Social Encore: Big Bad Wolf opens at Ward
BY Jermel-Lynn Quillopo / Special to the Star-Advertiser
The newest addition to the Ward Warehouse shopping center is urban clothing line Big Bad Wolf. The children’s boutique opened its doors this week and what you will find inside will intrigue you.
The journey of Big Bad Wolf started about a year ago when Founder Amy Wong wanted to find clothes that matched her daughter’s unique personality and resembled her style. If you ever met Ella Wong, she is definitely a kid with spunk and doesn’t fit the cookie cutter outfits of your typical “Hello Kitty” pink-loving little girl. When shopping for her daughter, she often had to search endlessly and eventually had to mix girls and boys clothes to achieve a certain look.
Wong has a wealth of retail knowledge and has worked for high end luxury brands like Ferragamo and Kate Spade. After marrying husband and cofounder of POW! WOW! Hawaii Jasper Wong, she found herself immersed into the street art scene and established the art movement’s retail end.
After curating POW! WOW!’s pop-up shops year after year, she noticed that there weren’t many urban street wear lines for kids. Wanting a project that she could call her own, she decided to combine street art and fashion by starting Big Bad Wolf.
“I didn’t really know much about street art until I met Jasper,” said Wong. “But I [took the initiative] to learn on my own and started educating myself on street art and found artists that I really liked.”
She started out with just a few pieces, usually selling them at small pop-up shops, but her dream was to own a storefront. Her concept for Big Bad Wolf combines art and humor for children ages 2-10 and features unique and exclusive designs from an array of artists.
Each month, Wong features one artist. She curates her line by hand-selecting artists from around the world and creates limited edition runs of each piece. Artists like Matthew Tapia, James Dean and So Youn Lee have all designed something exclusively and different for the line. She said a line like this could become an avenue that helps connect the artists with people that have yet to discover them.
“Learning about these different artists, I want to help other parents to learn who these artists are,” she said. “Art is beautiful; it attracts so many different people and it helps you learn more about who the artist is and their unique style.”
As soon as you walk into the store, you’ll find small shopping carts for the keiki to stroll around with, a toy ice cream truck and tons of cute merchandise that are sold only at Big Bad Wolf. Some of the items are Flat Bonnie plush dolls by artist Yukari and printed apparel from local designer Naturally Young At Heart. Since the main foundation of the line and store stems from street art, you’ll also see a wall mural painted by her husband Jasper, a pattern that is similar to the coloring paper that the line gives out with each purchase.
The fun and unique boutique mostly caters to children but there are items for adults that are young at heart. There are collector items, pop-up books, toys and sculptures.
Fun and full of imagination is what the store hopes to bring and the line is full of jokes and playfulness, similar to the unique personalities of each and every Big Bad Wolf mini-customer.
“Creating this line is full of being playful,” added Wong. “And with children you need to be playful with them and this helped me form a great relationship with my daughter Ella.”
She admits that creating the line was at first inspired by her daughter but realizes now that she has learned more from her daughter throughout the entire process. She hopes it carries on with each customer and parent that walks through the shop.
“I’ve learned a lot from Ella and makes me appreciative of the simple things,” she said. “Big Bad Wolf embodies all the simple things in life like laughter, being confident, and being playful…that’s what I try to replicate in the clothing in hopes that other people catch on too.”
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.