The idea was born from her art, inspired by her photography studio itself.
Local photographer Christina Bohn's home base for her photography is the greenhouse at The Studio on Route 25A in Stony Brook, a versatile space filled with natural light and all the artistic artifacts and details a photographer could want. Now, she has branched out and opened a children's clothing boutique at The Studio, Eloise + Oliver.
"Not only is this greenhouse great for shooting, it has a great retail spot," Bohn said. "I had no intentions of doing retail, but then I thought, 'Maybe I should do it in here because it’s a great spot.'"
According to Bohn, her store pairs her photography business with her love for the look of European clothing, and she said she chooses her merchandise specifically to cultivate a handmade feel.
"My mother made all of my clothes when I was a little girl so I’m very in tune to things that are hand-made," she said. "Up until about fourth grade. Then it wasn’t cool anymore."
She added: "I’m hoping that people see the Eloise + Oliver style of children’s clothing as more of a timeless look. The style of the clothing is something you’d maybe see a child in 1943 wearing. ... It's of another generation completely, where everybody made their own clothes."
Bohn, a former speech pathologist, got her start in photography in 1996 when she gave birth to her second child and decided to become a stay-at-home mom.
"I wanted very artistic black and white pictures of my children, but nobody did what I really wanted," she said. "So I took out my camera. I took photography in college for the easy three credits. I loaded it with black and white film and took pictures of them playing."
When others saw her photographs, they immediately began booking her for photo shoots "on the hour, every weekend day," she said. She opened her first photography studio on East Main Street in Port Jefferson in 2005, and later moved it to a loft space in old Stony Brook before arriving at The Studio in the spring of 2011.
Bohn shares the retail space with the boutique Beverly Frills, which recently relocated to Stony Brook from Port Jefferson. One of the challenges, she said, is working within a relatively small retail space.
"It’s a challenge but at the same time that’s the fun part," she said. "I really do love the clothes. It is fun to play with them."
It all comes back to The Studio's space itself, which Bohn said is simply inspiring.
"The natural light is great for photography. It’s like an inside outside," Bohn said. "At dusk it’s just magical in here, it’s just enchanting. It’s very soothing, relaxing. It really sparks creativity."