Calling it her "fourth child" Jessica Harris opened the doors of & James in mid-September, just in time for the back-to-school season and with an eye toward the upcoming holidays.
Mrs. Harris, the mother of three young sons, has fashion and merchandising in her blood. As a buyer for the children's wear line of Ralph Lauren for a number of years, her travels would take her to Europe. "I always shopped the children's boutiques and loved the attention to detail that I didn't see in the U.S. I want to translate that to my store."
Leaving Manhattan and the corporate world behind while pregnant with her first child, Mrs. Harris always had it in the back of her mind to open a store." "I wanted to offer customers those bespoke pieces -- items I would see in Europe." After moving to Bedford from Bronxville she tried to convince the owner of a children's boutique there to open a second location further north. She knew Toney Toni & the Gang had stores in both towns and felt as if "there's a synergy between the two areas -- they both share a similar vibe." The owner of the children's store, in turn, tried to convince Mrs. Harris to make her dream a reality. At the time she was pregnant with her third child and couldn't put more on her plate. "But 18 months later the perfect space became available and I felt it was serendipity."
Mrs. Harris describes & James (her sons are William, Nicholas & James) as a "children's haberdashery." The 450 sq ft store is inviting to children. Prices range from $20 for colorful burp cloths to $200 for special dresses. Among the lines & James carries are KissyKissy for infants, Little English and Vive La Fethe for classic smocked pieces. Monogramming is available on just about any item. Mrs. Harris notes that the store is a place where a mother or grandmother can order a layette, a friend can get a perfect baby shower gift, or where a family can shop for coordinated outfits for their children.
With its soft opening & James has been greeted with a very receptive welcome. Mrs. Harris is planning a grand opening event for October 11. "I feel as if Katonah is the perfect location for a store that embraces classic style for children -- whether it is for holidays, milestones or just every day."
The store is located at 159 Katonah Avenue, the phone number is 914-401-9555. Its website is www.andjameskatonah.com