggest goal is to just be here to make people’s lives easier, help them take the guesswork out of what they’re looking for.”

After all, it takes a village and a wine rack. Stop by Charlie Rae on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, to find your village at the boutique’s grand opening, or visit their official website, Facebook page or Instagram profile to learn more about what Charlie Rae has to offer.

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