Megan Wappelhorst and Jenna Ostmann came together as a team in 2017 to create a small business for your small humans. Modern Tribe is a St. Louis based clothing line featuring spectacular modern trends for your child. This online shopping experience gives you today’s top looks for your little ones.
What kind of products do you sell? Which are the most popular?
We sell children’s clothing and accessories. The popular items vary from season to season, but one item that’s been consistently popular is our Peregrine Kidswear sleepers. We’ve carried them since the beginning and they are definitely one of our best sellers.
Why did you decide to start your business?
Modern Tribe was really Megan’s idea. After she had her first little boy, she had a hard time finding unique children’s clothes – everything had puppies and trucks on it. She would find small businesses she liked on Instagram, and eventually found herself ordering shirts from one site, pants from another, shorts from another. She wanted more of a one-stop-shop.
I don’t have kids of my own so it sometimes feels weird to tell people that I am part-owner of a children’s apparel business. But I have always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit and Megan wasn’t thrilled about diving into opening a business on her own, and so we decided to dive into it together.
Where are you located and why is STL a good area for your company?
Right now we are an online only shop, but we participate in pop up shops throughout the St. Louis area. We’ve found that the small business community in STL is an incredible community to be a part of. Everyone is so encouraging and helpful. And it’s like everyone just wants everyone to succeed, even if the product you offer competes with their offering.
How big is your company?
We’re a small business – it’s just the two of us running the show. We do everything from ordering inventory to packing orders to paying bills. Right now we use Megan’s basement as our “warehouse” and her kitchen table as our “office.” We hope one day we’re able to look back at all of this and be like “can you believe that’s how we operated??”
What is your fav thing about your company?
Jenna: My favorite thing about Modern Tribe is the fact that I get to do it with my best friend. We get to share the highs, lows and everything in between. We’re in it together, and that makes everything more fun.
Megan: My favorite thing is having the opportunity to hand pick every single item that we sell. Modern Tribe is truly a reflection of Jenna and I and our individual and unique styles.
What do you see for the future of your company?
Ultimately, we’d like to eventually create our own line of apparel. Not to be the only thing we offer – I think Modern Tribe will always be a curation of apparel from around the world – but to add to our mix. We’ve recently started researching fabric and manufacturing – and it’s all very overwhelming. But it’s definitely our pie-in-the-sky goal.
What challenges have you overcome with your company?
We’re less than a year old, so to be honest, we’re still overcoming so many challenges. One of the hardest aspects though is the inventory. How much to order, when to order, figuring out what people will and will not pay for any given item. It took us two seasons to figure out that we need to be placing orders for inventory almost a full year in advance – if you’re less than that, you’re behind schedule. So we’ve basically been behind schedule since launching, but I think we’re finally getting a handle on it.
What makes you passionate about your company?
I think what makes us most passionate about Modern Tribe is the fact that it’s ours. If we succeed, that’s on us, but if we fail, it’s also on us.
What makes your place/offerings/voice unique?
The thing that makes us most unique is the fact that we curate products from around the world and offer them all in one place. We’ve sourced products from Australia, Canada, Iceland, the United Kingdom, and of course the U.S.
To visit Modern Tribe: