PARMA HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - A Parma Heights woman says she felt her son was being so restricted by the clothing he was expected to wear as a boy that she has created her own gender-neutral clothing line for kids.
It's called Every Bean Boutique.
Nikki Yeager says when her son Alexei was born, she never thought much about what he would wear.
"When he was born, we had a whole bunch of hand-me-downs. I would get things from girl relatives and boy relatives, and I had so many clothes that I just didn't want to go out and buy stuff, but I just put him in whatever. So, if I liked the cheetah-print onesie, he wore the cheetah-print onesie," said Yeager.
Alexei loved wearing a certain pair of pink pants. He also loved having a bow in his hair. That wasn't a big deal to Yeager, but it seemed to be an issue for other people.
"When we would go to the park with that, people would just assume that he was a girl, which was fine with us, but if we did ever say, 'You know, it's okay. He's a boy,' they would always say something about the headband or 'Oh. OK,'" described Yeager.
Someone even suggested that Alexei needed to hang out with more little boys.
That's when Yeager decided there was a need for a clothing line that featured clothes that any child could wear - regardless of their gender. The end result was Every Bean Boutique.
"The idea is taking all clothing and making it non-gender. So, it's not removing pink and blue clothing because that sort of just reinforces the idea that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. It's saying these are pink and blue designs that can be worn by anyone," said Yeager.
There are even tutus sold by Every Bean Boutique that can be worn by boys and girls.
Alicia Hansen is one of Every Bean's loyal customers.
Her favorite purchase is a shirt that combines symbols that represent careers that are sometimes thought to be something strictly a female or male would be.
"I just love the message of my little can do anything she wants when she grows up. She can be anything she wants," said Hansen.
Hansen's husband works for NASA. Hanson, like other parents, says that unisex clothing gives her daughter the freedom to be whomever she wants to be - especially in her formative years.
"The fact that we are limiting our children in what they learn and what they do before they even understand - it is unfair to them, and it's unfair to our future because you have no idea what those kids can accomplish if we weren't limiting them at such an early age," added Yeager.
Unisex clothing lines for kids are becoming more popular; several well-known retailers, including Target and Abercrombie, have rolled out their own gender neutral clothes.