Little girls love bows. Valeria and Ronald Loper should know; they have four daughters. In 2017, Valeria began making bows and headwraps as a casual hobby, using soft fabrics instead of ribbons.
Then, with extra fabric on hand, Valeria posted on an Edmond mom Facebook group: Anyone want a bow? The requests came pouring in. She bought more fabric to fulfill orders, and this process repeated again and again. Soon, Little Loper’s was born.
Today, its accessories are sold at local boutiques, as well as through the Little Loper’s Facebook page and online store. We talked to Valeria and Ronald Loper about their booming business and the unexpected community it created.
The Little Loper’s Facebook group has 60,000 members. How have you grown your brand?
R: The Facebook group was created before we had a website, and people would come there to see what new colors and fabrics we had. When Valeria first started making the bows, they loved the product. That’s what drew them in. But I think what has kept them as customers is all of the personal connections that have been made.
V: This has become more of a community of moms, and they all say things like, “It’s not about the bows now.” They all have found their best friends online— friends all over the country and all over the world.
R: One of the things she’s been very adamant about is how she treats customers, from start to finish. A lot of times you can get on social media, and things get messy. She always makes sure that our community doesn’t. She makes sure everyone feels welcome.
Tell me about your KicKee Pants line, the matching bows and outfits. How did that begin?
V: I could cry talking about KicKee, because it’s probably my biggest [collaboration]. They were a huge inspiration for me. I was obsessed with KicKee Pants. I had boxes arriving all of the time. Whatever money I was making with my bows, it was for my KicKee Pants. About three years ago, I messaged her [KicKee Pants founder Aerin Nicole] to see if she wanted to do a Facebook collaboration, and she responded right away! And I … I couldn’t respond. I didn’t know what to say!
R: She was starstruck.
V: So, about a year ago, she messaged me, asking to work together. We set up a call and it was very casual and comfortable. That was one of my dreams, to do something with them. Now, we have been working together for six months.
You also host “drop days” on Fridays, when new products are shared and sold. What are drop days like?
V: Fridays are the best days. It’s an event. It happens at 8 p.m., so it’s [after the kids’] bedtime, and moms will have their wine ready. Most of our products are limited, so if they aren’t there at 8, they’re going to miss out. Most items sell out in 30 seconds to a few minutes. I like to give a sneak peek on Wednesdays, so they know what’s coming, but sometimes we have mystery items. We surprise them with new styles, and they just love it.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting Little Loper’s?
R: The people we’ve met—business relationships, but mostly our customers. When people come to our community, you know it’s a place where you’ll be taken care of. Outside of the bows, life still exists, and it gets tough. We’ve created a place where we are here for you, to root for you, and to cheer for you.
V: This business has saved my life. I suffered from postpartum depression, and I was in a hard place when we started doing this. This gave me something to do. I was excited to get up and dress up my kids. After that, it was the connections with moms who are going through the same [experiences]. They have found a community where they see 10,000 other women going through the same thing, and they’ve been supportive to each other. It’s just been amazing. You don’t know what this has done for me—the people, the community. It’s very hard to make friends at this age. And me, being an outsider to Oklahoma … I am too Americanized for Mexican people, and I’m too Mexican for American people. So, I feel like it was always hard to connect. But with moms, it’s universal.