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Behind The Business With Karen Staniland


You don’t have to be a kid to love The Kid’s Cupboard. We spoke with Karen Staniland, the owner of The Kid’s Cupboard in Port Perry about her passion for saving the planet one second-hand item at a time.

The Kid’s Cupboard originally opened in 1999 and has operated in three locations along the main street of Downtown Port Perry. Karen acquired the already existing business nearly 17 years ago. Like many Downtown Port Perry business owners, Karen saw an opportunity to be closer to home and jumped on it. Having previously been a customer as well as a commuter, there was major appeal in working locally.

If you live in Port Perry and have little ones, chances are you’ve stopped into The Kid’s Cupboard a few times. Perhaps you even shopped there when you were young. The consignment shop also carries clothing for adults, along with a large selection new and used children’s toys.

Making A Difference

Karen truly believes in the value of her business, although balance for consigners and offering a fair price on the other end can be a challenge. But offsetting the fashion industry’s carbon footprint while contributing to a circular economy keeps Karen driven.

It’s also important to Karen that the new products she sells are high quality, so they have a better chance of coming back to her for a second life. She’s always thinking of the longevity of the products on her shelves and the number of kids they can last through.

Shopping second-hand is no longer a cyclical fad but a fashion statement for a new generation of shoppers. The Kid’s Cupboard is promoting these positive consumer habits, while still operating like a traditional clothing retail shop adapting to each season’s color and current trends.  

First Hand Wins

One of Karen’s greatest achievements is watching customers grow up and come back to shop as adults for their own children. Being able to retain customers for that length of time is very special and Karen recognizes that being in a small supportive community has been an added advantage. When a customer comes in and reminisces about past visits the entire experience becomes extremely rewarding for Karen. 

Another major accomplishment for Karen was when she built The Kid’s Cupboard website on her own. Karen realized that being online is not an option these days and figured why can’t she do the website thing on her own. Spoiler Alert: she did an amazing job.

Karen is another downtown leading lady that does not identify with the SheEO term, rather she’s just using the skills she has to add to the vibrancy of her community. If you want to start your own business, Karen recommends that it be something you’re passionate about. You need to believe in the value of your business. You also must be willing to continue learning every day.

A Sustainable Life

Doubling the life of a product is not just a business practice for Karen, she also lives a sustainable life thrifting her own closet. She’s the one that always spots the local thrift stores on family road trips. For Karen it’s about reconnecting to the joy of wearing clothes, while giving a garment that was produced with a purpose a second chance. When we make the choice to buy used over new, we create new habits and ripples in an industry that is overproducing.

“Love what you buy, rather than try to buy happiness.” — Karen Staniland

 This mindset comes naturally to Karen who comes from a family that values handing things down to each other. Clothing was no exception. Usually by the time an outfit got to the youngest it was mismatched, but just as loved.

#FunFact: Karen is a creative person and enjoys crafts, recovering old furniture, reading good books, and quilting.


Festive Downtown Open House

Festive Downtown Open House

Join the festivities at Port Perry's Festive Downtown Open House! Explore local shops, take advantage of the amazing...