ADDISON – When Jaclyn Kostrzewa was looking for a partner for her business, only one person came to mind: her longtime friend Julie Boldt.
And when Boldt was asked to be Kostrzewa's partner, she knew her answer could only be yes.
"I felt so honored, so blessed," Boldt said.
The two women who grew up together in Addison are now working to expand Precious Little Tot, an online business started by Kostrzewa in August 2012 that sells handmade items for babies and their mothers.
The duo will be releasing their new Signature Line 2015 in January.
The potential for the business started when Kostrzewa learned to sew to make blankets for her first son Dominik, who was born in 2010.
"It was really just a hobby at first," she said.
But what started as a hobby became something more as Kostrzewa gained confidence and started to design her own patterns, leading her to place a couple items on Etsy, a website where handmade or vintage items are sold.
The products sold quickly, and Kostrzewa received positive reviews. After formally launching Precious Little Tot, however, she learned running all aspects of a business can be difficult for a mother of two.
With her bubbly personality, Boldt was a perfect fit to handle Precious Little Tot's sales and marketing, Kostrzewa said.
Now with Boldt on board, the hope is to bring the baby items to more brick-and-mortar boutiques and expand the company's use of social media.
Items currently are sold at shops in California, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin and the Precious Little Tot website, preciouslittletot.com.
The business partners also are looking to participate in more handmade or indie markets, which feature sellers who make their creations by hand, and vendor shows.
They plan to focus on the Chicago and Dallas areas for now and expand from there, possibly branching out to New York or Los Angeles, Kostrzewa said.
After growing up in Addison across the street from Kostrzewa's grandma, Boldt now lives in Palatine. Kostrzewa spent a lot of time at her grandma's when she was younger, but she has since moved out of state to Dallas.
The lifelong friends both became mothers of two boys during the last five years.
Boldt's experiences as a mother gave her a desire to empower other moms, and Precious Little Tot allows her to do that, she said.
"The stronger a mom can be, the better mom she can be to her children," Boldt said.
Precious Little Tot's items are both functional and attractive, using patterns that make moms feel good about themselves and brighten up their days, she said.
Signature Line 2015 will feature all the same items customers are used to, but with different patterns that show cohesion within the Precious Little Tot brand.
Colors include black and white, turquoise, watermelon and honey, and the fabrics used are gender neutral, which can sometimes be hard to find for moms of boys, something Kostrzewa and Boldt know all too well.
Each item is handmade out of Dallas by Kostrzewa and workers contracted by Precious Little Tot, making for unique gifts for baby showers and other occasions.
"I think it's important to find a way to find something special for someone and unique," Boldt said. "This is the best way to do it."
Check out Precious Little Tot at preciouslittletot.com.