Lynn Monty, Editor in Chief
When Kate Bowen founded her company Petit Peony in Charlotte a few years ago she never dreamed she would be asked to join Ivanka Trump’s “Women Who Work” fall campaign. And to top it off, be asked to create Ivanka’s children’s inaugural weekend attire.
Ivanka Trump launched the campaign to encourage and empower women, Bowen said. It featured Trump, Bowen and two other working women.
Bowen, a 2004 Saint Michael’s College graduate, took her business administration degree and self-taught design acumen to start Petit Peony from the ground up with no formal children’s wear design training. “I was just a mom interested in creating domestic things,” Bowen told The News in a telephone interview. “I wanted sweet and simple coordinated outfits for my girls.”
As for working closely with and designing for Ivanka Trump, Bowen said, “This is not a political statement. I believe in the Women Who Work Campaign, and when Ivanka left for Washington she told us she would be working to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs. She’s raising awareness and supporting working women. It’s been a wonderful experience working with her.”
Bowen and her husband, Ryan, have three children—two girls ages 5 and 4 and a 2-year-old son. Success came early with boutique partners like Jamie Two Coats in Shelburne and Little Citizen on Church Street in Burlington. Nationally it was Mac & Mia and The Monogram Shop at first. Now Bowen’s designs are in 85 boutiques nationwide. “I am grateful for every single one,” she said.
The company has since opened an office, boutique and showroom in Duxbury, Mass. The label has tripled in volume, she said, because her designs do well with coastal New England shoppers. Last year, Petit Peony produced 17,000 units, which includes the Magic Balloon label for Marshalls and TJ Maxx. This year the projection is 100,000 units.
“We are really missing Charlotte,” Bowen said. They will be visiting friends in town this summer, and the children are looking forward to attending Shelburne Farms Camp.