Hugs and Hissyfits Inc. is the brainchild of owner Lisa McKee, a longtime resident of Fort Walton Beach, and the only child of Ray and Betty Munn.
Fort Walton Beach
was the place where Lisa
first tooth, danced her
first dance and worked her
Ironically enough, that job was just steps away from her
Lisa said goodbye to Big Daddy Rabbits and hello to the University of Florida where she earned a degree in English and a minor in education.
accepted a teaching position at St. Cloud Middle School just outside Orlando, where she
taught eighth grade for 4 years.
Family and opportunity brought Lisa back to the Emerald Coast.
was offered a chance to teach at her
alma mater, Fort Walton Beach High School
parents and the laid back lifestyle of the Gulf Coast.
Little did she
know, this move would bring her
one step closer to meeting her
met Todd McKee at Gold's Gym
in Fort Walton.
When Annalisse was born, Lisa decided she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and perhaps go back to school to pursue another degree.
She chose accounting and spent the next three years working towards her master's degree at the University of West Florida.
"The closer I got to becoming a C.P.A., the more I realized I would rather use this new knowledge I gained in school to start my own business.
All I had to do was identify the right business.
It had to be something I loved, something I could really get excited about.
looked to her
daughter for inspiration.
loved dressing Annalisse in ribbons and bows but often became frustrated with the selection of children's clothing available in the area stores.
"I realized Fort Walton didn't have a children's clothing boutique, and I knew mothers who drove to Pensacola to buy for their children.
I knew this would be perfect for me. Plus, I had spent my childhood in fabric stores with my mother, a seamstress by hobby, and had really fallen in love with choosing fabrics and patterns for clothing."
Another person who inspired Lisa
was Nikki Lea.
said, "Nikki has been instrumental in getting this shop going.
Lisa and Nikki began researching upscale children's boutique on the Internet and made a list of designers whose clothing moved them.
partially credits her
grandmother with the look of the store.
"I inherited several beautiful antique pieces from my Dad's mother.
I knew they would be perfect in the shop.
Several shoppers have come in just to admire the furnishings.
It is definitely not your typical baby store with its dark wood antique and periwinkle walls - it really is beautiful.
also knew the location would be just as important as the look and the name.
"This spot is perfect.
Everyone who drives down Highway 98 sees the store.
But that wasn't all that attracted Lisa
They, of course, had concerns when Lisa
started talking about starting her
signed the lease within the month.
Hugs and Hissyfits
opened June 2, 2003.
is overjoyed with the positive response to her
store these first few weeks of business.
loves to watch customers pick up the tiny garments and smile as they think of the possibilities.
Still, the business needed to grow to survive, and Lisa
knew the way to do this was with a webstore, complete with a shopping cart where moms could buy directly off the site.
People are so enamored with the store and the clothing, this is a way they can continue shopping for their children between trips to the Emerald Coast," said Lisa
"We've sold to just about every state and even Canada since the opening of the website!"
The next move for Hugs and Hissyfits
was a logical one - it was time to open a store in Destin.
Hurricanes crippled highway 98 between Fort Walton and Destin, and customers couldn't come.
That didn't stop them from shopping!
received phone calls from moms across the bridge who needed outfits for special occasions or photography sessions, so she
a started driving the clothing to clients homes.
"My daughter and I would show up, carrying armloads of dresses, then we would sit on the customer's couch and get a personal fashion show while the mom made her
I knew then if the demand was that great, I needed a shop in Destin.
In 2006, that shop became a reality in Destin.
To make life manageable and to be able to grow the business, Lisa
sold the Fort Walton location to Nikki Lea and concentrated her efforts in the Destin store.
is looking to the future.