Meet the Shopkeepers: Tottini

With this South Lake Union kid’s shop, little ones never have to know about poor design, drab ideas, or wasteful materials.

By Malika Ritchie January 10, 2011

Tottini co-owners Melissa Van Flandern and Melissa Maffei; you’d be surprised what they can get into the back of your compact hybrid.

At Tottini in South Lake Union, Melissa Van Flandern and Melissa Maffei prove the kids are people, too. Half-sized sustainably built and well-styled furniture isn’t about humoring the little ones, it’s about making sure they grow up with – and in and on – a thoughtful, design-centric perspective. Playthings, books, and accessories follow suit.

WWW: What’s your personal spin on the ubiquitous “How can I help you?” question?
Van Flander and Meffei: Since Tottini is a kid’s store we like to have a fun, comfortable experience for our customers, who are often with their children. We usually don’t usually say ,“How can I help you?” and instead offer a warm greeting and smile, letting the customer know we’re available.

What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
Of course we love everything in our shop, however a couple new lines we are currently in love with include bath products and toys from Hoppop from Belgium and arts and crafts by Seedling from New Zealand.

Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
We enjoy visiting Clover House, a super cute gift shop in South Lake Union, and Izilla Toys on Capitol Hill. also stumbled upon Lavender Heart in Madison Valley recently and found some great holiday gift items.

What specific store or type of store do you feel is missing from Seattle’s shopping scene?
Unfortunately, over the last few years Seattle has lost quite a few children’s clothing shops. We’d love to see [more open up].

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
We often get a chuckle when customers want to load very large furniture into very tiny cars! We suppose it’s wishful thinking… although we’ve actually fit a crib and changing table into the back of a Prius.

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