Annika Huston's Shop Dotter Stocks Cozy Goods For Mamas And Littles Alike
Welcome to Mama Shops, an FM Journal series that highlights beautiful stores owned by mothers.
Dotter is a family affair in more ways than one. It starts with the name, which is Swedish for "daughter," a nod to the fact that the Highland Park boutique is a collaboration between owner Annika Huston and her mother. Huston grew up in the retail business, watching mom operate a few stores on the East Coast, so when she finally acquired a space of her own, she already had a good sense of what she wanted — and didn't want — Dotter to be. And as a mother of two herself, Annika made sure that her shop offered plenty goods for both moms (linen jackets and dresses, cute clogs) and their babes (organic kids clothes, classic wooden toys), as well as gifts for practically anyone on your list, from handmade cards to crafty kitchen wares.
Huston, who opened Dotter about two-and-a-half years ago, has also watched her two young sons, Wyatt and Rye, grow up there. That said, we knew she'd have some things to say about balancing a new business with motherhood. On a recent trip to the shop, she chatted with us about that, plus her no-fail gifts for baby showers and the cool way her family does getaways.
At what point did you know you wanted to open your own shop?
My mother and I had always talked about opening a shop together and when the space on York became available, we jumped. Dotter is my take on what she has curated and sold over the years in her East Coast stores, though now I get to put my West Coast spin on things.
What made you settle on Highland Park? What do you love about being in the location?
My husband and I lived in Highland Park for many years (we moved closer to the mountains last month) and it has been our community and truly the setting of our entire relationship. We met here on York, we dated, spent countless hours hopping between cafes and favorite restaurants with friends, restored a beautiful old house, had babies, and so much more here in Highland Park. It’s the best neighborhood, hands down.
Your family has expanded since opening the shop! How do you balance being a mom of two little boys and running Dotter?
The time has gone by so fast. I think that’s a testament to that old saying, “the days are long, but the years are short.” But then again, the days are so f***ing short, so who knows! We opened Dotter when my first son was a year old and then the next year I had our second son, Wyatt. He spent his first nine months coming into work with me every day and I might as well have been selling Ergos since I wore him on me around the shop all day. Thankfully we only live a short drive away from the store, but I’m constantly either racing there or racing home to relieve our nanny. And just when I’m riding high and feel like I can indeed "have it all," I’m knocked off my high horse when one of the boys catches a cold or an employee calls in sick. Luckily, we’ve always had amazing child care and I have a really great team of creative, intelligent women working alongside me at the shop. It takes a village on both ends.
Dotter has such an amazing kids section and is great for gifts — what are some of your best picks for someone shopping for a baby shower gift?
I love, love, love putting together gift baskets. I always grab an infant gown from Milkbarn or Winter Water Factory, a soft cotton swaddle from Pehr and a board book or wooden teether. I also recommend cozy socks, handprinted cotton robes and a lavender body salve for expectant mamas.
What are some of the shop's best selling items?
We have a line of hand-stitched indigo jackets that are truly heirloom, museum quality pieces. They make the best gifts. We carry also have a few linen lines that have become my wardrobe staples. They're easy to wear and even easier to care for, plus they get better with age. I want to sell clothing that is unique and well made, but also accessible to women of all sizes, ages, shapes, and backgrounds.
When you'e able to take a break, what's your family's favorite way to get away?
Phew, it’s been a while but we love a good camping getaway up the coast in our little Westfalia camper van. Always a wild adventure and good for all of us to get a dose of the stars. And of course, a weekend by the pool in Palm Springs. We’ll take what we can get!
Dotter is located at 5027 York Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90041. (323) 999-7947. Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 11 to 5pm, closed Monday and Tuesday