Introduction

We bring modern heirlooms to young families through indie-brand apparel, contemporary books, and battery-free toys appropriate for children from birth to six years old. We differentiate ourselves from the competition by offering superior customer service, expert knowledge of products, and a deep understanding of the needs their customers. Not just a retail store, Brambler is a hub for local parents who frequently stop in several times a week to chat with the owners while their children play with toy samples.

We are looking to borrow up to $25,000. The annual interest rate includes a 3.75% interest-only period followed by a 30-month fully amortizing period repaying at 7.00% interest rate.


 

We offer a wide selection of sustainably-produced clothes and toys.


About Brambler Boutique

By creating an atmosphere of warmth and caring, Brambler is a place customers have come to trust and depend upon for socializing and shopping. Emergency diaper changes are no big deal with the best family bathroom in the city, which offers a changing table and toddler seat. A cozy couch tucked in the back of the store provides a comfortable space for new mothers to nurse their babies or have impromptu story time. To further support our community, we have been a partner of the Western PA Diaper Bank since opening our doors in April 2016. By acting as a drop-off location, we have collected thousands of diapers that have been distributed to families in need.

The customer profile for Brambler is wide. Patrons range in age from young millennials to senior citizens. Repeat customers are largely made up of parents and grandparents shopping for themselves, as well as friends. Though the store only offers products for kids up to 6 years, once a family starts with us they continue to return as their family grows. First-time visitors include tourists from out of town and the suburbs, childless individuals searching for a present and in need of assistance, and even members of the film industry. Many first-time customers visit from UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh or the Midwife Center for Birth and Reproductive Health, as we are situated within walking distance of both. With a robust product price range, from $10 through $200, any visitor can leave the store with an exceptional gift. The excellent customer service, free gift wrapping, and eye-catching products always leave an impression.


A large portion of our sales are online.


Our carefully curated selection of infant, toddler, and children’s clothing focuses on three tenants: whimsical designs with elevated, modern silhouettes and exciting gender-neutral options; responsibly-made products with consideration for the environment and labor practices; quality materials that will last for numerous children. For example, Brooklyn-based Winter Water Factory, whose 100% organic apparel printed with bold, artist-designed graphics, is made entirely in the USA from the cotton to the final stitch. This allows the brand to reduce their environmental impact and support fair-wage jobs within their community. With “fast fashion” responsible for 10% of carbon emissions, we offer an alternative without sacrificing style or convenience.

Our book selection is unmatched with an extensive line of non-fiction picture books designed to inspire future leaders. Themes of inclusivity, empowerment, and normalizing minority characters can be seen throughout the store. Patrons will also find silly parodies of classics, such as Good Night Pittsburgh, picture book versions of movies like Back to the Future, and amazing interactive books for all ages.


Our shop is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh.


Many books pair beautifully with classic wooden toys for the perfect gift. Our toy selection emphasizes convenience, S.T.E.A.M.-themes (S.T.E.A.M. = Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) and creative free play. By keeping toys largely battery- and plastic-free, parents feel confident that their child can explore, create, and even teeth safely. Customers can grab anything from a travel-sized magnetic wooden block set (a restaurant favorite!), to a compact activity table, to even a 5-foot-tall stuffed T-rex.

By sourcing responsibly-made and well-designed products, researching, and, most importantly, talking to parents, we have created a space where young families can find products that meet their lifestyle needs while also building a community of support and trust through shared experiences.


Storytime at Brambler!


Past, Present, and Future

On September 13, 2014, KT went into labor with their first child, while, at a Pirates game downtown, Andi’s appendix started to rupture. Both ended up at different hospitals the following day, both having gone through similar abdominal surgeries. Having known each other through their shared involvement with the Steel City Roller Derby, KT and Andi were made aware of each other’s situations. Living only two blocks apart, the two friends spent their convalescence and maternity leave together, pitching business ideas to one another. They began prototyping a coat extender for babywearing. Soon after, while talking about ways to market the product, they realized how few outlets there were in Pittsburgh for modern families. KT was eager to touch and feel what they were seeing only online and was frustrated with the complete lack of knowledge about baby bottles that Target employees exhibited. That December they switched gears and the idea for Brambler was conceived.

At the time, Andi was a restaurant manager and KT was a pediatric echocardiographer. Neither had any significant experience in retail or business development. So, in February the pair enrolled in the MyBusiness Startup course at Chatham University, a training program for women entrepreneurs in the early stages of their business. One year later they signed the lease on their current home in lower Lawrenceville. Over the past 4 years, Brambler has evolved and shifted as KT and Andi grew to better understand the demands of retail and the needs of their customers.


KT, left, and Andi, holding up KT's child Oliver.


For four years we have steadily grown at a rate of 6-10% per year, highlighting the demand for such a business. We need to continue to expand our customer base in order to support the store’s financial goals. This is being tackled with targeted efforts to bolster website sales, which saw a 119% increase in 2019 by working closely with a website marketing specialist. Driving website traffic through Brambler social media and GoogleAds will continue to be a top priority as those avenues have demonstrated, beyond any other marketing strategy, to bring in the most conversions. Within 3 years, we would like to have developed a solid cash flow, eliminated at least 60% of debts, and developed a solid strategy for inventory purchasing that will prevent re-accumulation of debts. Once on a firm and sustainable financial footing, we would like to explore the idea of franchising the Brambler Brand.


Children are able to play while their parents shop and hang out. Photo by Laura Petrella.


Today’s retail market is tough. A brick and mortar store has to differential itself from local competition, like it always has. But today’s “local” competition is a mega store like Walmart or Target where products are cheap and choices are endless. Competing online is even tougher. A small business must constantly work to develop a smart and engaging digital relationship with customers. It is no longer an option to opt out, but in fact necessary to become a full-time, self-taught social media expert in addition to the more typical demands of retail business. We have a finger on the pulse of the Pittsburgh community, a stunning online presence, and a commitment to bettering humanity one diaper at a time. By choosing to invest in Brambler Boutique, you are making the choice to support many small businesses who are making ethically and responsibly produced products. You are investing in a community hub and resource for Pittsburgh families. You are bringing awareness to the work of the Western PA Diaper Bank. More than a retail store, Brambler Boutique’s reach extends far into and beyond Pittsburgh without sacrificing the warmth and caring of a local neighborhood shop.


We are a community hub in addition to a store.


Fast Facts

  • Best of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Magazine 2017
  • Best of the Burgh - City Paper 2019
  • Lawrenceville Corporation Sign Grant Recipient
  • Owners are graduates of Chatham University's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
  • "Concept to Launch" program
  • Woman and LGBTQIA owned
  • Check us out online!

Our products are designed for children age 0-6.


How You'll Help During COVID-19

On March 9th our much planned for Honeycomb campaign launched, unfortunately coinciding with our decision to close our brick and mortar store front ahead of the mandate from Governor Tom Wolf regarding essential businesses. As a small business and vital part of our community’s “Main Street”, we are familiar with pivoting. We have adjusted course many times. To follow trends, customer needs, and when recognizing that something we love just doesn’t work for our store.

So that is what we are doing now - riding the wave and trying to stay afloat. In a matter of days, we have completely changed the way we operate. Instead of in-store pick up options for local customers,  Andi is delivering packages directly to doorsteps. Instead of throwing a party to celebrate our opening anniversary, with face painting and balloon animals, we offered downloadable birthday coloring pages and a store discount. We have shifted from 90% in-store sales to 100% online sales. That is why we have converted our loan campaign to a relief loan, reflecting our more immediate needs. We are asking for $25,000 to support our business during this surreal global pandemic. The loan funds will go towards maintaining inventory, which is proving vital for families stuck in their homes with young children, paying bills and rent, and ramping up online advertising to support our sudden need for significant website traffic and conversions.

We don’t know when this will be over, or what our world will look like when it is. But one thing is certain. Life will go on. Babies will be born, children will return to school, and Brambler Boutique will need to be there for all of it. Please consider investing in our Main Streets by supporting Brambler Boutique.


We want our little customers to become responsible citizens.


About the Owners

Andi and KT met through the Steel City Roller Derby as athletes and later became neighbors and friends in the 10th Ward. The concept for Brambler was developed over the 3 months of KT's maternity leave during which the two visited nearly every day. Together they present a fun and engaging retail environment stocked with unique, hand-picked items.


Co-owner Andi


Andi is a known figure in the local food industry. She has valuable experience in management, vendor relations and inventory through her work with several New York and Pittsburgh restaurants. In Lawrenceville she can be seen running down Butler Street as she trains for another marathon, playing with her dog at the Bernard Dog Run or grabbing an iced coffee at Espresso A Mano. A graduate of Point Park University's Theater program, Andi’s bubbly personality and deep love of good customer service will keep patrons coming back.


Co-owner KT


KT is a former owner of Women’s Work, a small home improvement business that served the Pittsburgh community for three years, until they became pregnant. They can also be recognized as the carpenter from Bike PGH’s Drive With Care campaign or be seen on TV talking about their numerous knee injuries in a UPMC Stories commercial. Some know them as Coach Thudd, former trainer for the Pittsburgh Derby Brats junior roller derby league, which they left to pursue opening Brambler. KT holds a B.S. in ceramics from Towson University in Baltimore and an M.F.A. in ceramics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as well as an A.S. in diagnostic medical sonography from Community College of Allegheny County. For years KT worked as a gallery manager and assistant curator at the Society for Contemporary Craft, developing their eye for contemporary design and their skills in management and organizational leadership. For the past 6 years, KT has worked in the cardiology department of UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. With this experience and that of being a parent, KT brings to Brambler a keen sense of design and a wealth of relatable experience.


Deal Summary

Issuer

  Poppet, LLC

Security Type

  Unsecured Loan

Loan Purpose

 Working capital during COVID-19

Offering Amount

 $10,000 - $25,000

Interest Rate

  3.75% interest-only (first 6 months),

  7.0% amortizing period (last 30 months)

Payments

 Monthly, Disbursed to Investors Quarterly

Maturity

 6 months interst only + 30 months amortizing

Personal Guaranty  

 Andrea Doyle-Calcagno & Kathryn E Fishbein

Security Interest

 None


Your Earnings Potential

If you choose to invest, you will make a one-time investment via ACH that will be transferred to a secure escrow account. If the campaign successfully reaches its target, the funds will be distributed to Poppet, LLC.

For more information on the mechanics of Honeycomb’s crowd investing platform, please review our Education Materials.

Investment Amount One-Time Fee

Potential Quarterly

Return: Interest-Only Period*

Potential Quarterly

Return: Amortization Period*

Potential Total Repayment*
$100 $1.40 $0.93 $10.93 $111.17
$500 $7.00 $4.68 $54.65 $555.85
$1,000 $14.00 $9.37 $109.30 $1,111.71
$5,000 $37.25 $46.87 $546.48 $5,558.54

*Individual payments may vary slightly based on rounding. Potential repayments include principal and interest; they do not include the one-time fee which is assessed when you make your investment. These amounts are calculated as a hybrid interest-only + amortizing loan, which means that there is a specified interest-only period followed by a an amortization period. There are no prepayment penalties and Poppet, LLC may pay down their loan early, which may impact your earnings potential. Please note: returns are not guaranteed and investors could lose some or all of their investment.

Your ongoing responsibilities from investing are very limited. Over the life of the loan, you will receive a yearly 1099-INT, which is a simple tax document similar to what you receive for most savings accounts.

Poppet, LLC pays as agreed. You will receive quarterly payments directly into your bank account. In the event of a default, you will be contacted by the administrative agent to manage the collections process on the investors' behalf.


How Honeycomb is Compensated

Honeycomb charges Poppet, LLC a $250 posting fee and a 6.0% loan origination fee on the total amount funded.

Additionally, to cover expenses associated with each investment, Honeycomb charges a 1.40% investment fee capped at $37.25 per investor.

Like what you see?  Check out our other campaigns here!