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Meet Rachel and John Kuelbs of Mila & Rose and Let’s Pretend Parties & Boutique

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel and John Kuelbs.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachel and John. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It all started on our dining room table. We were both working corporate jobs, but starting our own business was always on our minds. Many weekend nights we found ourselves watching Shark Tank or listening to podcasts, rather than going out with our friends. We’d talk about business ideas late into the night and even on date nights.

We had a few start-ups in the works, but there was one thing that we were doing a lot of, and that was going to weddings. With many weddings and wedding showers on our calendar, Rachel was fast to volunteer to make something special or unique for the special day. The something special always had a lot of love and a lot of attention to go with.

Eventually, Rachel listed the wedding accessories and flower girl dresses we made on Etsy. It was within a few hours we heard our first “Cha-Ching” on our iPhone in 2011. We were still working our corporate jobs and we would work early in the morning and late at night, from our dining room table, to finish the orders. With our Etsy shop’s growing sales, we decided to source our raw materials directly from the manufactures. We used these supplies, many we designed ourselves, in the production of our creations. We also started a craft supply shop on Etsy to sell the raw materials to other small businesses.

We didn’t both quit our corporate jobs at the same time. We took the risk in baby steps. Rachel was first to quit and then 2 years later John came on full time.

With both shops growing, a big surprise was still in store. We were blessed with the news of beautiful baby girl which resulted in big exciting changes both personally and professionally. With the announcement of our baby girl coming we started shopping for special things for her arrival. We had trouble finding super cute, comfortable and affordable clothes and accessories. We specifically could not find ruffle baby bloomers. We thought to ourselves, why don’t we create our own. So, we starting making and selling ruffle bloomers on Etsy. It became a success and really put a lot of confidence in growing our business.

We welcomed our baby girl, Mila Rose, into the world in 2015, and shortly after her arrival, we created a new retail and wholesale website. We named it Mila & Rose after our new little business partner. As Mila has grown we have found, created and added more and more products to our line. Our clothing line is in over 250 stores across the country and we own our own local boutique and party store, Let’s Pretend Parties, in historic downtown Grapevine. We still use that dining room table, where our business started, but more for eating rather than cutting and creating.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road is always full of twists and turns. Sometimes you need to back up and sometimes you need to floor it forward. We experience stop and go every day. How we manage the good and bad has a great influence on our daily success. We actually love problems, because that means growth and getting better. Sometimes when things are too easy, we take our eye off of the product or customer and it leads to problems. So ups and downs are always welcome.

Work-life balance can be a struggle, especially when working with your spouse. One of our biggest struggles is turning off the business. For many years we were working from our home. While that is very convenient, especially with a new baby, it can also take away valuable family time. As soon as we moved the business out of our home we began to see what quality family time truly means. We still bring our daughter/partner to work with us, but not every single day. We love raising our daughter in an entrepreneurial home, but it is also important to teach her the value of personal time.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mila & Rose / Let’s Pretend Parties & Boutique – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We have two parts to our business. Mila & Rose, which is our online retail and wholesale line and Let’s Pretend Parties, which is our Party store and boutique, located in downtown Grapevine.

Mila & Rose specializes in providing cute, comfortable and affordable clothing and accessories for newborns and children. We design and sell our goodies to the general public online and in person and on a wholesale level to stores across the country.

Let’s Pretend Parties is a place for girls to celebrate their birthday, experience a tea party or to participate in a special camp or event. Let’s Pretend has been in business for 25 years and is a unique place to celebrate a special day.

In all our businesses our goal is to create lasting memories of happiness. Happiness from the feelings of that super cute outfit from Mila & Rose or lasting memories of yourself standing on a stage in that beautiful dress at Let’s Pretend Parties.

We love hearing people say, “oh my, that is sooo cute, I need to get that for my daughter, niece, granddaughter,” or the moment after a mom buys a dress and purse for her daughter when we see them outside at the park twirling and smiling while proudly holding her brand new purse. This is what we love about our business.

We love hearing people tell us their daughter loved her special princess party and can’t stop talking about it or the pure joy and happiness we see on the faces of girls as they get dressed up and feel fantastic about themselves.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
We love the overall outgoing generosity of the people in North Texas. We believe people here are doers and love to leave their homes and experience everything our city has to offer. We appreciate all the great people going to all the fabulous businesses here. People are leaving their homes, so much so that the traffic here, can “drive” us mad sometimes!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Elisa Michelene, Madison Copeland

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Heather H.

    July 23, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    My daughters (age 4&7) LOVE your dresses!! It’s all they want to wear and they get compliments everywhere we go! Please, please, please make larger sizes!!!! My 7 year old is so sad she is getting too big for Mila & Rose!!!

    And I just realized you are local, (I’m from Keller) congrats your success!!!

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