Paula Eaton (BAEd 96) and her business partner Nicole Tarumainz are making a name for themselves by putting names on just about everything. From baby blankets to bathroom towels, little dreamers, their Aspen, Colo., based boutique, has brought personalized baubles back in style.
Eaton’s adventurous spirit has led her into new adventures throughout her life. Growing up in Colorado, Eaton knew nothing more of the South than hot food and hurricanes. After graduating high school, a fearless Eaton took a chance and enrolled in the University of Mississippi after hearing about it from a friend.
“I came to Ole Miss without ever having been there,” said Eaton. “I just showed up for school and immediately loved it.”
Eaton was culture shocked to say the least and recalls fond memories of her first encounters with southern charm.
“On my first date, when the guy opened the passenger door for me, I walked around to the other side and got in the car,” said Eaton. “I just thought he didn’t want to drive.”
While at Ole Miss Eaton was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and majored in Elementary Education. Game days in the Grove, shopping trips on the square and invaluable relationships all added to her southern education.
“When I moved into the dorms, I had never really worn make-up or plucked my eyebrows,” Eaton laughingly recalled. “My roommate grabbed hold of me and the transformation began.”
After getting a four-year crash course in proper living, Eaton returned to Colorado with a souvenir in tow, her very own southern gentleman, husband Barney. While anticipating the birth of the couples’ first child, Eaton noticed there was something missing in the gift giving of Aspen.
“Of all the gifts I got when I had my son Wyatt, I loved the ones that were monogrammed,” she said. “But, no store here [Aspen] offered personalized gifts.”
Upon the arrival of Wyatt, also came the idea of a business offering personalized gifts to Aspen. Along with her business partner Nicole Tarumianz, Eaton opened little dreamers in 2006. The two women found a niche market for what many southerners know as just “good manners.” In a culture obsessed with customizing life, Eaton and her staff have truly given Aspen residents a way to wear themselves out.
Little dreamers, specializes in monogrammed gifts and accessories. Personalized baby gifts and home accessories that offer a signature touch. Eaton and Tarumianz have garnered attention and success in the stores’ short existence. Celebrity clients like Jennifer Lopez and the high-end clientele of Aspen often call on little dreamers to provide the details that make life a little more personal.
“Simple things like baby bloomers, monogrammed cocktail napkins for a hostess and linen hand towels people up here don’t know about,” said Eaton. “The south is known for its hospitality and we wanted to bring that to Aspen.”
Though nothing great comes without hard work, the creators of little dreamers cherish every minute of their newfound success. Relying on inspiration from her family, Eaton creates gifts that she herself would use and love.
The challenges of running a business and a family have yet to slow down Eaton. Additions to the little dreamers product line are made almost daily and she even manages to find time for some expansions at home. Eaton and her husband are expecting a new addition to their expanding brood.
“Being in a creative business and being a mom go hand in hand,” said Eaton. “You just have to believe in yourself and believe in the power of hard work.”
Eaton and her family currently reside in Aspen, Colo. Eaton, husband Barney and son Wyatt enjoy spending time outdoors and returning to Oxford to visit family and friends.