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Branded for success: How one modern mom and her ‘little bean’ founded Little Bean & Co.

What does it take to go from business idea to lady boss?


This new column features an entrepreneur, who happens to be a mom, each week—walking us through the process of how you too can take your ideas from dream to reality.

If you missed our last article featuring Cynthia and her daughter, Meera, from Devon’s Drawer on how the value of tradition has impacted the supply chain of their heirloom children’s clothing company, you can read it here. This week, we’re discussing the fourth step every entrepreneur needs to make on her journey: branding.

Don’t try to be someone else’s brand. Find your lane and totally kick ass in it!

One hot summer day last year, on the shores of Tofino, Oregon, Paige Manning and her new husband, crazy in love and honeymooning, came up with an idea inspired by their daughter Finley or, “Bean,” as she’s affectionately known.

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Paige had wanted to start her own children’s retail company for a long while, but the red tape involved with setting up a brick and mortar store was making it difficult to get the business off the ground. It was time to think outside the box store.

So she and her husband decided to buy a Boler trailer—which are coincidentally known as “bean trailers” (is anything reaaaalllyyy a coincidence?), and turn it into a retail shop with the ability to “pop up” at any location. The trailer would stock children’s goods made locally or from companies run by Canadian entrepreneurs (with very few exceptions).

So just 10 days after their honeymoon, the 1975 Boler was in their hands and being completely gutted with the help of friends and family.

It marked the beginning of their journey to make a dream into a reality.

Now, the Little Bean + Co. Boler is seen and loved up and down the west coast of Canada. In less than six months her Instagram following has grown to thousands of followers, with locals excitedly following her for the next market announcement. How did Paige go from idea to devoted fan base so quickly?

It’s the branding.

Much of Paige’s success comes from the incredible job she’s done with branding. Not only is the concept of a retail store inside a trailer unique, but her execution and taste has set Little Bean + Co. apart. Everything from the specific color of the Boler to the curation of items that she carries is well thought out, targeted and branded.

In her own words, Paige shares what it is about her branding that customers are drawn to, and how a lady boss gets started with creating a brand that will be celebrated.

What makes Little Bean &

Co. unique as a business?

First of all, there has never been a mobile boutique specializing in children’s brands locally in

BC, and as far as I know I’m the only Boler boutique in North America! Now, there are other mobile businesses, but what

makes us unique on that front is the products we carry. Everything in

the shop is made locally in the lower mainland, or nearby to where we are based in British Columbia, Canada.

How did you begin the process of deciding

on a brand name?

My daughter’s nick name has

been ‘Bean’ since she was born, and the Boler travel trailers are nicknamed

‘bean trailers’ because of their shape, so I knew Little Bean was the one, and

the + Co is because we are in company of amazing brands.

Once you had your name, what was your

process to develop a logo, and all the other pieces that contribute to a

“brand”?

Actually, I totally left the logo up to

my friend and graphic designer. I sent her a picture of the trailer before it was

even close to being done and said, “Just get creative!”

I told her the color I

was planning on painting the trailer, but other than that I just let her go crazy.

I believe in letting the pros do their job; I’m always happy to get out of their way instead of trying to tell them what to do. 

She actually chose the turquoise Pantone color we used in the end, and we matched the trailer paint to it.

It was hard to balance my own branding while carrying other brands in the shop. I wanted to stand out but also let them shine, so it was important to me that I chose something strong. When my

logo first came back from the designer I knew it was perfect and the shape of the trailer could be carried through all aspects of our branding.

I had our business cards cut into the shape of the trailer, it makes it stand out, and is something fun for people to touch and feel. I get compliments on my cards every time I hand them out; people’s eyes light up seeing the connection of real life and card.

I also had blanks made so that the logo card is our price tag on clothing in the shop. People post their ‘shopping hauls’ on social media and you instantly see our tag price card stand out. That right there makes it worth it.

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What would you say captures people about your brand and what makes it memorable?

The Boler for sure. People are always in awe of what I’ve done with it. Even people without children to shop for just want to stop and look, tell me a story about how their dad had a similar trailer, or how they used to camp in one as a kid. I get moms that run over a gush at the products, and dads who come up and go “wow this is so cool,” in awe at the trailer. It is truly eye catching, and that rings true for any brand I think.

Be unique. Stand out if you can.


When people hear Little Bean & Co.

what immediately comes to mind?

Beyond the Boler, customers remember the brands, and the quality of the

products we carry. Shopping local has a huge following here in the lower mainland,

and that really sticks with people, knowing they can get all their

favorite local brands in one place, no shipping required.

What values did you focus on when

building your brand?

I focused on quality, and the

brands I believed in as a customer before becoming a retailer. Brands my daughter wears

and loves, brands that held up to her crawling, walking and hair accessory ripping ways. I

believe in each and every brand in the shop on a personal level, and my

customers appreciate that.

When developing a brand, what would you

say is the most difficult part of the process?

Keeping things consistent is the most difficult part, and you need to get it right. I hired my friend and graphic designer to create my logo, and from there I pulled everything. Our colours, style, font, everything we use is pulled from our main logo image.

Being consistent is especially difficult in social media. I’m a mom and I don’t have time to adjust everything perfect for every shot, and so our pictures don’t turn out the same, even with the help of filters. For now, I just go with it, and show that we’re a real business, in real life, and I’m really a mom trying to do it all!

Now that you’ve been at it a while, what

would you say is contributing to your success?

Hard work. I spent three full

weeks sanding and prepping that trailer, and that was just the beginning. I

don’t have to do as much manual labor like that now, but every aspect of that hard work

definitely contributed to success. The trailer wouldn’t look like it does

without everything I did in the reno. I wouldn’t be at all the markets and

events if I hadn’t stayed up for hours and hours every night searching and

applying for them. Even now social media is hard work, updating my website,

making orders, and managing finances.

It’s all hard work but I wouldn’t be where I am if I only put in 50%.

How important would you say confidence is

in running your own company?

Confidence runs a business.

No one wants to buy something or work with someone only kinda sure. There have

been a few times where I thought getting some brands in the shop was a total

pipe dream, and that they were way out of my league, but I worked my confidence

up, sent them my best, and turns out they were stoked to be on board. If Ihadn’t the confidence in my brand, in my business, or myself, I would never

have them.

How does being a mother affect the way

you run your business?

Oh boy, this is a big one. I parent alone a lot of the time, as my husband works out of town, most

often 20 days away, 10 home. So working and being a mom is just normal life. My

little one is often by my side while I work on social media and emails during

the day, but I try to get most done once she’s in bed. Often you’ll find Bean

hanging out in the Boler with me, she’s my side kick on market days sometimes,

and its definitely a work experience having her there. Potty training on the

job is not fun!

Is there any one piece of advice you’d

give to aspiring lady bosses?

Don’t try to be

someone else’s brand. Find your lane and totally kick ass in it, you don’t need

to do everything to be awesome, you just need to find the right road, and

travel it well. Thats what makes a brand strong and stand out.

What does “Motherly” mean to you?

Motherly means taking charge,

finding alternatives, making decisions, and being caring. You don’t need to be

a mama to be motherly, you can exercise motherly qualities in all aspects of

life.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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