She started out in geology, earned an MBA, worked in aerospace, stayed home with her three kids, and has now opened a children’s boutique. That’s the circuitous path Caroline Hagadorn took to what may just be her dream job. With a lot of preparation and some serendipity, the mom of kids ages 9, 10, and 12 opened Little Bird Denver at the corner of 22nd and Kearney on Black Friday.
Little Bird Denver offers clothing for infants through age 6 (soon, through age 12), toys, and baby gifts. Some of the display fixtures came from Hollyhocks, a former Denver boutique. Hagadorn also carries items from Colorado vendors and plans to carry more. “I love creating connections with the local community and interacting with other entrepreneurs who are taking their good ideas and bringing them to life,” she says.
Hagadorn had been thinking about opening a store since her children were little, envisioning more than just merchandise. “Ultimately, I’d like to grow it into a resource center for parents of young children who are interested in learning more about cloth diapers for example, different ways of baby-weaning, new mom’s groups, or toddler playgroups, so parents and kids can get together and build a sense of community,” she says.
Though not one to believe in fate, the way Hagadorn got the store’s space made her wonder. She’d kept her eye on the block of family-friendly businesses for years—Bang Salon At Park Hill occupied an ideal location with large display windows. One day, Hagadorn knocked on the door and spoke to an employee. “I said, ‘I know this is crazy but I’m starting a new children’s store, and I would love to rent this space. I know you guys have this business here, but I just want to throw that out there.’” The next day, the salon owner, Sandra Feldt, called Hagadorn saying she’d been “hoping and praying that someone would knock on the door” and want to take over her space so she could downsize. Feldt moved Bang next door, swapping spaces with her kids’ hair salon, Lil B’s. Little Bird could then share the larger space with Little B’s, divided by a partial wall. Their similar clientele made the venture seem like a natural fit.
The name, Little Bird Denver, comes from Hagadorn’s shared love of birds with her 12-year-old daughter, Stella, who designed the store’s logo. The connection between the names “Little Bird” and “Lil B’s” is also serendipity, with the kids’ salon name referencing Bang Salon.
Despite opening a business during a pandemic, Hagadorn is optimistic. “I’ve been thinking of this for so long that I had a lot of it fully formed in my mind and knew what I wanted, so when I did encounter those opportunities, I could recognize them and go after them in a very confident way,” she says, adding that people have been enthusiastic and supportive with their words and shopping dollars.
Hagadorn feels her varied path to this point has been helpful. “I’ve switched gears both personally and professionally many times in my life, and I know that I can go from doing one thing to something very different and figure out how to make a success of it,” she says. “This doesn’t have to be something I do forever. But it also might be–it’s been pretty joyful so far.”
Front Porch photos by Christie Gosch