Starting a new business is often times an indefinite leap of faith. Brooklyn business owner, Annie Bruce, took the ultimate leap of faith when she started Brooklyn Owl, allowing her 4-year-old daughter to create her stellar business plan. Her daughter, Bee Bruce, brought her bright imagination to life and encouraged her mom to sell her original magical unicorn designs which turned out to be the best business move she ever made.
The dream for Brooklyn Owl started in the living room of Annie’s Brooklyn apartment in 2010. She began with designing adorable kid’s accessories like handmade felt hair clips and customizable headbands which she sold on Etsy and local craft fairs. Little did she know, she was on the verge of creating a whole new product that would help launch her store.
Then 3-year-old, Bee, wanted to throw a Unicorn-themed birthday for her 4th birthday. Annie put her creative thumb to work and crafted Unicorn horn party favors which then became the prototype for her business.
Her small at-home operation grew as soon as people got their eyes on her one-of-a-kind Unicorn horn designs. “I wore the party favors around town (the Unicorn horns) and people asked me, “where did you get that?” And we would say to them ‘We made them!’ and they were like ‘Wow!”, Bee recounts. Bee encouraged her Mom to make more and sell to the masses. This bright idea was just the business push Annie needed to bring the unique horns to a brick and mortar store located on bustling Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.
Visitors from all over the world come into the Brooklyn Owl, (252 Flatbush Ave.), to get a glimpse into the playland. The Brooklyn Owl isn’t your ordinary toy store because every visitor that wishes to be ‘knighted’ gets to go on a Unicorn Adventure which involves a blacklight and some exciting surprises. Kids can explore the store to discover hidden magical phrases and stand in front of the Magic Mirror to transform into a magical Unicorn.
Part of the magic is the workshop in the back of the store where Annie employs 4-8 artisans to handmake each Unicorn horn with care and love. “My friends love wearing these to school and I do have playdates here with my friends. They love going on the Unicorn Adventure and hanging out in the back with me”, said Bee. The collection started with two designs: Candy Sparkle and Rainbow Original. The horns now come in 30 colors, and 4 sizes fit for any baby, toddler, teen, adult and even pets!
Bee has always been a critical part of the business and remains a big influence on all aspects of the business. She not only inspired the Unicorn theme, she also inspired the name for the store (her first word was ‘Owl’!). When Bee isn’t in school, or traveling with her mom, she is lending her Unicorn expertise by helping her mom trim and box horns and organizing the store. “It really makes me happy knowing that she is learning skills that she is going to use the rest of her life and she’s having fun while she’s doing it”, Annie said with a bright smile.
Since opening her store, sales have increased and her designs have been featured on fashion editorials such as Gift Shop Magazine and Glamour Spain. This mommy-daughter duo are the shining example that it’s okay to use your imagination no matter what age you are.
Check out more about this fun mama/daughter duo in our latest video: