Cristina Villegas opened children’s fashion and lifestyle store YOYA back in 2002 after the birth of her first child Mila (see parent and child interview from 2011). Fast forward to 2018 and Yoya now has an online outlet. So what is it about this children’s fashion gem in the West Village, NYC that keeps customers coming back. We discover more about this ever evolving bricks and mortar in this YOYA store Profile.
What is the name of your store and where it located? Yoya is located at 605 Hudson Street in the West Village.
How important is the location? Our location is very important to us! We absolutely love the West Village. It has a very laid-back neighborhood-y vibe, which means I get to have a bit more fun with the styles I buy. We range from casual, funky everyday wear to tailored, dressy occasion wear. We’ve also been in the area for a long time and have developed close relationships with many of our local clients.
When did you open your bricks & mortar store? Yoya opened in 2002, a year after my eldest daughter, Mila, was born.
When did you start to sell online? We started selling online in 2015.
Do you feel having a brick and mortar store helps your online presence? 100%! I feel, in the children’s high-end fashion industry at least, that people prefer to be able to see and touch the clothes they buy for their kids. It’s a wonderful experience to walk into a carefully curated shop and see new and interesting things from around the world. We have an online presence to support the store, not the other way around.
What percentage of total sales does the bricks and mortar represent? About 90% of our sales are in-store.
Could you please talk to us about the past year with your store and what you have planned for the future? In the past year, I’ve seen a lot of growth and interest in our website, and am excited to see where that can take us in the future. I know our NYC customers love to visit the actual shop, but I’d love to build a relationship with those who can’t necessarily come in all the time. Using our site and social media to give incentives and a glimpse into the Yoya world, I want to bring in customers from all over the country.
How do you source the labels you carry? I attend Playtime Paris and Playtime New York, visit a variety of multi-brand showrooms (AB Showrooms, C&C Childrenswear, Le Passage, Mikado Showroom, Stéphane Poncelet Showroom, etc.), and work directly with a few brands who have their own showrooms in the city.
Always difficult to choose favorite but please try, name 5 favorite brands? Every season it seems I find new favorites! Currently loving Hello Simone, Essence, Louise Misha, Nupkeet, and Finger in the Nose.
What features and practices do you feel create repeat customers and a loyal customer base? We try to have a very personal relationship with our customers. I take great pride in my shop; the relationships I’ve built through the years with clients are what make Yoya so special. I want to provide quality goods and a great shopping experience to everyone who walks through the door. My team here at Yoya works very hard to ensure customer satisfaction – we want everyone to leave with smiles on their faces!
A favorite quote or comment by a customer? “Does this come in my size?” – we hear it EVERY day!
Finally, describe your store in terms of personality and something unique about your store… I’ve always been told that unique curation is what makes Yoya stand out from other boutiques. We can be funky, fun, and laid-back in a way that reflects our neighborhood and the cool kids of New York, but I can also take risks with more fashion-forward brands. I like to buy in terms of a whole collection, not just piece by piece. I like to tell a story with the way that I buy, and I think that creates interest and the desire to actually come to the shop.
605 Hudson Street, West Village. NYC, USA