EGG-traordinary

Ellen Futterman, Editor of the St. Louis Jewish Light

BY ELLEN FUTTERMAN

An egg is a pure, simple thing. It also signals beginnings, as in which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Pure, simple, beginnings — the same could be said of a child. It was that inspiration that led designer and entrepreneur Susan Lazar to name her children’s clothing company EGG when she first hatched the business eight years ago.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lazar, 45, who grew up in Philadelphia but now lives in New York, had worked in women’s sportswear in Manhattan for many years. But she got tired of the cutthroat nature of that business, so 13 years ago she called it quits and took some time off to consider her future. It was during that period that she began exploring —and studying — Judaism.

“I didn’t grow up religious, but I had a gap of time to do some soul searching. It was then that I really got turned on to the deep, spiritual stuff in Judaism that I hadn’t experienced when younger,” she explained. “It struck a cord.”

Today, Lazar describes herself as Modern Orthodox. She keeps kosher, attends services, loves traveling to Israel, and feels deeply connected to the Jewish State. She also feels that her connection to Judaism led her to a happier, more fulfilled path professionally with EGG, a luxurious yet affordable line of quality, comfortable clothing for children ages 0 to 6.

“How are EGG designs different?” said Lazar, repeating the question.  “My goal is that they not be frilly or babyish. With the coloration and shapes they are not watered down versions of an adult line but rather clean, modern and sweet. I use a lot of organic fabrics because I want them to be comfortable for kids to wear and I want the designs to be modern without being too far out.”

After Lazar gave birth to her daughter 10 months ago, she made even more improvements to her designs. Perhaps the most brilliant is making the center snap in the crotch of her onesies a different color.

“As a new mom, I know how important it is to find the closures quickly,” she said. “I’ve also added more stretch to the line, making sure waist bands are not too tight, and that zippers go all the way down to the feet so they are super easy to find and adjust.”

Eventually, Lazar opened two EGG stores in New York, one in Brooklyn and one in TriBeCa. She also sells to more than 350 children’s boutiques worldwide, including Nurture, in Lazar’s native Philadelphia, owned by Rennie Grafstein Levin.

Levin, 40, knew Lazar because of EGG; Nuture carries a full line of EGG designs. In addition to selling children’s clothes and some of the coolest toys (Levin considers herself a “toy fanatic”), Nurture stays true to its name by holding music and arts classes for toddlers that nurture their creativity. In that way Nurture is a lot like the EGG stores in New York, which offer similar classes and aspire to be a community resource.

Two years ago, Levin moved to St. Louis with her husband, Mark, who had accepted a position with Children’s Hospital. She kept Nurture in Philadelphia, but thought, why not open another children’s store here?  At the same time, Lazar was looking to expand EGG stores nationwide.

Do you see where this is going?

In June, “EGG St. Louis” the third EGG boutique in the country, and the first outside of New York, opened in the Ladue Marketplace at 9757 Clayton Road, under Levin’s management. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, the store will host its first free EGG fashion show as a fundraiser for the Family Resource Center at Children’s Hospital. Local children will walk the runway, modeling EGG designs. Afterwards, hot chocolate, cookies and other refreshments will be served. Ten percent of all EGG sales between Nov. 17 and Nov. 24 will benefit the Family Resource Center.

“My vision for EGG St. Louis is for it not just to be a fabulous children’s boutique but also a true community resource, especially for parents of children 0-6 months when (parents) feel so isolated,” said Levin, who is a member of Central Reform Congregation. “I’d love for EGG to become that meeting place and a family center for everyone, which I believe is a true Jewish ideal.”