Monday, July 5, 2010

Larkie Lu Bows...

For those of you that know me, and know me well you all know that I am ALWAYS late. I try my hardest to be on time, but for whatever reason it doesn’t always work out in my favor. With that being said, you can only imagine what I looked like by the time I arrived to the home of Gina and Greg Bish on a moderately warm Thursday evening in Wichita, KS.

I showed up about ten minutes late (thanks a lot Wichita ‘traffic’…using that term loosely), but I informed Gina the night before that I am known to run on ‘Nat Time’ she laughed and said, ‘We’ll just call it ‘Fashionably Late.’ Thank goodness God blessed Gina with a soft spot for people who are ALWAYS late. So like I was saying, I arrived ten minutes late, but that didn’t phase Gina one bit…she came to the door as pleasant as ever. Clad in a white knee length dress with small flower embroidery, piercing blue eyes, the cutest hair clip I’ve seen in quite a while, and a smile from one ear to the other (check the pics…aren’t the clips to die for?!). I knew right then that we’d get along just fine. She showed me the FABULOUS bows for the Larkie Lu for Pearlie B’s Collection and she showed me the Larkie Lu National Pan-Hellenic Council Collection (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated bow first piece of the collection, DUH?!) and I almost hit the floor! The bows were so cute that I threw my Jimmy Choo bag (sorry Choo-Choo) on the floor and grabbed the bows for further ‘inspection.’ Gina puts so much time, care and love into the bows and it’s so evident when you pick them up. The bows aren’t the flimsy, I hot glued all this together and tried to make it look cute type bows, these are the real deal!

After I gasped and swooned over the bows Gina then took me to the real star, Larkin Noelle! As a self-proclaimed diva fashionista, I gave Larkin the once over and she immediately got the Pearlie B. Seal of Approval for Diva of the Day. Decked in a pink, white, and turquoise striped shirt and of course, a Larkie Lu bow and piercing blue eyes to pull the look together Larkin was clearly ready to get this interview crackin. As I looked around Larkin’s room I could tell this room was created just for her, a bow-lovin-divalicious queen and I’m not kidding. Larkin’s room is covered with bows, chandeliers and all things cutesy that you don’t even notice the medical equipment in the room. Larkin, Gina and Greg Bish’s, four year old princess suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Down’s syndrome. For those of you that don’t know, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, SMA for short, is a motor neuron disease that affects the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control and swallowing. Oddly, SMA is a relatively common ‘rare disorder’ (sounds weird right?); approximately 1 in 6000 babies born are affected, and about 1 in 40 people are genetic carriers. SMA affects muscles throughout the body, although the muscles close to the trunk of the body (i.e. shoulders, hips, and back) are often the most severely affected.

As a result of SMA, Larkin is unable to talk or move any part of her body by herself, but don’t fret… she is extremely happy! She loves books, music, movies, interview sessions with her big brother Colton, and pretty much anything else the family does to keep her occupied. It is clear to see that Larkin is well taken care of and the house has love spilling out of the roof. So after having fashion/bow chat with Larkin for a few minutes, watching Gina play super mom, decline the sale of an Xbox 360 and remote, and make daiquiris on the rocks all in one movement we finally got a chance to get down to the story of Larkie Lu Bows.

PFP: Gina, where are you from?

Gina: I’m from Wichita, KS, born and raised.

PFP: Prior to Larkie Lu Bows, what did you do for a living?

Gina: Prior to Larkie Lu Bows, I ran an in home daycare for 12 years and did a little catering on the side. I absolutely love to cook.

PFP: When did you start making bows?

Gina: I started making bows about 18 years ago, but not consistently. Larkin has an older sister, Tatum (20) and when she was younger I made bows for her. After people saw Tatum’s bows I started making bows for others upon request and used it as a supplemental income.

PFP: When did you start Larkie Lu Bows?

Gina: I started Larkie Lu Bows about 2.5 years ago and business has been pretty good since then.

PFP: There are a lot of bow makers out there, what makes yours better than the rest?

Gina: I don’t want to say my bows are better than the rest, because there are a lot of good bow makers out there. However, I will say that Larkie Lu Bows are good bows because a portion of each sale goes back to the SMA foundation, which finances research for children affected by SMA.

PFP: What’s a typical day like in the Bish house?

Gina: Well, we have a lot of nurses that come in and out on a pretty regular basis, so on days that we have a nurse coming in; we’re up at about 7:00 a.m. On days that we don’t have a nurse, we’re up whenever we feel like it and that’s usually around 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. We have a lot of fun in this house…it’s always an adventure!

PFP: I know you have four other kids besides Larkin, how do you do it?

Gina: Yes, I have four other kids besides Larkin ages ranging from 22 to 4.5.


Gina: (chuckles) Yeah, I know. I have a son Skylar (age 22), daughter Tatum (20), son Stratton (19), another son Colton (9), and Larkin (4.5). We just make it work…we’re just like any other family, plus or minus a few things.

PFP: Well, it looks like you have it under control and run a pretty tight ship.

Gina: (giggles and offers me another daiquiri) she is DEFINITELY my kind of girl.

PFP: Well, Gina thanks so much for taking time with me, I can’t wait to see the new bows and I’m certain everyone in fashion blogosphere is just as excited.

Gina: Thanks so much!

The interview/visit with Gina did not end there, we continued to sit and chat and as I was chatting with Gina and Greg I realized what a fabulously wonderful family they are. Gina and I talked the fashion talk and she informed that she just made her first international sale…WHOOP! WHOOP! Greg and I talked about sports and the Big 12 break up (WHAT THE HECK NCAA?!)…talk about a well rounded family! This whole family gets Pearlie B’s Seal of Approval…clap, clap, bravo!

For more information on Larkie Lu Bows visit the website:

To see the Larkie Lu for Pearlie B’s collection and the National Pan-Hellenic Council collection visit: