Our Favorite Indie Spots for Back-to-School Shopping

There’s nothing like back-to-school shopping to get everyone excited about fall and getting back to class. This is what you’ll find at local NYC boutiques for back-to-school gear, clothes and more, for kids just starting school or those too cool for it. (i.e, your seven-year-old, etc.) Read on to send your kid to school in style!

Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store


An “everything but the kitchen sink” independent shop, Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store has many great backpacks at various price points (including State Bags, shown here, that have a compelling “Give Back” model). Plus, lunch boxes such as Yumboxes that make it really easy to pack lunch thanks to little compartments, as well as lots of Stainless Steel options too. To pack along with lunch, Blue Ribbon sells lunch box notes and to write thoughtful and fun messages for your kid. They also have several teaching games and tools, such as multiplication flashcards, sight word cards,  games for learning about money, math, reading, and maps too! 

232 5th Ave. Brooklyn
Park Slope
Online: blueribbongeneralstore.com


Mimi O'Connor

This year, CAMP has so many fun and unique products that would make any kid excited to hit the books again. With four shops between Manhattan and Brooklyn, it’s your one-stop back-to-school shop for play, media and merchandise that’s enriching and, of course, fun. Popular items include Ooly Left-Right Ergonomic Crayons, colorful EPIC everyday backpacks, corkboards, unicorn erasers, and CAMP's own signature duffle bag.

110 5th Ave
Online: camp.com

10 Columbus Circle 
The Shops at Columbus Circle,
Columbus Circle 

20 Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards

1 Dekalb Ave.
City Point
Downtown Brooklyn 

Smoochie Baby

Smoochie Baby

Popular items for kids returning to school this year at Smoochie Baby include CarlijnQ Backpacks—an all-organic brand from the Netherlands—Old Soles Champsters high-tops, the Rowdy Sprout Frank Zappa tee, My Little Cozmo Dakota Sherpa Jacket and Fairwell sweats.

110 Berry St. 
Online: smoochiebaby.com

Book Culture

Amol S. via Yelp

Your local independent bookstore is also often a great place for distinctive writing materials. Book Culture, which has four locations sells pencils, pens and groovy notebooks, as well as stylish ways to tote them around, like pencil cases, backpacks and more. 

26-09 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City
Online: bookculture.com

536 W. 112th St. 
Morningside Heights 
2915 Broadway
Morningside Heights 

Jane's Exchange

Janes Exchange via Yelp

Not many second-hand kids' clothes shops remain, but Jane's Exchange, the largest and oldest children's and maternity Store in NYC, recently opened its second storefront in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Fashion-wise, new this season are fall corduroy pants, overalls, and overall pinafores. High-quality basics from Mini Boden, Hanna Andersen, Primary, Milo, Rock Your Kid are all the rage in shades of softer greys, browns, muted colors and animal prints. Plus, sneakers from Jordans to Vans are attracting kids of all ages.

191 East 3rd St.
East Village
Online: janesexchange.com

443 7th Ave.
Park Slope



Another option for scoring some gently-used (or even new!) kids' clothes is the new online kid's consignment shop Consignment4kids.com. The virtual secondhand shop was Started by an NYC mom (and Tinybeans contributor!) who wanted to give hardly-worn pieces another chance to shine, while also providing fellow parents some bargains, and the possibility of earning a few bucks. Consignment4kids.com is stocked with clothes and accessories for boys and girls from infant to age eight. Brands you'll find in the store include Jacadi, Pink Chicken and Polo Ralph Lauren, and items are priced to move! Pickup and dropoff can be arranged for a small fee, or you can mail in items. If your merch doesn't sell after 90 days Consignment4kids will donate the items for you to organizations like Room to Grow and Goodwill. 

Online: consignment4kids.com

Grandma’s Place

Grandma's Place via Yelp

Recently featured in Humans of New York, Grandma’s Place is your one-stop-shop for toys, games, and books—it’s a real neighborhood gem in Harlem. Many books and toys they sell have an ethnic focus, such as the books Tea Cakes for Tosh, Sulwe, Curls, and the coloring book Princess Planet. Outdoor, musical, and Melissa & Doug toys are also available.

84 W 120th St.
Online: grandmasplaceinharlem.com

Parachute Brooklyn

Parachute Brooklyn via Yelp

Parachute Brooklyn offers gently used modern and vintage clothing for kids ages 0-10. The boutique also carries a selection of new accessories as well as small-batch, one-of-a-kind pieces from local designers with a focus on upcycled materials. Big hits this fall include Parkland backpacks, socks from Happy Socks and Little Stocking Co., hair accessories from Chunks and Wunderkin Co., Umbrellas from Hipster Kid, and quilted jackets from SAJ. The shop’s selection of second-hand jackets and sweaters are among the top sellers this season.

151 Norman Ave.
Online: parachutebrooklyn.com


Rowdy Sprout

It’s fashion-forward in this downtown NYC shop. Babesta’s newest collection of Rowdy Sprout T-shirts are in, and they're essential for making a style statement this fall. Tagless and made in LA, there's a Rowdy Sprout t-shirt for every music fan, big and little. 

56 Warren St.
Online: babesta.com

Two Kids and a Dog 

Natalia J. via Yelp

A DUMBO destination for families with kids for, Two Kids and a Dog sells a mix of baby, kid and tween goods. Here’s where you’ll find a ton of toys, kids' clothing, shoes, scooters, birthday gifts and more—i.e., a well-curated inventory of a little bit of everything. Pick up your child’s high-quality essentials here, such as colorful water bottles from Eco vessel and Swell, backpacks from Herschel and Parkland, and lunch boxes from Yumbox and Omielife. 

65 Pearl St. 
Online: twokidsandadog.com 

Awesome Brooklyn

brooklyn kids store
Awesome Brooklyn

This one-of-a-kind gift shop carries everything from New York-themed mugs and baby gear, to swirly pastel chalk and Grow-Your-Own-Unicorn toy eggs. Staffers say all things organizing are hot for back-to-school, such as the Julie Mollo clutches shown here, whimsical “To-do” pads, feelings trackers, and general self-care goods. 

617 Flatbush Ave.
(between Fenimore Street and Rutland Road)
Prospect Lefferts Gardens 
Online: awesomebrooklyn.com

main photo: Rowdy Sprout 

—Rachel Sokol


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