Finding Youth Style at Mitylene
Ever see sweet pictures of Harper Beckham or Prince Charles and wish you could buy in Atlanta their clothes for your children? Well, don’t worry! Now you can. Opening at 4209 Roswell Road in Buckhead, Mitylene is a children’s clothing store with more of a European feel — despite many of its lines being American. “We’re bringing a lot of designers that are new to Atlanta,” says Betsy Pomerantz, who grew up in Sandy Springs and now lives in Buckhead. “Our store will carry items that are definitely less traditional; we’re staying away from the Southern look with smocking and appliqués. You won’t find that here. It’s not the place.”
Her business partner Laura Graber, also of Buckhead, explains what you will find are fun, bright clothes that have children still dressing and looking like children. “We’re dressing children to have style, not be mini adults. Think Harper Beckham, Prince Charles or how Jessica Alba dresses her kids. We love fashion, our kids love fashion and we’re hoping to dress other people’s kids who love fashion.”
Although the women are excited about opening Mitylene, they have busy lives outside the retail arena. Betsy and her husband Brett, who works at Auto Trader, have three children. Beau is at Sara Smith Elementary School, Parker attends school at the Temple and baby Ty is still at home. Betsy is chairing the Ian’s Friends Foundation event, to benefit children’s brain cancer.
Laura and her husband, Allen, have two children, Finn and Eloise, along with two dogs a cat and a fish. She is very involved in the Trinity School auction and the Hope and Will gala to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The pair have been long time friends and, by now, call each other family. Laura, who has a background in retail and fashion, managed the Buckhead high-end jewelry store, Tassels, which is owned by Betsy’s mom, Juli Bauman. For her part, Betsy had a sweet, one-of-a-kind monogram business. Laura was having lunch with Betsy’s mom and saying she wants to open a kids store but she didn’t want to do it alone. Betsy’s mom signed Betsy (her daughter) up right then and there. “I didn’t see how she could do it because Betsy has three boys under six. Her mom said that was exactly why she needed to do it.”
The next day they two were on the phone and three months later Mitylene is opening. “It really feels like a family here and we hope our customers feel it as well,” says Laura. Adding to the family feel is that the name Mitylene is the name of Betsy’s grandmother. “It sounded different but not too different or too trendy and European,” she says.
Both women are quick to point out that just because a child has a fashionable look doesn’t mean the clothes aren’t meant to be worn on the playground. “We have lots of casual stuff, leggings and cozy sweat tops to dressy dressy clothes,” says Betsy. “We have t-shirts for $19 and dresses for $350. Some of the boys clothes have a California surfer look. We want to market to everyone and have it so that everyone can come in and buy something.”
Some of the lines include Oscar de la Renta, Rachel Riley, Johnnie-O, Anais & I and Sundek. In addition they are launching their own private label next year called mitt boys and mitylenegirls.
According to Laura, the women are very price conscious. “We want to be fashionable and stay somewhat affordable. We’re not going crazy,” she says. “With every single piece we are conscious of the price. We pick out every single item down to the color. Every item is extremely curated and hand selected. There is nothing here that we wouldn’t put on our children and nothing they wouldn’t wear.”
The women are supporters of fair trade lines, hand-made items and fashion lines from companies that are socially conscious and donate to children’s charities. “We have items that are hand-made in Peru, for instance. We also try to find and support local designers,” says Laura.