Misty Hillard is a lawyer, mother to a two-year-old son and expecting her second child in mid-January. If that's not enough, this month she opened Fawn, a clothing store for babies and children.
After Christmas, Hillard will take 10 months maternity leave. That's when she'll concentrate on getting her new store at 2225 Oak Bay Ave. established, prior to returning to law. It opened Nov. 3 and stocks items up to size seven.
"It just seems to be perfect timing," said Hillard, 35. "I'm going to bring my baby here." Her son, Sebastian, is in daycare.
What might seem like a monumental task to many fails to rattle the calm Hillard, who points out she has plenty of support from family experienced in retailing.
Hillard grew up in Courtenay, moving to Victoria to attend the University of Victoria, where she studied law and graduated in 2001. "I wanted to become a lawyer from a very young age. I think it was from watching too much Matlock on television," she said with a laugh.
She joined the firm of Hutchison Oss-Cech Mar-latt in 2002 and specializes in family law and personal injury.
Despite her love of law, the world of business beckoned. Her mother and sisters all operate women's clothing stores. Mother Rhonda Hillard, who ran a clothing store in Courtenay until 2005, owns Miss Bliss Boutique in Sidney. Sister Willow has Lark and Sparrow in Cook Street Village.
Another sister, Fairone, owns True Boutique in Broadmead Village.
Hillard grew up helping in her mother's shop, going on buying trips, and has always had a love of fashion. Fawn is a family venture, with her sisters and mother all helping out.
Her interest in fashion turned to children's clothing after Sebastian was born. When the Oak Bay Avenue shop space became available this summer "we thought 'why not add to all the family businesses and open a children's store?' "
Hillard's store is among 385,100 small businesses in B.C. Like 82 per cent of those ventures, she owns what the province considers a micro-business with five or fewer employees.
Fawn further bolsters a growing destination for shoppers interested in children's items, Hillard said.
"The more children-focused stores on the avenue, the better," she said.
Fin and Izzy, at 2259 Oak Bay Ave., sells baby products and accessories, and Timeless Toys is at 2213 Oak Bay Ave.
Product lines do not overlap, she said. "The majority of our lines are not available in Victoria."
Fawn is a spacious shop with a large front door that Hillard notes is wide enough for a double stroller or wheelchair.
There's a play corner for youngsters.
It aims is to offer affordable clothing with a mix including locally designed organic items to "fashion forward" pieces.
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