Arcade is a playground for finding fashions and gifts for our favorite little ones. Genie Lockwood is the brain behind this business, which showcases a wide array of unique children’s brands from across the globe — clothing, toys, accessories, books and home goods included. The store celebrates creativity and imagination and brings out the kid in everyone. Genie brings her own creativity and imagination to the space as well, along with her experiences in high-end fashion and furniture boutiques. A Nashville native, Genie returned home with her husband, Alex Lockwood, and two boys and set up shop in Hillsboro Village. Arcade is celebrating three years in business, and we are celebrating Genie Lockwood as today’s FACE of Nashville!
Tell us about your background.
I moved to New York City in 2002 to be an actor. I got small parts here and there but mainly hustled working several side jobs to keep me available for auditions. I wasn’t the greatest waitress, so I ended up working in high-end fashion and furniture boutiques. I briefly co-owned a store in Brooklyn where I sold furniture and homewares. My little brand was called Southern Gothic. I chose pieces that had a childlike aesthetic from the ’60s South. I then started getting passionate about vintage prints. I had a collection of vintage prints that I sold to corporate fashion companies for the pattern designers to use as inspiration. My big clients were Gap Kids, Urban Outfitters, Victoria’s Secret and J.Crew. Sometimes, I still see prints on clothing and bedding and wonder if they bought them from me.
When did you first get the idea to open a children’s store?
When I moved back to Nashville and had my boys, I noticed there wasn’t a colorful children’s store that would appeal to parents like me who are moving here every day. I have always wanted to own my own shop, and the idea of curating all these adorable things was something I had to do.
What made Nashville the place to make this dream a reality?
I feel very lucky to be from here. I never expected to move back — ever. Nashville was a different place 20 years ago. Now, it’s like a mini L.A. There are interesting areas and restaurants popping up everywhere. The business community here is extremely positive and welcoming. It’s so much more accessible to start a business here than most big cities.
Can you tell us about the process of curating the shop? Are there certain criteria you follow?
There are so many brands now that have beautiful product and beautiful packaging. I want the store to look like a candy wonderland so when I’m buying product, I keep that in mind always. My store manager/brand director Meg is a huge part of the curating process. She has been working with me since the beginning, and we have the same eye. It’s very strange but pretty amazing.
What are some of your current favorite kids’ brands?
We have edited our clothing brands a lot since we opened. We are certainly more high end, and not as accessible as we would like to be, but the quality is what matters to me most. Oeuf, boy+girl, Misha and Puff and Bobo Choses are our favorite clothing brands. The same focus on quality goes for the toys as well. Grimm’s, Hansa and Moulin Roty are a few of our favorites.
Are there a few things in the store you are particularly excited about?
I love the new Banwood Bikes we have in the shop. They are so beautiful. The Loog guitars are so much fun. They come with an app to help teach your little one how to play. And of course, they are very colorful.
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How has your personal style (interior and wardrobe-wise) changed since having kids?
Before kids, I embraced the trend of oversized dresses and shirts. This was perfect during pregnancy and post-pregnancy, so there weren’t a lot of changes during that time. Now, I am drawn to more form-fitting clothes. I’m not trying to show off my body, I am just getting bored with trying to hide it. It’s been through two major transformations that I’m proud of. I remember how beautiful my mom was when I was my boys’ age. She always had full makeup, a complete styled outfit from head to toe and perfect big hair. I’m not even close to that, but I aspire to [be]. I end up in jeans and black tee shirts every day.
What is one life lesson you hope to leave your boys with?
That you can be anything, do anything you want as long as you love yourself deeply, treat everyone with kindness and work really hard.
What is the most important lesson you have learned as a small business owner?
Never assume people know more than you do. If you are brave enough to open a business and learn all the hoops it takes to do it, then you are capable of more than you know.
As a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From birth to 25 I was 100% convinced that I was going to be a movie star. There was no question of that not happening.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received and from whom?
I have been lucky to have so many wonderful people give me all kinds of advice that have gotten me through all types of important situations. I don’t want to get too deep here, so a quote I love that I heard from Ricky Gervais, “No one else knows what they’re doing either,” always rings true.
Where can we find you when you aren’t working?
I am running my two boys around and cleaning up after them all the time. It’s a grind but the sweetest grind ever. When I have a rare moment alone I’m usually eating, seeing a movie at the Belcourt or antiquing.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
I’m really good at buying books but have a hard time reading them. If you saw my bedside table you might be impressed, but they are collecting dust. M Train by Patti Smith and Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth have served as a perfect surface to set my coffee on in the morning lately.
Name three things you cannot live without (excluding faith, family and friends).
Fall, movies and pizza
Thank you to Genie Lockwood, and a special thanks to Ashley Hylbert for today’s gorgeous photos!
With 23 years of nursing experience and 16 years as a lactation consultant (not to mention her firsthand experience as a mother and now grandmother), Noreen Webb is not only passionate about working at TriStar StoneCrest, she’s also well-versed in the benefits, challenges and myths associated with breastfeeding. CLICK HERE to meet our newest FACE of TriStar!