Symone Arguello-Dada has her hands full!
Amina’s, (the children’s boutique she owns in the John Dunn Shops), and the summer Hot Dog Stand she operates ( just a few steps away), aside, her four-year old daughter, for whom the store is named, keeps her going from dawn till dusk.
The day I stopped into the sweet little space, filled to the brim with stylish gear for kids (and their moms), Symone was there with Amina who is as adorably precocious as they come! This little girl is already a dynamo and when one starts to discover more about her mom, it becomes quite apparent where she gets her moxie from.
Symone came to Taos three years ago from California where she grew up. Her father has roots here so after a difficult divorce, eight months pregnant (with Amina), no job and no money, she arrived here determined to make a fresh start.
“I took a job at El Monte Sagrado,” she told me. “In the accounting department, It was only part-time but I saved up enough to buy the Hot Dog Stand so I could spend more time with my baby while still earning a living.”
She parked her cart at the John Dunn Shops on the weekends and became known to locals as the Hot Dog Lady. On Thursday evenings she moved it to Taos Plaza Live, where she says she developed a great rapport with both the Town Management and the audiences who gathered in the square.
Soon she’d saved up enough to start a bona fide business, and when the map shop closed its doors, she rented the space it had been housed in.
“I could not find cute clothes for my baby,” Symone explained, “the only places in town to buy kid’s clothes offered little in the way of style, it was all pastel, generic stuff that I didn’t want to dress her in.” A conundrum indeed for this very lovely and stylish young mother.
She realized that if she was having an issue with the dearth of children’s wear in Taos, so were many other young mothers and figured this was a niche she could fill.
“I named the boutique after my daughter because she initially inspired me to take this leap of faith.” She said smiling.
And indeed, Amina’s image is the boutique’s brand, with poster-size photographs (by Liz McCabe) and sketches of the little girl (by David Borenstein), on the walls.
The shop is stocked from floor to ceiling with colourful and very trendy clothes for infants, toddlers and children. There are also toys, books, games, puzzles and much more.
Symone carries natural rubber bottles and pacifiers along with other ethically made merchandise. She’s committed to a sustainable economy and the products she sells reflect that.
There are also brightly coloured patent bags that are ostensibly diaper bags but could (and do), pass for stylish totes. I bet they fly off the shelves this summer.
“I hope more locals start coming in,” Symone said, “it’s a great spot to pick up gifts and/or register for baby showers, as well as just finding something unique and fun for kids of all ages.”
Amina’s carries clothes for girls up to the age of 13/14 and boys till 10. There are shoes and lots of other accessories to keep your kids looking their coolest at school or at play. And the prices are super reasonable.
I could have chatted to the lovely and very savvy proprietress all afternoon, but Amina was restless (ballet was still an hour away), and in need of some Mommy attention so I said goodbye. The Boardwalk was quiet as it usually is off-Season, but soon it will be packed with visitors.
The Hot Dog Lady will have her cart out on the Boardwalk, in the sunshine, and no doubt, Amina will be running back and forth, between her mother’s two businesses, overseeing her little Empire.
Not bad for two girls who landed here not that long ago, with nothing but the willingness to work hard, and the love and support of family and community. Inspiring to say the least.
Amina’s does not have a website but you can visit their Facebook Page (linked below),for more info and details as to their hours etc. They ship everywhere!
All Images snapped on my iphone except for the top and bottom images c/o Amina’s