Makie, a tiny children’s clothing store on Thompson Street in Soho, is one of my favorite places to visit. It is a timeless place filled with beautiful clothes and treasures for the little ones. It is my “go to” place whenever someone I know has a baby or when their child has a birthday. It’s also a place I often pop in to when walking down Thompson Street. It’s always fun to speak with the owner Makie and her wonderful team of cool women.
Although I’ve been a customer of Makie ever since she opened her store in 1999, I really didn’t know much about her and just why she moved from Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan, to New York. Makie’s first visit to the city was in 1987, when she was working for a fashion store in Sapporo and she convinced her boss that she just had to take a month off to visit New York - a place she had dreamt of seeing ever since she was a teenager. After that initial visit, she knew she had to return again, and not just for a quick jaunt but to stay and build her life here. That is how much she related to New York - a place so very different from where she grew up in the countryside of Sapporo. Being from Japan myself, I can relate to the gravitational pull the city has, with its multi-cultural hustle & bustle of people- intense, chaotic, and charming, all at the same time.
Makie arrived to stay in 1991. She met her then-husband and they opened a Café/Bakery near Union Square called Thé Adoré. For 21 years they ran the business together, along with close friend Harumi helping them. Makie and Harumi have been friends from when they were both teenagers in Sapporo, and today Harumi still works with her at Makie.
Makie knew that having a children’s clothing store and showcasing children’s clothes of her own design was what she “really” wanted to do. She told me this desire probably goes back to her childhood and watching her mother, a seamstress, working away on an old Singer sewing machine. She also learned to knit from her mother. But most importantly she learned to dream and to believe in herself. Sprinkle in hard work, focus, passion, and everything is possible.
In 1999, she opened Makie at 109 Thompson Street in Soho. To this day, all of her clothes are made in New York’s Garment Center. The fabrics she loves and uses all come from Italy and Japan. 22 years after opening on Thompson, she recently took another space 2 doors away which she envisions using to collaborate with other designers, artisans and artists. She is sure that this idea will find its way and grow just as Makie found her way in the city of her dreams.