As a mother to a 3-year-old daughter, Kirsten Maas is thinking about the next generation. That’s one of the reasons the California-born fashion industry pro opened sunset + pine, a children’s shop specializing in sustainable clothes that are durable, mostly neutral-colored and easy to play in. “I need the clothes to be practical,” she says. Her motivation: Get sustainability introduced on a kids’ level to help parents start making those decisions early. Kirsten, who helped open the Vince store at Waterside Shops and formerly assisted in running the jewelry department at Marissa Collections, debuted the boutique last fall in North Naples’ Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt. Her curated selection of children’s clothing and accessories focuses on ages 0 to 12.
Parents can shop from Australian, European and American brands that meet the Global Organic Textile Standard, meaning there’s no chemical exposure at any level—from the farmers planting the cotton to the factories processing and manufacturing the garment. The certification also ensures brands adhere to fair wages and ban child labor.
Gray Label, from Amsterdam, is Kirsten’s year-round favorite, with its gender-neutral palette of black, gray, clay and blue-gray. Other brands include Rylee + Cru, which creates imaginative designs with prints from its illustrator-mama founder—along with the brand’s sister lines, Quincy Mae for baby basics and Play x Play for activewear. There are also Little Sleepies’ ultra-soft, patterned bamboo pajamas for babies and kids up to 14, and newborn sets by MarMar and 1+ In The Family.
Kirsten created her eco-conscious boutique with high ceilings, concrete floors and a minimalist design as a palette cleanser for on-the-go parents. She’s mindful of stocking “socially good” products, such as STATE Bags, which gives to educational programs and donates backpacks filled with essentials to kids in need. Books from Familius publishing house focus on positive messages; puzzles and games by Londji, out of Barcelona, are made with natural and recycled materials; and Apple Park’s plush dolls are made from organic cotton and filled with hypoallergenic corn fiber.
Launching sunset + pine was a natural transition for Kirsten, who moved to Naples with her husband, John (the head tennis pro at Royal Poinciana Golf Club), five years ago. The longtime industry pro studied business management at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. Before working with Vince and Marissa Collections, she worked in public relations in L.A., with accounts including Levi’s, spent time in the corporate office of Italian luxury brand Ermenegildo Zegna and acted as a stylist for Saks Fifth Avenue’s private Fifth Avenue Club in Manhattan.
In the future, Kirsten aims to start a buy-back program to continue the life cycle of clothing. Parents can bring out-grown clothing back for possible in-store credit or discounts on future purchases. “It keeps the cycle going, helps people that need it, and also helps parents make smarter choices, buy less and get higher quality,” she says.