Local Entrepreneur, 4, Follows Her Passion for Fashion Opening Her Own Affordable Line, The Cali Collection

Photo Courtesy of The Cali Collection

At 4 years old, Cali is already an accomplished entrepreneur, leader, model and brand ambassador. All inspired by Cali’s natural eye for fashion, The Cali Collection is Cali’s own clothing line that is high fashion for children at prices that won’t kick parents in their pocketbooks. I recently got the opportunity to speak with Trinesha Bartholomew, mother of Cali, and owner of The Cali Collection. The Gramercy resident told me all about how they became entrepreneurs by following Cali’s passion for fashion. 

EB: What is the Cali Collection?

TB:  The Cali Collection is the Home of the Mini Fashionistas. We are a toddler driven company- well basically specializing in toddler clothing and we are geared more towards high fashion couture still yet affordable. We try to do the high-fashion looks that are easy on the average consumer’s pocket. Because nowadays you want really nice clothing but with everything going on it’s hard to spend a lot of money on something that is nice, so we try to gear towards everyday working parents that can afford something trendy and affordable. 

Photo Courtesy of The Cali Collection

The Cali Collection is named after Cali. She is a 4 year old kid-entrepreneur and boss. She loves to dress up, loves clothing which made us get into starting the brand. So she is The Cali Collection- it is a collection of pieces that we put together and that we find, and sometimes make, to coincide with our collection.

EB: What motivated you to start the business?

TB: What motivated us to start The Cali Collection was that basically our social media [accounts] would blow up with her clothing and she was also well known in our area because she was dressing up in cute, trendy clothes and literally everyone would stop and say, “Hey! Where did you get your clothes from?” or “Where did you get this? Or that from?” So we kinda came together, her father and I, and said, “You know, we should start our own brand since people are always asking where we get her clothes from.” We were always telling different places, and thought we should just start our own brand. Basically it’s because she’s always getting the attention!

EB: The Cali Collection is more than just inspired by your daughter Cali. Can you discuss her different roles in the business?

TB: She is VP, but she is also the top brand ambassador, she models, she packs orders and she helps go to the post office to ship orders as well. I also consider her a buyer. because a lot of the time – at 4 years old, I know it sounds crazy- I would ask her if she liked things and she would tell me no or yes.

Photo Courtesy of The Cali Collection

EB: I know Cali’s amazing fashion sense is what inspires the collection, but how are the clothes designed or made? How do you go about making the collection?

TB: My sister-in-law is actually a designer and she has her own design company, JGabryelle, so as far as clothing, so I would get with her sometimes to draw some things, and come up with designs and then we would get them manufactured. We also have a vendor that we go through- so some things we get optimized and some come through a vendor. 

EB: As a teacher, I see a lot of value in running a business with your daughter. What do you think is the most valuable lesson Cali and yourself have learned while starting this business together?

TB: The biggest thing is to basically believe in yourself and never give up. If you have a goal, and a vision, to stick with it and don’t settle for less. Keep striving. I think the biggest setback we have had so far was getting overwhelmed cus we didn’t think things would go the way they did. Things blew up so quickly, we didn’t expect it to go off as fast as it did, so we kind of underestimated ourselves. I wish we would have had more products, because I feel like we missed out on a lot. The biggest thing I would say is to go for it- if you’re gonna go for it, go all the way. Don’t shortchange yourself. If you have a vision, stick with it. 

Photo Courtesy of The Cali Collection

EB: It’s not just Cali modeling the collection- who are the other adorable fashionistas voguing for The Cali Collection?

TB: Those are some of our brand ambassadors that you will see on our site. I don’t have casting calls or anything, and we aren’t looking for a certain look. I feel that every girl is a mini fashionista, especially if you are a Cali Girl, so we use girls that order from us a lot. If they are basically ordering their whole closet from The Cali Collection, then I will reach out to the parents and say, “Hey, do you wanna shoot with us?”  And they are usually really excited! Their daughters are excited to model, and they are always spending their money with us, and like to shop with us, so why not?

EB: What’s one thing that Cali thinks will be popular this summer?

TB: Swimwear. She is dying for it already! We are going to be coming out with a new line called Cali Swim and she is excited to shoot with that. So right now we are looking at swimwear, and coming up with different designs for the swim line- she is really into tie dye prints.

Photo Courtesy of The Cali Collection

EB: How can people check out The Cali Collection?

TB:  They can follow us on social media websites, and visit our website at www.thecalicollectionllc.com, the.calicollection on Instagram and @TheCaliCollectionLLC on Facebook.

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