By Ashley South
Created, owned, and operated by local mom Dani Spangler, Tinker boutique provides the Naperville community with a truly unique place to shop for children’s clothing, books, accessories, and toys for infants through eight-years-old.
Dani tells us, “One of my goals in putting this store together was to create a bit of nostalgia for the parents and grandparents who come through to purchase gifts for their children and grandchildren.” From handmade wooden toy swords and pull along toys, to vintage-style leather backpacks and purses, there are so many pieces that capture the attention and adoration of adults and children alike. Products come from over 20 brands located across Europe, Australia, and the United States.
Creating Tinker truly was and remains a passion project for Dani. After earning her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin, Dani moved to Chicago and worked for a renewable energy company. After spending a few years in Chicago, Dani and her husband moved to Naperville. “Naperville is my husband’s hometown, so it was the obvious choice for us once we were ready to leave the Chicago. We have been in Naperville for more than five years now and we absolutely adore living here.”
After having their first daughter, Dani made the decision to stay home and shortly thereafter they had their second daughter. With a strong desire to dive back into her business roots and find a more creative, entrepreneurial path, Dani spent the past few years developing Tinker. “The idea for Tinker truly was inspired by my daughters and this amazing community. Even before other stores closed, there were not a lot of places in Downtown Naperville to shop for children. As a mom with two young children, I felt like there was a void that needed to be filled, so I started researching, and researching, and researching! In a world of fast-fashion and plastic toys, I wanted to bring something different to Downtown Naperville, and I am proud of what you find in our store.”
Some of the featured brands sold in the store include 1+ in the Family, Bobo Choses, Donsje Amsterdam, and Phil & Phae. “All of these brands have European roots—both 1+ in the Family and Bobo Choses are based in Spain, while Donsje Amsterdam and Phil & Phae are based in the Netherlands. Each was carefully selected based on their unique, yet timeless style and their dedication to sourcing the highest quality fabrics.”
Dani’s clothes are featured on our cover this month. Our vision was to create the wonder of the season through the eyes of our Naperville children. We wanted to pull in a little Normal Rockwell and Charles Dickens. Together with our chief photography artist, Megan Drane of Firefly Nights Photography, our whimsical cover brings our vision and Dani’s clothing to life.
In addition to the clothing lines, the store also carries the highly coveted Senger Naturwelt cuddly, floppy animals; an assortment of wooden toys from small artisanal shops (including a detailed firetruck that we absolutely love!), handmade wooden night lights from the Polish-based brand Little Lights, and real leather backpacks in a variety of sweet animal characters. Other favorites include an ever-changing assortment of handmade dolls and a full line of infant and toddler percussion toys.
“Of course, I love all the products that we carry, but perhaps the most personal items we have in the store are our picture books. In our house, we read bedtime stories every single night. A deep love and appreciation for books is something that I share with my girls, and I am so excited to be able to bring a highly curated assortment of our favorite things into the store for our customers. My hope is that all will find new, heartwarming stories to add to their collections to enjoy for years to come.”
Looking ahead, Dani has indicated that there will be lots of surprises in store for everyone to enjoy this holiday season, including the release of limited-edition toys. Sign up via the Tinker Instagram page for an enchanting Santa experience (and pictures!) on December 11th. The event is free, but space is limited.
We encourage you to follow them on Instagram for the latest information and to see their charming offerings. There is a lot to look forward to at Tinker.
227 S Main Street