Hand Curated Items
Mili Van Vliet and her husband moved to Brentwood during the pandemic...
Mili also happened to be pregnant with their daughter at the time. She always knew that she would eventually open her own business; she just wasn’t sure what type of venture she would embark on and when. Since Mili moved to a new town during a time when she was unable to leave the house while either pregnant or caring for a newborn, it was the perfect time to put all of her ideas into action. “I opened up The Little & Brave Boutique in September 2021. I was searching for a certain type of clothing for my baby and couldn’t find it nearby, so I saw an opportunity to fulfill my need while also helping other moms who were potentially in the same position as I was,” said Mili. “I started online because that felt like a safe way for me to see how things would go before jumping all the way in, but after a little while, I thought that a storefront would help.” So, in August 2022 Mili opened The Little & Brave Boutique inside The Streets of Brentwood.
The Little & Brave Boutique offers a variety of unique clothing pieces for children ages newborn to six years old. Many of the available vendors are small and woman owned, and some are from other countries. “I think our offering makes us unique. Our pieces are more subtle and neutral with limited prints, and some of the items are less accessible in stores. We work with small vendors from the United States, Turkey, France, Slovania, Canada, and others. We are always adding new vendors. I want to make these pieces available for people to see in person and touch the material versus guessing through a screen.” Along with clothing, The Little & Brave Boutique also carries teethers, shoes, accessories, diaper bags, toys, and more. Mili’s hope is to offer the complete boutique experience. “I want people to know that they can purchase a baby shower or birthday gift and get the gift, greeting card and gift bag all in one place,” said Mili. “I want my shop to be your one stop. We can package your gift right in the store, and you can go straight to your event.”
If shopping solo simply isn’t an option, inside the store patrons will find a play area that was created specifically to entertain little ones so that moms can enjoy some uninterrupted browsing. “You don’t have to worry about anything. We’ll pick up any mess after your shopping is complete. It really does keep the kids busy, and we love seeing them play inside the kitchen or playhouse.” The play area of the store was made complete by a beautiful wall mural, courtesy of DB Chalk Project, which includes the quote, “The greater the storm, the brighter the rainbow.” “I’m all about quotes and their messages,” said Mili. “My daughter is a rainbow baby. I wanted something to remind me, and even those visiting my store, that there will be hard times, but there’s always something good ahead.”
In addition to her daughter, Mili also drew inspiration to follow her dreams from her mother. “My mom has been a huge inspiration and example for me since I was young. She was an independent, single mom who worked in a clothing factory, but she never let that stop her.” Mili’s mother began purchasing clothing pieces and would sell them on street corners in Lima, Peru, where Mili grew up. Mili would go along with her and witnessed first-hand what it looked like to work hard for what you want. “After watching my mom I’ve always had the mentality that anything is possible; if you have something in mind that you want to accomplish, you can find a way to make it work. My mom lived in a third world country, as a single mom, and started her own business, bought her own 10x10 space in the mercado, paid for my entire education, and bought her own home, all from the ground up.”
In addition to growing her store’s following and customer base, Mili also has the dream of being able to help people in her home country of Peru. “I would love to have my own brand and give work to the women in the Andes Mountains, removed from the big city, where my grandmother was born,” said Mili. “They would make the clothing, I’d sell it in my store, and then I would pay them well, which doesn’t happen in Peru.” Of course, Mili’s goal is to continue to spread the word about The Little & Brave Boutique, but for her it’s so much more than monetary success. “I love being able to help the community by providing jobs, working with local small groups, and supporting other local moms who have their own small business by carrying their items. I never know what tomorrow holds, but ultimately I love helping others."
Address: 2455 Sand Creek Road, Suite 136, Brentwood, CA 94513
Phone: (925) 204-5518
Website: The Little & Brave Boutique
Photos by: Michelle Lassle