Will & Ivey Children’s Boutique is hosting a Grand Opening Party on Oct. 9-10 in Stateline, fulfilling a lifelong dream for owner/designer Sandra Ney. Ney has worked in the fashion industry for much of her life. She attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. While living there, she met her husband, Karl, and worked as head designer at the Beverly Hills Polo Club. In 1991, the couple had their first son, and Sandra was discouraged by the available baby clothing. “I became very disenchanted with the children’s clothing out there,” Sandra said. “They were covered in busy patterns with dinosaurs and trucks and millions of snaps and that sort of thing.” She began designing a line of children’s clothing, inspired by her son Hunter. The patterns were simple so people could focus on the baby’s face, which she said was the real piece of art, instead of busy patterns. The Neys would spend hours sitting at their kitchen table working on the brand. Sandra would cut out patterns while Karl would attach tags to clothing. However, Karl was the drummer of the Christian Rock band Guardian. The recording studio moved to Nashville, so the Neys packed up and moved. Sandra wasn’t able to find manufacturers to make her children’s clothing there so, she put up the swatches and designs. They lived in Nashville for 29 years, and during that time, Sandra worked in the fashion industry, but she never forgot about her dream of a children’s clothing line. In 2011, a friend of hers opened a denim company called Southern Blues and asked Sandra to be the designer. At the time, she was working with a nonprofit called Lifesong for Orphans. “One of the things that is a big heartbeat of mine is, I always longed to have a company with a mission to care for children,” Sandra said. “So, when I got to do the denim company, I said, ‘hey, what do you think about designing baby jeans … and with the sale of those jeans, give a large percentage to this nonprofit.” About two years later, the owner of Southern Blues decided to pursue another career, so he closed the doors on the company. While Sandra was sad, she realized it was time to pull her old designs and patterns out of the closet. She found partners in Tennessee to work with, and in 2015 she launched Will & Ivey. The company focuses on minimalist children’s clothing designs, featuring mature solid colors, soft fabric with elastic waists, and easy on-and-off outfits with minimal snaps and buttons. “I’m finding a lot of moms are really thankful that the fabrics I choose are either organic or Oeko Tex, which is free of toxins, so the fabric is extremely soft and not only safe for the skin but safe for the environment,” Sandra said. Helping children in foster care and adoption was still a passion for her. Sandra’s own mother and her four siblings had been abandoned in San Francisco. She was adopted and has recently been able to track down her siblings and reconnect, and watching the reunion struck a chord for Sandra. A percentage of each garment purchased from Will & Ivey goes to toward Tennessee Kids Belong, a company that helps children as they transition from the foster care program into adoption, or toward filling backpacks through Tennessee Alliance for Kids’ TAK PAK program, where backpacks are filled with essential and comfort items for children when they are abruptly removed from their homes. Sandra grew up visiting the home her grandfather built in Carnelian Bay and she always felt a pull to go back to Tahoe. In 2020, she and Karl purchased a home off Kingsbury Grade on the Nevada side of the basin. After running their business for five years online, the Neys decided to open a brick-and-mortar store. Karl loved Clyde’s Coffee House and wanted the store to be near there. Sure enough, there was a space right next door that was for rent. Sandra describes it as “serendipitous.” She is now looking for local producers so the clothing can be all local, and she’s looking for local nonprofits to partner with. Sandra and Karl have four children, and Sandra said she’s not pressuring her kids to give her grandchildren, but she is excited to one day possibly dress her grandchildren. The grand opening will be held Oct. 9-10 at 292 Kingsbury Grade, Unit 32, in Stateline. The event will feature in-store only sales and specials, as well as online sales. The shop will offer baby and children’s clothing from size newborn to 6T, and the assortment features dresses, tops, bottoms, gowns, one-pieces and accessories. Visit Will & Ivey online at willandivey.com to learn more. Laney Griffo is a reporter with the Tahoe Daily Tribune. This story first published Oct. 3 and is republished here with permission.