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SUCCESS IN THE US A guide to exporting to the States THE GIVING BRAND Rockin’ Baby’s one-for-one business model supporting mothers and children in need MODA FOOTWEAR The key a/w 15 looks from the show March/April 2015 Issue 93 £9.95




16 14



05: Comment

18: Success in the US A guide to exporting to the States

06: News 08: NCWA 12: Open For Business Legal and business advice plus industry opinion 14: Retail Therapy Store profiles and retail news 16: Brands To Watch Editor’s pick of brands 40: Laura Loves The coolest products for kids 42: Style Guide Infant shoes 54: Talking Point Marta Sousa

20: The giving brand Rockin’ Baby’s one-for-one business model, supporting mothers and children in need 24: Sweet as candy Caramel Baby & Child owner Eva Karayiannis discusses moving into overseas markets 26: Seeing stars The low-down on the winner and highly commended finalists of Bubble’s Rising Star Awards a/w 15 28: Look who’s talking CWB reviews two of this season’s Bubble London’s seminars 30: Nursery sector focus CWB’s pick of products available at Harrogate Nursery Fair 32: WGSN: A/w 15-16 The trend agency’s four essential looks for a/w 15 kidswear

34: The look of autumn/winter 2015 CWB’s favourite themes of the season 36: Photo shoot Key a/w 15 footwear styles for boys and girls as seen at Moda Footwear SCHOOLWEAR 47: News 48: Bangladesh Accord How the Accord, an agreement formed to make all garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces, has progressed since its launch in 2013, together with a report on schoolwear supplier Rowlinson’s Accord-approved Bangladesh factory, New Horizon

Front cover: Oh…My! 020 7281 4141 MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 03

COM MENT: It is often said Americans love a British accent. It seems they are very fond of our fashion sense, too. —

If you are a childrenswear brand targeting the US, this is the issue for you. In our feature, Success in the US, on page 18, industry expert Thierry Bayle shares some of his top tips for taking a brand to the States. While being one of the most rewarding fashion markets in the world, the US is also one of the most competitive. With over 20 years’ experience helping European fashion labels to sell successfully in America, Bayle’s advice is invaluable and could help brands avoid pitfalls and expensive mistakes. On the back of this article, we also thought it would be interesting to discover first-hand what American retailers love about our style. So, in this issue’s Open to Business feature on page 12, CWB speaks to US childrenswear independents who stock British labels to discover the appeal. Sticking with the American theme, we interview Mark Jeynes, vice president and co-founder of US brand Rockin’ Baby on page 20. With a one-for-one business model, which sees the company donate an item to mothers and children in desperate circumstances for every item it sells, Rockin’ Baby is somewhat unique in its set-up. It also launched a debut childrenswear collection for a/w 15. Footwear is another key theme, with our pick of design-led infant shoes in the Style Guide on page 42 and an exclusive Moda Footwear photo shoot starting on page 36 highlighting the key a/w 15 shoe styles presented for boys and girls as seen at last month’s show. We round-up the season’s a/w 15 fashion with a report from WGSN, the world’s global style network, predicting four essential looks for kidswear illustrated by colour, materials, accessories and key items. CWB has also picked its favourite children’s fashion themes, which can be found on page 34 in The look of

Editor Laura Turner Contributors Isabella Griffiths Christina Williams Victoria Jackson Editorial assistant Rebecca Jackson Sub editor Amanda Batley Designers Michael Podger Clive Holloway James Lindley Richard Boyle Senior sales manager Sharon Le Goff Sales executive Fiona Warburton Subscriptions Laura Martindale Head of childrenswear Lindsay Hoyes Editorial director Gill Brabham Marketing director Stephanie Parker Managing director Colette Tebbutt Reprographics/printing Image Data Group Ltd 01482 652323

CWB is published 6 times per year by RAS Publishing Ltd, The Old Town Hall, Lewisham Road, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5AL. Call 01484 846069 Fax 01484 846232 Copyright© 2015 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 RAS Publishing Ltd nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage to transparencies and any other material submitted for publication.


autumn/winter 2015. In schoolwear, we investigate how brands, suppliers and retailers sourcing from Bangladesh can commit to safe working environments by signing the Accord. A legally binding agreement, the Accord was created in the immediate aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse on 24 April 2013 – which led to the death of more than 1,100 people and injured more than 2,000. It’s a topic relevant to all those sourcing from Bangladesh, but CWB brings this thought-provoking issue to the schoolwear sector, including a first-hand case study from Accord signatory and schoolwear supplier Rowlinson reporting on its own Bangladesh factory New Horizon. As we draw a line under a/w 15, our attentions move to summer and s/s 16, which we will take our first look at in the June/July issue. In the meantime, we will keep you up-to-date on all the latest industry news digitally via, Twitter and Facebook. 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 RAS Publishing Ltd. Other titles include WWB and MWB. RAS Publishing is an ITE Group company.

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BUBBLE CONFIRMS POSITION AS DESIGN TALENT HUB Over 280 fashion, gift and interiors brands showcased their latest collections at this season’s Bubble London on 1-2 February at the Business Design Centre, Islington. British designers and first-time exhibitors enjoyed a particularly successful show, contributing to healthy footfall, with department-store visitors joined by British independents and international buyers. Many home-grown labels – including new girlswear specialist Lola Myer and charity initiative Project Jelly – received international attention. It was a similarly strong season for emerging brands, with the Rising Star Awards showcasing some of the event’s best new design talent. New initiative Perfect Pitch was also well received and saw promising designers present their labels to visitors, discussing their stories and products. The next edition of the show will take place on 12-13 July 2015. —

Designer children’s fashion agency Brand Stable has enhanced its service by launching a PR agency, Brand Wire, which will provide communication support for its clients. Established by Brand Stable’s owner and managing director, Daniele Sismondi, Brand Wire will cater for the PR needs of the London agency’s client list, which includes luxury children’s labels Fendi, Trussardi, Herno and Jessie & James. Support will range from organising exclusive events and launches to celebrity and VIP gifting and partnering with complementary brands as well as traditional product placement. Future plans for Brand Wire include a platform for non Brand Stable labels. —

KARL LAGERFELD TO LAUNCH KIDSWEAR Karl Lagerfeld is expanding its portfolio with a childrenswear line, premiering in spring 2016. The collection will launch worldwide through a global licence agreement with CWF, an international leader in luxury kids’ fashion, with key markets including Europe, the Middle East and Korea. “Due to our brand’s wide appeal, our expansion into the junior market is a natural fit to further enhance our reach,” says Pier Paolo Righi, CEO and president of Karl Lagerfeld. Freddy Mallet, CEO of CWF Company, adds, “We are very ambitious about development objectives for this line, which is fully legitimate in the CWF portfolio of brands under licence.” The range will include apparel and accessories for boys and girls aged 0-16 years, with apparel offered in children’s sizes, plus a baby capsule line. —


HARRIET HARE HOPS OVER TO WHOLESALE Following its launch direct to consumer in February 2014, Hampshire children’s interiors brand Harriet Hare will also be available wholesale as of June 2015. Targeting age 2-12 years, the collection comprises yarn-dyed woven bed linen in toddler/ cot bed sizes through to double bed, alongside fitted sheets and pillow cases, all produced in Portugal. Everything in the bed linen range is presented in a matching drawstring bag. Cushions and table lamps made in the UK are also available. Colours are muted shades of blue/grey and dusky pink, designed to fit either traditional or contemporary surroundings. Ranges also mix and match to allow personal styling. —

Childrenswear designer outlet The Pud Store has found a permanent home in Nottingham’s Flying Horse Walk, following a Christmas pop-up in the city. The Pud Store began trading online last year and has since grown to include standalone stores in Radcliffe, Doncaster and Nottingham. Distinguishing itself on the high street by stocking past-season designer collections and samples, the retailer also offers a “community hub”. It does this by offering a place where parents can meet and socialise rather than simply shop, providing facilities such as nappy changing rooms, a feeding room and a children’s colouring table. “We are lucky enough to already have some really loyal customers who visit us regularly and love the brands such as Mini Vanilla, Olive & Moss and Pitter Patter,” says Rachel Mawby who, together with Frances Bishop, set-up and runs The Pud Store. Plans are to open further outlets over the coming year, with the retailer close to agreeing terms for its next store in Newark. A new community website is also under development. —

FLYING START FOR NEW BABY BRAND My Little Duckling is a new brand of character hats for baby and toddler boys and girls, with the debut collection featuring bright and colourful pilot-style hats. “The idea for our pilot hats came to me after I became increasingly frustrated at not being able to find fun, exciting and imaginative headwear for my son, Daniel,” says Karina Caswell, who founded My Little Duckling in November 2014. “Our pilot hats are not just for parties and special occasions, but instead they are stylish, comfortable and practical for everydaywear.” My Little Duckling is available wholesale and via online boutique, which launched in December 2014. —

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START-RITE TEAMS WITH RACHEL RILEY Start-rite Shoes and Rachel Riley have joined forces to create the Rachel Riley for Start-rite Heritage Collection, which launched for a/w 15. Providing traditional Start-rite designs with a modern twist, the footwear range is available for girls from first-walkers to age seven years and infant boys. Highlights for girls include soft metallic suede in classic Mary-Jane styles, sparkle buckle shoes with Swarovski crystals, oversized gold bows and polka-dot leathers. Key for boys, meanwhile, are brogue lace-ups with removable fashion fringes and the unisex classic T-bar shoe, which has been updated in camel and blue as well as classic red and navy. —

The Low Pay Commission has suggested that the minimum wage should be increased by 20p to £6.70 as of October, a move that would affect around 1.2 million workers. The raise would represent an annual pay rise of £416 per year for a full-time worker, and represents a rise that is higher than inflation. The government has responded, however, by promising to tread carefully in a bid to protect employers as well as employees, and to avoid the loss of further jobs. “The Low Pay Commission has to strike a delicate balance between what is fair for workers and what is affordable for employers without costing jobs,” says business secretary Vince Cable. “If this recommendation was accepted, the value of the minimum wage would be higher than when we came to office in 2010, and we are now making good progress towards restoring the value it lost during the financial crisis.” The government is expected to respond officially to the recommendation during next month’s Budget. —



Global Fashion Management, an international business consultancy working at wholesale and retail levels, kicked off a series of free webinars this month, offering advice and a forum for discussion on topics for retailers and fashion brands. Subject matter includes stock management and sales forecasting, selling in the US, advice on building a global brand, and top tips to help labels get the most from their trade-show investment. The webinars are presented by Thierry Bayle, founder of Global Fashion Management, who has 20 years’ international experience in fashion business development and implementation of key operational improvements for fashion houses and fashion retailers. The next webinar takes place on 2 April. For more information email —

Trade exhibition Children’s Fashion Cologne (CFC), which took place twice a year at Koelnmesse, will not go ahead for its next edition in July 2015, announcing it is “taking time out”. “Since the capacities of our fairgrounds are fully utilised in the spring due to diverse major events, we are currently not able to offer an optimum venue date for the children’s fashion industry,” says chief operating officer, Katharina Hamma. “However, in the fashion industry, the spring events are traditionally an important cornerstone for the economic success, which is why we have come to this decision following intensive exploratory discussions between Koelnmesse and the industry over the past few months.” The most recent edition of CFC in January 2015 presented 180 labels in kids’, babies’ and maternity fashion and accessories, attracting 1,300 trade visitors over the three-day event. —


— Premium girlswear brand Pale Cloud has added a womenswear line, A’ TE, to its offer. A’ TE will present a capsule collection of 20 styles based on the Pale Cloud a/w 15 collection. Each style has been carefully adjusted to suit adults, and will be tailored to EU standard sizes 36, 38 and 40, with additional sizes becoming available in future seasons. The A’ TE a/w 15 range will be available in-store and online July/August 2015.

D FOR DIAMOND LAUNCHES NEW RANGE British children’s jewellery brand D For Diamond is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a new collection of jewellery and keepsakes for 2015. Largely inspired by enchanted forests and the creatures that inhabit them, predicted bestsellers include a fox pendant in pink enamel, heart studs and the classically designed “wish upon a star” bangle. Crafted from sterling silver, each piece is rhodium-plated for lasting quality. A specially designed point-of-sale display (pictured) with an interchangeable woodland scene containing vibrant colours and characters has been introduced to showcase the range. D For Diamond is available via wholesale jewellery supplier —

NEW SOCIAL SHOPPING SITE FOR PARENTS BerryClever is a new social shopping site designed to help new and expectant parents decipher essential baby products from the overwhelming choice available on the market. The site’s concept involves an online environment – which currently has 7,000 members – where consumers can connect with existing and new friends to discover the products they couldn’t live without and also those they regretted buying. The site’s algorithm ranks reviews based on a consumer’s social profile to ensure customers are shown the most relevant products reviewed by their friends – or people they are most similar to – first. Once a product is selected, BerryClever links it directly through to a retailer’s website to enable a purchase. —

— For spring 2015, Mothercare is launching a new luxury line with French fashion house Calisson. The Little Royals collection features iconic Liberty prints on newborn baby bloomers and pram shoes, 100 per cent pure cashmere blankets and soft leather pram shoes tied with pure silk ribbons. The colour palette focuses on soft pink, baby blue and soft beige and cream. For added appeal, each piece comes wrapped in a gift box with ribbon and tissue.

— Leicester baby shoe manufacturer Early Days reported “a fantastic reaction” to its new, leather pre-walker designs at Bubble this season. New styles include bright animal prints and metallic floral designs printed on Italian leathers. Early Days launched its Leather Collection at Bubble in 2013 and has since seen rapid growth in both UK and overseas sales, with exports now accounting for almost 40 per cent of turnover. MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 07


NCWA NEWS: The latest news from the National Childrenswear Association EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COMMENT: How good it was to see the attractive, professional stands, the number of visitors and the enthusiasm for the products on display at this season’s Bubble London. ITE Moda put on another great show, from which I am sure the whole industry will benefit. The exhibition season over and the rush to follow up every lead and order hopefully completed, attention turns again to the less exciting but, no less, important subject of standards and how best we can ensure the safety of children’s clothing. The publication at the end of 2014 of the third version of the European Standard on Cords and Drawstrings and that of the first European Technical Report on the Mechanical Safety of Childrenswear has given added importance to NCWA’s seminars on the Safety of Childrenswear. It is over 10 years since the first European Standard on Cords and Drawstrings was published. For many EU Member States, this was the first time they had to recognise that there were ways to make children’s garments safer. In addition, the requirements of the Standard had the force of law because of the General Product Safety Directive, which obliges manufacturers to make and supply and retailers to sell safe products. NCWA has been involved since the beginning, providing the Secretariat and Convener of the Working Group which drew up the Standard, the EU Commission in 2001 having mandated CEN, the European Standards Organisation, to do the necessary work within a three-year period. In those early days, very few member states participated in the Working Group, which had to spend its first meetings coming to terms with different attitudes towards both children’s clothing and behaviour. It soon became apparent that the latter depended on a child’s age, but that could only be defined by a child’s height, which varied enormously across Europe. The first version of EN 14682 was published in 2004 and it was agreed to look at revising it shortly thereafter. It had become evident that there had been misunderstandings in translation and in garment technology (not surprising in view of the tight timetable). In addition, some of the non-participant countries had woken up to the impact of the Standard. The second version of the Standard, published in 2007, tried to deal with the misunderstandings, as well as some new fashions, and added diagrams to help users and enforcement officers alike. Some seven years later, the third version is not radically different, but it includes some new definitions and requirements and it is vital for all in the industry to be aware of what has changed. Perhaps of more importance, because it does not only deal with cords and drawstrings, is the new Technical Report on Mechanical Safety. Again, this is new territory for many member states, while the UK has had a Code of Practice on the matter since 1997. NCWA’s first seminar on the two new Standards was a sell out and a further one is being planned. NCWA is also negotiating a bulk purchase of the Standards, so that its members can take advantage of a discounted price. If you would like to benefit from what NCWA can offer, please contact Michelle Payne – call 020 7843 9488, fax 020 7843 9478 or e-mail You can also join online, as well as seeing what else NCWA does for its members, by looking at our website We look forward to hearing from you. NCWA is based at 3 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR. Elizabeth P Fox

KIZZIES Co-owners Selena and Kerri Starrs established Kizzies in 2009. The bricks-and-mortar store based in Whitburn, West Lothian, has since gone on to become well established in the area and further afield, stocking brands such as Lelli Kelly, Dani by Sarah Louise, Mayoral, Little Darlings, Abella, Coco and Andanines. An extensive range of brands and products is also available from the online store. The duo plans to update the website during 2015, with added features such as a tracking service and filters for an easier browsing experience. New brands to the store for s/s 15 include Timberland, Mitch & Son, Billieblush, Kate Mack and Pretty Originals.

MOLLY CODDLE CHILDRENSWEAR Owner Tracey Edwards established Molly Coddle Childrenswear in 2010, starting out with an online shop catering for newborns up to seven years. Today, Edwards sells mainly online, but has also started weekly trading at the Carfax Market, Horsham, West Sussex. Key brands include the shop’s own-label range and Powell Craft. Style is focused around quirky and original, with fabrics sourced mainly from the UK and US. Summer trade proves very popular, with lightweight dresses and tunics selling well. Edwards champions the ethos that garments must have an afterlife, with items made to be passed down to the next generation of children.

NCWA Council: Chairman SHARON BEARDSWORTH Emile et Rose Manufacturer Vice Chairman DAVID HULL Agent Imm Past Chairman DAVID BURGESS David Luke Ltd Manufacturer Treasurer COLIN WILSON

Make your voice heard

Council Members: NUALA MCKENNA Nuala McKenna Agencies Agent DIANE SHAW Agent SARAH TAYLOR Agent RAY WILLIAMS Agent HANNAH MCHALICK Oh Baby London Manufacturer MALCOLM TRAVIS Travis Designs Manufacturer RACHEL RILEY Rachel Riley Manufacturer JANETTE REED Cotswold Kids Retailer VIRGINIA ROSS Pollyanna Retailer JILLIAN PETRIE Young Trend Retailer MARK BARNETT Barnett Agencies Agent 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. • Associate membership, open to non-British organisations, is now available. Read our blog and follow us on Twitter

• Membership costs from £85. MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 08




Pigeon, which offers organic baby, children and home ranges, has added a lookbook facility to its website, providing trade customers with inspiration for merchandising its clothing lines. Launching with the a/w 15 collection, stockists of Pigeon can now log on to the brand’s trade section of the website, where they will find examples of outfit ideas. Each piece used in the outfit is listed on a sidebar with details of available sizes, colourways and the desired quantity. Once options are selected, the trade customer can add the items to their basket and place an order. Pigeon’s organic certification covers the entire supply chain, from field to finished product, providing 100 per cent Soil Association certified cotton clothes for boys and girls. —

Konfidence, a designer of swimming products for babies and children, has extended its buoyancy range with the addition of designs based on two of the most popular characters from the CBeebies show Octonauts. The Octonauts-branded swimwear features a Captain Barnacles floatsuit and a Lieutenant Kwazii original Konfidence jacket. “The Octonauts has quickly become an evergreen property and, as a top-rated programme on CBeebies, we’re thrilled to team up with it to offer an exclusive aquatic line for their young fans,” says Dan Allen, Konfidence’s international sales director. Cathy Keogh, VP Consumer Products UK at Silvergate Media, adds, “We’re thrilled that Konfidence has come on board to create this range because of its reputation for creating high-quality water aids for young children. We’re delighted with the designs and we just know the fans will love them, too.” The range is now available and ready to order for the 2015 season. —

ANGEL’S FACE MAKES SWIMWEAR DEBUT Tutu brand Angel’s Face continues to build on its offer with the launch of a new swimwear collection. Entitled Sun & Swimwear, the debut range caters for girls aged 1-11 years and comprises three styles, which take their names and inspiration from the glamorous golden era of America’s West Coast. The pieces on offer are the Ocean Beach Bikini, the Hollywood Swimsuit and the Santa Monica Sun Top with 50+ UV sun protection. Design-wise, the bikini and swimsuit boast feminine bows and ruffles, while the sun top not only provides sun protection, but features frill-capped shoulders and the brand’s hallmark angel wings on the back of the garment. The swimwear items are available in the soft, pastel colours of Tea Rose and Primrose. —




Jelly Babe Organics has launched two new styles, which are now available for wholesale. After last year’s success of the brand’s Sleepy Stars design in green for boys, this year sees a revamped version of the design with striking red stars and blue trims. For girls, a softer, warm pink palette with delicate flowers has been introduced. Both designs come in vests, sleepsuits, hats and matching swaddling blankets to create a gift set. Sizes and styles are available at, and a brochure on request at Jelly Babe Organics was founded in 2012, offering a small baby collection of bright, organic cotton clothing and pyjamas for newborn and infants. Key to the business’ plans are a new range of organic clothing and knitwear. —

Due to the first members-only NCWA seminar on Cords and Drawstrings/Mechanical Safety of Childrenswear being fully booked, a second date has been added on Thursday 23 April. The seminar will give an introduction to the Standards process, as well as an outline of the Standard, the Technical Report and BS7907. The third version of BS EN14682, the European Cords and Drawstrings Standard was published in December 2014, having been redrafted and agreed by the European Standards Working Group on the Safety of Childrenswear. A new European Technical Report CEN TR16792 Safety of children’s clothing – Recommendations for the design and manufacture of children’s clothing – Mechanical Safety was also published in December 2014. Email for bookings. —

Following the celebration of Chinese New Year on 19 February, Cuddledry has launched a “sleepy sheep” version of its apron towel to celebrate 2015’s Year of the Sheep in the Chinese zodiac. The limited-edition apron towel is in white with a purple sheep design embroidered on the hood, which can be seen through the clear window of the brand’s box packaging for added gift-appeal in-store. Winner of the Mumsnet Award for Best Newborn Gift seven years in a row, Cuddledry’s apron towels, which are made with unbleached cotton and natural bamboo fibres, are designed to provide safe, stress-free baby bath times. —


— The UK Fashion & Textile Association will host a seminar on 25 March, detailing the potential benefits of crowdfunding for fashion businesses. Crowdfunding – securing finance from varied sources through generating wide-ranging support for a business concept – will be put into the context of the fashion sector during the three-hour session. The seminar will take place at 3pm at 3 Queen Square, London WC1N. Tickets are £35, or £70 for non-members.

— Children’s clothing, accessories and gift brand Olivier Baby & Kids has launched a new website – – to showcase its designs. Available wholesale and retail, and catering for newborn to 10 years, the brand’s collection is made in Britain and includes candy coloured cashmere clothing and cashmere accessories for boys and girls.

— New Disney Princess styles have been added to Travis Designs’ Disney Baby character collection. The Disney Baby Princess range presents Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, Belle and Rapunzel for ages 3-24 months. Each Princess dress comes with a headband and satin bloomers. In addition, there is a new Jersey range including rompers with feature hood and bodysuits with a feature hat in sizes from 0 to 18 months. MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 09

Be discovered...

Apply to exhibit, 12 & 13 July 2015 BUBBLELOND ON.COM


Open for BUSINESS Bringing you straight-talking legal and business advice. STEPHEN SIDKIN


Partner, Fox Williams LLP

CEO of Intelligent Reach, expert in connecting an online retailers’ products with their consumers, intelligently and profitably with clients including House of Fraser and Superdry.

USING AGENTS AND DISTRIBUTORS OVERSEAS Even for the very largest of businesses, using agents or distributors when doing business overseas is a well-established practice. Increasingly foreign agents and distributors are looking to have in place their own agreements with UK businesses. Although such agreements may appear acceptable, they can leave the UK business exposed, let alone wondering why it is unable to maximise the performance of its agent or distributor. It may state, for example, that the courts in Milan will have the exclusive right to decide any disputes between the parties. If so, as a result of a recent change in EU law, the opportunity for the UK party to start an action in the UK courts to try and overcome an action in the Milan court is now very much reduced. Nor is it an idea to try and agree with the agent or distributor that the reference to the local court is simply omitted from the agreement. EU law and a recent decision of the European Court will result in the courts in Milan (in the above example) having jurisdiction. English law does not provide specific statutory protection for distributors. This is in contrast to the position that agents enjoy. But to proceed on the basis that the overseas distributor’s own law will not provide protection is at best naïve and at worst very expensive. Increasingly, foreign countries are changing their laws to protect their own distributors. Certainly this is the case in certain parts of Europe. Local law protection for distributors also exists in a large part of, for example, the Middle East and South America. Furthermore, in some countries, protection will arise automatically on termination and is not conditional on the distributor handing over details of its customers to its UK supplier. But issues concerning foreign laws do not end with the protection given to the local distributor. The distributor’s own laws can also intervene to affect the terms and conditions on which the UK supplier sells the goods to the foreign distributor. This is often

UK SMES ARE SET TO INCREASE THE USE OF ONLINE MARKETPLACES IN 2015 a key issue for UK companies with overseas distributors as UK companies regularly fail to address properly the interaction between their distributorship agreements and their standard terms and conditions of sale. Given that UK law provides specific legislative protection for agents, it is unsurprising that specialist lawyers have developed ways of limiting exposure to claims by agents. But a failure to provide for English law and then to go on as a minimum in the agency contract to, for example: • provide expressly for the agent to have a right to an indemnity on termination; • to exclude the agent’s right to commission on orders received after termination; and • to limit the overseas agent’s right to commission on unfulfilled orders where the reason for non-fulfilment is a reason for which the UK principal is responsible, is borderline negligent by the UK principal. Ultimately, English law does not require that a business adequately protects itself in contracts that it enters into with a distributor or an agent. But a failure to do so is likely to mean that the principal or supplier has adopted the position of the ostrich. And as a result attached a large roundel to a certain part of its corporate anatomy! © Fox Williams LLP 2015

Marketing a product in an online marketplace such as Amazon and eBay gives small retailers the opportunity to “set up shop” online to test out new products with an audience. Marketplaces allow retailers to learn which of their products perform best in which locations, without committing to the cost of physical stores or bespoke transactional websites. As a result, online marketplaces are growing rapidly in size and number, giving smaller labels crucial brand exposure and access to new markets while keeping overheads low. However, rather than pushing products out blindly, it is crucial that retailers understand their target demographics in order to maximise the benefits available – as well as ensuring they have the processes in place to fulfil demand and have sufficient margin in each product to remain profitable. Marketplaces are a great opportunity for retailers of all sizes, the key to success is managing and optimising which products are listed at a product level to ensure overall profitability. Royal Mail’s research predicts that more small retailers will maximise digital opportunities in 2015 and take advantage of platforms that allow them to “test the water”. To do this successfully, small retailers must be aware of potential pitfalls, and consider how to reach customers in the most effective way while constantly managing, monitoring and optimising which products are listed.

MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 12


Three American childrenswear independents discuss their love of British labels and their appeal in the US.



Principal, Yoya, New York

Owner/founder, Shan and Toad, New York

RANAYE MIDDLETON Owner, Aaliyah’s Children’s Boutique, Kentucky www.the

Which British kidswear labels do you stock? I Love Gorgeous and Caramel Baby & Child. Do you have plans to take on any more and if so, which ones? Not at the moment. I am always curating and changing the merchandise at Yoya, so hopefully I will find new British designers soon. What appeals to you about British kidswear brands? British style is usually quite girly, but there is definitely an edge to it. The style is distinctive and that appeals to my target customer and much of the American market. Do British kidswear brands differ greatly trend-wise from the US kidswear labels? British fashion has always been acclaimed for its fearlessness, and Brits are famed for their individual sense of style. American style is much more classic and much less trend-focused than the British. The trend here is much more casual, comfort-focused and laid back. I think this is the main difference between the two. British labels often reflect a more individual look, and this can be quite appealing to the American customer. I think this is the main appeal of British style. As a buyer, what attracts you to British kidswear brands? I love the way UK designers mix prints, patterns and fabrics; it adds to the individual look and is generally very creative. Ultimately, though, it’s the high quality of clothes that attracts me to UK brands. I stock mostly special-occasion pieces at Yoya, with the in-store interior and shopping experience also very unique; this is reflected in the choice of brands. If a brand is also “made in the UK”, does it add extra appeal to you as a buyer and also to your customers? It does add extra appeal to my customers because it adds the edgy, trend-focused connotations associated with British style.

Which British kidswear labels do you stock? Caramel Baby & Child, Hucklebones, RaspberryPlum, Preen Mini, Roksanda Ilincic, and Stella McCartney. For a/w 15, we will also stock Young Soles.

Which British labels do you stock? I stock I Love Gorgeous, but also have my eye on Stella McCartney Kids, Burberry Kids, Rachel Riley and Step2wo London – to name but a few.

What appeals to you about British kidswear brands? The classic/contemporary style. British brands know how to combine the right dose of classic and conservative elements while still maintaining a cutting edge look that’s current. Caramel Baby & Child and Hucklebones introduce lines with pieces that I could have worn as a child, yet the looks are still fresh and new. Additionally, they create youthful and child-like clothing that appeals to the parents. Of course, the quality of these brands is excellent.

What appeals to you about British kidswear brands? I find that British kidswear brands are very high quality with an added kick in style that both my customers and I love.

Do British kidswear brands differ greatly trend-wise from the US kidswear labels? The key difference is the unique styling. Most of the British brands have a strong brand image or distinctive creative element. We have just launched the new British label RaspberryPlum, and can’t find any other brand that is at all similar or comparable in uniqueness. It has managed to combine a quirky, retro styling with some traditional design elements. The result is a fresh and avant-garde look that is hip and stylish. Stella McCartney, which is quite a prominent brand on our website, manages this well, too. Pieces are instantly recognisable and some of the most coveted items that we stock. If a brand is also “made in the UK”, does it add extra appeal to you as a buyer and also to your customers? It is not so much the location of the production as the fact that Fairtrade production is being practiced. We are more conscious of this, and would like to support manufacturers that achieve better trading conditions and promote sustainability. It might be said that the quality is better when manufactured in Europe, but certain brands are re-developing production in more rural areas and reviving hand-crafted techniques.

Do British kidswear brands differ greatly trend-wise from the US kidswear labels? I love the unique style, with the mixtures of patterns and colours that give your eyes a visual dance. The styles are fun and always trendy. Is there any particular style that attracts you to the UK kidswear brands? I find myself drawn to the separates. These are appealing to my girls that always want to be on trend, to stand out from the crowd and create their own personal style. It is easy with UK lines to express individualism and to create a unique look; the British childrenswear brands do well at attracting the type of customer who is looking to buy into this market. If a brand is also “made in the UK”, does it add extra appeal to you as a buyer? At Aaliyah’s, I want to offer my customers the world when it comes to fashion. I am always looking for high-fashion, excellent quality lines that make my boutique different from other shops in the area, and these lines help me to do so. The UK brands stand out to the customer because of the unique, individual look that garments usually carry and because of the good-quality materials used. It is what my customers have grown to expect from Aaliyah’s.

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

SPOTTY HERBERTS The Shed, Box Road, Bath Located just outside Bath, Spotty Herberts is a new childrenswear boutique owned and run by good friends Kate Austin and Emily Ingram. On moving to Bath and becoming mothers, Austin and Ingram began talks of setting up a shop and utilising their shared backgrounds in design and retail. Tapping into past experience gained from various roles, ranging from children’s art workshops and scenery painting through to jewellery design and retail management, the duo opened Spotty Herberts in May 2014. Packed with props and references to the owners’ love of the fairground, seaside holidays and trips to the woods, Spotty Herberts is a warm, welcoming shop for children aged 0-10 years, selling playful unisex clothing by British designers such as Tootsa MacGinty, Bob & Blossom, Boys & Girls and Marmalade & Mash. Also to be found is a selection of carefully chosen, randomly presented, simple toys, treasures and trinkets for pocket money purchases. This year, Spotty Herberts is planning to move to a central Bath location, which will allow it to accommodate more clothing brands and create space for events as well as providing a welcome spot for weary shoppers to rest. With a website launching soon, too, exciting times are certainly ahead for Spotty Herberts.

Photographs: Suzy Bennett

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RYKER KIDS 162 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 Ryker Kids is a “modern urban” childrenswear independent, stocking an enticing mix of footwear, clothing, accessories, toys and furniture. The footwear offer is particularly strong, complemented by a full fitting and measuring service. The brand list features both established names and the latest in kids’ footwear design including Froddo, Pediped, Garvalin, Superfit, Old Soles, Livie & Luca, Bloc, Young Soles, Sun-San, Petasil and De Vries. A website is currently under construction, and plans for the business include building the kids’ range further and launching ladieswear. The store is also introducing a loyalty card in the near future, but already offers parents with twins a 10 per cent discount.


NEW VIP BOUTIQUE BOO BEARS BOUTIQUE 4B Bridge Street, Bedale, North Yorkshire Lisa Clark opened her bright and modern children’s shop, Boo Bears Boutique, in June 2014 in the Yorkshire market town of Bedale. As a new and growing business, the offer is constantly expanding. Essentially it covers childrenswear for 0-5 years alongside soft and wooden toys, hair accessories and children’s jewellery from brands such as Joules, Frugi, Toby Tiger, Piccalilly, Hatley, Olive & Moss, Orange Tree Toys and Melissa & Doug. To encourage new business, Clark is considering preview evenings, and offers a loyalty card scheme. Once the loyalty card is full, customers receive 20 per cent off their next purchase.

Tendre Deal is a new, members-only online children’s boutique, selling 100 per cent French designer clothes, toys and accessories. The retailer primarily focuses on little-known independent French brands, which are presented to British parents via regular and exclusive “sales”. Once signed up to Tendre Deal, users have exclusive access to brands and sales events featuring discounts of up to 70 per cent. To support exclusivity, all of the labels showcased are offered in small quantities for a limited time. —

BUTTERFLY OCCASIONS Sotiria Spantidea turned her back on a successful career in finance to set up boutique store Butterfly Occasions last year. The mother of two’s journey to owning her own business started as a hobby, searching for unique items online for her children’s bedrooms. Frustrated at mainstream and high-street offerings, however, and encouraged by friends and family, she turned her hobby into an online business, providing toys, furniture and wallpaper from the UK and beyond. Many of the pieces are designed by smaller manufacturers and individual designers. Furniture, in particular, is chosen based on its use of innovative design and quality materials.

Retail news in brief: INDIES RETURN TO HIGH STREET New research suggests that small independent businesses have increased their presence on the high street by 110 per cent over the past five years. The data, released by the High Street Tracker and commissioned by business insurance broker Simply Business, suggests consumers are turning their backs on chain stores in favour of smaller, more personal business models. Regional analysis of the data meanwhile revealed the north west of England is currently seeing the biggest renaissance in independent business.

JOHN LEWIS PUSHES OMNICHANNEL BUSINESS John Lewis will open a new distribution centre in Milton Keynes to support the growth of its omnichannel business in both shops and online. The retailer has signed a 25-year lease on the 638,000 sq ft warehouse, which will support its existing distribution centre at Magna Park – opened in 2009 – and the adjacent Magna Park 2, which will be fully operational in 2016. The move is part of the omnichannel retailer’s plans for improvements in productivity, availability and customer service.

MARY PORTAS TO SPEAK AT BIRA CONFERENCE Retailers and suppliers are set to be enlightened by retail expert Mary Portas at the British Independent Retailers Association’s (Bira) 2015 High Street Conference on 13 May at Chesford Grange, Warwickshire. Portas will discuss her vision and the steps she has taken with the government to secure the high streets for the future. Meanwhile, Andrew McMillan, an expert in customer service from his 20-year career with the John Lewis Partnership, will focus on customer experience and how this will contribute to the survival of independents on the high streets. —

UKFT AWARDS 2015 The UKFT Awards has announced model and presenter Jack Guinness and model Amber Le Bon will host the annual event on 21 May at London’s Tobacco Docks. The Awards are a celebration of industry talent in the fields of manufacture and design. A judging panel of some of the UK’s top journalists, bloggers, stylists and buyers will decide the winners. UKFT represents the fashion and textile industry, promoting growth and bringing together all sectors of the industry.

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



Described as “demi couture” – something between ready-to-wear and haute couture – Lithuanian brand Mummymoon offers clean, minimalistic luxury. Established in 2010, and available for boys and girls aged six months to seven years, the collection consists of cotton garments such as shirts and trousers, jumpers with silk screen printing, dresses and comfortable waistcoats. Other key pieces include the brand’s signature Japan Jackets. Wholesale prices £11-£67.

Rocket Pear is a new, Portuguese children’s accessories and textiles brand established in December 2014. Catering for 0-5 years, the collection is contemporary yet timeless in style, comprising bibs, stroller covers, baby carrier covers, duvet covers, cushions and poufs as well as a line of clothing basics such as dresses, shirts and turban hats. Rocket Pear works with permanent lines that can be ordered and delivered any time of the year. Wholesale prices ¤16-¤120.




Launched last year, UK baby brand Roly Pony for 0-24 months offers classic garments in cotton, wool and cashmere alongside tights, socks, hats, blankets and a small range of postcards. The a/w 15 collection includes brushed-cotton bodies with water-based floral prints, embroidery and intricate collars and sleeves; velour sleep suits with pleated details; woollen cardigans; hats with protective ear patches; and merino wool blankets. Socks and tights with playful details complete the look. Wholesale prices £5-£30.

Launched in 2011 in The Netherlands, LiLi Shoes has its sights set on the UK and is currently seeking a UK agent. Catering for baby through to teenage girls, designs range from toddler boots and first-walkers in European sizes 20-26 through to junior styles up to European size 40, including a wide selection of boots, lace-ups and trainers, with the addition of ballerinas and slip-on shoes in summer. LiLi Shoes uses slim lasts designed to fit children whose feet are thin and long due to rapid growth. Wholesale prices £16-£45.

Baby Acorn came into fruition in November 2014, offering unisex babywear designed and made in Britain. The brand’s 100 per cent cotton pieces feature woodland themes designed to appeal to the unisex gift market, and the range includes sleep suits with integrated mittens, knot hats, reversible dribble bibs, a fully lined hooded baby jacket and reversible baby blankets. Available in newborn and 0-3 months, the brand’s aim is to create a vibrant alternative to neutral unisex designs. Wholesale prices £4-£14. MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 16



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SUCCESS IN THE US The US is one of the most rewarding and competitive fashion markets in the world. Thierry Bayle of Global Fashion Management has spent more than 20 years helping European fashion brands to sell successfully there. Here, he shares some top tips for taking your brand to the States.

Before we go any further, I need to get something off my chest. Let’s call it the Gold Rush Syndrome. Have you any idea how many British and European brands have decided, very often at the last minute, to attend US trade shows and then recruit local agents with little or no preparation? Does it sound like a brilliant strategy? Really? In so many cases it cost them considerable time and money. But it really doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re planning to take your brand to the US, my top tip can be summed up in one word and a lot of hard work – preparation. The US offers our brands endless opportunities, and you can certainly strike gold. However, unless you take the time to do the research, preparation and legwork required, it could end up costing you more than you make. Easy when you say it quickly, but what does this mean for your brand and what will your To Do list look like? Obviously, every market is different, but there are some key considerations for the US that will make all the difference to your success there.

These include: — COVERAGE: It’s a huge country, but many brands go no further than NYC, LV or LA. Why miss out? Shouldn’t you be showing in Las Vegas, too, where you’ll find the only national show? What about regional shows? Duty optimisation (there are a number of options here, so get advice on what is best for you). — US MARKET SEGMENTS: You need to know and understand these and be able to describe which price point your brand fits into so that you can position yourself appropriately with buyers. You must also use the American words to describe your line. — BRAND POSITIONING: Understanding where your brand fits into the market – who are your competitors? Which brands would sit well alongside yours? Get some training on talking to American buyers – if you use the phrases they want to

hear and offer the deliveries they expect, your brand will have greater credibility and they will be more likely to consider it. — SALES ROUTES: Are you better off recruiting an agent or setting up your own showroom and sales office? Should you consider a distributor (despite my sharp intake of breath and vigorous head shaking, it can work for some brands)? As you can see, there’s plenty to think about, which is why I always advise my clients to delay their US market entry until they feel ready. It can easily take a year or two to prepare for this type of venture. However, after 4-5 months you should be able to understand and connect with buyers and set up the marketing machine to convert them. It’s not just a question of feeling mentally ready and having the right information at your fingertips. In addition, you need to look at your products and decide whether they are right for the US market or whether they need tweaking: MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 18



Are the sizes right? Will they fit Americans? Are you offering the right colours and fabrics? Are they too daring for some regions or too conservative for others? Should you be aiming to sell darker colours on the East Coast and brighter ones in the South? Do you need a more trendy version for the West Coast? Don’t forget that your US business will impact on your whole company, not just the design, sales and marketing staff. Don’t forget to make sure that the accounts team are not only fully briefed but also thoroughly trained to handle US business. If you want to be paid, it’s incredibly important that they understand the protocol for issuing and chasing a US invoice. I’ve mentioned some specific issues to think about when entering the US market. However, it will be even more important to ensure that your vision and strategy are rock solid, in order to ensure that the new venture has firm foundations. It has to be your strategy, decided by you. With this in mind, I’d like to pass on the following tips:

Tip 1: Execution Ideas are only great if they are well executed. Make sure you have competent staff or experts joining you. These people must be happy to be challenged, ready to look at new ideas and new ways of doing things. Avoid people who are always too busy to listen and who claim to know it all. — Tip 2: Cover the bases Having a holistic approach is critical. You can have one expert or several experts but you must remember that you cannot succeed unless you have covered all of these points – product management / merchandising / sales / marketing / logistics / duty and optimisation / credit management / public relations / celebrity placement. — Tip 3: Have a truly nationwide approach This means you must move outside New York and New York’s trade shows. — Tip 4: Act on a local or regional level You need to look at a minimum of five regions. There is more than just the West Coast and the East Coast. When you have identified five different regions, ask yourself how your brand is represented in these areas. You will see that you are missing a lot of opportunities. — Tip 5: Have the X Factor Have a little “je ne sais quoi”, something to differentiate you from your competitors. You need to be creative. — Tip 6: Train, train and train again The market changes, consumers are more knowledgeable and new sales techniques appear. You must keep learning new tricks – yes, it’s exhausting, but practice makes perfect (and $s!). — Tip 7: Control your risk At every turn, we are faced with more and more risks: risk to produce the goods; risk to take an agent; risk to give credit to buyers. You have to understand, control and, above all, manage these risks. — Tip 8: Products You need to adapt your products to the US market. It does not mean that you have to change your identity, but you have to identify which pieces are relevant for the US market. — Tip 9: Preparation Preparation is the key to success. You cannot build up export and leave preparation to the last minute. That applies, of course, to the trade shows you will attend. You must be prepared and understand what the market requires and what will trigger agents and buyers to take on your brand. You must know how to invoice (FOB or landed / £ or $), ship and collect money. So many questions for which you need answers! — Tip 10: Network and talk to as many people as possible. Talk and compare experiences. Ask people how they succeeded, or why they failed. Make sure you understand the brand and product proposition before you jump to the conclusion that FOB terms are good or that the Coterie is THE show you must attend. As well as my other tips, make sure you adopt the following rules: sell the goods in dollars and landed duty paid; give credit solely to good buyers; attend more than one trade show or have 4/5 regional sales reps; and always remember the three words that govern many individuals in the US – money, money and money. —

Global Fashion Management Brand and retail management Tel +44 20 8576 6233 MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 19


THE GIVING BRAND Laura Turner speaks to Mark Jeynes, vice president and co-founder of Rockin’ Baby, a brand whose origin is in baby carriers and slings but which this season branched into kidswear. The USP of the company, however, is in its one-for-one business model, which sees it donate an item for every item it sells, to mothers and children in desperate circumstances. —

Laura Turner: How did Rockin’ Baby form? Mark Jeynes: In 2002, a couple of mums in LA felt there was a gap in the market for fashionable baby carriers, and started making their own prints, which immediately gained celebrity following. The company came up for sale in 2011 and Kathryn Wiley, a mum of six who lives in Virginia, bought it. Kathryn was eager to try a one-for-one business model, and for every sling sold she began donating a sling to mothers in Haiti living in horrific conditions following the earthquake. LT: What is your background, and how did you get involved with Rockin’ Baby? MJ: I worked for John Lewis for 20 years, from a shoe fitter at Peter Jones through to a kidswear buyer in head office. I moved to Joules as head of buying for men’s and kidswear, before joining JoJo Maman Bebe as head of international sales. I was at a trade show in NYC when I first met Kathryn. I loved what she was doing and how she was making a difference. I was entranced by her passion and really wanted to help her grow the slings and pouches business in the UK. So, with my then current bosses’ blessing, I worked at weekends and evenings to get it into as many places as possible. I got a real buzz knowing every sale meant I’d helped another mother. As you get older you want to do something meaningful and, coupled with the fact I have always wanted to set up my own clothing brand, I decided to leave the safe corporate world and become a full-time co-owner of Rockin’ Baby. After quickly hiring a team who had worked with me before, we pulled off a launch range in four months from


design to sample production. I set off on a 29-city, five-week world tour to launch and sign up distributors to help us sell around the world. As VP, I’m based in London and charged with the strategic growth of the brand, be it international, domestic, online, B2B or B2C. I also manage the marketing, web and sales team in the UK. The buying director and design director are based in London, too. We have a distribution centre in Kent that services all UK and European sales and larger operation in Virginia. Working on different time zones can be a challenge, but there’s always Skype, and as a Board we come together to meet either in London or the US at least once a month. LT: What has Rockin’ Baby donated so far?

MJ: For five years, we have saved lives in Haiti – a country still on its knees from the earthquake – donating tens of thousands of slings. Thanks to Kathryn, who visits regularly to donate the slings and teach how to wear them safely, infants are safely carried instead of crawling around in debris, or worse. LT: How do your slings and pouches differ to your competitors’? MJ: They are boldly printed and fully reversible so mum or dad can wear them. The pouches come in three sizes and our slings have an extra length of fabric for modesty when breastfeeding, as well as a deep zippered pocket for holding extra nappies or bottles. Some people absolutely love wearing babies in our slings outside, but even more people regard them as the perfect accessory MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 20



lots of retailers. On kidswear, the reaction to what we are doing has been phenomenal, with some huge companies wanting to launch with us in the US, UK and beyond.

to use indoors. Why put your baby down to sleep in a separate room when you can have them close to you while you go about your daily routine? The slings and pouches are handmade in the US, so Kathryn, as CEO, heads up production and manufacturing there, but she is also what I call our “chief giver” and is constantly meeting with reputable charities to find ways of helping. The charity we are currently working with is ChildFund International, which has been established 75 years and is in 12 countries at any one time caring for children. It is currently working in West Africa looking after children whose parents have died of Ebola. LT: What can we expect from the kidswear? MJ: The a/w 15 launch range comprises around 100 items with a layette collection with rompers and sleep suits for 0-2 years and an older range for 2-10 years – which includes woven shirts and sweaters for boys and dresses and a wool coat for girls. The majority of the clothing is soft, machine-washable cotton made in Egypt. We have tight stories with bold prints and colours, which all co-ordinate with each other, so it’s an easy collection to buy and merchandise. For older kids, the look leans to being quite contemporary. Our basic T-shirts start at £10

— If we sell 10,000 units of clothing, we will manufacture and donate an identical quantity of clothing to charities to distribute to children in desperate circumstances —

and bodysuits at £14, going up to £24 for our older girl’s chambray dress and £50 for a wool coat, which is as high as we go. LT: Will the one-to-one business model apply to the kidswear collection, too? MJ: Absolutely. If we sell 10,000 units of clothing, we will manufacture and donate an identical quantity of clothing from our “hero” collection to charities to distribute to children in desperate circumstances. If they want blankets, that’s what we’ll give. If they need more T-shirts than rompers, we will provide it. We want to have the same impact with our clothing as we’ve had with our slings. LT: What is the distribution of the brand since you joined? MJ: We now have reps across the US and Canada plus distributors in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Italy and Denmark. We are about to sign up Norway, Sweden, Israel, Ireland, Spain and UAE, plus I’m about to embark on a Southern Hemisphere trip to sign up lots of interested parties there. In the USA we are an established baby carrier in hundreds of boutiques right up to Nordstrom and Babies R Us. We had a year’s exclusivity with Mothercare in the UK but that has just finished, so we are in discussion with

LT: Are plans to continue expanding the brand? MJ: Kidswear was the natural add-on, and we have so much still to do there, including new categories for s/s 16 such as rainwear and swimwear. We are all about the “giving” and don’t want to introduce unnecessary items for the sake of making money. Anything we add, we must first think, “Is there a need out there for us to give one of these away?” LT: What are the short and long-term plans? MJ: They are the same, in some ways, as all our decisions and strategy is based around giving as much as possible. Right now, kidswear is our focus. We’ll be increasing the size of the collection significantly for s/s 16 and at the same time selling the a/w 15 collection to the Southern Hemisphere. Our B2B business is imperative to our success, so we’ll continue to add more distributors and agents across the world to sell both kidswear and baby carriers. We also have a calendar full of important trade shows; it’s so important to sit and talk to retailers about their needs and hear feedback. We also have a B2B website launching any day. LT: Tell us something we don’t know about Rockin’ Baby… MJ: I’ll never forget the day I met Kathryn at an NYC trade show almost two years ago. She is very “American” and, shall we say, “loud”. She was on the stand opposite us and had a very catchy, but thoroughly irritating, hook to get people to stop. We must have heard her shout, “Have you heard of Rockin’ Baby?” at least 20 times a minute. In the end I had to say something as it was driving us insane, but that hilarious opening conversation with her led to me falling in love with what she was doing, and to the point where we are today. Now, whenever I call her or see her I shout, “Have you heard of Rockin’ Baby?” in the thickest American accent, so I guess it is engrained in company legend forever! MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 21



Since launching the first Caramel Baby & Child store in 1999, the retailer has successfully built a UK and international customer base. Rebecca Jackson speaks to owner Eva Karayiannis about the store’s move into overseas markets.

From humble beginnings to opening multiple premises overseas, Caramel Baby & Child has found considerable success since owner Eva Karayiannis opened her first store in London’s Brompton Cross in 1999. Now, with seven standalone shops in London, New York, Tokyo, Moscow and Singapore, and concessions in Selfridges and Fenwick in London, the retailer has found considerable popularity with its UK and international customers. The most recent additions to open in the last two years include a store in Moscow and another in London’s Soho. But Karayiannis has also expanded through concessions and by utilising the pop-up store trend. “Pop-up shops are becoming increasingly important, particularly in the Japanese market, as we look to build brand recognition within key department stores and new neighbourhoods,” says Karayiannis. The retailer has taken advantage of consumer trends, while also making sure to maintain core values and iconic store design through its gradual expansion. The brand ethos promotes a belief in understated luxury. Collections are presented in a well-considered way, as is the store aesthetic, with each piece selected and presented for a reason. Karayiannis conceived the idea for the business in the 90s, and set out with an aim to cater for the sector of the childrenswear industry that doesn’t fall into the categories of mass-produced or over-expensive glitzy and impractical clothing. Determined to “change people’s minds about childrenswear”, Karayiannis set out to choose garments that would stand out from the usual high-street offering. Hand-crafted knitwear was tracked down from Peru, and artisan clothes were sourced from small designers in London. It was a process that took two years.

However, it soon became apparent that Karayiannis was unable to find the range of sizes she needed to meet customer demand, and she began designing the clothes herself. The meticulous approach and control that she maintains over business decisions translated into establishing the business overseas. In a move that’s developed steadily over the course of more than 10 years, it’s clear Karayiannis has moved with caution. Before setting up shops overseas, a considerable amount of research was conducted into each international market. Each store is designed in line with where it is located, with style heavily influenced by its surrounding neighbourhood; for example, the Tokyo store based in the trendy Hillside Terrace development boasts indulgence through vast amounts of space. The Notting Hill store, positioned a stone’s throw away from London’s bustling Portobello Road, presents a more quirky choice of décor. Meanwhile, the Brompton Road location promotes a more confined space, with the interior combining heritage antiques with bespoke pieces. Overall, each shop interior combines heritage antiques with bespoke pieces that focus on creating a unique look. “It’s a complex process,” says Karayiannis. “We visit each city to find the right neighbourhoods and adjacencies – the places that we know our customers are going to be. We recruit staff based on local knowledge and send our head office team to train them, using the tools that we use in our established stores in London.” For Karayiannis, research is meticulous, and not merely done online, but is also completed through trips out of the UK and into the field. Through a combination of visits to the proposed store locations and monitoring international customers who visit the stores and websites, locations that fit the brand

identity and aesthetic are established. The overseas stores still hold the full seasonal range for children aged 0-12 years, but stock quantities are edited in line with surroundings. For instance, the Moscow store holds more coats, and additional product lines such as the home and party collections are carefully curated to reflect supply and demand. New garments for a/w 15 include a particularly strong knitwear collection, which uses strong and subtle stitch textures available in contrast colours. Sporty coats will also feature across the stores, with puffas, parkas and traditional shapes in Italian wools leading the collection. Fabrics across the new range have been developed, with highlights including a cotton stab-stitch check, stripe detailing and gingham with incorporated embroidery. The a/w 15 collection will be stocked in stores in the UK and internationally. However, more expansion could be on the horizon for Caramel Baby & Child, with Karayiannis planning an expansion of the wholesale side of the business. “Our wholesale and franchise business should complement each other, and we will enter new markets in the most appropriate manner. We see major growth in the US and Europe through this route,” she says. In terms of store expansion, Karayiannis is not finished yet. With her sights set on the Far East, in particular Korea, as well as the Middle East, it’s possible there could be further expansion here in the future. For Caramel Baby & Child, the path to successfully establishing business overseas has been a well thought out one. Through steady growth and close monitoring of both the wholesale and retail arms of the business, the franchise has engaged with new markets and found great success internationally. MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 24



CWB speaks to the winner and two highly commended finalists of this season’s Rising Star Awards, a competition run by UK kids’ trade fair Bubble London to recognise the best debuting launch brands at the show. During the exhibition, a short list of 10 brands was judged by a panel of industry experts looking for innovation, quality, originality and commercial appeal. CWB takes a look at what set the finalists apart.


OH...MY! Country of origin: UK Age range: 4-12 years Wholesale price range: £17-£100 After working together within a fashion manufacturing company for a number of years, colleagues Jonathan Swead and Anna Davies recognised a gap in the luxury childrenswear market for a forward-thinking line embracing true, quintessential English charm. Holding a sense of tradition and nostalgia at its core, but not afraid to add an eccentric twist, this girlswear brand incorporates new and forward thinking design details in styling and fabrication. Expect beautiful, English florals teamed with unique and quirky design detailing such as PU trimmings, contrast panelling and asymmetric hemlines. A well thought-out collection, it consists of statement dresses, structured trousers, delicate blouses and tailored coats. Items have been purposely created by Oh…My! designer Anna Davies to be mixed and matched across the range. The aim is to create a collection of garments that are not only beautiful and cater for special occasions, but are also designed with functional necessities in mind. “As cliché as it sounds, we want these to be garments that still allow ‘kids to be kids’,” says creative director Jonathan Swead. Within Oh…My!’s a/w 15 offer there are two design stories. One is a true autumnal representation, with rich jewel colours and opulent jacquards, while metallic iridescent elements within the story convey a sophisticated tone. Following this is a complementary yet contrasting design capsule that projects a more elegant and fresh feel. Pretty pastels and English rose florals demonstrate the traditional and nostalgic character of the brand across vintage floral skirts teamed with peter pan and broderie anglaise collar blouses. Oh…My!’s s/s 16 offering promises statement prints and beautiful fabrics along with another good dose of English charm. The brand’s target market comprises discerning parents of “little ladies” aged 4-12 years with a bold fashion sense, medium to high purchasing power and a willingness to spend on high-quality fabrics and exclusive designs. Short-term plans for the business are to keep ahead of the market and keep designing without constraints. Medium term aims are to open accounts in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Long term is to have small, Oh…My! standalone boutiques in key locations. —

DECEMBER 2014 - 00



JAM Country of origin: UK Age range: 2-8 years Wholesale price range: TBC but around £20-£25 Jam founder and designer Julia Varesko wanted to create a brand concept to challenge the norm: a childrenswear brand focused on mindful design, something that can help cut waste, while offering more choice to parents. On leaving Central St Martins in 2009, Varesko felt inspired by the creativity and innovation in the fashion world but also disillusioned by the high street’s governance by fast-fashion trends and the subsequent amount of clothing waste created. Bearing in mind how quickly children outgrow their clothes, Varesko saw it as paramount that her brand caters for growth as well as comfort and style. Every design she creates, therefore, is about prolonging the life of the garment; one that is beautiful but also versatile, special enough to care about, pass on to a sibling or give as a gift. Clothing parents will want to buy but that children will also want to wear again and again. The brand’s key message and USP is that children’s clothes can, and should be, designed to accommodate growth, movement, play and comfort. Varesko designs to reflect this ethos without compromising on style and while meeting price points within reach of as many consumers as possible. Fashion-savvy parents with a conscious mind are Jam’s target audience; “parents who value quality and timeless style, who love convenience and comfort but who also care about the environment.” Jam’s a/w 15 collection comprises girls’ dresses, tunics, tops, skirts, cardigans, ponchos, leggings and matching accessories. Combining knitted, jersey and woven fabrics with adjustable fastenings helps ensure a lasting fit. Longevity is achieved through clever design, with a wrap-around dress that can be worn from two to five years and dungarees that fit from six months to two years. Natural fabrics are key, including cotton, cashmere, wool and silk. Varesko sums up the look of the brand as “smart casual, versatile and timeless”. Currently, Jam is focused on delivering its launch promises – making as much as possible in the UK and offering a price competitive product. In the future, plans are to add a unisex range, lines for babies, and potentially a few lines for mums-to-be, which can be used during pregnancy but also through nursing and thereafter. —


PANDA AND THE SPARROW Country of origin: UK Age range: 0-2 years Wholesale price range: £3-£11 Following many years working as directors for big-name high-street brands such as Whistles, House of Fraser and Warehouse, friends Amanda Burrows and Judith Langham made the decision to join forces and work for themselves. In May 2014, they took the leap and launched Panda and the Sparrow, a bamboo baby label. It was while clothing their own children that the duo had initially discovered bamboo fabric and the multitude of natural properties it possesses. Bamboo sleepwear had, for instance, considerably helped Burrows’ son’s comfort while suffering from eczema. However, availability was poor, and Burrows struggled to find everyday bamboo children’s clothing and, when she occasionally did, the styles were unappealing. The aim of Panda and the Sparrow is to provide a unique range of bamboo childrenswear, benefiting from all of bamboo’s natural eco credentials, but also being fun and functional and meeting fashion credentials. Essentially it is targeting mothers who care what they put next to their babies’ skin – pieces that will become treasured baby keepsakes or hand-me-downs. So what are the natural properties of bamboo, the fastest growing plant in the world? It’s very soft – akin to cashmere, naturally hypoallergenic, thermo-regulating, UV-resistant, breathable and absorbent. With regard to the collection, it is unisex in its design and colour palette and comprises babygros, T-shirts, body T-shirts (which look like a T-shirt but act like a body), leggings, hats, reversible blankets and gift sets. Pieces are designed for ease-of-wear and function, with babygros featuring front fastenings all the way down the body and leg for easy changing as well as fold-back hands and feet to provide in-built socks and mittens and later, room for growth. The brand is looking for organic expansion supported by its strong ethos and brand story, its website and via key wholesale accounts. —

MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 27


LOOK WHO’S TALKING CWB reviews two of this season’s Bubble London seminars, which addressed opportunities and innovation in the children’s market – one from the perspective of the youngest generation and the other focusing on the rise of the older generation. INSIGHTS FROM A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR

Ten-year-old Henry Patterson is the founder of Not Before Tea – a British children’s brand specialising in traditional gifts, accessories and games. Patterson designs all the collections, which are inspired by his storybook The Adventures of Sherb and Pip. The young entrepreneur and retailer reveals how he turned a jar of mud and worms into an exciting new brand. “I have only been in retail for 12 months, but I’ve learnt so much already; mainly that it is all about the ‘customer journey’ or, in the case of Not Before Tea, the ‘customer adventure’. Not Before Tea is actually my third business; I started at the age of five with a manure business or, as the sign says, Myor! I could not understand why my parents were paying to have our horse manure taken away, when garden centres were selling it. I have no idea why this was of interest to a five-year-old, but it was. I set out to sell three bags (outside our house) to earn enough money for a Power Ranger toy. In one hour, the bags were sold and the business closed. Looking back, I think I needed a lesson in signage. My next

business was matchmaking buyers and sellers of Go Gos (collectable plastic aliens) in the playground. Sadly, this resulted in my friends ‘borrowing’ money from their parents’ bags, and I was called into the head mistress’ office and told to stop. As I left the room, I remember asking if PayPal would be allowed. She was not amused, but I will never forget the lesson to always offer more than one way to pay. When I was nine, I became fascinated with the stories that my mother and grandmother told me about how they spent their pocket money and the huge excitement they got from buying sweets. Children these days don’t have the same experience, and I set out to change this. I designed a jar of mud and worm sweets, which I thought looked horrible and great fun. I called the business Not Before Tea as my Grandma always said that’s when I wanted sweets. I asked my mother how I could promote the jar. We built a simple website on Shopify, which was so easy. I was then shown how to write a press release as I really wanted my jar to be in the newspaper. We sent the story to all the papers and magazines and, to my excitement, the next day we got a call from the Daily Mail. My mother told me this was very unusual, but I just assumed that they were as excited about my mud and worms as I was! My mud and worms made page seven, and I got 82,000 hits to my website in one day. Lesson number three; make sure you have enough stock – I had 32 jars of sweets to sell. I had been sent an entry form from The Great British Entrepreneur Awards for rising stars. I sat down with my mother and entered it and was shortlisted. Everything changed the night of the awards. I met my hero Steve Redgrave, who knew who I was. I was then presented The One to Watch award and had to do a speech. Everyone stood up when I had finished which was amazing. The next day I was in The Times and The Independent. I realised people loved the name of the company and my story, and I really wanted to make this a proper business. I had this picture in my head that a mouse and an owl helped me make the mud and worms jars, and that Not Before Tea was a real shop. I called the owl Sherb and the mouse Pip (after Sherbet Pip

sweets). I love writing and decided to write the story. I got some money for Christmas and my parents also gave me some, which allowed me to get an illustrator do a short print run of my book. I created lots of characters for girls and boys. I had written a book! I wanted to have lots of products that children can collect – I used to collect Ben 10 and Peppa Pig and I wanted Not Before Tea to be the same. We were so lucky that we bumped into a lady who made fabric items at a factory in Birmingham and I thought about what I could make. I chose aprons, wash bags and bags. I got a grant from MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service) and this meant I could do other things like cards and pictures. I also designed a ‘magic door’ (a little door that sits on or above a skirting board, designed to allow fairies and magical friends to live in your home) as I loved make-believe when I was younger, and Not Before Tea is all about using your imagination. Department store Fenwick had read one of my articles and wanted to stock our products. This was so exciting and I launched my book there, and did my first signing. The office at that time was at home, and my cat had just had kittens and they kept sleeping on all my wash bags. My mother and I decided that we needed a workshop out of the house and we walked round a few towns nearby to see what was about. We found a shop that looked just like the shop in my book and decided that we could use it to make the products, as an office, and to test out products to customers. I went on a customer psychology day with WBC Retail, which I loved. I learnt where the till should be and how to display. I was so proud of what I had achieved in just eight months, but everyone still thought it was my mother’s idea and not mine. Of course, she helps me loads, but the ideas are all mine and I have been there every step of the way. I decided to prove this and went on live radio and TV four times. I went on The One Show with Richard Branson, who asked me to sign a copy of my book for him. I also spoke at a conference in front of 300 people and answered 15 questions. I think people MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 28




Studio INTO is a research, design and innovation consultancy, which helps clients understand their consumers or users and translate insights into innovation opportunities. INTO co-founder Joanna Brassett explained the changing role of grandparents, before looking at how retailers and brands can respond. “Here are some statistics to begin with. English grandmothers have the most grandchildren across Europe. On average, each British grandmother has nearly five grandchildren in comparison to Germany – which has three – and Greece has nearly four grandchildren per grandmother. Also, 63 per cent of grandparents in the UK look after their grandchildren. But why are numbers increasing? The first, very obvious reason is the increasing austerity and unceasing childcare costs, which parents rely on the help of grandparents to reduce. The second reason is ‘supermums’. Mothers returning back to work earlier, with grandparents key enablers for this. Trust issues mean

While a large proportion of pensioner households have low incomes, ironically the retired account for the majority of wealthy Britons. The over-50s own 80 per cent of the private wealth of the UK

mothers feel more comfortable leaving their children with grandparents, and it obviously reduces childcare costs. The third reason is demographics and the increase in life expectancy. Attitude towards ageing has changed dramatically over recent years. The stereotypical, old view of ageing people is a frail one. The new view of old, however, is very different; people who are aware of their ageing body but want to carry on with the busy and active lifestyle they had before retiring. So who are these grandparents we’re talking about? They are an extraordinary generation; big, bold and powerful. In the UK, there are 17 million of them – they make up 30 per cent of the population. While a large proportion of pensioner households have low incomes, ironically the retired account for the majority of wealthy Britons. The over-50s own 80 per cent of the private wealth of the UK. The 50-plus group is the wealthiest and fastest growing of consumers, and they are ready to spend their money on their grandchildren. Of course, grandparents always provided help in a way, but it used to be ‘occasional care’. We noticed this is changing from ‘occasional care’ to ‘regular’ or even ‘intensive’. Regular means 1-2 times per week and when working parents rely on this help. ‘Rely’ on the grandparent is an important word. Very often grandparents look after their grandchildren 10 hours in a day, and this is taking place in the grandparents’ homes, and they need everything you would associate with a regular day of a child. This is a significant shift – grandparents are now users, too. They used to buy kids’ products and give them to the parents of the kids, or as presents to the kids. Now, they buy and use the products themselves. The kids’ products market mainly focuses on the mother, father and child. Now, the opportunity is emerging to embrace the grandparent as the third generation. As part of our research, we interviewed grandparents and observed them, revealing how it is possible to focus on grandparents as consumers and how to open up opportunities for innovation. There are two types of activities. Child-driven is typically addressed by the market – basically any toys. The child stimulates the play occasion by saying what they love to do – let’s go cycling, let’s do craft, please read to me. But there is this second type of activities, which are ‘grandparent-driven’. We noticed two types of ‘grandparentdriven’ activities. The first is about passing down family history; introducing family memories though nostalgic toys that the parents might have played with, for example. Some toy brands are tapping into this. Fisher Price is producing its nostalgic toys and has an online club for grandparents. But there is much more to this passing down attitude. The second ‘grandparent-driven’

then realised it was me. I was very lucky meeting our lovely agent, Finest for Baby. They have helped us get lots of systems in place for making sure we are really professional when we sell to shops. We didn’t know what an agent did before meeting them, and I can’t imagine the team without them now, especially as one of the directors looks just like Mr Fox in my book. They have also done a beautiful display in the showroom and, when retailers visit, they give them really nice cakes. I have just turned 11, and this year is going to be brilliant. I want to do some school tours to promote the book and I have a TV crew following me. I’ll also be launching two new characters and going to LA for a documentary. Finally, I have designed eight new products, which will be launching during the year. Oh, and I have just finished book number two. Everyone always asks if I am missing out on my childhood and I never understand what they mean. I spend my life going on adventures, drawing, writing stories, using a till, learning amazing things and chatting about a mouse. Whatever this is called, I love it.”

activities are about passing down interests, hobbies and skills. This type of activity is much more interesting than the last one, and not many brands have tapped into it. Here, grandparents see value in educating and passing down knowledge and experience they have acquired through life activities such as cooking, baking, gardening and listening to music. Opportunities arise from the attitude/ behaviour of passing down interest. We could start with the theme of gardening, and the grandparent wanting to share their skills and knowledge of plants and wildlife. A few examples of products that arise as innovation opportunities here would include gardening tools for kids and garden themed books, which grandparents could buy to help and assist them to pass down their interests. The second insight focuses on creating a second home. Most of the time kids spend a whole day, once or twice a week, at the grandparents’ house. They sleep over, too. In the grandparents’ house they need everything you would associate with a regular day, but products that focus on easy storage. Grandparents want to get the best usage of products when the grandchildren are about but, when the kids go back, ideally grandparents would love to put products away and not have bulky kids’ equipment standing around. Opportunities that arise from creating a second home include foldable travel cots, buggies that are easy to fold and store, multi-use pram bags and space-saving high-chairs and toy boxes. The third insight focuses on ‘giving’. How do grandparents give to grandchildren? There is spoiling and giving little treats. Grandparents allow themselves to spoil their grandchildren twice a year – Christmas and birthdays – but spoiling is seen as bad influence and bad for upbringing. Therefore, grandparents don’t want to be seen as spoiling their grandchildren and get around this dilemma by giving ‘little treats’ all year around. A grandparent’s excuse to spoil is that ‘they need it’. For instance, clothes, basics such as underwear, T-shirts, pyjamas, everyday dresses and stationery. Often, this is prompted by the parents who might mention what the child needs – ‘they grew out of the pyjamas’ or ‘they need some new crayons because they lost them’. In this situation, the grandparents jump onto this opportunity to give and avoid the spoiling. They also have the additional justification that they’re helping the parents financially. Another excuse they give themselves is that it’s educational, and they will help the grandchild’s development. In this category, books are the most obvious ones, but also colouring books, stationery and craft. The final excuse is a spontaneous purchase. Brands and retailers have the opportunity to attract grandparents strategically. Look back and learn from our insights.” MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 29



CWB’s pick of the latest products set to be unveiled at this month’s Harrogate International Nursery Fair, taking place on 29-31 March 2015 at Harrogate International Centre, North Yorkshire.

ABEILLE t New mother and baby lifestyle brand is launching its range of 100 per cent cotton cellular baby blankets, whose construction is designed to keep babies warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Available in white, fawn or grey and presented in a gift box, the blankets are bigger than the standard pram size, also making them suitable for cribs. —

PACIF-I u Pacif-i is a Bluetooth Smart baby pacifier. With a temperature sensor built into the silicon teat, it transmits temperature data via Bluetooth Smart to a free app on an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Via the app, parents can record when medication was administered, set-up alerts and share data with carers. Pacif-i also has an in-built proximity sensor to allow parents to monitor its location. —

BABYPRICE p UK wholesaler and distributor Babyprice has a host of new brands and lines available including American babywear label Goumi Kids (pictured), which specialises in high-end co-ordinated hats, mitts, booties and gift sets. Other brands include Pipsy Koala, Dooky, Xplorys, Kids Kit and Kel-Gar. —

PRINCE LIONHEART u Showcasing new products to make life comfortable for child and parent is Prince Lionheart. Highlights include the new Back To Sleep Slumber Bunny (pictured) with 15-minute auto shut-off, standby mode and remote control. —

PETITE NAMASTE p Petite Namaste offers baby bedding and accessories inspired by Indian prints using the ancient technique of hand block printing. Made with 100 per cent cotton fabrics, the range includes baby and toddler quilts, cot-bedding sets, swaddling blankets, bibs and changing accessories. —


GUMMEE GLOVE The multi award-winning teething mitten for babies is to launch a new, silicone version at the Fair. Highlights include a heart-shaped silicone teething ring and two silicone side-teethers. As before, the teething ring can be detached and refrigerated to help soothe gums but can now also be steam sterilised. —

RAINBOW DESIGNS q This designer and distributor of Licensed Plush is launching a new Peppa Pig Nursery Collection. Created in soft, neutral tones and featuring Peppa and her brother George, it includes comfort blankets, musical pull downs, chime and rattle toys and activity toys. Peter Rabbit, Miffy and The Very Hungry Caterpillar ranges are also available. — MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 30

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WGSN: A/W 15-16 The world’s global style network, WGSN takes inspiration from a/w 15-16 trends to predict four essential looks for kidswear this season, illustrated by colour, materials and accessories and key items. — DISSONANCE This story embraces the discord of chaos. Dissonant but delightful, it comes charged with energy, creatively tinkering with the norm and bringing a discordant spirit that sparks a magic connection among the chaos. For girls: A fantastical dressing-up box of a story, Dissonance fuses as many elements as possible to create a colourful collection of clothing that’s as stylish as it is comfortable. For boys: Eccentric, eclectic and dandy are the keywords for this story. Think old and new coming together in an unlikely way, and crown it with a hint of showmanship.

ESSENCE This theme looks at the world with fresh eyes. Look, stop, think – that’s what it tells children to do – and take the time to notice the little things in life. There’s a whole new world of detail sitting under the surface, waiting to be discovered – which promises to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. For girls: Form and function work together to create a simple story. Well-constructed silhouettes allow for freedom of movement, while design detail is pared back so that decoration serves to emphasise function. For boys: Essence is a well-made story. No detail is surplus, and those that are there should be beautifully made. Fabrics recall workwear and designs are made to last.

MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 32


CONFLUENCE The voice of chaos, Confluence takes to the streets and finds new ways of looking at the city. It combines this busy and bustling urban spirit with the history and heritage of tribal art for a confluent four-corner clash. For girls: A riot of clashing prints and textures, this story combines technical fabrics with natural, tribal-inspired alternatives. Sports and streetwear also feature heavily, bringing a lively edge to this energy-brimming collection. For boys: Sporty and street come together to create a busy and bustling collection. Full of energy and charged with colour, it rustles up tribal prints, animal patterns and graphic intarsia for flashes of pure fun.

EXISTENCE This theme sets off into the wild and nestles itself between fact and fiction, nature and nurture, as it embraces the rich boundlessness of the natural world and combines it with the modern age of technology to create a new future that holds more wonder. For girls: Embracing extreme weather conditions, Existence hunts and gathers functional garments that not only keep little ones warm in the winter months, but also stylish, too. For boys: A collection for the outside world, this story embraces the wilder elements of nature, while also offering protection from them. Simple yet stylish, functional and ergonomic design details are updated for an appealing, fashionable effect.

WGSN is the world’s leading strategic style intelligence and trend forecasting business. It combines cutting edge technology, big data and passionate experts to enable creative companies to make smarter business decisions. WGSN provides challenge, knowledge, inspiration and insight to our partners and clients to create a more innovative tomorrow. — +44 (0) 20 7715 6200 MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 33


THE LOOK OF AUTUMN/WINTER 2015 CWB selects its favourite themes for a/w 15. SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND: Magpies with an eye for sparkle will be spoilt for choice this season. A/w 15 features an abundance of metallic finishes, iridescent fabrics and sequins in classic silver and gold through to shimmering winter shades of blue, black and white.

No Added Sugar

Annie & Tom

I Love Gorgeous


Holly Hastie

ALL IN THE DETAIL: Key in detailing this season are colour-pop zips and piping. Found across a variety of styles, from classic to sporty, this simple yet effective look adds interest and a focal point to garments. Coloured linings take the look one step further.


No Added Sugar


La Queue Du Chat


EARN YOUR STRIPES: A staple look in childrenswear that never fails to appeal, stripes this season are primarily thick and bold or alternatively, used in sections of a garment – on sleeves, for instance – to add a point of interest.



Tootsa MacGinty

No Added Sugar


PULLING FACES: Cartoon-inspired graphics made a big appearance for a/w 15. One look coming through was the use of statement, character “faces” on garments – from monsters to animals and hand-drawn graphics to prints and embroidery.


Lemon Loves Layette

Lilly + Sid


The Bonnie Mob

MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 34


IN A RELAXED FASHION: Combining sportswear and loungewear influences, this look is about equal measures of comfort and style. Cuts are loose, fabrics soft and colours fresh and bold. Key garments include hoodies, gilets, jogging pants and jumpsuits.

No Added Sugar



GNU Brand


GREAT OUTDOORS: Inspired by Mounties, lumberjacks and nature, this look combines checks, tartans and bold primary colours to create a practical outdoor look. Felt fabrics and shearling linings add warmth as well as style.


Lilly + Sid

Tootsa MacGinty

GNU Brand


MINI MONOCHROME: For those seeking a minimalist, contemporary look in childrenswear, opt for monochrome and clean, classic cuts. Oozing sophistication, this is a look most suited to older children and provides an alternative for girls who don’t want to do “girly”.


The Bonnie Mob

Holly Hastie


La Queue Du Chat

SHORT MEASURES: It may be a garment most associated with s/s trends, but this season the winter short proved key. Teamed with tights or leggings, and using heavier fabrics, shorts and also skorts proved a popular alternative to skirts.


Annie & Tom


Lilly + Sid


SEVENTIES STYLE: A popular theme also prevalent in men’s and women’s fashion this season was 70s-inspired design. Choose from subtle references via colour palettes and prints through to the more obvious with flared trousers, fur gilets and wide collars.


I Love Gorgeous

Mr Uky

Tootsa MacGinty


MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 35


Boys’ chukka and walking boots are updated this season with coloured laces and contrast stitching. —





04 01 02 03 04 05

Noel France: £26.50, 07823 442434 Gioseppo: £23.98, 0116 259 7427 Richter: from £22.80, 07834 862770 Froddo: price on request, 01707 888388 Chipmunks: £12, 01925 710110

02 01

03 05

01 02 03 04 05

Dr Martens: £25 0116 259 7427 Camper Kids: £25.50, 07823 442434 Pediped: £28, 07703 856072 Bo-Bell: from £25.20, 07809 426922 Lea Lelo: from €27.35, 07761 437793


MIDAS TOUCH A sparkly theme features across the board for girls’ styles this season, incorporating metallic leather and laces, glitter and sequins. —

02 01

03 05

01 02 03 04 05

Moccis: £15, 0033 35777500 Froddo: from £60, 01707 888388 Catimini: £26.61, 07834 862770 Pediped: £14.25, 07703 856072 Ricosta: £25.50, 0116 259 7427







04 01 02 03 04 05

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada: price on request, 01953 851190 Miss Sixty: from £12.70, 020 8203 0151 Lelli Kelly: price on request, 0039 05834311 Lea Lelo: from €28.36, 07761 437793 Bo-Bell: from £28.55, 07809 426922 Unless stated otherwise all prices are wholesale — Photographs: Chris Harvey MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 00










01: HONEY AND ARCHIE Animal print leggings for six months to five years £6.50 0207 263 4180 04: LITOLFF Gift set of handmade hare in Beech wood, infant hairbrush, American nutwood box, dummy and dummy-clip £43.65 0049 22198947744

02: ANA-MOLY Porringer and mug set £25 07775 750976

03: D FOR DIAMOND Fox pendant in powder pink enamel £16.80 01376 532000

05: LITTLE MASHERS Chalk + Talk cloth book that can be drawn on with chalk and wiped clean or machine washed £10 020 8509 3334

06: LALA & BEA Zig zag merino wool blend blanket Small: £20.50 Large: £30 07769 704377

Unless stated otherwise all prices are wholesale MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 40


Style GUIDE:

HUG & HATCH £16 07863 290600 —

NEAT FEET: CWB’s pick of the most stylish infant shoes.

Unless stated otherwise all prices are wholesale

SONATINA ¤30 0039 3358345536 —

DONSJE ¤18 0031 612667390 —

THE LITTLE SHOEMAKER £30 07981 702308 —

BUFFALO & BEAR £14 07816 594481 — MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 42

Now showing our Autumn/Winter 2015 collection of rain boots. For a copy of our lookbook please email:



47: News

48: Bangladesh Accord How the Accord has progressed since its launch in 2013


12: Open for Business Legal and retail business advice

18: Success in the US A guide to exporting to the States MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 45


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Schoolwear NEWS: The latest news from the schoolwear industry. DAVID LUKE SPONSORS ECO AWARD The Keep Britain Tidy Diamond Jubilee Awards saw eco school uniform supplier David Luke sponsor the Eco-Schools Eco Committee of the Year award, which was won by Queen Elizabeth II High School, Isle of Man. Celebrated at a ceremony in Liverpool last month, 11 awards were presented, attracting over 250 guests including environmental minister Dan Rogerson and Keep Britain Tidy’s ambassador and TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp. Commenting on the awards, Phil Barton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, says, “The Awards recognise the work over the past 60 years of Keep Britain Tidy and highlight the breadth of our activity and programmes, from the Green Flag Award to Eco-Schools and the Keep Britain Tidy Network. It is a fantastic achievement for all those who were shortlisted, and for the winners to be recognised for their continuous hard work in improving the environment for themselves and others.” —

UNIFORMALITY OPENS SECOND SHOP This month sees Claire Cockeram opening a second branch of her Derby school uniform and workwear business Uniformality. Ten years after establishing her first shop in Borrowash, a second store has opened its doors on the other side of the city in Alfreton Road, Derby. The new premises, which features a schoolwear section downstairs and work clothing on the first floor, will help the business cope with the increased trade it has witnessed over recent years. While the original Borrowash store has been outgrown, it will remain open for regular customers to whom the location is convenient. —


STAMPTASTIC JOINS SBS EVENT 2015 Stamptastic, the alternative to school uniform labels using a personalised stamp, recently attended an event for winners of Small Business Sunday (#SBS), a Twitter initiative supporting small business launched by Dragons’ Den’s Theo Paphitis. At the event, Stamptastic was able to network with fellow #SBS winners and pitch its product to two leading high-street retailers. A question and answer session with Judy Naake (sold the distribution rights to St Tropez in 2006 for £70m), Rob Forkan (owner of Gandys flip flops) and Julian Callede (CEO of also featured. Stamptastic sought the panel’s advice on diversifying and increasing its product range. “The #SBS event was extremely motivational and we received great advice and tips from other business owners,” says Stamptastic co-owner, Francesca Gubbay. “We are now inspired to take our company to the next level.” —

TRUTEX BUY-OUT The senior management team of Clitheroe school uniform specialist Trutex has concluded a management buy-out of the business. Trutex was previously bought by Leeds Private Equity investor Endless LLP in 2010. The business has enjoyed a period of significant growth and development over the last five years, restructuring its operations and investing in several new areas including an increasingly successful performance sportswear brand, AKOA. Commenting on the announcement, Trutex managing director Matthew Easter says, “Trutex has come a long way since Endless invested in the company in 2010, and it has supported us throughout its transition to the business that it has evolved into today. However, as a management team, we are keen to continue driving the business forward into its next phase, and were able to conclude the acquisition from Endless, leaving us in a stronger financial position to further the future strategy.” —

Details of how £1.6bn will be invested to create thousands of new school places across England have been outlined by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Schools Minister David Laws. Making sure there is a good local school place for every child in England that needs one is a key part of the government’s long-term plan for education. Since 2010, the government has invested more than £5bn, which has helped to create more than 445,000 new school

HUG & HATCH LAUNCHES BTS FOR 2015 Due to popular demand, children’s fashion footwear brand Hug &Hatch has added to its offer with a Back to School footwear range for 2015. “We were asked by many independent stores to design a BTS collection due to a lack of interesting Back to School shoes,” says Hug & Hatch’s co-designer and founder Laura Jacometti. The capsule collection features stylish but durable school shoes featuring the British brand’s signature stitch down soles and playful details. The range of shoes and boots is available in sizes 24-36 (UK Junior 7 to size 3) and are available to pre-order for delivery in June. Wholesale prices start at £25. —

places across the country. A further £2.05bn has been allocated for 2015-2017. — Governors at Sandbach Girls’ High School in Cheshire have agreed to introduce a proposed new uniform in phases amid complaints from parents over costs, offering a transition period of two years. Three suppliers in Sandbach have confirmed they will no longer stock the girls’ school uniform after governors elected to sell in

school and via an online shopping site. — Personalised clothing and printing firm Banana Moon is forming a new marketing strategy for the company, which includes a brand refresh, new website and increased marketing activity. Banana Moon supplies products to a raft of industries including schools, universities, nurseries and dance schools.

MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 47


THE ACCORD CWB looks into how brands, suppliers and retailers sourcing from Bangladesh can commit to safe factories by signing the Accord – an agreement designed to make all garment factories in Bangladesh safe working environments – as well as a first-hand account from Accord signatory and schoolwear supplier Rowlinson on its own Bangladesh factory New Horizon.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is an independent agreement designed to make all garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces. The agreement was created in the immediate aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse on 24 April 2013, which led to the death of more than 1,100 people and injured more than 2,000. In June 2013, an implementation plan was agreed, leading to the incorporation of the Bangladesh Accord Foundation in the Netherlands in October 2013. The Accord agreement consists of six key components: 1. A five-year legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions to ensure a safe working environment in the Bangladeshi RMG industry. 2. An independent inspection programme supported by brands in which workers and trade unions are involved. 3. Public disclosure of all factories, inspection reports, and corrective action plans. 4. A commitment by signatory brands to ensure sufficient funds are available for remediation and to maintain sourcing relationships. 5. Democratically elected health and safety committees in all factories to identify and act on health and safety risks. 6. Worker empowerment through an extensive training programme, complaints mechanism and right to refuse unsafe work. Unique aspects of the Accord programme are its very high levels of transparency and legal enforcement. It explicitly outlines the process of dispute resolution in which the outcomes can be reinforced in a court of law. This feature is unique because previously established initiatives involving corporate accountability and labour rights were basically voluntary commitments. Many US companies refuse to sign the Accord based on the legal enforceability, fearing lawsuits. However, the Accord’s legal obligations do not differ much from other business contracts companies routinely close. The fact that over 50 prominent internationally operating companies from Europe and the US did sign the Accord, confirms this. “In the past, many brands have launched similar initiatives to the Accord but have failed,” says Joris Oldenziel, head of public affairs and stakeholder engagement for the Accord. “Those initiatives were not legally binding, and their inspection reports were not

published, which often resulted in inadequate follow-ups. All reports for the Accord are published and can therefore be monitored for improvements.” PROGRESS SO FAR Although approaching its two-year mark, the Accord is still in the early stages of implementation, carrying out safety inspections of the factories. The first batch of 1,103 factories were completed in September 2014, with a second batch of 200 now being assessed. After each factory has been inspected for fire, electrical and structural safety, the factory owners and signatory companies develop a Corrective Action Plan (CAP), which is published online after approval by the Accord. The Accord has a team of engineers who monitor progress and verify implementation of CAPs through follow-up visits. After these visits, the CAPs are updated online. “This is really just the start,” says Oldenziel. “This is the stage at which the factories are inspected, not improved. We are keeping track of all the issues found on a database, which will then be updated accordingly as and when improvements are made. There are currently 11,000 issues that have been addressed but, there are another 60,000 repairs that have been issued and noted, mainly electrical problems.” The Accord is achieving fire, electrical and structural safety in factories through such measures as certified fire doors and automatic fire alarm systems. By ensuring there are adequate and unobstructed fire exits and by removing excess flammable material from areas where staff are working. Other requirements are rewiring, and sealing of wiring, removal of dust and lint from electrical components, installation of additional circuit boxes and strengthening of columns. It also requests no excess, concentrated weight in factories and for sprinkler systems to be installed in buildings over 23 metres in height. These issues are all classed as “immediate measures needed” and are concerns that can be rectified without closing a factory. So far, the Accord has seen 110 factories that have fallen into this category. Unfortunately, repairs are time consuming, especially if rebuilding or structural problems are involved. Fire hazards – where fire doors and sprinkler systems need installing – take a lot of time. Electrical repairs are easier in comparison and, as the majority of factory fires are caused by electrical faults, many accidents are already being avoided

through fixtures taking place. Progress, undoubtedly, is being made. The worst case scenario is if a factory is deemed too unsafe for production to continue, in which case the Accord will issue “immediate evacuation”. Luckily, this is a rare occurrence. “When our staff go for the initial factory inspection, they take samples of the building’s concrete to test its strength,” says Oldenziel. “The quality of the concrete determines whether the building is deemed safe or not. If not, then a full detailed engineering assessment will take place. “Less than two per cent of the inspections done so far have resulted in an ‘immediate evacuation’ scenario,” he continues. “This occurs when a factory is so dangerous that work can no longer continue – if the building’s structure is unstable, for example – and it will close until repairs have been made. It’s the last resort to close a factory for all involved – it’s not good for the workers, the factory or the brands and retailers signed up to the Accord.” REMEDIATION In order to induce factories to comply with upgrade and remediation requirements of the Accord programme, participating brands and retailers will negotiate commercial terms with their suppliers to ensure that it is financially feasible for the factories to maintain safe workplaces and comply with the remediation requirements. If building improvements are required, the signatory brands are responsible for improving safety conditions in their production units. How these improvements are financed is the responsibility of the brand – it either negotiates with its supplier, loans money, or pays for the improvements itself. The Accord’s work is carried out by a team of 50 working in Dhaka, a figure projected to grow to 100 by the end of the year. Currently this team comprises engineers for fire, electrical and structural work and individuals carrying out factory follow-up visits, of which they will visit around 200 per month. Case handlers are responsible for liaising with the brands and factories and processing complaints from factory workers reporting dangerous working conditions to the Accord, which can be done anonymously. There is also training, leadership, and support staff. “We have an office in Dhaka and will be opening another in Chittagong in the future,” says Oldenziel. “Potentially, further offices could open in areas where there are high numbers of factories to allow the Accord staff better access; travel is obviously an issue in those regions.” MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 48


WHAT NEXT? The Accord will complete in May 2018 and, while considerable progress has been made, the road ahead is still long. What happens when the Accord reaches its end is yet to be decided. Various ideas of what could follow this initiative are currently being considered, much of which is theoretical at this stage, and dependant on what the programme achieves by 2018. Further discussions are expected as the Accord nears the end of its time line, as Oldenziel concludes. “Factors that affect any future plans include how quickly we can get all the factories safe,” he says. “Because the Accord was set up partly due to lack of government inspection, we may, at the end of the process, hand over some of the inspection to the government. There is also the possibility the initiative is extended, or it could go to other countries. New and additional standards could be introduced or it could extend to new sectors. Currently it only covers the Ready Made Garment sector, but given our expertise, it could be rolled out to the textile and leather sector, too.”

CASE STUDY: ROWLINSON Eleanor Moore, 19, is studying fashion buying at Manchester University. As part of her course she visited all of schoolwear supplier Rowlinson’s factories, providing a report on each. The following extracts are from her findings after visiting Rowlinson’s Bangladesh factory, New Horizon, for which the schoolwear supplier signed the Accord to ensure safe working conditions. After spending four days in Bangladesh on work experience alongside senior management, as well as a QC officer, it was obvious why Rowlinson manufactures in New Horizon and why it plans to introduce WoolMix, a new product to be manufactured there. This is due to the skilful and low-cost labour, the efficiency of each worker, as well as the excellent organisation of garment storage and manufacture. However, the downfalls are the continual hartals (strike action), rising costs and the damaged reputation of garment manufacture in Bangladesh. BANGLADESH GARMENTS – THEN AND NOW In recent years, Bangladesh’s reputation for garment manufacture was damaged – arguably beyond repair – after media coverage of exploitation of workers and unsafe working environments, one example being the Savar building collapse, more commonly known as Rana Plaza. Rana Plaza was an eight-story commercial building located in a sub-district in the Greater Dhaka area. Originally intended for shops and offices, Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana housed a number of different garment factories in the building, employing around 5,000 people manufacturing for a number of well-known brands.

On 23 April 2013, the building was evacuated due to cracks in its structure, Sohel Rana later stated the building was safe and if the workers refused to return the next day, a month’s pay would be withheld. On 24 April, the building collapsed at around 8:57am, leaving only the ground floor intact. A total of 3,122 workers were in the building and 1,129 were dead, the rest injured. Post Rana Plaza disaster led to riots from garment workers throughout Dhaka as well as surrounding areas. Eighteen garment plants were closed down and strict new measures were set in place to ensure safety within Bangladeshi factories. Not only was the Rana Plaza disaster devastating to the workers and the country, it had a huge negative impact on the retailers who produced garments there. Rana Plaza isn’t the only example of unsafe working environments for employees, as throughout Bangladesh many factories were noted to be overcrowded and unstable due to heavy machinery. The fashion industry response was the introduction of the Accord, with a deadline of the 16 May 2013 to sign and show support for increased safety for workers, as well as raising compensation for victims and their families. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a five-year legally binding agreement between international labour organisations and retailers engaged in the textile industry to maintain safety standards. In October 2013, it was announced that 1,600 Bangladeshi factories were covered by the Accord, representing around a third of the textile industry. The Accord uses a traffic-light system, which determines whether the retailer is permitted to continue to manufacture there – Green: The factory is safe and compliant; Amber: The factory is fairly unsafe and changes should be made for improvements; Red: The factory is unsafe and should be shut down completely or while changes are made, and the retailer is not permitted to work there. To date, the Accord has carried out inspections at over 1,000 factories with over 150 retailers signed up, with 30-40 per cent of factories rated red or amber, with a cause for concern. New Horizon was inspected by the Accord in 2014 under John Lewis, and passed the inspection, therefore receiving a green light. BUYER PROFILE Rowlinson Knitwear began manufacturing in 1935 as a family run business specialising in personalised schoolwear for the UK market. It works in partnership with stockists, rather than selling directly to educational institutions. Garments are purchased from a range of different countries, and products – such as polo shirts, knitwear, and sweatshirts – from the Philippines, China, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Egypt. All international operations are managed by a full-time overseas company director based in Cambodia, as well as Rowlinson-employed QC staff in the majority of its factory operations. Rowlinson source knitted 100 per cent cotton and 50 per cent acrylic 50 per cent cotton jumpers and cardigans from New Horizon in Bangladesh, as well as an introduction of wool/acrylic jumpers in the near future.

FACTORY OVERVIEW New Horizon is a family business established in 2001 with around 450 members of staff. The minimum working age set by New Horizon is 18 and the working hours are between 8am and 6pm, with a 1.5-hour break each day, six days a week. A maximum of two hours overtime is allowed. The areas of work are samples, winding, flat knitting, linking, trimming, washing and drying, sewing and packing. New Horizon is compliant to Rowlinson’s safety regulations as well as being inspected by the Accord, which deemed it a “safe working environment”. New Horizon has in place a clear fire evacuation plan, first aid kits and a safe working environment for all workers. It is also clean and well lit, necessary for the workers and the garments produced. Quality checking in New Horizon is done just before washing on a light check, as well as before packing. Rowlinson’s own QC also works in the factory daily to ensure the quality is acceptable to the supplier’s standards. New Horizon pays $70 per month, as set by Bangladeshi government as minimum wage. The four-year working relationship between Rowlinson and New Horizon has allowed the workers to become skilful in the manufacture of its knitwear, ensuring the quality of each garment is acceptable to Rowlinson and Rowlinson’s customers. Additionally, all yarn used is sourced in Bangladesh, allowing the process to be cost effective and fairly quick. Rowlinson has subsequently decided to introduce a new garment type in its product range, which will be made in New Horizon, confirming the high standard of the factory’s work on Rowlinson’s existing products. SUMMARY Despite Bangladesh’s poor reputation for garment manufacture in the recent years due to unsafe factories and exploitation of workers, it is still a strong source for textile apparel, especially knitwear. This is due to its low-cost labour and the ability to source raw materials locally. The garment industry also provides millions of jobs for those living in Bangladesh and, alongside the introduction of the Accord, manufacturing here should now be seen more as a positive than a negative. One of the positive aspects of the growth of garment manufacture in Bangladesh is that it now employs three million women who were previously unemployed, elevating the status of women in Bangladesh. New Horizon has a close working relationship with Rowlinson after four years of working together as well as Rowlinson’s status as New Horizon’s only customer. The reason both work so well together are the consistent orders placed and the quality of each garment made meeting the quality specification the majority of the time. New Horizon has a 100 per cent record in achieving delivery to time. It is also deemed a well working, safe factory by the Accord, which complies with Rowlinson’s health and safety regulations, which is essential based on Rowlinson’s company values of Care, Trust and to Be Better. Despite the longer shipping times and expense on air freight and regular hartals, Rowlinson’s working relationship with New Horizon is a positive one that is made evident through the introduction of new garment type to be manufactured there. MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 49

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CWB BUSINESS DIRECTORY WELDON AGENCIES Established for over 25 years, two generations, covering all areas of the UK. Representing leading brands from Europe and Canada, catering for boys and girls 0 to 16 years. Styling from contemporary to traditional. FUN & FUN, LE CHIC, DEUX PAR DEUX, NO NO, BOBOLI, FOQUE, SARDON, LARANJINHA Weldon Agencies, Southport, Merseyside Tel: 01704 576033 Email:,

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MARTA SOUSA Founder of Portuguese children’s brand Patachou. Twenty-four-year-old Portuguese entrepreneur Marta Sousa tells the story of her children’s brand Patachou – a luxury offering of clothing and accessories for 0-12 years. — Laura Turner: How did your career in childrenswear unfold? Marta Sousa: I grew up surrounded by textiles. My grandmother owned a manufacturing company specialising in babywear and kidswear and my mother continued in the family business. As a child, I was fascinated by textiles and taught myself to sew before investing in my first sewing machine. I learnt to make bags and aprons, which I ended up selling. I loved business and looking for ways to make a bit of extra money. My first experience in the industry was when I was 15 years old and I went to Magic in Las Vegas – where my mother let me be the representative for her brand. She always trusted me and believed I could do a good job, so I didn’t want to let her down. My mother is my mentor and inspiration, I have learnt so much about business from her. These days, she accompanies me to trade shows and I love having her with me. I’ve always tried to be a positive person, and I really believe that if you work hard, you can achieve anything in life. LT: How did you approach launching your own brand? MS: My family’s manufacturing company has worked with many of the world’s leading children’s brands for over 27 years, so it made perfect sense for us to launch our own labels. I love baby clothes and I’ve always been fascinated by the world of business, so Patachou was my chance to bring the two together. I’ve worked very hard to ensure that Patachou is a luxury brand, but at an accessible price point, too. I didn’t want it to

“just be a brand”; I wanted it to be a concept and something that matters. LT: What is the concept behind the brand? MS: A focus on classic tailoring, traditional styling, wearable designs, high-quality fabrics and craftsmanship, but all at an affordable price point. There are some beautiful and aspirational children’s brands on the market, but so many of them are out of reach. LT: How did you get your big break with Patachou? MS: We were very lucky to have had a positive response to the brand as soon as we launched. One of our first orders was from Childrensalon, which has such a wide reach, so it really helped put us on the map. We hope our visibility in the UK will extend even further from a/w 15 when the Step2wo concessions in Harvey Nichols London, Leeds and Edinburgh will be carrying Patachou. LT: What does the brand comprise? MS: Our collection is divided into Baby (0-24 months), Mini (6-48 months) and Kids (2-14 years). Our main focus is on our extensive newborn and babywear range as well as our special occasion and partywear for babies and children. LT: What’s key for a/w 15? MS: The Newborn collection encompasses sumptuous fabrics including jersey and velvet as well as details such as lace trims. Our Mini collection features a range of special-occasion outfits for little ones, with dresses for girls and suits for boys. The Casual collection designed for everydaywear is more influenced by fashion trends. Available from 6 months to 14 years, this season’s themes include British, Mountain and Pink. Finally, the Party collection for girls aged 2-14 years is an embodiment of grace and style and features colourful prints and fabrics including jacquard, velvet and faux fur for a/w 15. LT: Which is your favourite Patachou piece to date? MS: It’s always hard to pick a favourite but, for me, it has to be a white lace dress we included in our s/s 15 collection (pictured left). It’s the perfect summer party dress, and I can’t think of a single girl who wouldn’t want to wear it – I wish it came in my size, too. LT: Are there plans to expand the brand? MS: Yes. Next season we plan to launch Patachou Home & Baby. The range will include a comprehensive selection of products, ranging from furniture and accessories to soft toys and layettes.

NAME: Marta Sousa JOB TITLE: Founder DATE OF BIRTH: 25 July 1990 PLACE OF BIRTH: Portugal NOW LIVES: Portugal

LT: Which other childrenswear brands do you admire? MS: My favourite is Baby Dior. I love it because it uses exceptional fabrics, soft colours and the styles are always so elegant. I also admire brands such as Dolce & Gabbana – it has the best prints and has perfected the “mini me” look, which I love. LT: What are your plans for the business? MS: We recently launched an e-commerce website,, to ensure customers around the world can access the brand. We’re definitely focused on international expansion – Patachou will be stocked in Barney’s New York for a/w 15 which is very exciting. LT: Tell us something we don’t know about Patachou… MS: We take social responsibility very seriously, which is why I launched the Spreading Smiles project. By working with non-governmental organisations around the world, we are committed to donating an item of clothing to a child in need for every three purchases made by our customers. I believe passionately that health, education and clothing are rights that no child should live without. MARCH/APRIL 2015 - 54

Oh...My!, launches its first ever collection in time for Autumn/Winter 2015. Described as quintessential British with an eccentric twist, Oh...My! exquisitely crafted occasional wear for little ladies aged 4 - 12yrs. For further information, please visit or email


A fresh look at kids' fashion, footwear and lifestyle products


A fresh look at kids' fashion, footwear and lifestyle products