There are a few hallmarks of children’s fashion in the South- smocking, monograms, embroidery, and gingham. Founded in late 2014, Smocked Polkadot honors these traditional styles while adding a modern twist with their broad collection of wardrobe essentials ranging from Bishop dresses to holiday pajamas.
There is also a deeper mission for Smocked Polkadot and its founder, Ashley Hensley, a Virginia mother of three. After undergoing adoption journeys for her two youngest children, Ashley wanted to find a way to alleviate the financial burden of adopting for other adoptive families. Proceeds from each Smocked Polkadot purchase benefits the Seecaas Hope for Adoption Foundation and their first recipient will be named this November.
After the arrival of her second son, Ashley decided to try her hand at designing her own collection of children’s clothing inspired by classic Southern silhouettes with a few charming updates. The brand’s name is a nod to the versatile smocked styles they offer as well as their playful side that includes polkadot prints and less traditional colorways. Ashley incorporates special vintage elements in her designs, including lace detail on their embroidered floral dresses.
“I get most of my design inspiration from my children and what I like to see them wear,” said Ashley. “We can be out somewhere and I will see a really cool painting with fun colors or I have even found inspiration on napkins that had an eyelet trim. I am constantly observing and finding things that inspire me. I keep a notebook in my bag that is with me all the time so I can write down and not forget. I could totally use the notes on my phone to keep them, but for some reason, I love to take notes and have them in my inspiration notebook.”
For fall/winter, the Ella Grace Collection is currently the bestseller with its classic buffalo check styles in royal blue and red. The soft knit Pink and Blue collection is also a hit for customers across the country. For the boys, the vibrant dinosaur pajamas have been a perennial favorite. Smocked Polkadot carries sizes 3 months up to size 8 in most styles, with select styles going up to size 10. Reasonably priced at $23 up to $80 retail, Smocked Polkadot offers an expansive range of clothing and accessories, including A-line dresses, knit pant sets, fleece jackets, ruffled rompers, raincoats, bathing suits, and even duffle bags.
For the upcoming winter holidays, the red knit gown with tulle ruffle, $29, has quickly sold out but is now restocked- and yes, monogramming is an option! The plaid and tartan collections, as well as a festive embroidered Santa on rompers, polos, and dresses, are popular picks. Seed pearls are added to their geometric smocking pieces for a bit of holiday shine.
This year, Ashley launched the Seecaas Hope for Adoption Foundation (named after their family’s first name initials) following her family’s decision to adopt their two youngest children, Eli, 4, and Ella, who turns 3 this month, joining older brother Caden, 9. Every year, the foundation plans to award two recipients.
“Being that we have gone through two adoptions and one failed adoption, we know the journey well,” said Ashley. “We know the emotions- the good, the bad, and everything in between. But it is a journey that we loved and it is truly amazing. However, it is also expensive.
Being that we hold adoption so dear to us and our family, I decided to create the Seecaas Hope for Adoption Foundation. I started this to help other families with their adoption expenses. Our board members will be announcing the first recipient for our Foundation this November, which is also National Adoption Month.
Proceeds from every item sold at Smocked Polkadot goes into the foundation and once my women’s shoe line launches (this is set for November as well), a proceed from every pair of shoes sold will go into the foundation. The recipients will receive one of our Baby Bundles as well as one of our favorite adoption books.”
Looking ahead, Smocked Polkadot will be adding an organic cotton collection for spring/summer ’20 to appeal to customers seeking more sustainable children’s fashion options, as well as Ashley’s new Seecaas shoe collection of fashionable flats ideal for on-the-go moms. Not limited to the Southern states, Smocked Polkadot has customers along the East Coast, West Coast, and even the U.K. They plan to further expand their wholesale business for 2020.
Smocked Polkadot will have a special pop-up shop at the iconic Macy’s on 34th St. in New York City from October 6 through November 3 with exclusive designs. Learn more about Smocked Polkadot at www.smocked-polkadot.com.