Open for Business
Everyday Luxe for Little People
By Robin Jovanovich
Sammy Benson was driving through Rye in March when she saw a “for rent” sign on the window of one of the best retail corners in town, Purchase Street and Purdy Avenue. She pulled over for a closer look and wrote down the number to call.
Within a matter of weeks, Sammy + Nat arrived — perhaps by stork? — at 88 Purchase Street, a bundle of luxe cotton clothing for babies and children.
Three years ago, Benson, who worked in branding and marketing at Michael Kors for a number of years, saw the need for quality, everyday clothing for the very young — onesies, pajamas, rompers — and beautiful, practical baby gifts. So, she started a business, with her younger sister Natalie (Nat) out of her New York City apartment. The pair designed a brand of cottons made in Lima, Peru, and met with early success selling them on their eponymous website, along with handpicked brands that complement theirs, to boutiques across the country.
Along the way, Sam met Darcy Callahan, who managed a children’s clothing store in Westport. “With her bricks-and-mortar background, I realized I had a business partner and we could open a pop-up shop and see what happened.”
What happened is that Sammy and Nat and their father and Darcy spent every day and night for a week completely revamping the space. The shop was open by April 4 and customers flocked there from the start. “Many have told us they were so excited that we weren’t a restaurant or a nail salon!”
Sammy + Nat may have begun life as a pop-up, but it’s here to stay. Despite the weather, summer dresses, and bathing suits have been flying off the racks. One customer, who bought up several pairs of pajamas, inquired whether Benson had considered selling grown-up versions. You could see the wheels in motion.
Coming from a big family, Sammy + Nat are partial to children — “we were boisterous and happy” — and Rye. “We’re rooted here. Our grandparents met in Rye in the 1940s and raised their family here. Our great-grandfather Nils, who emigrated from Sweden, ran a successful carpentry business on Theodore Fremd Avenue. For twenty-five years, our great-grandmother lived at The Osborn and was Santa Claus for most of those years.”
<Sammy + Nat is open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 6 and Sunday from 11 to 5.>
Photo courtesy of Ravanelli Photography
Darcy Callahan and Sammy Benson