Former Meriden resident opens children’s clothing store in New Britain
Davina Ismail always wanted to start her own business, and did so online a few years ago. With the help of an incubator program at Central Connecticut State University, she now has her own clothing shop.
Ismail, who recently moved from Meriden to New Britain, said one of her sons had acid reflux as a young child, so she and her husband were constantly washing his clothing. She got the idea to start her own store in 2013 and decided on the name Dribble Babies.
In England, where she was raised, Ismail said “dribble” is the word for drool.
After starting the company online she worked with the Institute for Technology and Business Incubator program at CCSU, recently opening a brick-and-mortar store at 53 Columbus Blvd., New Britain.
She and her husband sell children’s clothing from infant up to size 8.
For a low cost, the incubator program provides mentors, office space and more, Ismail said. In addition to office space, the program offers shared services, educational programs, and business counseling.
Ismail said since opening the store in New Britain she has expanded the line to create unique pieces.
After picking out the fabrics and designs, she works with Connecticut-based seamstresses to create the clothing. One of the most popular items this year is a mermaid pattern dress, she said. The dress is cut longer in the back and can be worn with leggings once the child grows. Items range in price from $10 for a water resistant bib to $30 for a three-piece set, Ismail said.
“We’ve been changing our strategy since we opened the store,” she said. “What we’ve realized over the last four years is that it’s great to be online, it’s a lot less overhead. But it’s really hard to connect with your customers...We’ve been focusing on getting our name and our product out there in the community.”
Ismail said she has done a lot more with shows and events, such as the Made in Connecticut Expo, and has made sales when customers can see and feel the items.
In addition to her own line, Ismail sells several other brands, including Magnificent Baby and EcoSweetie. She is always looking for more local brands to feature in the store.
For more information, check out the company’s website at www.dribblebabies.com.