NEW BRITAIN - A few years ago, Davina Ismail and her husband, Gulaid, had a problem.
They were constantly buying new clothes for their son who kept spitting up on his current clothes and staining them due to acid reflux.
Their solution? To start their own business selling children’s clothing that is not only made from quality materials, but is inexpensive at the same time.
DribbleBabies, LLC, opened at 53 Columbus Blvd. last November, but has been an online store since 2013.
With the help of the Incubator Program at Central Connecticut State University’s Institute of Technology & Business Development, the Gulaids were able to get their business up and running.
The five-year program provides start-ups with a network of small businesses that are also in the beginning stages, and provides them with access to seminars and variety of programs and services - like business plan development, marketing and strategic plans - to get them started, according to business manager at ITBD, Jim Bruner.
“We were living in New Britain at the time so it was just perfect timing and a perfect opportunity for us to get office space to operate out of, and we got a great mentor out of it as well,” said Davina Ismail.
For her, owning and operating a business wasn’t something she attained skills for. She worked in the legal field for 10 to 12 years.
“We’re learning literally by the day,” Davina said.
She credits the Incubator Program for teaching her a lot of the initial skills she needed to know, but also said that a lot of things she’s learned are from just “trial and error.”
The store began with basic items like onesies, hoodies and pants with “Dribble Babies” across them, but has since evolved to include many “unique” items and their own line of Connecticut-made clothing made by local seamstresses.
“We try (to keep things unique) because we’ve got three kids, and we have a lot of friends who have babies, people want to be a little bit different these days,” Davina said.
Speaking of her three kids, Davina said they help her with the business - by being models on the website.
“We call them our little CEOs,” she said.
Davina is working with kids programs in the city to host a number of activities in the store. She’s already hosted two paint days for children that had great turnouts - the paintings hang in the store - and is planning to do two more over the summer.
She also said they will be at the Farmers Market in Central Park starting on July 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as events at Walnut Hill Park.
“It’s very important working in the community for us because, to be fair, the community has been great to us and for us.”
DribbleBabies is in downtown New Britain, across from the CTfastrak bus line. Store hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
All New Britain residents receive 10 percent off each purchase. ID must be shown to get the discount.
For more information (and to start shopping) visit dribblebabies.com. You can also find them on various social media platforms @DribbleBabies.
Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.