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BUBBLE LONDON Exclusive preview of the a/w 18 show BRAND STABLE News and views from luxury childrenswear agency, Brand Stable COLOURING IN Fiona Coleman highlights five important colour stories for a/w 18/19






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05: Comment

18: Brand Stable Daniele Sismondi, founder of luxury childrenswear agency Brand Stable, discusses his business plans and views on the UK childrenswear market.

06: News 08: NCWA 10: Legal advice Performance managing distributors and agents. 12: Retail Therapy Store profiles and retail news. 16: Brands to Watch Editor’s pick of brands. 24: Style guide Lunch boxes and bags. 25: Laura loves The coolest products for kids. 66: Talking Point Q&A with Emily McCurrach, founder of Moccstars.

20: Twenty questions with Gillian Franks, owner of Pixie Childrenswear and winner of the Best Kids’ Store in the CWB Independent Retail Awards 2017. 22: Retail trends 2018 Four key retail predictions that will define 2018. 26: Rachel Riley: The diffusion line Rachel Riley discusses the launch of her first ever diffusion line at this month’s Bubble London. 28: Bubble London Preview of the a/w 18 show. 39: Colouring in Industry expert Fiona Coleman highlights five important colour stories for a/w 18/19.


43: Life in Style Four curated themes incorporating kids’ fashion and lifestyle products. 53: Moda Footwear Preview of the a/w 18 show.

SCHOOLWEAR 61: News 62: Turning point for Turners With a dedicated workforce at its heart, British manufacturer William Turner is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its history, filled with new opportunities and milestones.

Front Cover image: MarMar Copenhagen 0045 212 561 21 07855 509069 (UK agent) JANUARY/FEBRURAY 2018 - 03

See things differently... #discoverbubble 28 & 29 January 2018, Business Design Centre Register for your ticket now at


COM MENT: Happy New Year and welcome to our first issue of 2018. —

Throughout January, my inbox is always awash with retailers’ post-Christmas trading results. This year is no different, with countless reports assessing the shifting retail landscape surrounding the Christmas shopping period and the effects on traditional prime selling times. Google searches, for instance, revealed the UK started Christmas earlier than any other country, with interest picking up as early as August, rising steeply at the end of October just before Black Friday. Although August sounds incredibly early to be thinking about Christmas, findings suggest that to effectively capitalise on Christmas spending, retailers need to be planning much further in advance, engaging customers months before the festive period. The other hot topic at this time of year – which retail trends are set to shape the next 12 months? While some retail trends are really only feasible for larger operations, there are others that can, and should, according to retail experts, be incorporated into independents’ business models. Among the predictions of Aptos, which delivers technology solutions to retailers, is mobile, which admittedly has been an initiative for retailers for years but, in 2018, pressure is forecast to seriously increase on retailers’ mobile platform capabilities. Another must for 2018 is being truly “customercentric”, focusing on the customer journey before, during and after they enter a store – all objectives independent retailers can, and do, excel at. Finally, pop-ups are predicted to come into their own this year, offering retailers of all sizes the opportunity to experiment and discover which consumer experiences work for them without heavy investment and risk. For more on Aptos’ retail trends for 2018, head over to page 22.

Editor Laura Turner Contributors Isabella Griffiths Christina Williams Victoria Jackson Designers Michael Podger Clive Holloway James Lindley Richard Boyle Sales executive Michele Ali Subscriptions Head of childrenswear Lindsay Hoyes Editorial director Gill Brabham Marketing director Stephanie Parker Reprographics/printing Image Data Group Ltd 01482 652323

CWB is published 6 times per year by ITE Moda Ltd, The Old Town Hall, Lewisham Road, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5AL. Call 01484 846069 Fax 01484 846232 Copyright© 2018 CWB Magazine Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any written material or illustration in any form for any purpose, other than short extracts for review purposes, is strictly forbidden. Neither ITE Moda Ltd nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage to transparencies and any other material submitted for publication.

Elsewhere this issue, we have lots of content designed to help gear you up for the a/w 18 season. Highlights include an exclusive preview of Bubble London, the UK’s leading trade show for kids’ fashion and lifestyle, which takes place on 28-29 January at the Business Design Centre, Islington. On page 28, you will find out what key buyers are looking for at this season’s show, along with new signings and returning brands, and details on the event’s special features and content, including the return of Bubble Runway. Meanwhile, for insight into the new season’s collections in kids’ footwear, don’t miss our preview for Moda Footwear on page 53. Finally, on page 39, industry expert Fiona Coleman provides buyers with guidance on which colours to invest in this season, with her rundown of five key colour stories for a/w 18/19. Our next issue, for March/April, will include a review of a/w 18, along with some exciting features and exclusives. Until then, check our website and social media for daily industry news and updates. On that note, whether you are buying or selling this season, here’s to a successful one.

Laura Turner Editor

CWB is a joint venture between RAS Publishing and the National Childrenswear Association.

A Buyer Series Fashion Business Publication CWB is a fashion business publication produced by ITE Moda Ltd. Other titles include WWB and MWB. ITE Moda Ltd is an ITE Group company.




IGLO + INDI APPOINTS UK AGENT Icelandic childrenswear brand Iglo + Indi has appointed Breitenstein Agencies as its UK agent. Founded in 2008 by fashion designer Helga Ólafsdóttir, Iglo + Indi is an organic brand with strong Nordic roots and a focus on crisp colours, unique prints and playfulness. Commenting on the new partnership, Karitas Didriksdottir, Iglo + Indi’s head of marketing and sales, says: “In perfect alignment with the Iglo + Indi ethos, Breitenstein Agencies represents shoe and clothes brands that let children be children – to move freely and grow up in natural materials and designs that are more than just the latest fashion.” Established in 2001, Breitenstein represents a hand-picked selection of high-end international brands with a strong Scandinavian feel. From its showroom in central London, the UK agency also represents MarMar Copenhagen, Mp Denmark, Angulus and Veja. —

PEPA & CO. GOES STATESIDE London-based Spanish childrenswear brand Pepa & Co. is now available in the United States at Saks Fifth Avenue. Marking the first opportunity to view and buy the brand in the U.S.A, the Pepa & Co. collection is available at the Miami, Florida department store in Brickell city centre. Saks Fifth Avenue customers can expect a classic collection of a/w and s/s clothing for babies, girls and boys aged 0-8 years. Highlights include knitwear and hand-smocked dresses and rompers, with Peter Pan collars, floral prints, plaid, velvet and corduroy all featuring heavily. A full range of co-ordinating footwear is also available in store, with styles including classic Mary Janes, leather loafers, boots and T-bars. — 06 - JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

The Christmas trading performance of Joules for the seven-week period to 7 January 2018 saw total retail sales up 19.2 per cent against the comparable period last year. The British lifestyle brand’s strong performance over the Christmas period was driven by continued growth across both the store and ecommerce channels. Retail gross margin over the same period is expected to be in line with the prior year as the company maintained its disciplined and selective approach to promotional activity. “The group’s retail performance through the Christmas trading period is testament to the strength of the Joules brand, unique product proposition and customer engagement,” says Joules CEO, Colin Porter. —

FOFOLINO BRANCHES INTO WHOLESALE Fofolino, a brand of luxury baby muslin squares, is now accepting wholesale orders. Crafted in a variety of finishes and designs, from lace and scallop edge through to dots and ripples, Fofolino muslin squares can also be personalised with a baby’s name for added gift appeal. “Our products are made at a family-run textile maker in northern Portugal,” says brand founder and mother of four, Eugénie Haniel. “The trims and edgings are stitched using manually operated sewing machinery – the handmade factor is very important to us – and the cloth is produced from 100 per cent pure white cotton.” —

DISCOVER BUBBLE A/W 18 Bubble London, the UK’s leading trade show for kids’ fashion and lifestyle, returns for a/w 18 with another exciting line-up of new talent, key brand returns and engaging content. Confirming its position as the UK’s launchpad for new, home-grown talent, this season’s new signings include Artimus London, Kidult & Co, Dandydill Way, Another Fox and Wildchild London. Meanwhile, Miel à Moi, Grass & Air, Tao & Friends, Fred’s World by Green Cotton and Well Grounded Co join the growing list of show debuts. Global players making a return to Bubble for a/w 18 include Arauto-RAP, Bobux, Kissy Kissy, Kite, MarMar Copenhagen, Mayoral, Pretty Originals and Patachou. Other key signings include Angulus, Barn of Monkeys, Froddo, and Mp Denmark. Furthermore, amid the exclusive launches is Rachel Riley’s diffusion line and first Home Collection, both debuting at the show. Bump, Bubble’s platform for maternity and nursery, returns this season offering a variety of brands, including Bullabaloo, Blossom and Bear, Cradle & Tonic, Mori, Harry & Rose, House of Bibs, Petit Stellou and Squidge & Pip. Headlining the content for a/w 18 is the return of Bubble Runway. Catwalk presentations running throughout the two-day show will see new season’s collections modelled by some mini celebrity guests. Other key features include lively panel discussions, engaging seminars, new collaborations and presentations for the winners and finalists of the CWB Independent Retail Awards 2017. For further information or to register as a visitor, visit —

A.W HAINSWORTH AND THE GREAT BRITISH BABY COMPANY Yorkshire textile specialist A.W Hainsworth has been selected as the sole provider of woollen cloth for luxury children’s coat label, The Great British Baby Company. The Great British Baby Company, a brand dedicated to showcasing the best of British craftsmanship, only uses British suppliers. It is also committed to the ethical production of its garments, using natural and sustainable materials wherever possible. “We chose to use Hainsworth cloth, and specifically Hainsworth’s Vivid Hues Melton, for a number of reasons,” says Rachael Attwood, managing director at The Great British Baby Company. “When making our children’s coats, it’s very important that we use cloth that is warm yet also durable; that is soft on young skin, that looks luxurious and that comes in appealing colourways – and Hainsworth’s Vivid Hues Melton ticks all of these boxes.” A seventh-generation, family-owned business, A.W Hainsworth has been manufacturing premium quality woollen cloth at its Yorkshire mill for over 200 years. —



LITTLE LORD & LADY TARGETS USA Yorkshire-based childrenswear label Little Lord & Lady has appointed new US sales representatives for its a/w 18 collection. The brand showed at this season’s edition of Children’s Club New York on 7-9 January 2018, launching a new collection entitled Young Lord & Lady for 9-14 year olds. A development of the brand’s occasionwear, the collection blends traditional and contemporary design in the brand’s inimitable British style. Using unique prints, luxury fabrics and intricate trims, Little Lord & Lady refreshes each season with a new cultural theme. For a/w 18, the focus is British culture and industry, celebrating solid work ethics and textile history, a theme very close to the brand’s heart. —

New British company Sewport has launched an online platform designed to connect manufacturers with fashion brands of all shapes and sizes. As well as benefiting established fashion labels, Sewport also caters for start-ups, guiding emerging designers through the entire garment production process via intelligent online tools. Through intelligent algorithms, it categorises the client’s project and determines the best manufacturers for the job. “Starting production of clothes for the first time is a very steep learning curve,” says Boris Hodakels, founder of Sewport. “We are removing complexity around creating a piece of clothing and improving lead qualification for manufacturers at the same time.” Sewport can also enable the collaboration of multiple service providers on a single project. Via a built-in multi-user chat room, brands can invite multiple companies to join a discussion. All communication and attachment exchange is then conveniently carried out on the platform, allowing manufacturers to pool their capabilities to satisfy a client’s requirements. —

NOE & ZOE LAUNCHES EASTER GIFT SETS Berlin-based children’s clothing and homeware brand Noe & Zoe is launching a limited-edition Easter set. Available to buy from February, the set consists of a bunny suit in cream or black, each with fluffy cottontails and a matching bunny hat. Available from 0-3 months up to 18-24 months, both styles are lined with soft, polar fleecing in matching colours. —

GREEN SHEEP GROUP JOINS FAST TRACK ONES TO WATCH 10 UK nursery company, Green Sheep Group, has been listed in The Sunday Times Fast Track Ones to Watch 10 as part of its annual Virgin Fast Track 100 table. Now in its 21st year, The Sunday Times Fast Track league tables – revealed last month – rank Britain’s private companies with the fastestgrowing sales over the last three years. Ones to Watch features the top ten companies which are set to grow rapidly in the future. “What a fantastic year at Green Sheep Group,” says chief executive Roger Allen. “We’ve had a great year in partnership with John Lewis, alongside an extremely close relationship with Mothercare, Amazon and other key retailers, which has seen the continuing benefits of achieving the right balance between clicks and bricks-and-mortar channels.” Green Sheep Group’s brands include organic and natural baby brand The Little Green Sheep and baby sleep products brand Snüz. —




As of a/w 18, BangBang Copenhagen will be represented in the UK by children’s fashion agency Vida Kids. Established in 2008 by Danish designers Louise Lundholm and Mia Risager, BangBang Copenhagen offers kidswear for 1-13 years covering boys, girls and unisex styles. A baby collection and Christmas collection have also recently been introduced. Design-wise, the brand offers a highfashion, conceptual look incorporating origami folding techniques and comfortable, urban streetwear. Combining fun and function, silhouettes are designed to complement children’s body shapes and allow free movement. A/w 18 marks BangBang Copenhagen’s 10-year anniversary collection, which pays tribute to children’s creative minds. —

Children’s sleepwear brand Minijammies by Cyberjammies has unveiled its latest collection for a/w 18. For girls, highlights include a fun, oversized polka spot and a large-scale, modern floral print. For boys meanwhile, a dinosaur print and a check in soft greys are both key. Other new prints for the season include a colourful umbrella design, a bold red and blue check, and a shark print. For Christmas, the Holly collection offers a mix of rich, berry prints and burgundy-based checks for girls and women, while for boys and men, the Austin collection sees a bold, car print, alongside a small geometric print on a burgundy base and a traditional yet modern check. See the new a/w 18 Minijammies collection at this season’s Bubble London on 28-29 January at the Business Design Centre, Islington. —

UK textile manufacturing is booming, with production up 25 per cent and 50 per cent of businesses reporting an increase in turnover compared to last year, according to the annual survey conducted by Make it British. This comes despite economic uncertainty, with issues surrounding the availability of skills for an industry that, just a few years ago, everyone considered to be dead.

Richard Jones is to join Debenhams as trading director, global sourcing. His appointment follows the recent arrival of Steven Cook as MD of fashion and home, and will further strengthen Debenhams’ own brand product proposition. Jones joins with a proven track record of buying and merchandising roles, along with optimised sourcing and supply chain experience.

Latest research released by customer relationship analysts Optimove claims that November has overtaken December as the biggest month of the year for retailers, thanks to the rise of discount periods around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The study has found that the total order amount for retailers was 32 per cent more in November than in December, which has traditionally been seen as the prime selling time for retailers. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 07


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COMMENT All is now set for what promises to be a classic edition of Bubble at the end of the month.Have you got everything ready? As an exhibitor, have you contacted all your target retail customers? As a retailer, have you identified those stands you must visit, while leaving time to visit a few new “unknowns” to give you that magic difference from other shops in your area? As a quick final check, have you looked at the NCWA videos, “How to Walk a Trade Show” and “How to Exhibit at a Trade Show”? Do not forget too the opportunities that London offers you to check up on what is going on in the marketplace, not least ideas on how to dress your windows and how to display your merchandise to best advantage in your shop. NCWA will have its usual stand at Bubble and I look forward to seeing you there, member or (I hope) aspiring member. Every year has its own challenges and targets, but 2018 will be the first time when we shall be just over one year from Brexit. NCWA has been considering what the key issues are for the childrenswear industry and we shall be telling HM Government, the Opposition and the media what we need to make the best of the opportunities that Brexit affords us and to protect us from what may be viewed as the challenges. To date, I have identified trade (both importing and exporting), VAT (no change to the current zero rating of children’s clothing and footwear), skills (the need to be able to recruit appropriately skilled staff, particularly in manufacturing), agency legislation (stability in the current legal relationship between principal and agent), standards (the wish for the UK to retain, through BSI (British Standards Institution), its membership of the European Standards Organisation (CEN) and CE marking (so that, for example, soft toys might continue to bear that label). Now that the UK has been given permission to move onto the next stage of the Brexit negotiations, it is imperative that NCWA knows what you – companies and individuals in the childrenswear industry – want. Do please contact me or come to see me at Bubble. I do understand that, up to now, the real discussions have seemed somewhat distant, but as an industry, we are now at a critical point and we shall have limited opportunities to get our views over to those who will be doing the negotiating for everyone (unfortunately not just for childrenswear). I can assure you that I shall be liaising with representatives from across the clothing and textile industry, but with our special interest in such areas as VAT and safety, the childrenswear industry has an unrivalled influence on the trading conditions that we shall all operate within over the coming years. Do come to see me and Michelle Payne at Bubble. Why not join in advance? To look at the NCWA website, go to, to contact us, email, telephone 020 7843 9488 or fax 020 7843 9478. Elizabeth P Fox

NCWA Council: Chairman: DAVID HULL Agent Vice Chairman: MARK BARNETT Barnett Agencies Agent Imm. Past Chairman: SHARON BEARDSWORTH Mintini Manufacturer Treasurer: DAVID BURGESS David Luke Ltd Manufacturer


Council Members: NUALA MCKENNA Nuala McKenna Agencies Agent DIANE SHAW Agent, SARAH TAYLOR Agent, DANIELE SISMONDI Brand Stable Agent RACHEL RILEY Rachel Riley Manufacturer, EMMA-JANE ADAM Smalls Manufacturer DAVID PARKER Baby Melanie Retailer President: KEN SCATES Marketing consultant Vice Presidents: LESLEY FALLON Retail consultant JACKIE COOK Retail consultant Executive Director: ELIZABETH FOX


Membership is open to everyone involved in the British childrenswear industry.

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Launching early this year is new brand MookieMerino, which offers luxurious baby sleep bags for 2-24 months. The sleep bags are made of 100 per cent extra fine merino wool, which has natural benefits such as helping to regulate baby’s body temperature. The MookieMerino sleep bag is suitable for all seasons, is gender-neutral in design, and has been granted the Woolmark Nurture certification. The Woolmark Company – under its Mothers and Babies programme – launched the Woolmark Nurture brand to recognise only the finest Woolmark-certified materials. The diameter of the merino wool fibre in certified products has an upper limit for each product category to ensure items are comfortable for babies. —

The Childrenswear Association is the new strapline being used by the National Childrenswear Association (NCWA). Commenting on the development, NCWA executive director Elizabeth Fox says: “We are conscious that those new to the industry may not understand what NCWA is and what it does for all those in the industry – manufacturers/suppliers, retailers and agents. We have started using The Childrenswear Association in our marketing material in order to increase our appeal and reach. NCWA will, however, remain as our company name.” —

ADEN + ANAIS’ NEW DISNEY COLLABORATION Building upon the success of the first aden + anais x Disney Baby collection launched in 2016, the baby lifestyle brand has now unveiled its second collaboration with Disney. The launch includes aden + anais’ most popular 100 per cent cotton muslin essentials, featuring three Disney classics: Aristocats, 101 Dalmatians and The Lion King. “Paris and London play a big role in Aristocats and 101 Dalmatians respectively, while The Lion King unfolds throughout Kenya’s plains and jungles – I tapped into the vibe of these locations to help create the mood for each collection,” says aden + anais’ textile designer, Jess Terry Durdaller. Launching across Europe in February, the designs are available as a swaddle four-pack, dream blanket, muslin squares, burpy bibs, snap bibs and, as of March, sleeping bags. —


NEW DEVELOPMENTS FOR COCO COLLECTION The a/w 18 collection from babywear brand Coco Collection has been enhanced to include more outerwear styles, as well as the introduction of knitwear pieces to complement the core velour and jersey styles. Design highlights for boys include a beige and blue dogtooth check used as a trim on a babygro, dungaree and jacket; a waistcoat lining, and a main fabric for a braced trouser and shirt set. A preppy collection also features for boys, featuring smart styles with matching bow ties, waistcoats and accessories. For girls, faux fur trimmed hoods, floral embroideries and delicate lace trims are complemented by knitted cardigans and hats. Dainty floral prints and a white and silver collection are also key. Meanwhile, the core collection of velour sleepers includes babygros with embroidered bibs, jacquard velours and picot edging. Coco Collection is showing at Bubble London on 28-29 January at the BDC, Islington. —



This year sees babywear collection Kissy Kissy, known for its use of the finest, 100 per cent quality Peruvian pima cotton, celebrate 21 years. In this time, Kissy Kissy’s design focus has been on traditional layette with an innovative twist, infusing timeless details with whimsical prints and a variety of colours. Today, the collection includes everything from everyday pieces such as underwear, playsuits, dresses, rompers, two-piece sets, converter gowns, knits, hats, bibs and blankets, through to special occasion outfits, available in premature sizes through to two years. The brand also offers pyjamas for ages 2-10 years. —

Babywear brand Mini-La-Mode has collaborated on a new collection with iconic character Peter Rabbit and his host of animal friends made famous in Beatrix Potter’s Tales. Entirely hand embroidered on hand-picked, Peruvian pima cotton, the collection features favourite characters which, aside from Peter Rabbit, include Jemima Puddle-Duck and the Flopsy Bunnies, among others. Styles include sleepsuits for newborns to 18 months, rompers, dresses, pyjamas and nighties for 6 months up to 6 years. —

Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT) has auctioned a hand-signed Arsenal football donated by Kath Willis, regional head of business banking, international in Barclays Bank – sponsors of England’s Premier League. Funds raised by the auction will go towards FTCT grants for parents working in the UK fashion and textile industry.

British children’s fashion brand, Blade & Rose, has six new designs of sock shoes available. The ergonomically designed sock shoes are formed from stretchy cotton with added rubber soles made from thermoplastic rubber for extra grip, making them ideal for new and pre-walkers. New designs include a stripe in two-tone pink or blue/red; gender-neutral animal styles and a guitar design.

NCWA’s latest new member is independent childrenswear shop, Puddleducks. Located in Uppermill, Oldham, the store carries over 40 brands, including Absorba, ADee, BOSS, Catimini, DKNY, Mayoral, Mitch & Son and Timberland.



Open for Business Bringing you straight-talking legal advice.

Stephen Sidkin is a commercial law partner at Fox Williams LLP.

PERFORMANCE MANAGING DISTRIBUTORS & AGENTS The prospect of continuing trading uncertainty can raise the question of whether your distributors and agents are performing as you want them to perform or could be doing better. In turn, this raises the question of whether your business would do better by replacing any of your distributors or agents. If so, often the answer is to be found in performance management. If performance management goes well and things turn around, it can be that the performance of the distributor or agent has improved and no further action is need. Alternatively, performance management can provide you with the way forward to terminate the distributor or agency agreement and avoid a claim for some form of compensation. The basis of performance management is the agreement which you have, whether it is with the distributor or the agent. If it has been drafted to protect your interests, the agreement should impose a raft of duties on the distributor or agent. But it is not simply an issue of going through the duties and obligations and requiring the distributor or agent to fulfil them. Thought is needed both in terms of what you are seeking to achieve and how it is to be achieved. If it is a case of using performance management to result in an excuse to terminate the distributorship or agency agreement, it is important that a paper trail is laid. Equally it is important that what is sought from the distributor or agent is reasonable both in terms of scope and time. Certainly in the case of an agent, a repeated failure to comply with your reasonable requests can result in you being able to take advantage of the Commercial Agents Regulations (the law which protects agents) to avoid making a statutory compensation payment or reduce the amount which is paid in settlement. Similarly in the case of a distributor. While English law does not provide expressly the same type of special protection given to agents, judgments given in a number of cases involving distributorship agreements have hinted at such protection being given to terminated distributors.


Equally the laws of a number of other countries – both within and outside the EU – provide special protection for distributors in a way which is directly analogous to that of agents. Even without this special protection, failure to properly performance manage a distributor can result in the distributor having a claim for damages for wrongful termination of the distributorship agreement. So crunch time: think about how you are going to get to where you want to be, so far as your distributor or agent is concerned. Equally it is important to give thought to how you are going to service the customers in the distributor or agent’s territory following termination. Finally, take care. While it is open to you to performance manage underperforming distributors or agents, it is equally open to savvy distributors and agents to performance manage their suppliers and principals so as to engineer an exit from the distributorship or agency agreement to the maximum advantage of the distributor or agent. © 2018 Fox Williams LLP


RETAIL THERAPY We reveal our favourite independent boutiques, as well as news and store events from the world of childrenswear retail.

THE WEE STORE Unit 3, Planet House, 1 The Drive, Hove, East Sussex Founded by Lucie Carr, The Wee Store began life online in 2014. In 2016, Charlotte Williams joined the business and, following a spate of successful pop-up shops in Brighton, The Wee Store advanced to become a bricks and mortar retailer, opening in Hove, East Sussex, in 2017. The shop, known locally as “the yellow store”, offers two defined zones – one merchandised with clothes and the other with homewares, toys and gifting. It also incorporates a play area for children. Key names on The Wee Store’s brand list include Wolf & Rita, Kidscase, Indikidual, Hello Simone, Mar Mar, Meri Meri, Normadot, A Little Lovely Company and Plan Toys, to name but a few. For Carr and Williams, being an independent retailer is all about empathising with the customer, offering a personal service and understanding the local market. While the business has been online for three years, the duo has found the “store experience” is entirely different; from the merchandise they sell, through to the customers that visit the shop. In-store, for instance, the duo has discovered the local market is very lacking in kids’ party presents at £10 and under and so has introduced special buys to cater for the demand. The Wee Store boasts an impressive and carefully curated social media following, with over 10k followers on Instagram, a useful platform for promotion. It also sends out regular newsletters to its 2,800 subscribers, runs competitions and has a schedule lined up for children’s in-store workshops. Plans are to grow the business substantially during the course of the year, with the aim of a 50 per cent growth in turnover. Beyond this, the goal is to open a second store in Brighton, allowing Carr and Williams the opportunity to manage a store each. The duo intend to keep the business local, to maintain the personal touch and employ individuals who fully understand their brand ethos and dedication to superior customer service. 12 - JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018


SEMBER 249 Mary Vale Road, Bournville, Birmingham Established just over a year, opening in December 2016 in Bournville, Birmingham, is children’s boutique, Sember. Owner Sue Hawkeswood was drawn to the premises after seeing the shop front under renovation earlier in the year; when it went on the market in August 2016, she purchased it. Since opening, Sember’s popular line-up of childrenswear brands – which include Frugi, Lilly + Sid, Bob & Blossom and Pigeon Organics – has evolved to include a toy, gift and accessory area. Hawkeswood prides herself on offering a warm and inviting shopping environment and is always available to lend an ear to customers. She includes handwritten notes with online orders, provides toys and snacks in-store for little ones and runs competitions and fun days. Her ultimate aim is to build a business customers know and trust and in the near future, open another store based on the same concept and values.

PEACHEYBOO 20 Gardner Street, Brighton, East Sussex Peacheyboo is a Brighton-based childrenswear label designed by Hannah Peachey-Thacker together with her mum, Lesley. In October 2016, following the a/w 17 launch of the brand’s first kids’ collection for 0-11 years, the duo opened a flagship store in their hometown. In addition to the Peacheyboo label, the shop stocks Bob & Blossom, Wolfie and Willow, Little Hotdog Watson and Lily Mae Kidswear. The retail space itself is inspired by industrial architecture; highlights include metal lockers and rails, a bright blue haberdashery counter and a neon sign, with the brand’s signature Brighton rock stripes adorning the store facade and the main counter. Plans for Peacheyboo include further growth of the wholesale business and to open another store in London within the next couple of years.


£60 MILLION REFURBISHMENT OF MEADOWHALL British Land, joint owner of Sheffield shopping destination Meadowhall, has completed its £60 million refurbishment of the centre. The completion marks the end of a two-year programme, during which £40 million was invested in store upgrades by more than 70 brands, including existing and new additions. Highlights of the refurbishment include the creation of four districts. Over 1,200 jobs were created to deliver the refurbishment, with 35 per cent of the workforce living in Sheffield and 41 per cent overall from the region.

ROSIE & LULA Launched in October 2017, Rosie & Lula is a new online boutique offering a carefully curated collection of clothing and accessories for boys and girls aged 0–5 years. Brands stocked include Chateau de Sable, The Bonnie Mob, Dotty Dungarees, Wedoble, Bowe and Arrowe, Albetta and Candy Bows. Commenting on her new business, Rosie & Lula’s owner, Rachel Coyle, says: “I decided to name the website after my two beautiful girls as I share the love that many mums have of dressing them and choosing their clothes. I had always struggled to find all of the brands and styles I liked in one place, so I made it my mission to create this myself.”

DEBENHAMS APPOINTS NEW FASHION AND HOME MD This month, Steven Cook, former chief merchant of Canada’s luxury retailer Holt Renfrew, joins Debenhams as managing director of fashion and home. Cook will lead the business unit that oversees the organisation’s buying, design and merchandising divisions for these categories, as it continues to implement the Debenhams Redesigned strategy. Cook’s appointment follows a global search, and sees Debenhams commence plans to structure around three business units: beauty and beauty services, fashion and home, and food and events.




The UK started Christmas earlier than any other country, Google searches show. Interest picked up as early as August and began to rise steeply at the end of October, just before Black Friday, with the trend continuing into December. According to retail experts, UK consumers are doing their Christmas shopping earlier than ever before, allowing retailers to make the most of this trend by engaging their customers months before the festive period.

Global apparel expert Alvanon has launched a new dedicated course aimed at helping brands and retailers of men’s, women’s and childrenswear navigate the world of 3D. Delivered by Alvanon consultants who have accumulated expertise of 3D best practices, the half-day course will cover key strategic considerations including 3D goals, ROI, software options and implementation. Alvanon is software independent and will work with all leading 3D software providers.

Designer outlet group McArthurGlen Group has a joint venture with U+I, Rioja Developments Limited, Aviva Investors on behalf of Aviva Life and Pensions and The Richardson Family to develop a new designer outlet in Cannock, 30 minutes from Birmingham. The creation of the joint venture will see a combined investment of more than £160m in the project, with the development spanning 26,500 sq m of GLA across two phases.


For the toe draggers, the heel scuffers, the prolific side swipers. 360 degrees of tougher-thantough protection. So that little feet can live big. KeepExploring

SUPPORTING GENERATIONS OF MINI ADVENTURERS SINCE 1792 At Start-Rite Shoes we think every day is an opportunity for kids to skip, stride, scoot into uncharted territory – and to discover something along the way. So we believe the best children’s shoes help them move freely. Whether dancing queen, playground performer or fearless explorer. That’s why our refreshed product range is designed not just to fit the foot, but fit the child – built around deep insight into how today’s children move, and leveraging our two centuries of shoemaking expertise. From the go-anywhere chameleon shoe, to the survive-anything active shoe, or the feelspecial smart shoe. Our commitment to supporting children’s pioneering spirit is reflected in our new identity and 2018 communications campaign – centred around our re-worked Start-Rite twins who are reinvigorated and ready for their next adventures. Our retail partners remain at the heart of our business. There are exciting changes here too, including: •

An informative portal for retailers, with more brand assets and information than ever before. You’ll find brand and products imagery and product descriptions, seasonal catalogues and videos, and a retailer blog

so you can be the first to hear about company news and events. •

A new and improved Trade Web Order system, which has been designed with you in mind, offering a more efficient and userfriendly experience to assist you and your business. The easy to use online ordering system gives you the ability to track previous and existing orders, and search and place stock orders for the current season 24/7 365 days a year.

Extended opening times at our Distribution Centre to support demand and a best in class carrier service, provided by TNT.

This year marks the launch of our biggest consumer campaign for many years, to drive customers into retail stores across the country. Our new campaign, which launches in February, is designed to demonstrate the insight, expertise and craftsmanship that goes into every Start-Rite shoe. This is a very exciting and important phase in the future success of our business and our continuing strategy to make sure Start-Rite Shoes is leading the way in the industry. To find out more about our exciting journey contact Mike Evans, Start-Rite Shoes Commercial Director at

#KeepExploring with #StartRite


02 01

BRANDS To Watch CWB editor Laura Turner selects the must-have collections to get in store. —




Established in 2015 and offering a stylish yet unconventional look, Little Man Happy is a kids’ fashion brand for 0-12 years. Highlights include organic items for boys and girls that combine plains with shiny designs, focusing highly on the materials used and the processing selection. The collection, which comprises approximately 65-85 pieces, includes sweaters, jumpers, pants, leggings, shirts, skirts, dresses, hoodies, coats and bombers. The clothing is all standard 100 by Oeko-Tex and comes straight from the heart of the label’s studio in Berlin, Germany. Available in the UK via Vida Kids from a/w 18. Wholesale prices ¤10-¤35.

Launched in November, UK-based QAlpha is a mind-set brand for young creatives aged 8-14 years. Non-seasonal designs represent future trends – as opposed to fashion trends – and echo the brand’s work ethics and how it designs and creates. QAlpha only produces micro collections, two to six per year containing different items – jackets, tops, trousers, skirts, dresses and accessories – with limited editions made to order. Its first 118 PROTAGONIST collection is limited to 100, and comprises two jackets for girls and boys; sport and light versions will follow, along with accessories in February/March 2018. Wholesale price £15-£85.


05 03





Launching for a/w 18, Small Stories is a new casualwear brand for 0–5 years. Joanna Elsmore, an experienced buyer and mother, created the brand to provide an eye-catching range of clothing for boys and girls featuring exclusive prints designed by an artist. Each piece is designed to appeal to parents as much as to children, with unique prints to inspire a child’s confidence, creativity and joy. The garments, created to be highly comfortable, are designed in the UK and made in Turkey and India using premium, natural fabrics. The collection comprises cotton tops, bottoms, dresses and shirts, as well as a range of knitwear pieces. Wholesale prices on request.

Spanish label Little Creative Factory came to be in 2011, offering timeless pieces for 0-12 years created in Barcelona workshops. Following the philosophy of “slow manufacture”, “0km” and “less is more”, the brand produces garments that allow children to grow with them, creating their own unique style and identity. Key pieces include the brand’s best-selling dresses and coats alongside jackets, sweaters, jumpsuits, tops, skirts, trousers, shorts, accessories and swimwear. Collections comprise around 300 pieces, including colour variety. Available in the UK via Vida Kids from a/w 18. Wholesale prices ¤18-¤88.

Fans of Amsterdam-based childrenswear brand Donsje, renowned for its shoes and accessories for babies, will be pleased to learn that a new kids’ shoe collection is launching for a/w 18. Catering for 2-5 years (EU size 23-33), the kids’ collection scales iconic Donsje baby shoe styles as well as introducing winter boots featuring the brand’s animal characters. Handmade from 100 per cent premium leather and lined with sheep’s wool, the shoes are fair trade and feature a colour palette of warm and wintery shades, including caramel, walnut and dark grey. Donsje is represented in the UK by Little Icons. Wholesale prices ¤42-¤56. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 17






Daniele Sismondi, founder of the luxury childrenswear agency Brand Stable, discusses his business plans and views on the UK childrenswear market. —


Laura Turner: What’s the story behind Brand Stable’s creation? Daniele Sismondi: I launched Brand Stable in 2010, at a time when many fashion houses where launching their kids’ collections and it was apparent there was an opportunity in the UK market for a high-end, designer childrenswear wholesale agency. Brand Stable started out life with a portfolio of denim brands, including Miss Sixty and Guess kids, before attracting more sophisticated labels such as Simonetta, Fendi and Versace Kids. It now has a portfolio of over 15 international brands.

I’ve never looked back since. The success of the agency has foundations built on extremely loyal and close relationships with all my clients, who I can also, proudly, call friends.

LT: What experience did you have in the fashion field prior to launching Brand Stable? DS: After completing a degree in international business at London’s Brunel University, I started working as a sales assistant in Harrods before going on briefly to gain experience in womenswear at Caractere. It was 2002 that I joined CWF (Children Worldwide Fashion) and obtained first-hand experience of dealing with the best, most vast portfolio of childrenswear clients. Through selling brands like Timberland, Burberry and Kenzo kids, I established strong relationships with the buyers of the major UK department stores, including Harrods, Selfridges and Brown Thomas, as well as key independent retailers like Childrensalon, Kids Cavern, plus many more. Relationships with this clientele grew stronger in 2004 when I joined Miss Sixty for its kidswear launch, which was the fastest-growing and biggest girls’ brand of that time. After six years at Miss Sixty, it was the right time, both from a personal and market readiness perspective, to take the big step of establishing my own business.

LT: You also offer a service called Brand Wire? DS: Brand Wire is a PR Agency. With the support of PR expert Shoshana Kazab of Fuse Communications, it delivers ad hoc projects in support of the brands represented by Brand Stable, such as organising the London press days for Guess Kids, Simonetta, Christian Lacroix, St Barth swimwear, Bandits Girl and Jessie & James. Shoshana has vast experience in kidswear PR, having worked with brands such as Rachel Riley, aden + anais, Little Wardrobe, Wild & Gorgeous and last but not least, the kids’ trade exhibition, Bubble London.

LT: What would you highlight as Brand Stable’s key strengths as a business? DS: We offer a vast range of services – from visual merchandising and buying, through to brand strategy and distribution, not only for the brands we represent, but also for the retailers. This is possible thanks to the extensive experience in the kidswear market of many of the staff members.

LT: Can you tell me more about Brand Stable’s portfolio of brands? DS: We currently represent 15 brands divided into three main groups: super brands, street style and by category. In the first segment, super brands, we find the likes of Fendi, Roberto Cavalli, Lanvin, Emilio Pucci, Sonia Rykiel and Simonetta. Within the street style segment we have more commercial brands; labels like Guess – which is currently riding a momentum in sales since




introducing a new price strategy – Aston Martin and new for a/w 18, Vespa, a brand from the people behind the famous Italian scooter. By category is divided into outerwear – with down jackets from Herno, Ai Riders on the Storm and Bomboogie – fun fake fur and capes by Bandits Girl, swimwear from St Barth and shoes from UK brand, Step2wo. LT: What do you look for in a brand you represent? DS: The main criteria is that it needs to complement the current brand mix, yet without being in direct competition to avoid cannibalisation. It also has to be distinctive; either by its style, design or category. LT: Are your brands launching anything exciting for a/w 18? DS: Guess Kids is launching a collaboration with a popular digital cartoon called Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat. It’s the story of two fashion students who transform into a ladybug and cat at night to protect the city of Paris. The collaboration will see Guess designing a theme-inspired kids’ capsule collection for boys and girls, which will be available in store for a/w 18. It will be promoted through extensive marketing activities in key cities including London, New York, Paris and Milan and will also be advertised on billboards and double decker buses. LT: Have you taken on any new brands for a/w 18? DS: Yes, we’ve signed distribution agreements for two brands, both targeting the boys’ market, from a/w 18. Ai Riders on


the Storm, which is a very exciting brand of jackets famous for their goggles hoodies, and the iconic Italian brand, Vespa. LT: Any plans to take on more brands in the near future? DS: At present, I’d like to focus on the current portfolio, since many of the brands I represent have not yet reached their full potential. However, I always keep my eyes open, relentlessly looking for new labels. LT: What are your plans for growth? DS: There are many areas of organic growth within the agency that have yet to be explored and could constitute great opportunities – be they related to ecommerce, retail or partnerships – and not necessarily in the kidswear sector. LT: What are your thoughts on the current UK kidswear market? DS: The UK market is getting tougher and tougher, mainly due to the spending power of families shifting to other areas, reshaping the way people spend on childrenswear. Local customers are either price sensitive or attracted by desirable and highly-recognised brands, while retailers in big cities, like London, still rely on the international clientele. Designer brands need to invest heavily into marketing activities in order to promote their collections and make them desirable. Social media, presence in magazines and media, celebrity endorsements and events all represent big parts of the promotional spend aimed at targeting both local and international markets.


LT: Do you feel confident about the a/w 18 season? DS: A/w 18 will be a very challenging season. Differentiation in terms of product mix, variety, quality of service and media presence will define the strongest brands. LT: What would you highlight as the biggest challenge facing the childrenswear industry? DS: The biggest challenge is being able to differentiate and stand apart from others. From the brand mix, to a tighter and more selective distribution, through to partnering with brands who are flexible to the challenges of the market and can support their clients both commercially and with marketing activities. Online distribution will be vital to sustaining sales and having fewer online retailers will be the key to controlling the current price war and discount promotions, which in some instances, have become extremely destabilising. Currency fluctuations and the current political climate both represent challenges, too. LT: What are the long-term plans for Brand Stable? DS: There are a few things in the pipeline that could potentially see the agency expand into new ventures involving womenswear and menswear, as well as changes to the way the business operates. We’ve already launched bridal this year, for instance. At present and in the mid-term, however, the focus is – and will remain – on childrenswear, consolidating the current wholesale business and, in the future, possibly partnering with other key players in the current UK retail scene. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 19


TWENTY QUESTIONS WITH... Gillian Franks, owner of Pixie Childrenswear in Hale, Cheshire and winner of the Best Kids’ Store in the CWB Independent Retail Awards 2017. —

Was retail something you always wanted to work in? I originally worked in development and construction but, when I became a mother, I wanted to change my career to align with my new lifestyle. In particular, I wanted to bring others the quality brands that I love for my daughter and create an experience reminiscent of the exciting journey new parents embark on. Initially I opened Pixie as a franchise in order to gain experience, before buying the business and the brand in 2010. What’s an average day in your job? I don’t think there is one, which is what makes it so enjoyable. A typical day often consists of maintaining a pleasant store environment for customers, managing current stock levels and buying for the next season, as well as managing many employees. What do you love most about retail? Interacting with people and being able to make a difference, whether it’s helping someone find the perfect gift or advising on the fit of an outfit for their newborn baby. And your least favourite part? I get frustrated when I can’t help someone find what they’re looking for, whether it’s because it’s out of stock or doesn’t come in their size. I want every Pixie customer’s experience to be a positive one. How did you decide on the shop name? We wanted a name that reflected a magical, fairy-tale experience. What inspired the look of your store? My husband is an architect and together we wanted to create a bespoke, New York-inspired interior. We selected a soft, mid-tone colour

palette to create elegant colour combinations, a painted and stencilled floor, which is hard wearing while attractive, feature light fittings to create light effects alongside display lights, fixtures and fittings such as “Scribble It” wall panels, and vintage display tables to add interest. All of the wall display elements are designed to be interchangeable to facilitate easy, periodic changes and refreshment of product displays. It’s important that the shop provides easy access for mums with kids and prams, as well as being adaptable enough to hold a variety of children’s events, such as tea parties, fashion shows, storytelling and children’s portrait days. What motivates you in your work? I find a multitasking environment is always fun and stimulating. Do you have a business mentor? My husband – he exemplifies the most important traits of mentorship and acts as a guide, encourager, teacher, strategist and supporter in all I do. What’s your favourite independent boutique? Black White Denim in Wilmslow. It’s a gorgeous boutique packed with ladies designer fashion brands. We like it so much that we stock its basics brand and offer a mutual click and collect service between our two shops. Which is your favourite children’s brand? My current favourite is Dutch brand Scotch & Soda, which caters for boys and girls. Its on-trend designs produced with an eye for detail and a passion for quality are firm favourites with our stylish customers. If you launched your own brand, what would it be? I’d love to design and create affordable baby and kidswear using bright prints and fun graphics. Something kids and parents would both adore. What’s the strangest customer request you’ve ever had? When we stocked Noa Noa womenswear, a well-known celeb came in who’d travelled from London and needed a whole outfit for an unexpected event that evening. Despite just having a small selection of womenswear in-store, she left dressed head to foot in an outfit from Pixie and looked fabulous.

Who’s your dream customer? Someone who wants and needs the products we sell. Someone who listens when we provide advice and goes away happy, having received great customer service, and then comes back another day. What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given? As soon as you figure out what your customer wants, they will want something totally different. Be prepared to be flexible and respond to demand. And the worst? If you build it, they will come – not true. You need to work hard to build good customer relationships and be prepared to respond to often-changing needs. What advice do you have for someone opening an independent shop? Find someone who has done it/is doing it and ask lots of questions. There’s no substitute for experience and knowledge; if you don’t have it, gather as much of it as you can from others. If you go in with your eyes open, you can have it all. What is your greatest achievement careerwise? Celebrating seven years of trading. We’re also about to exchange contracts on our second Pixie shop. What do you wish you’d known before opening Pixie Childrenswear? That sometimes a Tuesday might be your best day of the week; other times it will be a Saturday. In this business, there is often no consistency. That knowledge would have stopped me worrying in the early days. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? The owner of multiple destination shops filled with exciting, fairy-tale experiences. How do you plan to promote being a CWB Independent Retail Award winner? In every way possible. We are so thrilled to be awarded Best Kids’ Store. We’ll promote it in-store, on our website and in all customer and supplier communications. Thank you CWB team, you’ve made our year.

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11 - 12 February 2018 free entry free refreshments free lunch free parking

register now

Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre, Cranmore Avenue, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LF | T: 0121 683 1415


RETAIL TRENDS 2018 Vicki Cantrell, retail transformation officer at Aptos, provider of the Singular Commerce Platform for seamless omnichannel shopping experiences, reveals her four key retail predictions that will define 2018. — 1. Mobile is never ending and never finished Mobile has been an initiative for retailers for years and has come a long way. In 2017, 29 per cent of sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday occurred on mobile e-commerce websites and apps. Mobile is an extension of the store, and retailers must be able to facilitate rapid delivery of everything available in-store on mobile devices, and then some. In 2018, retailers must continue to improve CURIOUS their ORANJmobile platform capabilities so that it works seamlessly or risk losing sales. This goes for mobile applications and mobile web browsers. —

2. Retailers will shift their organisations to be truly customer-centric How a retailer is perceived by consumers and the experience that consumers have in stores and online is critical to success. Retailers must include empathy and emotion to correctly measure the overall customer experience. If a retailer is not organised properly to be customer-centric, they need to take action to realign the company. In addition to the people-work required, they must ensure they can capture and centralise customer data and insights from in-store and online interactions. For some organisations, this will require a complete transformation of their data storage processes and architecture. Once retailers have the customer-centric data, they must know what to do with it. Analysis tools that deliver actionable data and enable organisations to correctly respond to changing conditions with actionable and repeatable processes at the point of service – whether in-store or online – will be key. —


3. More focus on the customer journey Retailers must be able to assist customers before, during and after they enter the store. Before consumers visit a brick-andmortar retailer, many check online first to ensure the specific item they are looking for is in stock. If the retailer is not able to provide this information, the customer may look to a competitor instead. Once the customer is in the store, the experience must be as positive and seamless as possible, and the journey does not stop after the purchase. Post sale follow-up in the form of customer experience surveys, review requests and other tactics are common place. And promotions designed to encourage repeat sales – discounts, personalised recommendations, etc. – are essential. Looking into 2018, retailers must be aware of how they are interacting with consumers and how they are perceived by consumers at all times. —

4. Pop-ups power retailers’ customer experience reinvention For many retailers, pop-ups are quickly becoming a critical part of the store experience reinvention journey. If done properly, these unique stores allow retailers to experiment and find out which consumer experiences work and which fall flat. In many ways, experimenting with pop-ups enables retailers to go on a reinvention journey without making long-term commitments or investments. They also enable retailers to measure the impact of a new physical experience within their complete, omnichannel ecosystem, before rolling it out chain-wide. As retailers continue to figure out the best ways to leverage new experiences and technologies along the shopper journey, I predict that pop-ups will find their way to more retailers’ agendas in 2018. —



Style GUIDE:

DONE BY DEER Elphee lunch box Price on request

THE LUNCH CLUB: Assured to create a lunch that packs a punch, CWB’s pick of imaginative kids’ lunch boxes and bags.

Unless stated otherwise, all prices are wholesale

SASS & BELLE Day Dreams lunch bag £1.95

REX LONDON Colourful Creatures lunch box £1.95 each 24 - JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

FERM LIVING Terrazzo print tin lunch box Price on request

GREEN PIONEER Shark zipper lunch bag Price on request










01: LAPIN & ME Mini Agnes toy in gift box £1.95

02: MERI MERI Bunny party plates £2.39 for a pack of 12

03: MAMA DESIGNS Playmat with matching drawstring bag £45

04: ZOOCCHINI Girl’s pants £10 for a boxed set of three designs

05: MEMINIO Leather-bound memory case in choice of colours Large £80 / small £65

06: KRETHAUS Oriente night table Price on request

Unless stated otherwise, all prices are wholesale JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 25


RACHEL RILEY: THE DIFFUSION LINE Rachel Riley, founder of the eponymous childrenswear label, discusses the launch of her first ever diffusion line at this month’s Bubble London, where her new Home Collection will also showcase. —

Laura Turner: Can you tell me more about the debut diffusion line you’re launching at Bubble London for a/w 18? Rachel Riley: Firstly, I have to say I am particularly excited about our diffusion line launch and very proud to be debuting it at Bubble London. The collection is for babies and toddlers aged 0–2 years, it offers unisex, boy and girl, and has been designed to enable our pieces to be accessible to an even wider range of parents and gift givers. 26 - JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I needed to make sure I found the right production of high-quality garments at an affordable price point. I’m delighted to have designed this collection of everyday baby clothes, mostly jersey, which are so comfortable, practical, cute, well priced and beautifully made. LT: What does the diffusion line comprise? RR: There are around 50 pieces in total. The collection mainly covers everyday clothing in

our soft jersey cotton and includes tops, trousers, dresses, body and legging sets, sweat pants and jackets, shirts, dungarees and babygros, as well as accessories such as hats, blankets and bibs. There are a few special occasion pieces too, in a lovely soft velour. Signature prints will range from gold foil hearts and bows through to elephants and sail boats and, of course, our popular motifs in machine embroidery. Wholesale prices range from approximately £7.50 to £30.



LT: How would you sum up the design aesthetic? RR: As the diffusion line has been designed with babies and toddlers in mind, I’ve kept the pieces very simple and stylish. The inspiration comes from existing designs from the main Rachel Riley collection but, as most of the collection is in knitted jersey, the collection is more casual and for every day. LT: In terms of stockists, who are you targeting with the diffusion line? RR: I hope it will appeal to those retailers who don’t yet stock our collections; those who are looking for high-quality, traditional garments at a lower price point for their customers. The designs are distinctively Rachel Riley, but they are quite different from our main collection, so I think it will enable us to reach a wider customer base. LT: Do you think diffusion lines will become more commonplace among designer childrenswear brands as a means to broaden customer base? RR: I think that there has never been a more thrilling time to work in childrenswear – there’s so much interest and excitement in this area. As such, the size of the market has definitely expanded and if designer brands want to reach all areas of this market, they might well want to consider something like a diffusion line to enable them to do so. LT: What are your plans for the diffusion line – is it something you want to develop in its own right? RR: It’s early days to be planning ahead, but I’m very excited about its potential. It is something which customers have been asking us about for years, so I’m hoping it will resonate well with a whole new customer base too.


LT: Alongside the diffusion line, you’re simultaneously launching a new Home Collection too? RR: Yes, the Home Collection is a collaboration with a leading textile manufacturer, Textrade, who produces premium bedding and interiors textiles worldwide. It’s producing the collection and has set up a UK office, which is headed up by Mark O’Dolan. The Home Collection has just been launched at Heimtextil, the biggest annual home and textiles tradeshow in Germany and will be carried in the Textrade New York showroom. We’re looking forward to showing the collection to buyers in London, at Bubble, for the first time this season. LT: What does the Home Collection cover? RR: Bedding, curtains, nursery and bedroom accessories and towels for babies, toddlers and children. It features many of our most iconic prints, including the Soldier, Lamb, My Little Prince and My Little Princess. It will launch in spring 2018 and visitors to Bubble will be able to view the range at our stand at the show. LT: Are there any other product extensions you’d consider in the future? RR: I’m working hard with these two new projects at the moment, plus our seasonal collection for a/w 18 and the Heritage Collection, which remains so popular; it’s hard to think about anything else at this particular moment, but never say never. We seem to be doing well in our international expansion, so I am always on the look out for new opportunities, wherever they may be. LT: In terms of the childrenswear collection, what can we expect for a/w 18? RR: The a/w 18 collection has been built on what has been popular and appreciated by

our loyal and enthusiastic customers over the years. I love print and this season there are woodland animals, sugar mice, feminine bow prints and fun conversational prints, including a fairy complete with silver sparkle wings and horseshoes for good luck. We’ve also added to the Heritage Collection, which is our core line, and the My Little Prince and My Little Princess themes continue to be the best-selling items, as well as other London-centric prints such as the toy soldier. LT: What is your overall vision for the Rachel Riley brand over the coming years? RR: I’d like to continue our expansion in the UK and overseas, and we’ve recently signed up new distributors in Japan and China. With all of the new and seasonal collections, I think this is a good time to take advantage of our reputation for premium childrenswear. We are always grateful to our customers who appreciate good design and the quality of our goods. I’m aware that building a brand involves hard work and dedication. It is made up of building foundations, then each wall, brick-by-brick, until there is one room, a flat, a house…it’s a step-by step process. I’m feeling positive about the future. LT: Any other updates? RR: We’ve opened a second showroom in the US – we have a showroom in New York and recently opened one in Atlanta, too. I’ve also designed a very sweet capsule collection with a London theme in collaboration with the Dorchester Hotel. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 27




What buyers are after at this season’s Bubble London. —



Bubble is always a great opportunity to meet our brands and see their newest collections, as well as for discovering new labels, both national and international. Many of our beloved brands were discovered at Bubble. For Childrensalon, the show is also a great networking hub; we can meet industry people, influencers, publications and brands all in one place. We don’t have a brand hit list this season, but we will be looking out for collections that surprise us. The Childrensalon buying team is always looking for beautiful products – our mission is to dress children beautifully and this is at the core of everything we do. — DINA MOON, head buyer, CHILDRENSALON,






Bubble was the first trade show we ever visited when we decided to launch LittleCircle. We immediately bumped into old contacts of mine from the fashion industry, as well as meeting many new faces who have since become regular fixtures on the scene. Bubble sets the tone for a wide working network. We are always on the lookout for new, undiscovered brands to champion and be part of our LittleCircle edit. We’ve found designers showcasing their very first collections at Bubble, so it’s certainly an exciting forum for fresh labels. The scale of the show is also appealing – big enough to find real jewels, but not so vast you inevitably miss out key stands. It’s also nice to support the home-grown talent that showcases there; the British childrenswear industry is on a roll, so exhibitions like Bubble are a must. Networking is absolutely key and another important element of our visits, both meeting new contacts and reconnecting with old. We’re proud to be part of such a supportive, creative part of the fashion industry, and it’s lovely to be in the thick of it at Bubble. On our hit list for a/w 18 is chic dress-up and beautiful accessories – the UK does whimsy and fantasy fashion pretty well, so we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled. Going to tradeshows marks the end of one season and the start of another, so mentally it helps clear the head and gets the creative juices flowing for a fresh season. — ANNA BROMILOW, founder, LITTLECIRCLE,







In past years, my visits to Bubble have resulted in the discovery and addition of quite a few brands to Childsplay Clothing’s portfolio. The show allows me to keep in touch with the agents and suppliers, which is something that has definitely been beneficial to our business relationships. This brings me on to networking opportunity, which is among the main reasons why, every season, I always make sure I schedule a visit to Bubble in my diary. As well as meeting suppliers that have worked closely with Childsplay Clothing over the years, it is also great to be able to catch up with other buyers and exchange opinions and feedback. Attending Bubble, and being in an environment where I can see different brands showing their collections all at once, gives me the opportunity to identify the key, leading trends of the season – an important aspect that I would miss out on if I didn’t attend. At this season’s show, we’re looking for something exclusive, special and luxurious, which is exactly what our customers want. The world of childrenswear is expanding at such a fast pace – I find it so exciting to see the trends that will lead a season and discover the upcoming brands taking over the market. This, essentially, is my main expectation from fairs like Bubble – to be inspired and thrilled by new offers. — ROBERTA TOMASSETTI, head buyer, CHILDSPLAY CLOTHING, Ilford, Essex







On past visits to Bubble, I have discovered some fabulous new brands. I have always enjoyed visiting the new showcase areas and keeping a look out for small, independent designers. I would feel that I had missed out if I didn’t attend. I’ve missed trade shows in the past, and it does make forward ordering harder. It’s an important part of my buying to view my suppliers’ s/s and a/w collections, and Bubble gives me a chance to do this. I can make better judgements about quality of fabric and design if I can see the collections in person and it gives me a chance to have face-to-face contact with the brands too. I’d recommend other buyers visiting Bubble for these reasons; the show helps small businesses make better decisions. During my forthcoming visit, I’m excited to see some new exhibitors and make decisions on future buying choices. — HESTER SOULSBY, owner, TANTRUM, Ulverston, Cumbria






My business primarily focuses on finding ‘under the radar’ brands that aren’t readily available elsewhere. There are always interesting collections to see at Bubble and a good mix of both established and new labels. I added two brands to my store portfolio from Bubble during my last visit, Freya Lillie and Wex Baby. I also found some others that I’m keeping an eye on, which I’m looking forward to seeing this season. Some of the brands I currently buy for the store show at Bubble, so it’s a great opportunity to catch up face-to-face and see the product in real life before placing orders. This is the main reason I attend the fair, but I would also like to check out the business seminars this season, as I ran out of time during my last visit. Dandydill Way is my top pick for a/w 18 and I’m also looking forward to seeing what’s new from Mori and Barn of Monkeys. — VICTORIA WILSON, owner, FINBERRY,







I’m based in Antwerp, Belgium, and I come to Bubble every season. As the fair isn’t too big, I can visit in one day. I like to discover new brands; at Bubble, I always find something different and, above all, not a mass-market product. What I really love about the show are the independent collections that are made with love, with lots of attention to quality and detail. As well as providing the chance to get to know the people behind new brands, the show also allows me to see some of my existing labels, such as Kissy Kissy. As well as buying, I also try to follow all of the show’s business seminars – I always learn something new and find it particularly useful hearing the experiences of other retailers. At this season’s Bubble, I’ll mostly be looking for lifestyle and accessory brands, preferably handmade. — ISABELLE DIERCKXSENS, owner, BIANCO BABY, Antwerp, Belgium







I’d recommend attending Bubble for something a bit different from the norm. It offers the opportunity to get a feel for trends and up-and-coming brands, as well as providing labels that are exclusive to the show and not available to see elsewhere. I’ve also found it to be useful for ideas to assist with my in-season marketing. On past visits, I’ve found new and exciting labels, so I’m keen to see more of the same for a/w 18. — GEMMA HIGGS, senior buyer, WHIZZ KID,








Little People Store launched in spring 2017, so this is my first visit to Bubble. As it caters for my target market of clothing, toys and accessories for 0-24 months, it’s great to know that I can discover new brands to stock, all at one event. It’s important for us to keep up to date with new brands and designs, as we have a high number of customers who are scouring the web for innovative baby products, toys and clothing for baby showers and newborn gifts. At Bubble, I’ll be looking for a wide range of different suppliers to build great relationships with. As our store is exclusively online, we need to ensure that there is quality and passion behind the brands we stock, so to be able to meet with the labels and physically see the products is imperative to our business growth. I’m particularly excited to meet with Småfolk, as I love its bright, fresh and fun designs. I’m also looking forward to seeing the innovative Baby Elephant Ears neck support, which is such a brilliant idea and a useful accessory for new babies. — KATHERINE BOWN, owner, LITTLE PEOPLE STORE,







WHAT’S ON AT BUBBLE? Bubble London isn’t just about buying. The show’s free Look Who’s Talking seminar programme is designed to helps retailers and brands alike to plug knowledge gaps, develop new skills and grow their businesses, while the schedule of special features is guaranteed to inspire. Here’s this season’s line-up. — Sunday 28 January 12.00-12.30: Gender-Neutral Fashion for Kids – here to stay? Chair: Jess Shaltout, Absolutely Mama. Panel: Amanda Constance, Editor of Education; Andrea Carter, Another Fox; Linda Gill, Kissy Kissy; Natasha Ascott, Muddy Puddles. Is gender-neutral fashion just a passing fad, or a defining moment in the future of childrenswear? Witness industry experts tackle the topic that has got everybody talking and join in the debate as to whether this is the season to ditch the pink and blue division in store. 13.45-14.15: Trend Update – Fiona Coleman Which colours, themes and key looks should you invest in this buying season? Find out with leading trend consultant Fiona Coleman.

Monday 29 January 10.30-11.00: In Conversation with Tamara Ecclestone Baby & Little London editor Kate Freud chats to Tamara Ecclestone about her babycare brand, Fifi & Friends, which was inspired by her daughter Fifi and her popular ITVBe reality TV show, Tamara’s World. 36 - JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

11.15-11.45: The Future of Retail – Katherine Westmacott, Trouva Successful shops go above and beyond being a simple space for selling. Join retail expert Katherine Westmacott as she explores the ways in which independents can diversify to offer a full buying experience both on and offline. Embrace the global potential of the internet with the personal element of a bricks-and-mortar store to create the retail theatre that guarantees you remain the first stop for customers, wherever they may be located. 12.00-12.30: Buyers’ Panel Chair: Fiona Coleman. Panel: Emma Mackenzie, NotSoBig; Inger Breitenstein, Breitenstein Agencies; Becky Elliott, Bababoom. Exclusive insights from some of the kids’ industry’s leading buyers and retailers. 13.00-13.30: Trend Update – Fiona Coleman Discover a/w 18’s most important kidswear trends with experienced consultant Fiona Coleman.


SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE: A/w 18 is set to mark the exciting return of BUBBLE RUNWAY, providing visitors with the opportunity to see the new season’s key collections brought to life. Catwalk presentations are scheduled to run throughout the two-day show – three times on Sunday and twice on Monday – with collections modelled by some special mini celebrity guests. The catwalk will also play host to a presentation on Sunday for the winners and finalists of the CWB INDEPENDENT RETAIL AWARDS 2017. Want to discover tomorrow’s best-selling kid’s brand ahead of the competition? Returning for a/w 18 is Bubble’s RISING STAR competition. Open to new signings showcasing their first wholesale collection and judged by a panel of industry experts, Rising Star provides a unique springboard for fledgling brands to boost their profiles, engage with retailers, gain invaluable feedback and potentially win a free stand at next season’s show. Meanwhile, Bubble’s a/w 18 programme of exclusive, exhibitor-only competitions will once again include the STAND OUT COMPETITION. An award for the show’s most creative, effective and well-designed stand, Stand Out will be judged by Bubble’s own expert team. Every brand will be in the running, with the winner receiving a full, seasonlong trade marketing package. This season’s edition of Bubble will also showcase JUNIOR’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY AWARDS 2017, #JADA, representing 20 of the best brands and products for 2017, each selected from the year’s Junior Design Awards Platinum winners. Finally, grab your LIMITED EDITION A/W 18 BUBBLE BAG, hand printed by the HUDDERSFIELD SCREEN PRINTING team, on stand G7. All donations go to Great Ormond Street Hospital.



28 & 29 January 2018, Business Design Centre #discoverbubble





Ju-Ju-Be was launched 12 years ago in California by a dynamic duo who believed that changing bags should not only make life easier, but also more glamorous and fun by combining high-tech design with functionality. Email: or contact our agent: Peter Holm / Little Saints: +44 (0)798 085 0008 -

Expertly engineered, functionally solid and fun to wear, Grass & Air’s Scandinavian inspired rainwear garments are designed to withstand the rigours of outdoor play. Tel: 0161 272 5873 Email: -





Pimsa is a unisex kids fashion brand, 0-5 years. The collections of Pimsa are all characterized by; unique color selections, minimalism, great quality and the use of playful references to proverbs. Email: -

Unique backpack for 4-8 year olds. Designed by parents. Removable Lunchbag. No clumsy zippers. No more bulky backpacks and separate lunchbags. 5-star rated. ‘Amazon’s Choice’. 11 new patterns in February 2018. -





St. Bert’s is the ‘go to’ brand for sweats and tees for kids aged 5-13. Luxuriously soft 100% cotton, bright colours and retro designs kids clothing that adults want to wear. For wholesale enquiries: Sarah Godwin Tel: 07966 456 780 Email: -

Artie is a babywear and legwear manufacturer and brand. For our production we use only 100% natural and soft materials. In terms of style, we try to make artie trendy and innovative, yet childish and charming. -


COLOURING IN Industry expert Fiona Coleman highlights five important colour stories for a/w 18/19. —

FIONA COLEMAN Fiona Coleman is a colour and trends consultant for brands and retailers, working on bespoke projects. She is a regular speaker at events and a member of the British Textile Colour Group. With extensive industry experience, she has previously headed up teams at WGSN, Paul Smith and Uniqlo.

Pink continues to evolve, becoming softer and less intense. Pale pink is complemented by strong red accents and a new vintage rose shade is important for both babies and girls. The brighter sports candy pinks from the summer can still be seen, but have less influence in the winter season.





>>> JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 39





A new colour family this season, which sees purple start to take over from the dominance of pink. Both warm and cool purple are important and we see it across genders for sportswear, casualwear and footwear. The influence of ultraviolet as Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year will have far-reaching influence. FRODDO



Alongside commercial, bright sportswear shades, we see a family of deeper fashion reds. Experiment with head-to-toe red styling using different shades or fabrications; such as velvet, silk and wool. Alternatively, contrast two colours for dramatic impact.











Replacing yellow as the key warm message, tones of orange are tinted with yellow and red. Saffron and tangerine work well across boys and girls with winter white, warm camel and brown, or contrasting with black, grey and cool blues. LE MU




The sea green shade from s/s 18 has deepened for a/w 18/19 and we see rich, tonal forest hues. Alongside the textural deep tones, there is the continuation of casual, washed green for cord, cottons and prints. Across all product types, and for both boys and girls, green is one of the season’s most important colours. FRODDO



B2B Clothes and Textiles Expo 28-29 June 2018, Targi Kielce, Poland

Safety and fun in the sun! • UVP50+ sun protection wear • International brand • Quick delivery • High quality • Competitive prices • Come and see us at Bubble Indx / Spring Fair For more information please contact: Jo at 07957 541406 Agents and distributors wanted.


LIFE IN STYLE Four curated themes incorporating kids’ fashion and lifestyle products. >>>

Photographer: Richard Boyle Stylist: Victoria Jackson JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 43


DAY TRIPPER Silver wellington boots – Hunter, £22.73, 020 7479 2031 Striped socks – FUB, price on request, 07939 038797 Leather scooter bag – Honey & Toast, price on request, 07866 371901 Woollen Hat – Huttelihut, price on request, 07855 509069 Floral ankle boots – Angulus, price on request, 07855 509069 Pink tights – Mp Denmark, price on request, 07855 509069 Mouse bag – Rockahula Kids, £5.83, 01462 429744 Grey baseball cap – Farah Junior, £15, 01992 507895



PLAY DATE Printed long-sleeved body – Mainio, £11, 00358 50 5686101 Unicorn headband – Rice, £2, 07969 175564 Sequin ear headband – Rochahula Kids, £3.33, 01462 429744 Leopard print shoes – Moccstars, £13, Small sheep printed muslin cloth – Bullabaloo, £4.50, Sensory teething toy – Squidge & Pip, £9.50, Pink ‘happy’ comb – Acorn & Will, price on request, 07921 261194 Watermelon key ring – Acorn & Will, price on request, 07921 261194 To Go Cup pencil sharpener – Rice, £1.30, 07969 175564 Toy Dinosaur – Rice, £2, 07969 175564



HELLO BABY Mini storage baskets – La Basketry, price on request, Shampoo, conditioner and bubble bath – Dandydill Way, price on request, Candles – Cradle & Tonic, price on request, Baby brush – Petit Stellou, £15.26, Wooden rattle clip-on – Petit Stellou, £19.08, Wardrobe dividers – Belo & Me, £4.60, Tableware set – Molly & Moo, £12.40, 07876 647262



WINTER SUN Ice cream T-shirt – BangBang Copenhagen, price on request, 020 3021 0817 Seaside swimsuit – Rachel Riley, £16, 020 7935 7007 Love heart sunglasses – Rockahula Kids, £4.17, 01462 429744 Shark bumbag – Rockahula Kids, £5, 01462 429744 Swim shorts – Love & Honor, £10, 07841 018175 Pirate Noodoll – Noodoll, £9, 020 7253 1890 Striped tote bag – Noe & Zoe, £11.50, 020 3137 3503 Anchor bib – Poppie & George, £14.50,


Baby- Proof and Children’s quality fashion shoes

Showing the AW18 collection at Bubble London|STAND NUMBER: D11 SHOESME UK Footwear International T: 0044 (0)116 2597 427 E:

SHOESME NL Shoesme International BV T: 0031 (0)13 571 1902 E:


MODA FOOTWEAR 18-20 February, NEC Birmingham Home to dedicated kids’ footwear area Mini Moda, Moda Footwear is an unmissable destination for childrenswear buyers seeking shoe inspiration this season. CWB looks ahead to the brands within Mini Moda – and further afield throughout the wider Moda Footwear show – to bring you a sneak preview of new season style. —

RICOSTA Priding itself on German precision, Ricosta offers high-quality children’s footwear for a wide range of different foot shapes and sizes. Each shoe is created to be beautifully functional, thanks to the input of orthopaedic specialists who develop each style to promote foot health for little ones. Look out for the brand’s breathable soft leather and flexible, light-sole units. Stand I49.


RIDER p Riders are so popular in Brazil that the word has replaced flip-flops as a common noun. Discover why the simplest of shoe silhouettes has achieved such global success this Moda with a range designed for all the family, all year round. This season’s range for boys and girls features sports luxe-inspired styles with colour pops of neon brights throughout. Stand H30.

Following its successful debut at Moda Footwear in August, Spanish label Unisa returns with its popular range of women’s and girls’ shoes. Characterised by its Mum & Me focus, the collection adapts Unisa’s signature style in a way that is suitable for younger girls, incorporating pearl and military details for a girly, on-trend look. Look out for the brand’s party shoes in a range of metallics this a/w 18. Stand G38.

>>> JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 53


SUPERFIT u Austrian label Superfit has been committed to producing styles that aid the healthy development of children’s feet for over 70 years. The brand specialises in creating styles that parents trust and children want to wear. This season sees the brand return to Moda with a comprehensive collection for both school and weekend wear. Stand I20.


PRIMIGI For 40 years, Italian footwear specialist Primigi has been producing innovative and high-quality products, which are exclusively conceived for every child’s well-being. This season’s shoes and boots are texturally diverse, featuring suede heart and star embellishment in a range of autumnal shades. The brand also continues its partnership with waterproof membrane Gore-Tex, which is incorporated into many of its winter styles. Stand I41.



Why let grown-ups have all the fun when it comes to the spirit of Brazil? Ipanema returns to Moda with shoes for all the family, including sandals and flip-flops for the coolest of kids. Rest assured that only the most flexible of materials suitable for growing feet are selected to create the brand’s bold and super-cute designs. Stand H30.

Maximise your store’s mini-me appeal with Superga’s irresistible range of miniature sneakers. The brand draws upon all of the hallmarks of its core adult offer – including its vulcanised rubber soles, sleek Italian styling and diverse colour palette – to create styles guaranteed to transform little ones into the coolest kid in the playground. Stand H19.



ZAXY From the creators of Melissa, Zaxy is the plastic shoe label guaranteed to capture little girls’ imaginations. Discover the bright and fun-loving ethos of the brand this season with a range of pumps, sandals and heels, all injectionmoulded in a candyscented plastic that is comfortable and recyclable. Stand H30.

FRODDO ECCO p Danish footwear label Ecco returns to Moda Footwear for the third time this season, showcasing a range of quality and contemporary footwear for the whole family. The brand prides itself on ongoing innovation, from its premium leathers to its comfortable and durable soles. The brand expands on its style range this season to accommodate all aspects of life, with influences from the sport, formal, outdoor and casual sectors. Stand I18.

The new a/w 18 range from Froddo is the culmination of the brand’s many years of shoe-making experience and its extensive knowledge of the anatomy of children’s feet. Silver and bronze feature in the collection, plus new colours purple and cyclamen, and exciting new finishes such as a Bordeaux patent block and a green/black metallic mottled pattern. Novel prints include flowers designs and both pink glitter stars and blue glitter stars on a black background. Stand H41.



EMU AUSTRALIA p Emu Australia offers all year-round styles for adults and children, built upon a strong ethos of being an ever-natural footwear brand. Emu selects the best natural materials available from its native Australia – including sheepskin and Merino wool – to create comfortable shoes and boots which are perfect for growing feet. The brand first introduced its children’s styles for s/s 18, and will build upon their successful debut at Moda Footwear this season. Stand H35.

Iconic tennis shoe Bensimon serves up its collection at Moda Footwear this season, setting itself aside as the world’s “most authentic, simple and affordable luxury shoe in the world”. The brand offers a texturally diverse children’s collection, adapting its signature sneaker silhouette with velvet uppers, intricate prints and deep autumnal shades. Stand D16.



14/12/2017 14:50

Big responsibility for your feet. Kids can only have fun in sturdy shoes that can keep up with all of their adventures. That’s why, as one of the most successful manufacturers of children’s shoes, Superfit pays so much attention to perfect workmanship and the highest quality materials. We take quality very seriously. Because after all, we take big responsibility for your feet.


Terry McIntosh Tel +44 (0) 7957 834 348 •


Trish Healy Tel 00353 85 254 80 70 • * The result is based on the analysis of 342 returned evaluation forms with the stipulated rating scale: good, average and bad.

Please come and see us at:

BUBBLE LONDON Business Design Centre London Stand D41 28 - 29 January 2018

MODA NEC Birmingham Hall 17 Stand H41 18 - 20 February 2018 E: M: +44 (0)7796 766669 T: +44 (0)1707 888388


Order now and get 10% off - using code: ‘schoolbadge2018’ (code expires 15th Feburary 2018) Please contact 0800 368 7414 or to place your order, Or, visit for more information.


61: News

62: Turning point for Turners With a dedicated workforce at its heart, British manufacturer William Turner is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its history, filled with new opportunities and milestones. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 59


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Schoolwear NEWS: The latest news from the schoolwear industry. ROWLINSON SCOOPS EO AWARDS

Rowlinson Knitwear has won the Employee Owned Rising Star of the Year award at the UK Employee Ownership Awards 2017, sponsored by Baxendale. Rowlinson’s head of people services, Nicola Ryan, also received a Highly Commended accolade in the Employee Owner of the Year category in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Rowlinson and its values-led culture. Commending Rowlinson on its win, Deb Oxley, CEO of the Employee Ownership Association, says: “The awards recognise the productivity, innovation and excellence driven by teams and individuals in employee-owned businesses, demonstrating how employees having a stake in the business, teamed with a robust culture of transparency and employee engagement, result in outstanding performance in growth and resilience.” “We’re delighted to be recognised as the EO Rising Star of the Year,” adds Rowlinson’s MD, Donald Moore. “It’s testament to the continued passion, commitment and hard work of all our people, who have embraced employee ownership wholeheartedly. This award acknowledges and reinforces our philosophy that achieving high levels of employee engagement in a purposeful and ethical enterprise goes hand in hand with business growth and sustainable commercial success.” —


DAVID LUKE FILM TO CELEBRATE 35TH ANNIVERSARY School uniform supplier David Luke marked its 35th anniversary late last year with a video showing members of the team celebrating their collective experience. Between them, the David Luke team has over 400 years’ experience, with the short film featuring comments from employees on how many years they have worked for David Luke and why they enjoy working there. As the company moves into its 36th year in 2018, it has pledged to continue growing its team and concentrate on delivering innovative products and services into the schoolwear market. Additionally, as it has done since 1982, David Luke will remain supportive of the independent schoolwear trade, committing its efforts to helping and prioritising independent stockists. —

TRUTEX TEAMS UP WITH PARENTPAY School uniform supplier Trutex has joined forces with ParentPay, a cashless online payment service for schools and families. The new partnership means any school that switches to Trutex as its main uniform supplier will get the ParentPay online payment system set up for their school for free, instead of the typical cost of £1,200 for the first year. The online payment system is a cashless service used by schools to charge for trips, school dinners, clubs and more. “This is a great arrangement which provides fantastic value for schools and parents,” says Trutex sales director Heather Walker. “It is another initiative we are leading to ensure school life is made better for everyone, including busy parents.” ParentPay sales director Nicola Howard adds: “Over the past 14 years, we’ve helped more than 7,500 schools save admin and staff time, reducing costs and hassle for parents. We’re thrilled to be working with Trutex and hope to be adding more schools to ParentPay soon.” —

As the UK’s national trade show for footwear, Moda Footwear is the essential destination for men’s, women’s and children’s shoes. The a/w 18 edition of the show, on 18-20 February at Birmingham’s NEC, will include a selection of Back to School footwear, including ranges from Pod, Lelli Kelly, Froddo, Primigi, Ricosta and Petasil.


Family-run school uniform supplier Innovation Schoolwear has relocated to a brand new, 80,000 sq ft purpose-built warehouse. Over the last two weeks of December, Innovation Schoolwear moved the business to its new site in Edmonton, north London. The new warehouse has been filled with stock, leaving space for new lines in anticipation for a prosperous and busy 2018. —

SA’S CONTRIBUTION TO KIDS’ WELL-BEING IN 2017 Demonstrating school uniforms’ contribution to children’s mental health was a key theme in 2017 for the Schoolwear Association (SA). In a busy year that also saw the launch of the inaugural SA Awards, the not-for-profit organisation continued to campaign for every child to have a good-quality uniform. Amid its work it commissioned a poll of teachers and an in-depth study by a respected child psychology team to provide evidence of uniforms’ benefits. Research carried out with school children reinforced teachers’ views that school uniforms have significant benefits for well-being in young people. The study by Family Kids and Youth revealed insight into how uniforms help to reduce children’s anxiety about their appearance and fitting in with their peers. “School uniform seems to play an important role in establishing identity among young people of this age,” says Family Kids and Youth’s lead researcher, Dr Barbie Clarke. “It can protect adolescents from being picked on. This creates a greater degree of self-confidence, and ultimately helps with the fundamental adolescent need to be accepted by others.” SA chairman David Burgess adds: “At a time when young people are under more pressure than ever to buy into fashion and ‘look right’, we wanted to find out the role that uniform plays in children’s well-being in school. It’s clear that both teachers and young people think uniform helps students to feel they belong. It has a role in reducing bullying and establishing children’s identity within the boundaries set by their school. We think every child deserves that.” — offers a service by which a child’s school uniform can be turned into a keepsake teddy bear. Over time, the range has expanded with the introduction of a smaller bear for group orders and, more recently, school leaver and memory cushions. Each keepsake is handmade from what the customer supplies to the Blazer Bear team and can be personalised with embroidered names, dates or special messages.

Backpack brand Madpax is looking for new distribution partners as it expands further into Europe. Currently with well-established distribution in the UK, Spain, Greece and Italy, SD Marketing Ltd, the appointed distributors for western Europe, are seeking distribution partnerships in France, Portugal, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.



TURNING POINT FOR TURNERS With a dedicated workforce at its heart, British manufacturer William Turner is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its history, filled with new opportunities and milestones. —

Exciting times are ahead for school tie and accessories supplier William Turner. The company’s main development is motivated by the lease-end of its factory in Colne, Lancashire. Seizing the opportunity to relocate, William Turner is moving to a brand new factory in March, which is located in Nelson, not too far away from its current site in Colne. “Our previous factory lease in Colne was due to expire and a site became available to buy a few miles away,” explains William Turner’s production director, John Turner. “We employ a lot of incredibly skilled people locally, so this was a great way to move into a better spec premises and have full control of all aspects of our production without causing any disruption to our dedicated staff. It’s an exciting time for the company”. In addition to being slightly closer to the company’s Stockport offices and warehouse, 62 - JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

the new Nelson factory is primed to provide multiple benefits. Along with potential to increase output, the new site – fully owned by William Turner – will help the company consolidate and protect UK manufacturing as well as giving it more control and stability in the market; important factors considering the results of William Turner’s recent customer survey revealed that over 50 per cent of its customers ranked ‘lead times’ in their top three most important supplier factors. “This is what is key about being a UK manufacturer,” adds John Turner. “That we’re able to offer lower minimums, and focus on quality control and our supply chain.” Following the transition to the new site, William Turner’s doors will be open once again for customer tours of the factory, with bookings being taken for later in the year after the busy Back to School period.

“We’re really looking forward to getting all of the staff together, initially to mark the opening of the new site, and then, of course, we’re excited to show it off to our customers,” says John Turner. “The Nelson site is a great achievement for the business and it’s only through a collaborative effort from everyone at William Turner that we’re able to purchase the new factory.” In addition to the new factory, William Turner has also added new products across its ranges. The company’s 2018 schoolwear brochure, which was previewed at the 20th anniversary Schoolwear Show in October, provided customers with a first look at the new lines, which include hats, pre-school bags and new design junior and infant hi viz backpacks. Aside from making around 40,000 ties a week in its UK-based factories, William Turner also produces UK-made wool scarves. Sourced




from the finest Saxony merino wool and with the option to add crest embroidery, the scarves are a well-suited addition to any organisation looking to promote a sophisticated identity. Finally, William Turner’s bottle range has been extended to tap into today’s healthy lifestyle culture with the addition of protein shakers and fruit infusers, all suitable for printing with school logos. While much of the company’s focus for early 2018 is on the new factory, another spotlight is the company’s sales director, Andy Smith, who celebrates 40 years with the business this month. It was in January 1978 that 19-year-old Smith made his first appearance with William Turner & Son. During his time with the business, Smith has been the force behind many a new product line, including breaking the business into bags, which are now one of William Turner’s core product ranges. Having learned the business from the ground up, Smith eventually earned the position of company sales director. “Andy is a formidable force within William Turner,” says John Turner. “He has a constant drive that is personally inspiring. He never stops working on behalf of our customers to meet the ever-changing demands, whether that be a new product or improved service. He always puts the customer first and has been at the heart of our success for the whole of his 40 years.” William Turner’s managing director, Daniel Turner, adds: “Even after 40 years,

Andy is still so full of enthusiasm for sales and passionate about our industry. He gives 110 per cent to everything he does and is a firm believer in building relationships as the way to grow the business. Having Andy alongside John and I has been like having another member of the family at work – we are extremely grateful for his outstanding contribution over so many years.” Having worked beside the founders of the company, William and Keith Turner, from very early on in the firm’s history, Smith has earned a special place in the business – and among its staff. “Andy’s main contribution has been to bring his infectious enthusiasm to developing and increasing sales year after year,” comments William Turner’s co-founder, Keith Turner. “This, and his great loyalty, has helped provide continuity and stability to a growing, fast-changing company. He has also been the driving force behind the ever-widening product range at William Turner, being heavily involved at the outset of an idea – often his – to that product eventually being added to the range. Andy’s ethos has always been the same from the very beginning – to be fair, to be honest and to deal with everybody in the same friendly and open way. It is an ethos that he spreads by example throughout the company.” The aforementioned company ethos, taking the acronym of P.A.C.E – Pride, Accountability, Commitment and Excellence – is something key drivers of William Turner, such as Andy Smith, strive to uphold and pass

on to newer members of the business to ensure everyone at William Turner adheres to the philosophy. While passionate about its ethos and holding onto its family values, William Turner is also constantly looking for new ways to develop and push forward with innovative technologies and processes. The business’s 50th anniversary next year will provide the perfect opportunity to plot a course for future growth, while also reflecting on founding principles and celebrating what has already been achieved. “We’re working on a dedicated campaign to mark our 50th anniversary, which will of course tie in with the Schoolwear Show in October 2018,” says Hayley Bonnick, William Turner’s marketing manager. “There are a few things in the pipeline that I don’t want to reveal just yet, but we’re really excited to be marking half a century of William Turner. We’ll also be celebrating the milestone internally, which will be a great opportunity to get everyone in the company together from all three of our sites.” For the next couple of months, William Turner will be busy working on a smooth transition to its new site, as well as investing into its digital strategies. Long term, its aim is for a thriving Back to School that benefits all, something the company plans to support through investment into its supply chain, further improvements to its manufacturing efficiency and its ongoing support of UK retailers. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 - 63




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4 4 funkyflavours 0031 402 180567 A Acorn & Will 07921 261194 • aden + anais 020 3735 7569 www. • A.W Hainsworth 0113 257 0391 • Angulus 07855 509069 • Another Fox 07850 412390 www.anotherfox. com • Artimus London 07734 467162 B Baby Elephant Ears 020 3002 9698 • BangBang Copenhagen 0045 4292 5972 • Barn of Monkeys 00351 912 220 659 www. • Belo & Me • Benedita 07827 463646 • Bensimon 020 7012 1420 www. • Bibi 0208 150 8133 • Blossom and Bear 07880 685107 www. • Brand Machine Group 020 7833 5772 www.brandmachinegroup. com • Brands Stable 020 8740 4097 • Breitenstein Agencies 07855 509069 • Bullabaloo www.bullabaloo. com C Coco Collection 0161 835 1041 • Cradle & Tonic www. D Dandydill Way 020 7565 8366 • David Luke 0161 272 7474 www. • Done by Deer • Donsje 07970 383188 • Dot Delicate Baby Clothes 00351 6392 78730 E Ecco • Egg Helmets 0031 6836 99223 www.egghelmets. com • Emu Australia 020 7713 2080 F Farah Junior 01992 507895 • Ferm Living info@ • Fofolino • Freya Lillie 07970 666438 • Froddo 07796 766669 www.kidsnewshoes. com • Frugi 01326 558462 • FUB 07939 038797 www. G Gosoaky 07970 383188 • Green Pioneer 01380 859600 www. • Green Sheep Group 0800 028 1433 www.thelittlegreensheep. H Holly Hastie 020 7127 9107 • Honey & Toast 07866 371901 www. • Hunter 020 7479 2031 • Hunter + Rose 07738 084068 • Huttelihut 07855 509069 I Iglo + Indi 07855 509069 • Innovation Schoolwear 020 8887 8778 • Ipanema 020 7377 2570 J Joules K Kidcase 07970 383188 • Kidult & Co 07805 826764 www. • Kissy Kissy 01442 248099 • Kite 07929 953394 • Krethaus L La Basketry • Lapin & Me info@lapinandme. • Le Mu 077961 73771 • Lilly + Sid 0843 2896 534 • Little Creative Factory 020 3137 3503 www.vida-kids. • Little Man Happy 020 3137 3503 • Little Mouse 0037 0682 69132 • Little Lord & Lady www. • Love & Honor 07841 018175 M Mainio 00358 5056 86101 • Mama Designs info@mamadesigns. • MarMar Copenhagen 07855 509069 www.breitensteins. com • Meminio • Meri Meri customerserviceuk@ • Milk and Dagger www. • Mini A Ture 07711 746276 • Minijammies 01245 396821 • Mini La Mode 0238 089 8023 www. • Moccstars • Moccz • Molly & Moo www. • MookieMerino 00356 7933 3939 • Mori • Mp Denmark 07855 509069 www. • Mummy Loves Organic 07734 206511 N Noe & Zoe 020 3137 3503 • Noodoll 020 7253 1890 O OGK 07581 231283 P Pepa & Co. 020 3489 4025 • Petit Stellou info@ • Pigeon Organics www. • Poppie & George www. • Primigi 0039 0755 0281 Q QAlpha / R Rachel Riley 020 7935 7007 • Rex London • Rice 07969 175564 • Ricosta 0116 259 7427 • Rider 020 7377 2570 • Rockahula Kids • Rowlinson 0161 4777791 www. S Sass & Belle 020 7346 0100 • Schoolwear Association info@ • Selfie Clothing 01638 333321 • Sewport • Shoesme 0031 1357 11902 • Smafolk 07714 742899 • Small Stories www. • Squidge & Pip • Stitch & Story 07533 338339 • Superfit 07775 995547 www. • Superga 07713 387452 T The Faraway Gang 07929 378860 • The Great British Baby Company • The Little Shoemaker 07985 531899 • Trutex 01200 4212000 • Turtledove London www. U Unisa 07872 534343 W Well Grounded Co. 07961 418854 • Wex Baby 07515 032224 • Wild & Gorgeous 01748 833 882 • Wildchild London 07802 222441 • William Turner 0161 4808582 Z Zaxy 020 7377 2570 • Zoochini





ORCHARD AGENCY New organic label with a unique concept are looking for a distributor in the UK.

BamBam – innovative, high quality but also surprisingly affordable. Tel: 01442 248099 Email:

Chris, Carol, Lisa & Ray are the team behind Orchard, a leading second generation childrens clothing agency in the UK, with expertise in London and the South East. Orchard Agency, 28 Fourth Avenue, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex CO13 9DX Tel: 01255 674301 Email: carol&

The Telegraph(UK) March 2015 “I am impressed by this organic babywear brand”. Tel: +31(0)30 7514025 Email:


WELDON AGENCIES Hand tied, classic hair bows for school, parties & everyday. Pettiskirts, dresses, baby onesies, tutus, wings & wands & t-shirts.


BamBam – innovative, high quality but also surprisingly affordable.

Tel: 01442 248099 Email:


Established for over 25 years, two generations, covering all areas of the UK. Representing leading brands from Europe, Canada and Russia. Catering for boys and girls 0 to 16 years. Styling from contemporary to traditional. FUN & FUN, LE CHIC, DEUX PAR DEUX, FOQUE, SARDON, LARANJINHA, JEYCAT, GULLIVER Weldon Agencies, Southport, Merseyside Tel: 01704 576033 Email:,

VANHUIZEN AGENCIES Van Huizen Agencies is a young, fresh and vibrant agency, for the more discerning retailer requiring beautiful and unique collections. OILILY KIDS, ROOM SEVEN KIDS, RAP KIDS SHOES Unit 12, Derwent Business center, Clarke Street, DERBY DE1 2BU Tel: 07967 560633 Email:



01484 848337 OR EMAIL




EMILY MCCURRACH Founder of Moccstars CWB catches up with Emily McCurrach, founder of Moccstars, a UK brand of fashionable, soft, handmade leather moccasins designed for a child’s developing foot. —

Laura Turner: What’s the story behind Moccstars? Emily McCurrach: Moccstars officially launched mid-2015, although the concept was born after the arrival of my first child, Sebastian, in late 2013. Soon after his birth, I realised that there was a lack of high-quality (yet affordable), fashionable (yet functional), soft leather shoes available for newborns and toddlers. This was the beginning of the Moccstars journey – a moccasin-inspired collection with something to suit the personality and individual style of every child. LT: What has helped you shape the Moccstars brand? EM: I studied fashion and have worked extensively in sales and marketing, but more than anything, my experiences as a mother. I’ve faced the frustrations of not being able to find shoes that stay on my kids’ feet, or shoes suitable for a specific occasion, as well as the disappointment when a purchase is neither comfortable nor durable. Since Moccstars’ inception, my focus has always been on creating a brand that I would trust for my own children and one that I would personally recommend to friends. LT: Why moccasins as the basis for your designs? EM: Our collection is definitely moccasin inspired/orientated, but whether its traditional moccasins, moccasins ‘with a twist’ – e.g. Mary Janes, T-bars, Chelsea boots, Oxfords, pumps and ballerinas – or our booties and sandals, they all have one

thing in common – they are soft and lovingly handmade with only the highest quality leathers and suedes. Moccstars are extremely comfortable, accommodate growth and thus encourage movement, helping to strengthen little muscles and ligaments, making them ideal for newborns, pre-walkers and walkers alike. LT: Where do you source design inspiration? EM: As well as my kids and everything that they are involved in day-to-day, I draw inspiration from the broader fashion and design industry, particularly vintage fashion. Another source is our family travel adventures, experiencing different cultures and appreciating their individual aesthetic. Beyond design, I invest a lot of time in product naming in tribute to either people or places from which I have drawn creativity. LT: What does the collection comprise? EM: In short, it extends to over 70 design, colour and material variations with the aim of offering something for every occasion and season. All products are available in an array of colour options, including classics, combinations, pastels, metallics and prints. Size-wise we cater from newborn to roughly two years of age, with larger sizes available with non-slip soles. LT: Would you ever consider expanding the size range further? EM: Possibly, going forward. Many customers, particularly those whose kids have crawled then progressed through to walking in

Moccstars, have requested larger sizes, which we always try to accommodate. LT: What can we expect for a/w 18? EM: The a/w 18 collection includes both new designs as well as some old favourites that have been reinvented – follow our social media for sneak peaks. LT: What are your current bestsellers? EM: Our Chelsea boots, ballerinas, pumps and T-bars have all been particularly popular this season. LT: Moccstars made its Bubble London debut for s/s 18 and won the Stand Out competition for the show’s best dressed stand – what was your winning display? EM: We framed our products with backgrounds carefully selected to complement each product. This approach, while relatively simple, made best use of display space while being visually engaging. The white-washed wooden frames that we used looked great alongside our favourite blown up lifestyle images. Winning the Stand Out competition was a wonderful achievement for us on our Bubble London debut. LT: What are your plans for Moccstars? EM: We remain focused on expanding the Moccstars collection beyond footwear and growing our global stockist network, with a particular focus on Europe and Asia.


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