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La Jollan returns from Hollywood, opens store

The next time you’re in the Village, Mara Martin hopes you’ll mosey on into her new store, posies&ponies.

Located on Girard Avenue down the street from La Jolla Elementary School, the recently opened shop specializes in custom children’s clothing, vintage toys and books. Martin sells mostly T-shirts and onesies that she tailors to each individual child. Essentially, the customer picks the color and style, and then selects a background image for the front of the shirt. Martin then sews on a big letter of choice, most often a child’s first initial.

“It’s kind of interesting how it all came together,” said Martin, whose two children are in elementary school. “I always had fun painting their walls, decorating their rooms, and sewing their clothes, and people would say ‘Oh that’s such a neat shirt that your daughter is wearing; where do you get it?”

Turns out, Martin had made those shirts. Upon that realization, she said her friends would often then ask her to create one for their children.

“It started that way,” she said. “There’s nothing else in the whole world I’d rather be doing.”

And considering what the La Jolla native has already done, that says a lot. For several years, she worked in Los Angeles as an artist and assistant director on the TV show, “Melrose Place.”

She said the job often required 70 to 80 hours per week, which made it very difficult to raise her two young children so she decided to give it up and stay at home — sort of. She said she still considers herself a stay-at-home mom even though she’s at the shop whenever it’s open, which is everyday but Monday.

Now her career has come full-circle. Martin’s first-ever job was next door at the Pannikin coffee shop when she was 13 years old.

“This is the dream,” she said. “It’s not working on a big Hollywood set or working with a certain actor — it’s being here in La Jolla.”

The store’s location near to La Jolla Elementary has greatly helped business, especially on Sundays during the Open Aire Market. Martin said word-of-mouth has brought in people from other parts of San Diego, especially those looking for baby gifts.

“I just wanted a place where people can come and shop for their kids and it not be too price prohibitive,” she said.

A custom T-shirt or onesie costs $29, but clothing without hand-sewn initial patches is available for about $10 less, give or take.

“I’m doing it just to sustain,” she said. “I don’t want to move into a bigger house or anything — I just want to be here and do my job and bring a nice thing to La Jolla.”