Mompreneur Melissa Troise, Founder: Little Skye
Author: Shannon Miller
Meet Melissa Troise, Owner and Founder of Little Skye
Little Skye is a unique, chic, children’s clothing website, created to fill a market need.
Shannon Miller Lifestyle: How and when did you form your company?
Melissa Troise: I was a high school English teacher and teacher educator for most of my career. When my first daughter was born a little over six years ago, I wanted to find something I could do from home so that I could be with her, and I decided to start a children’s clothing website. Skye is my first daughter’s middle name, so the company is named after her. I have always loved fashion and photography, and I knew that this business could be a way to combine those two things. I saw a real lack of children’s clothing websites at which I wanted to shop, so I wanted to create something that would fill a market need.
SML: What’s the first thing you did when you realized you were serious about launching your own company?
MT: I tried to figure out how to make a website (which was not a good plan) and how to order clothing for it.
SML: What makes your company different from anyone else’s?
MT: Before I started Little Skye, I was having a hard time finding children’s clothing websites that pictured anything on children, and that offered the kind of clothing I wanted. So on Little Skye, all of the clothing is carefully selected and styled to reflect our brand, and is pictured on a child (usually in a natural setting). That was very different at the time. Photography is extremely important to us, and our pictures and style are still very unique to Little Skye. Another thing that makes us different is that Little Skye is entirely staffed by women, the majority of whom are mothers. We also have an outstanding customer service team of women who really love and know children’s clothing. And our website itself, I think, is very different from others. We really spend a lot of time – with our extremely talented web developer – designing it to be fresh, beautiful and highly functional.
SML: What was the biggest challenge or setback you had when forming your company(could be time-wise, financially, emotionally, etc)?
MT: I have a very supportive family, so that made everything possible for me during the first years of the business. It all became more challenging when the business grew. Now my most significant challenge is time; I just need more hours in the day.
SML: What was one piece of advice you wish you had been given when you got the idea to start your company?
MT: Have your website made right the first time by someone who knows what they are doing.
SML: What has been your best memory or happiest moment since starting your business venture?
MT: Related specifically to the business? The happiest moment was probably when I made the agreement with my business partner, because that partnership has allowed the company to grow. It also makes me happy to get our catalog in my mailbox; there is something very rewarding about seeing the product of so much work. The best thing that happened in general because of my business venture is that I met the two people who are now my closest friends. Not related to the business, there are too many moments to mention since I have two daughters who bring me joy every day.
SML: Silly question: If you could go back and meet any famous mom who would it be and why?
MT: I am lucky enough to meet amazing moms every day in this business – designers, customers, photographers – and many of them have become dear friends. They are famous in my eyes.
SML: Anything else you’d like to share?
MT: Though this interview is about how I started the company, I would like to note that Little Skye has an incredibly dedicated assistant director and a fantastic staff. Without them, the company would not be what it has become.
Before starting Little Skye, Melissa had a long career as a high school English teacher and teacher educator. She is currently an owner and the director of Little Skye and Oilily Shop USA, and a full time instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she is earning her PhD. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and her two daughters.