A FRESH LOOK AT KIDS’ FASHION, FOOTWEAR AND LIFESTYLE PRODUCTS
www.cwb-online.co.uk March/April 2017 Issue 105 £9.95
A/W 17-18 TRENDS Fiona Coleman picks the key childrenswear looks BABY LOVE This season’s hottest new nursery products ATTENTION TO RETAIL Anja Stavnsbjerg on her kids’ concierge shopping service and new online store
See things differently...
16 & 17 July 2017 Business Design Centre
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CONTENTS | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
20 30 46
18: Twenty Questions with The Cotton Nappy Company, winner of Best Baby Store in the CWB Independent Retail Awards 2016
06: News 08: NCWA 10: 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 34: Style Guide Baby shoes
20: Attention to retail Anja Stavnsbjerg on her kids’ concierge shopping service and new online store 22: Steve Cochrane, MD, Psyche The Middlesbrough retailer celebrates its 35th anniversary following major investment 24: A star is born Love & Honor, winner of the a/w 17 Bubble London Rising Star Award
35: Laura Loves The coolest products for kids
26: The shoe people CWB’s pick of footwear from this season’s Bubble London
46: Talking Point Dan Nathan, co-founder, Beau & Rooster
28: A/w 17-18 trends Fiona Coleman on the key trends in childrenswear for a/w 17-18
30: Baby love This season’s new nursery products 32: Harrogate International Nursery Fair Highlights from new exhibitors showing at this year’s show
SCHOOLWEAR 39: News 40: Family ties How UK manufacturer William Turner, a leading supplier of school ties and accessories, is implementing the next phase of its business whilst preserving the company’s culture and core values Front cover:
Iglo + indi 00354 692 9263 www.igloindi.com @igloindi #igloindi
MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 03
t n e d n e Indep REtail Awa rds
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COM MENT: It’s been an exciting month in childrenswear retail, with two major players introducing key developments.
Firstly, the acclaimed, family-owned childrenswear brand Trotters unveiled its new 2,500 sq ft flagship store at High Street Kensington, presenting its full and exclusive range of childrenswear, footwear, swimwear, gifts and toys. Having opened its first Kensington shop exactly 25 years ago, the business has patiently waited for a new location and, with the perfect premises found just a short distance from the old Trotters store, has now relocated. CWB visited the store for the opening and, on speaking to the founders, can vouch that Trotters’ ethos of providing parents and children with a relaxing, fun shopping environment has unquestionably been achieved. Pushchairs and crowds are no match for the spacious, airy layout; the Jolly Trotter pirate ship installation will keep the most energetic of children engrossed with its slides and peer-through portholes; and the in-store children’s hairdressing department makes haircuts fun thanks to a giant, calming aquarium to engage young clients. The store is a true inspiration and a shining example of a childrenswear shop tailored perfectly to its customers’ needs. Another trip we paid this month was to the refreshed Little Liberty department, complete with a new look and a new direction. The space is an aesthetic delight, with its stormy dark teal walls scattered with gold stars and dark antique wood furniture perfectly setting off the collections. Brand-wise, old favourites sit alongside new faces, with those making their Little Liberty debut including London-based, Spanish-inspired fashion and accessories label La Coqueta and up-and-coming childrenswear label, Scamp & Dude. For more on Trotters’ and Little Liberty’s new looks and
Editor Laura Turner email@example.com Contributors Isabella Griffiths firstname.lastname@example.org Christina Williams email@example.com Victoria Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial assistant Rebecca Jackson email@example.com Designers Michael Podger firstname.lastname@example.org Clive Holloway email@example.com James Lindley firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Boyle email@example.com Sales executive Michele Ali firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions email@example.com Head of childrenswear Lindsay Hoyes firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial director Gill Brabham email@example.com Marketing director Stephanie Parker firstname.lastname@example.org Reprographics/printing Image Data Group Ltd 01482 652323
CWB is published 6 times per year by ITE Moda Ltd, The Old Town Hall, Lewisham Road, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5AL. Call 01484 846069 Fax 01484 846232 www.cwb-online.co.uk Copyright© 2017 CWB Magazine Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any written material or illustration in any form for any purpose, other than short extracts for review purposes, is strictly forbidden. Neither ITE Moda Ltd nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage to transparencies and any other material submitted for publication.
COMMENT | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
to follow our other store visits, check out CWB’s Instagram at @cwbmagazine. Sticking with the retail theme, we have a couple of interesting retail features this issue, including one on kids’ concierge shopping service Muddy Creatures, which recently launched an online kids’ store. On page 22, we have an interview with Steve Cochrane, MD of Psyche, a leading independent retailer of childrenswear, menswear and womenswear in Middlesbrough which, following a recent £500,000 investment, celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. Elsewhere we bring you a round-up of the a/w 17 season – from the key looks in childrenswear selected by trends expert Fiona Coleman, through to our pick of the season’s footwear and latest nursery product from Bubble London a/w 17. In schoolwear, we discover how UK manufacturer William Turner, a leading supplier of school ties and accessories, is implementing the next phase of its business whilst preserving the company’s culture and core values in our feature Family Ties, on page 40. Our next issue for June/July will bring you everything you need to know about the s/s 18 season, including an exclusive preview of the summer edition of UK kids’ trade show, Bubble London. It will also mark the launch of our third CWB Independent Retail Awards, with everything you need to know about this year’s competition. In the meantime, all of the latest industry news and CWB updates can be found at cwb-online.co.uk or via CWB’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Laura Turner Editor
CWB is a joint venture between RAS Publishing and the National Childrenswear Association.
A Buyer Series Fashion Business Publication CWB is a fashion business publication produced by ITE Moda Ltd. Other titles include WWB and MWB. ITE Moda Ltd is an ITE Group company.
MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 05
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | NEWS
CWB NEWS: START-RITE HIRES NEW FINANCE DIRECTOR
HEVEN SENT FOR KIDS Heven Sent is a new company offering exclusive, illustrated story wallpapers and interiors for children. Utilising modern styles and soft colour palettes along with vintage values, each of the wallpapers has its own story, with subjects ranging from adventures in forests through to fishing for stars in galleon ships. Other key design themes include Playtime, Holiday, Racing Rabbits and Popcorn, a flying horse. Heven Sent, which is available wholesale, designs and manufactures everything in England. The company strongly believes manufacturing locally is not only ethical and reduces impact, but helps support small local businesses, employment and keeps heritage crafts alive. —
Start-rite Shoes has appointed Robert Annison as finance director and company secretary, tasked to work with the finance, ICT and HR functions as the company continues to strengthen its business. Annison’s background began with a career in law before retraining with Big Four accountancy firm KPMG. He was also head of finance for e-commerce based Soak & Sleep, which included strategic management and HR as well as a hands-on finance role. “I have a wide range of experience covering bottom-up finance, together with broad commercial and e-commerce exposure,” says Annison. “I am excited to work with Start-rite, a company with such a rich history and fantastic brand.” —
TOOTSA TOTS LAUNCH A/w 17 saw unisex childrenswear label Tootsa (formerly Tootsa Macginty) unveil its much anticipated new baby range, Tootsa Tots. Offering a range of unisex styles in simple, graphic prints, Tootsa Tots caters for newborns and babies and is sized from 0-24 months. Highlights include soft, 100 per cent organic cotton rompers, bodies and tops with envelope necks, through to sweatpants and leggings. Pre-washed, super soft jeans and corduroys have also been cleverly adapted for babies, with deep crotches to allow for bulky nappies and reinforced knee patches for crawlers, as well as comfortable, pull-on elasticated waistbands. Tootsa’s a/w 17 collection – which goes up to eight years – is inspired by exciting adventures through the wilds of snowy Alaska and Canada. —
BUBBLE LONDON A/W 17
FRED & NOAH EXPANDS COLLECTION British brand Fred & Noah, which specialises in unisex baby leggings, is launching its first kids’ sweater collection. Available from 0-6 months up to 3-4 years, the sweaters are currently offered in two prints, Grey Cube and Mauve Stroke. Following feedback from parents that it can be a struggle to tug jumpers over babies’ heads, baby sizes feature a neckline opening. A new ABC design will launch at the end of the month and in April, the brand is introducing adult size sweaters for parents. Elsewhere, the Fred & Noah collection offers leggings for newborn to 3-4 years in a choice of 20 prints with matching organic bibs and hats. —
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This season’s Bubble London was the most dynamic yet, with increases across targeted content and innovative product areas, the number of buyers attending year-on-year and the number of independent and press visitors to the show. Confirming its status as London’s must-visit exhibition, the event featured fashion for babies and children, footwear, accessories, homewares and nursery and maternity brands. Some of this season’s highlights included the popular Rising Star Award, which saw kidswear brand Love & Honor take the crown along with a free stand at Bubble the following season. Attracting even more nursery buyers this season was Bump, Bubble’s maternity and nursery area which had a new layout and location for a/w 17, alongside pushchair installation Pushmepullyou, where British pushchair brands BabyStyle, Cosatto and iCandy showcased their latest models for visitors to road test. Commenting on the a/w 17 edition, Bubble’s event director Lindsay Hoyes, says, “We’re happy with the quality of buyers attending the show and the upturn in the number of independents travelling to London from the rest of the UK and overseas, including Australia, India, South Korea and the US, as well as healthy numbers from Ireland and Europe.” The s/s 18 edition of Bubble London will take place on 16-17 July 2017 at the BDC, Islington. —
BLADE & ROSE INTRODUCES SUMMER LINE This year sees children’s fashion brand Blade & Rose, who specialises in leggings featuring designs on the bottom, launch its first exclusive spring/summer collection. The debut offering, which features brightly coloured vest tops, T-shirts and baby shorts with the brand’s signature design on the bottom, includes a Butterfly, Ship, Hot Air Balloon, Fairground, Ice Cream and Feather design. The Blade & Rose product range also includes children’s hats, tops, socks, bibs and a recently introduced range of soft toys. —
NEWS | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
STRATEGIC APPOINTMENT FOR FRUGI
NEW LUXURY GIFTING CONCEPT The BeauBox is a new supplier of luxury gift boxes for new and expectant mums and their babies. Catering for all, the gender neutral gifts are presented in premium monochrome boxes, which range from ‘The Mini One’ retailing at £25 up to ‘The Cool One’ at £150. The BeauBox offers an edited selection of brands including Jem + Bea, Bloom & Blossom, Balance Me Beauty, Molly & Moo, Rousso & Blossom, Fox’s Felts, Show Beauty Haircare, So Soy Candles, Wonder & Rah and Noodoll. Commenting on the launch, company founder Frankie Harrison says, “We are incredibly excited to showcase our beautiful boxes. As a mum myself, I feel confident that this will be the must-have gift for new mums. Everything from the packaging to the treats inside makes it a special experience.” —
Organic and ethical childrenswear brand Frugi has appointed Jaco Coetzee to head up its fast-growing e-commerce division, which has doubled in size in recent months. As head of e-commerce, Coetzee is responsible for increasing the brand’s direct online sales and targeting a UK and international customer base. He is also tasked with implementing a number of new features for welovefrugi.com and making general improvements to enhance the customer experience. One of Coetzee’s first assignments is to introduce dual currency for those buying from Europe. Within this, he will be responsible for improving the customer experience and catering for local demands of customers in other markets. This will be done through implementing local language and localised payment and delivery methods, initially throughout key parts of Europe, but with a long-term goal to support further afield. —
DEMAND FOR BRITISH-MADE
SMILEY INTRODUCES ORIGINALS
A growing appetite for products made in Britain is set to be reflected in this year’s Meet the Manufacturer event organised by Make it British, which takes place on 24-25 May at The Old Truman Brewery, London. “We’ve been inundated with enquiries since our last event from people not only looking for manufacturers to help them make their product in the UK, but also from people who would like to buy from brands that are making in Britain,” confirms Kate Hills, founder and CEO of Make it British. “That’s why we’re introducing a new ‘brands hall’ at our next event.” For the first time, Meet the Manufacturer is giving a selection of creative businesses the opportunity to showcase their distinct and inspirational labels in a dedicated ‘brands hall’. Companies include Wild Things, creator of imaginative play clothes for children that are handmade in the UK. —
The Smiley Company has launched Smiley Originals, a new signature kids’ collection from Smiley. Developed in partnership with Camfoni, the team behind the kids’ line for designer Christian Lacroix, the upscale apparel collection targets boys and girls aged 2-16 years. “We are launching a Smiley Originals fashion collection for upscale kids’ boutiques and department stores for the first time,” says Smiley CEO, Nicolas Loufrani. “We believe that after all the positioning work we have done with our collaborations with the likes of Moschino, Fendi, Anya Hindmarch and Moncler, that there is an appetite for more sophisticated consumers to buy quality and stylish Smiley garments.” Smiley Originals kids mixes sporty cuts and tailored separates alongside denim pieces in order to demonstrate the collection’s versatile aesthetic. Subtle and classic Smiley embroidery features across all pieces to add a premium dimension to the classic icon. —
NEWS IN BRIEF
— With an emerging middle class, improved access to the internet, and the strengthening of m-commerce, shoppers in China are increasingly looking to British luxury retailers to fulfil their fashion needs. This, coupled with the general perception that British brands are of superior quality, has seen the UK become the fifth largest overseas market for Chinese shoppers, supplying 11.2 per cent of all goods purchased there.
ISOSSY CHILDREN AT LFW 2017 At London Fashion Week 2017 (LFW), childrenswear label Isossy Children reminded the world of the beauty of inclusion, voicing its ethos of children growing up and living in our diverse world with confidence, individuality and self-belief. Showcasing its new a/w 17 collection ‘Passion and Play’ at LFW, the brand explored textiles and textures, mixing leather and feathers, velvet and velour, chiffon and lace, and scuba and neoprene for boys and girls age 2- 12 years. —
ORGANIC TEXTILES GROWTH The recent Soil Association’s 2017 Organic Market Report has revealed an increased and sustained interest in organic textiles. Overall this year, Soil Association Certification licensees increased sales by 30 per cent to £28 million. A significant growth driver is that more consumers now recognise the importance of organic when making ethical and sustainable purchasing decisions. Overall, the UK organic market is evolving from food into lifestyle, with greater crossover predicted between people who buy organic food and non-food items, including textiles. Key findings include a five per cent sales growth in babywear within Soil Association Certification licensees. Additionally, childrenswear remains the largest textiles category in the UK. —
— Last month Sleepyhead of Sweden launched a pop-up event to mark the launch of the Sleepyhead brand at Harrods. As part of the launch, Harrods is exclusively offering the Night Night pod and cover by the famed Swedish brand, Mrs. Mighetto. Known for its watercolor prints of mystical creatures, Mrs. Mighetto has created an exclusive new cover depicting a whimsical world nestled high up in the clouds.
— Babywear brand From Babies with Love has launched a collection of toys featuring a pull-along wooden duck family and a set of wooden nautical nesting cubes. The wooden duck family comprises the brand’s popular duck character as a parent along with two ducklings, while the nautical nesting cubes feature colourful, educational designs including a family of Angel Fish, a lighthouse, numbers and shapes.
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WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | NCWA NEWS
NCWA NEWS: The latest news from the National Childrenswear Association EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COMMENT: The recent business rates reviews, in England and in Scotland, have been met with fierce criticism, particularly from independent retailers. Winners there may be, but they do not seem to be among small, independent shops. The resulting cries from backbench MPs may lead to some remedial help being made available (in England). One has to ask, however, whether it is not time for the Government (and the devolved administrations) to re-examine a system which appears to favour the large over the small and is too closely linked to property values, with scant regard to the beneficial impact that independent retailers (and other small businesses) bring and to the further damage that may be wrought on our high streets. A vibrant independent retail sector is vital too for brands and for agents, both of which may also be facing business rate increases. Do please let me know if you are one of the losers, whether you are a retailer, manufacturer/supplier or agent, and do write to your MP or MSP, to ensure he or she properly understands the impact that the review will have on their constituents. During my two days at Bubble London, I was struck by the number of people planning to open businesses. The amount of research most of them had done was impressive, as was their wish to know what membership of NCWA could offer them. One recurring topic was the legislation and standards that apply to childrenswear. I was able to outline the responsibilities that all those in the industry have, not least the obligation to make and to sell safe products. NCWA’s seminars on the safety of childrenswear are well regarded, offering as they do advice and information on what is a ‘safe’ product. They are presented by Sue Bolton, the Convener of the European Standards Working Group on the Safety of Childrenswear. The next seminar is being held on 5 April, at our offices in Central London. The all-day seminar covers Cords and Drawstrings and Mechanical Safety (including buttons, zips, sequins, broken needle policy and much more). Participants are encouraged to bring along garments they may have queries with and a certificate is issued to all those who attend. If you are not a member of NCWA, join now so that you can attend the seminar. You can join online, www.ncwa.co.uk, or speak to Michelle Payne in the NCWA office, 020 7843 9488, or e-mail email@example.com. Details on all that NCWA does and offers can also be found on our website and membership starts at £95+VAT per annum.
Elizabeth P Fox
NCWA Council: Chairman: DAVID HULL Agent Vice Chairman: VIRGINIA ROSS Pollyanna Retailer Imm Past Chairman: SHARON BEARDSWORTH Emile et Rose Manufacturer Treasurer: DAVID BURGESS David Luke Ltd Manufacturer
Executive Director: ELIZABETH FOX
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www.thechildrenscarousel.com Providing a diverse offering of contemporary clothing and designers, online retailer The Children’s Carousel has amassed a large following since it began in 2010. Offering styles with a modern and urban edge, customers can browse the likes of Billieblush, Chua, Mim-Pi, Timberland, Miranda, A-Dee and Mini Melissa. The store’s latest website design is relatively new, coming into effect last December. The new site also hosts a blog, which highlights new season looks and behind the scenes videos. An additional section promotes any sale items.
CACHET KIDS 2 Fir Tree Place, Church Road, Ashford, Middlesex Established in March 2004, Cachet Kids specialise in baby and children’s clothing, shoes and accessories. With a particular focus on Spanish clothing, the store stocks a lot of traditional styles under the categories occasion, christening and communionwear. Brands include the likes of Sarah Louise, Miranda, Cuquito Shoes, Emile et Rose, Elle, Pretty Originals, Girandola, Mayoral, Dolce Petit and Leon Shoes. In-store favourites include Sarah Louise boys’ suits and robes, Gabrielle christeningwear and Little Darlings christening gowns and christening robes. The store also prides itself on stocking some of the harder to find items including baby boy braces, baby patent shoes, baby ties, bow ties and cravats.
Make your voice heard
Council Members: MARK BARNETT Barnett Agencies Agent NUALA MCKENNA Nuala McKenna Agencies Agent DIANE SHAW Agent SARAH TAYLOR Agent MALCOLM TRAVIS Travis Designs Manufacturer RACHEL RILEY Rachel Riley Manufacturer JILLIAN PETRIE Young Trend Retailer DAVID PARKER Baby Melanie Retailer President: KEN SCATES Marketing consultant Vice Presidents: LESLEY FALLON Retail consultant JACKIE COOK Retail consultant
THE CHILDREN’S CAROUSEL
• Membership is open to everyone involved in the British childrenswear industry.
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• Associate membership, open to non-British organisations, is now available. • Membership costs from £95.
NCWA NEWS | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
PLATYPUS AUSTRALIA LAUNCHES ECO-SHORT
INVESTMENT IN YOUNG FASHION INDUSTRY TECHNICIANS
Platypus Australia, the global UV swimwear brand for children aged 0-14, is launching new eco-friendly boardshorts for boys for 2017. Crafted from a new fabric made from 58 per cent recycled bottles and 48 per cent polyester microfibre, the shorts are quick drying, breathable and UPF50+, with the added benefit of being sustainable. Elsewhere for 2017, the collection sees new sun protective swimwear and beachwear featuring never-before-seen prints in practical yet stylish silhouettes. Key pieces include cropped rash guards, capped sleeve one pieces and flounce bikinis for girls and a T-shirt rash guard with a pocket for boys. The 2017 collection also features performance items such as high neck athletic style bikinis, keyhole one-pieces and athleisure leggings. —
Five students at Fashion Enter’s garment manufacturing training centre in North London have been awarded £1,500 bursaries by Alvanon, the global apparel business expert. Fashion Enter is recognised throughout the British fashion and textiles industry as a centre of excellence for sampling, grading and production and for its role in cultivating fashion-related skills in Britain. Alvanon hopes to improve the industry by providing the best research, tools and training to industry professionals, as well as to future generations entering the fashion industry. The bursaries are being used to fund the students’ participation in Fashion Enter courses, which are essential to becoming professional patternmakers, technical designers and sewers. —
MINI A TURE LAUNCHES NOS COLLECTION Danish childrenswear brand Mini A Ture has introduced a new, never out of stock collection, which it is calling the Mini A Ture Essentials Collection. Consisting of four stories – Cotton Dot, Wool Stripes, Pointelle Wool Bamboo and Wool Bamboo – each story comprises a body, bottoms, all-in-one, a T-shirt and a dress, which are offered in different colourways, textures and designs. The brand’s UK agent, Solobi, has received hugely positive feedback since launching Mini A Ture Essentials Collection in January. Wholesale prices range from £4.50 to £13. —
NEW PRINTS FROM ADEN + ANAIS
FRUGI APPOINTS GERMAN AGENT
CHERRY ON THE CAKE FOR RACHEL RILEY
Babycare brand aden + anais is introducing four new print collections for s/s 17 available across a variety of products including swaddles, a sleeping bag, ‘musys’, snap bibs, bandana bibs and a blanket. Leader of the Pack is a gender-neutral collection comprising four prints. Designs include a grey and white stripe, a triangle design, a bicycle and a lion. The Lovebird collection for girls uses pinks and greys with two variations of a heart print, an owl and bird design, and a bird cage print. Lovestruck offers a monochrome collection in greys and black including a skull and crossbow, a black and white stripe, a grey and black graphic design and the ‘lovestruck’ arrow design. Finally, the Thistle collection for girls features prints in soft pink, purple and blue hues, with a sleeping owl, a blue and white stripe, a hedgehog and a graphic pink and white print. —
Frugi has appointed German agency Modeagentur Timm to support its expanding customer base in the country. Modeagentur Timm has over 10 years’ experience in children’s fashion, with a focus on building long-lasting relationships with brands. The agency has connections with over 500 independent retailers, as well as some large department stores, enabling it to provide support across the country. Frugi’s commercial director Caroline Flood is confident Modeagentur Timm will provide the support the brand needs to continue prospering in the German market, which now accounts for nearly 30 per cent of its total wholesale business. “Germany is second only in sales turnover to the UK,” Flood says. “Modeagentur Timm covers the length and breadth of Germany and also has a permanent showroom in Hamburg as well as a marketing/PR manager who will be instrumental in raising our brand awareness further.” —
For a/w 17, Bubble London teamed up with London artisan bakery BKD, inviting selected kids’ retailers to take part in an Ice Challenge at the show. Participants were invited to decorate their own Bubble-themed biscuits for the chance to win a BKD workshop for the store. Rachel Riley was crowned the best in-show icer and will be hosting her BKD event later in the year. “Bubble excites us with a new activity, whether it be a catwalk show, interesting discussion panels or competitions,” comments Riley, on her involvement with Bubble’s BKD Challenge. “Having exhibited at the show since it first began, we have enjoyed growing our customer base there. It is always a joy to meet with long-term customers and to make new contacts. The show always provides us with a diverse audience and is a great showcase to launch our new selling season.” —
NEWS IN BRIEF
— An NCWA members’ only seminar on Cords and Drawstrings/Mechanical Safety of Childrenswear takes place on 5 April. The third version of BS EN14682, the European Cords and Drawstrings Standard, was published in December 2014 having been redrafted by the European Standards Working Group on the Safety of Childrenswear. Contact Michelle at NCWA on 020 7843 9488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
— For s/s 17, Angel’s Face is launching the Resort Staycation Collection featuring the Romantic Lace range, which includes a skirt, cardigan, dress top and jumper. Also key are cotton cardigans with iridescent wings on the back, princess skirts with an elasticated waist and layers of super soft tulle lined with jersey, and the Military Jacket, a versatile, soft denim jacket.
— Hosiery brand mp Denmark, which is represented in the UK by kidswear agency Breitenstein Agencies, provides three collections to cover all hosiery needs. Mp fashion offers two seasonal collections per year comprising socks, tights and knit accessories. For basic styles, there is mp basic trend colours collection while the year-round mp basic collection is available in a variety of fibres. MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 09
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | BUSINESS
Open for business Bringing you straight-talking legal and business advice. —
STEPHEN SIDKIN Partner in Fox Williams LLP www.agentlaw.co.uk www.fashionlaw.co.uk
KAREN SHAW Business development manager at Fashione and former fashion retail business owner. www.fashione.co.uk
AGENTS AND DISTRIBUTORS: THE ISSUES OF CONFIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL INFORMATION AND PERSONAL DATA
HOW TO VALUE THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA AND CONTINUALLY REACT TO IT
The UK is one of the world’s most advanced digital economies and this is both a strength and a weakness, according to a report issued by BBC News on 13 February. Principals and suppliers and agents and distributors are exchanging confidential information and data on a daily basis. Often this is facilitated by the provision of laptops, tablets and mobiles by principals to their agents or by the creation of an intranet by a supplier with its distributors. Often too, agency and distributorship agreements make reference to the obligation on the agent or distributor to use confidential information only in the performance of their contractual duties and not to disclose it to third parties. But that is where the contractual provisions usually end. So what should principals and suppliers be thinking about when it comes to confidential information and data?
Invest in analytics and IT for strategic buying Review all of your operating metrics regularly to foresee what changes might need to be implemented. By applying a good retail management system, you can take action before a small spark becomes a wildfire. With the Fashione EPOS system, you can view daily, weekly and monthly reports on the metrics affecting your business, ensuring you are armed with the best knowledge when buying. You can analyse stock lines that are performing well and those which are not, adjusting your buying strategy accordingly.
The agent The starting point is whether the principal provides the agent with a laptop, tablet or mobile. If so, the agency agreement should require the agent to keep the device secure at all times. Further if the device is lost, the agent should be required to reimburse the cost. Sometimes the agent will be able to access the principal’s computer system. In this situation there should be an obligation on the agent to keep usernames and passwords secret and to keep its own data security up to date. The Data Protection Act requires businesses handling confidential information or personal data of the another business to keep this data secure. Agents are businesses and subject to the Act. Where notice of termination of an agency agreement is given, the agreement can be expected to require the return of the device. But where the device is owned by the agent, the agreement should require the agent to pass the device to the principal so it can be wiped of confidential commercial information and personal data. Whilst agency law does impose obligations of confidentiality and a duty of good faith on an agent, without specific contractual provisions a principal can be left exposed to the misuse of confidential information and data by an agent.
Get to know your customers better Getting to know your clients is one of the best way to improve your product or service. Personal touches, like remembering an individual’s preferences, can be an effective way to set yourself apart. With the Fashione EPOS, you can view your customers’ spending history at the touch of a button, making in-store sales easier.
The distributor The disclosure and use of confidential information and issues concerning cybersecurity are much more open in the case of distributors. The starting point here is that a distributor will be required by common law to keep confidential that information which is confidential. But in order for the supplier to be protected, the distributorship agreement should include specific provisions addressing issues concerning the disclosure and use of confidential information. In respect of cybersecurity, whilst many suppliers will rely on their own data security, there is good reason to require distributors to install and maintain data security and, where appropriate, to take steps to avoid hacking by third parties. To minimise the damage from a data security breach should one occur, it will be essential for all parties to develop and implement an ‘incident response plan’ to highlight each party’s responsibilities in respect of data security. Overall Whether in respect of agents or distributors, it is often when things go wrong on termination of the agency or distributorship agreement that issues concerning confidential commercial information and data security arise. But invariably, prevention is better than cure. © 2017 Fox Williams LLP
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Be proactive with promotions and events Careful planning to promote your collections regularly is important. Social media has become such an incredible tool for businesses; Instagram is particularly good for kidswear boutiques, allowing you to be creative with photography of your collections and store. In-store events are also a must and don’t have to cost a fortune. There is no better way to draw in customers than with a VIP event and school holidays are a great time to do something child-friendly in-store. Using the Fashione EPOS system you can export your customers from the system to a tool such as MailChimp, in order to send an e-shot to let them know of any seasonal events. You can invite all of your customers or if space is limited, identify ones that buy certain collections. Reward customers and make shopping easy With increased competition from the high street and online, it’s important to offer more than great products to make sales. Introducing a loyalty scheme encourages repeat spending and customer retention. The Fashione EPOS system allows you to run a loyalty scheme with credit card style loyalty cards that can be designed to suit your store image and branding. Also, particularly advantageous to kidswear stores, is our customer accounts and layover management module. This allows customers to pay for saved items in instalments, which is hugely appealing to parents. For more information call 01257 220 205 or email email@example.com
BUSINESS | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
Three retailers share their inside knowledge of the nursery industry, expanding on the latest innovations in the sector. —
CERI SEELEY Owner of Bocs Babi, Bangor, Wales
How was business in 2016? 2016 was a good year – especially towards the end of the year, we were surprised to be much busier than usual. December is usually a quiet time, but 2016 seemed to have bucked the trend. We had pre-warned our customers about some of the price rises in January, and so they took advantage of the lower prices in December. Some customers were expecting price rises, in comparison to years gone by when they’ve expected everything on display to be part of a January or New Year sale. What were last year’s must-have nursery buys? Last year’s must-have was by far the Egg stroller, especially in the royal colourway, although towards the end of 2016 interest in the Jurassic black model had grown. Have you noticed any recent trends in terms of what parents are looking for in nursery product? We’ve seen customers who want more from their products, iCandy’s MiChair is the perfect example, an innovative product that can be used from birth, for years to come. This has been a popular line since its launch and was our stand-out product for 2016. How do you compete with the high street as an independent? Offering great customer service is the way to stand out from the crowd, as well as stocking those independent exclusives by the likes of Egg and BabyStyle. It’s also great to see that the new iCandy Orange will be an in-store purchase and not available to buy online, thus creating footfall into our stores to showcase those products, where, hopefully, our knowledge of the brands can shine through.
HEATHER BOOTH Co-owner of Expecting Mum & Baby, York, North Yorkshire
How was business in 2016? After the EU referendum in June there seemed to be a lot of uncertainty nationwide; however, sales picked up from June onwards and continued this trend right through to the end of the year. As the majority of our suppliers are UK-based, we have so far been reasonably well-insulated from the fall in the exchange rate. We started selling toys in January 2016, which helped boost business, especially during the busy run-up to Christmas. Which product categories are performing best for you? It very much depends on the time of year. Toys are very popular in the run-up to Christmas, but at this time of year we’re starting to see more women looking for maternity and nursing wear. Gifts for new babies are popular all year round. People like to buy special outfits as gifts for newborns and so we’ve expanded our range of these. Have you seen any stand-out innovations within the nursery sector recently? Neckerchews by Cheeky Chompers are one of the stand-outs for us. Bibs and teethers have always been used, but never together until this very clever idea came about. The fact that it’s stylish as well as practical makes it incredibly popular. How do you compete with the high street as a nursery independent? We don’t even try to compete on a price level as we can’t. The high street stores buy in much higher volumes so they can buy at cheaper prices than we can. Instead, we constantly look for fresh, innovative products that are new to the market, rather than offering the same as the big chains and trying to fight for business in an already overcrowded market place. As a result, we have built up a reputation for selling unusual, quirky products that the high street stores don’t tend to carry. We also endeavour to offer a high-quality and much more personal service than the chain stores do.
SARAH MARSH Owner of The Little People’s Boutique & The Baby Boutique, Carlisle
How was business in 2016? We opened last year in a small space and found that we were so busy that we had to move premises. Due to demand we’re now in a larger space in Carlisle. Business has been very good over the past year and we’ve established a great customer base from the offset. What were last year’s must-have nursery buys? Venicci prams were very popular with us. We’ve sold out of them a few times, so we now stock the full range in-store. Nobody in the area had heard of the prams before we started selling them and they’ve been a success with our customers. We also stock a lot of Spanish brands – these are really popular at the moment. Which product categories are performing best for you? Any that haven’t worked so well? Obviously, prams have sold really well. For us, nursery furniture is a massive flop. We have a chest of drawers on display and we haven’t been able to sell it. I think people tend to go online to buy nursery furniture, so it’s something that hasn’t worked for us. How do you compete with the high street as an independent? I stay on top of the latest trends and make sure I know if there’s anything new coming out. It’s having a bit of sense and knowing that you can’t do the same thing as the chain stores because you can’t compete in the same way. We don’t offer the same things as the chain stores, such as brands like Bugaboo or Silver Cross. We offer unique products, of which approximately 80 per cent are either handmade or Spanish brands.
MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 11
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WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | RETAIL
RETAIL THERAPY We reveal our favourite independent boutiques as well as news and store events from the world of childrenswear retail.
BUTTERCUP 16 Harbour Street, Whitstable, Kent Established in 2012, Buttercup in Whitstable is a shining example of a thriving independent children’s boutique. Owner Mary-Jane Higginson left a career in teaching to open the shop, having previously taught secondary students to A-Level as head of design and technology, as well as training in toy design. Higginson now applies her eye for the aesthetically pleasing to buying and curating her shop, sourcing everything from books and traditional wooden toys with a contemporary twist, through to babies’ and children’s clothing and shoes and lifestyle pieces for children’s rooms. In terms of clothing, brands stocked include Tobias & the Bear, Coco & Wolf, Amy & Ivor and a range of hand knits. Toys are available from the likes of Bajo Wooden Toys, Moulin Roty, Djeco, PlanToys and Melissa & Doug, while lifestyle product can be found from Meri Meri, Wee Gallery and Love Mae. Higginson has a very defined criteria when buying. Everything Buttercup stocks has a focus on sustainable, ethical and organic production, while toys have to meet the added standards of being gender-neutral, well designed for their intended purpose and with a strong emphasis on learning through play. Subsequently, merchandising of the store reflects these values; non-gender defined, playful and strong. In-store events form another important element of the business, with Buttercup playing host to everything from visiting authors doing book readings for children, through to activity events, a recent example being a ‘Make a pair of baby moccasins’ class for parents run by footwear designer, Rose Choules. Other events are tied into occasions in the local town, such as the Whitstable Oyster Festival. A frequent user of Instagram, as well as using the platform to engage with customers and brands, Buttercup regularly gets involved with ‘loop’ giveaways. Check out the store’s account at @buttercupwhitstable. www.buttercupwhitstable.co.uk 14 - MARCH/APRIL 2017
RETAIL | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
STEP2WO Harvey Nichols, Manchester and Fenwick, Colchester Luxury children’s retailer Step2wo has opened two new concessions; one in Harvey Nichols, Manchester and one in Fenwick, Colchester. The Fenwick concession, which opened in February on the store’s lower ground floor, exclusively comprises footwear. Serving age 0-14 years, the 400 sq ft department features Step2wo’s own baby and children’s range alongside brands such as Start-rite, Geox, Lelli Kelly, Adidas, Nike, Converse and Hunter. Meanwhile, Step2wo’s concession in Harvey Nichols, Manchester, opened on 4 March. This 1,000 sq ft area offers childrenswear and footwear for 0-14 years, with exclusive labels including the Lanvin s/s 17 collection. www.step2wo.com
LOBELLA LOVES LobellaLoves.com is a new UK online destination for baby and toddler brands. The website, which launches in May to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, will donate a percentage of every sale to Cocoon Family Support, a charity that helps mothers with pre- and postnatal mental health issues. Founder Jo Love’s aim, with the help of Lobella Loves, is to raise awareness, fight stigma and help provide support. In terms of product, the curated collection ranges from clothing, toys and party accessories through to nursery essentials and gifts for both mum and baby. Brands include Lala + Zizo, Bimble Shoes, Panda and Ping, Mini Maison, Ciao Bambino, Bo and Bel, KeriKit, Squidge & Pip and Two Little Magpies. www.lobellaloves.com
THE WHITE COMPANY UPSIZES AT BLUEWATER The White Company is almost doubling in size at Bluewater to create a 5,881 sq ft statement store on the retail and leisure destination’s lower Guildhall. Due to open for spring 2017, the store evolves The White Company’s classic look to create a calm and inviting retail experience. It will combine the brand’s complete range of lifestyle products, from The Little White Company’s childrenswear, womenswear and accessories, through to homewares and beauty products.
BERTHA & CO Launched in January, berthaandco.com is a new online shopping platform created exclusively for British children’s brands encompassing everything from baby essentials through to children’s clothing, toys and partyware. The offer focuses on the luxury end of the market, with an emphasis on organic and ethical products and home-grown design. Inspired by a period that founder Liz Knight spent volunteering at an orphanage in India, Bertha and Co also donates 5 per cent of its profits to support mothers and children worldwide, with its current charities being War Child UK and Maternity Worldwide. www.berthaandco.com
HOUSE OF FRASER TO OPEN CHESTER STORE Premium department store group House of Fraser is set to open an anchor store at the new Chester Northgate retail and leisure complex in Cheshire. Chester Northgate is the 500,000 sq ft redevelopment of Chester city centre and is among the most comprehensive city centre developments in the last decade. The new House of Fraser store, due to open in 2021 with around 100,000 sq ft of retail space over three floors, will accommodate a multichannel, modern experience-led retail offering.
Retail news in brief: DESIGNER OUTLETS REPORT STRONG PERFORMANCE
NEW HEAD OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS AT JOHN LEWIS
Hermes Investment Management, which runs designer outlet malls Clarks Village in Somerset, Freeport Braintree in Essex and Junction 32 in West Yorkshire, has reported a collective sales increase of 6.7 per cent and rise in footfall by 5.8 per cent in 2016 across the three sites. The three retail outlet destinations annually welcome approximately 10.6 million visitors and offer a combined total of 262 stores and 20 cafes and restaurants, covering a total footprint of 690,000 sq ft.
The John Lewis Partnership has appointed Clayton Hirst to the role of group head of corporate affairs. Hirst, who will take up the position on 24 April, joins from Virgin Media, where he has served as director of external communications since 2015. Hirst has two decades’ experience in communications, media and public policy. Prior to joining Virgin Media, he spent 10 years at the regulator Ofcom in a number of roles, before becoming its director of communications in 2010.
H&M TO OPEN IN REDHILL Swedish fashion chain H&M is set to open a new store in Belfry Shopping Centre, Redhill, Surrey on 30 March. Trading across two floors, the store will cover 1,688 sqm of sales space offering women’s, men’s, Divided and kidswear collections. “H&M is delighted to be opening a new store in Redhill, Surrey. This location is an exciting opportunity for the brand to expand and bring our fantastic fashion offering to new customers,” says H&M’s country manager UK & IE, Carlos Duarte. MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 15
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | EDITOR’S PICK
BRANDS To Watch CWB editor Laura Turner selects the must-have collections to get in-store. —
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01: TIOOM ET MÈRE
02: LITTLE LORD & LADY
Established last year in Seoul, South Korea, Tioom et Mère is a childrenswear label for boys and girls aged 2-10 years. The brand name, chosen by its French-born founder, is a combination of the Korean word tioom, which means a ‘sprout’, and mère, French for ‘mum’, reflecting the label’s ethos of creating clothing for sprouting kids. Designed with comfort in mind, Tioom et Mère has a classic French feel and high-quality materials, such as cotton flannel, corduroy, linen and wool, are key, as is the use of traditional French patterns. The collection currently offers around 20 pieces but is expected to grow. www.en.tioometmere.com
Designed in England and inspired by British heritage, Little Lord & Lady caters for six months to eight years. Seasonal collections feature playful combinations, while bespoke prints, embroidery and fine detailing create a distinguished yet timeless look. Following an impressive debut for s/s 17, the a/w 17 collection, titled Night at the Theatre, sees the brand growing its ranges into two stories each for boys and girls. Tweeds, corduroy and fine leathers feature for boys, as do suits, shirts, bow ties and hats. For girls, there are silks, velvets and cashmeres, with full skirts and clean top lines key. www.littlelordandlady.co.uk
EDITOR’S PICK | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
05 03: SENSE ORGANICS
New to UK childrenswear agency Little Icons for a/w 17 is organic and fair trade childrenswear label Sense Organics. Having established the brand in 1996, founder Kirsten Weihe-Keidel has been championing eco cotton production for almost two decades. The collection for 0-8 years combines soft, durable and fashionable clothing that is responsibly and sustainably manufactured, with a supply chain based on organic and socially certified long-term partners. Highlights include non-seasonal baby essentials that can be ordered throughout the year and a basics collection, which includes a premature range. www.sense-organics.com www.littleicons.co.uk
Icelandic brand iglo+indi has been successfully creating standout childrenswear collections since 2008. This organic label, which is manufactured in Portugal, is all about crisp colours, unique prints and playfulness, with the aim being for children to mix and match their own outfits without limitations. Handmade illustrations, carefully selected colours, comfortable cuts and soft organic, certified fabrics make iglo+indi a creative and fun brand for 0-11 years. The new a/w 17 collection, Reykjavík Heroes, draws inspiration from the early 90s and includes stars, cats, wolves, tigers and camo. www.igloindi.com
Established this year, Irish childrenswear label AAMcEvoy showcased its debut collection at the a/w 17 edition of Bubble London. Founded on the basis of providing an alternative in organic baby clothing, the brand avoids typical colourways such as oatmeal, pink and blue, in favour of dramatic charcoal and henna shades. The first collection for 0-3 years is very much mix and match for boys and girls and includes a bonnet, bib, jumper, long and short sleeve dress, harem pants, leggings, a blanket and bootees. Emphasis is placed on comfort and ease of access for changing, with no buttons or ‘snaps’ involved in any of the garments. www.aamcevoy.com MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 17
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | CWB RETAIL AWARDS
TWENTY QUESTIONS WITH... Anna Leeksma, owner of The Cotton Nappy Company in Leamington Spa and winner of the Best Baby Store category in the CWB Independent Retail Awards 2016. — people, giving customers time and advice to enable them to make an informed choice in their purchase. 6. How did you decide on the shop name? At the time we opened, the backbone of the company was washable nappies, so it had to be a name that left people in no doubt as to what we sold. 7. Do you have a business mentor? No.
1. What’s an average day in your job? Meeting new and expectant parents, giving them unbiased advice on a range of baby products, including cloth nappies, slings and baby carriers and providing something above and beyond a ‘normal’ retail experience with excellent customer service. 2. Was retail something you always wanted to work in? Not initially, no, but once I had children, I realised there was a gap in the market for shops selling natural, ethical baby goods. As this was important to me as a parent, I decided to fill the ‘gap’ and provide local customers – and those nationally, through online sales – with the opportunity to buy natural parenting products. 3 .What do you love most about your job? My background is midwifery and I love spending time with pregnant women and their families at such a precious time in their lives; it’s incredibly rewarding. 4. And your least favourite part? Keeping on top of stock control during busy sales periods. 5. What motivates you in your work? Seeing that we are making a difference to
8. Which other independents do you admire? We have lots of independent businesses in Leamington where we’re based and I admire them all, for their excellent customer service and the fact that we work together to promote each other. Cross promotion can only be a benefit to us all in an ever-increasing internet based shopping culture. 9. Which is your favourite brand? It has to be Tots Bots, which sells a range of modern cloth nappies and accessories. We love the background to the business, the fact it is up to date and frequently releases new products and designs, plus the quality is amazing. It also has a very ethical business model and the products are made in the UK, which we obviously like to support. 10. If you launched your own brand, what would it be? Probably nappies. 11. If budget was unlimited, what would your dream store be? A place where customers could come and spend time browsing and getting advice as they do now, but also with the addition of a child-friendly café. More rooms for babyrelated treatments would be an advantage, too. 12. What’s been your strangest customer request? A man wanting to buy a muslin nappy to strain his jam. 13. Who is your dream customer? Someone who comes in to the shop having heard of the benefits of cloth nappies and
wants all the advice available on which one to go for. 14. What is the best piece of business advice you’ve received? Source the most up to date products and only sell products that ooze quality. 15. And the worst? I don’t feel I have had any ‘bad’ business advice. I have certainly made a few mistakes, but I look at those as opportunities to learn and grow. 16. What do you wish you’d known before opening The Cotton Nappy Company? That it will absorb most of my time and my brain doesn’t switch off. 17. What is your greatest achievement career-wise? I’ve loved being a midwife, but also opening The Cotton Nappy Company, which is still quite a unique business in many ways. I’ve really enjoyed developing the shop over the years, too, particularly the opening of our new sensory room, which has proved to be extremely successful. Instead of mums just going to a coffee shop, which only really benefits them, the sensory room gives both mum and baby an equally enjoyable outing. 18. Where do you find inspiration? I have found much of my inspiration from my grandfather, who was always looking for the next project and sharing his ideas with myself and other members of the family. 19. Where do you see your business in five years’ time? We are hoping to extend the shop and start selling other baby products, including wheeled goods, as well as offering more services to local parents. We are in the process of designing a new website, too. 20. How are you promoting being a CWB Independent Retail Award winner? We continue to promote our win in newsletters, press releases, in-store, on our website and via social media.
Best baby store Independent REtail Awards
18 - MARCH/APRIL 2017
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WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | PROFILE
ATTENTION TO RETAIL
In January 2016, Danish-born and trained contemporary dancer Anja Stavnsbjerg launched Muddy Creatures, a kids’ concierge shopping service designed to take the stress out of planning and purchasing little ones’ wardrobes. Following Muddy Creatures’ success, the business has since expanded to include Cubs Cartel, an online kids’ store. CWB’s Laura Turner speaks to Stavnsbjerg to learn more about her retail concept. For even the most hardened shopper, planning and buying a young child’s wardrobe can be a daunting task. For some, the sheer practicalities of the job in hand with an infant in tow is daunting enough, while others can feel stumped by the vast choice – or lack of – and then there are those who may simply need a helping hand in building and styling outfits. On becoming a mum, Danish-born Anja Stavnsbjerg found herself experiencing some of these predicaments and discovered buying clothes for her son wasn’t turning out to be the joyful experience she had hoped for. “As a consumer, I do enjoy shopping,” says Stavnsbjerg. “But I found – especially in the first year with a newborn – that the challenge of finding good quality, stylish childrenswear which, while embracing environmental values, also combined the many ‘wardrobe leaps’ babies and toddlers go through, simply proved too time consuming.” As so often is the case, Stavnsbjerg’s struggle was what led her to start considering a business of her own that would meet the gap in the market she’d encountered. What she came up with and launched in January 2016 is MuddyCreatures.com, an online childrenswear concierge service designed to help customers with their children’s purchases in those whirlwind early years. Although a trained dancer by trade, Stavnsbjerg didn’t enter the retail project blind, as she goes on to explain. “I moved to the UK in 2008 to study at the London Contemporary Dance School. At the time, I didn’t really have a set plan for how long I would remain in the UK, or if I would even pursue a career in dance, but it felt like the creative output I craved at the time. “Following graduation, I actually worked with a menswear concierge start-up across development and buying, which is when I first noticed a gap in the market for something similar to service childrenswear customers. That is when I started to think through the concept of the Muddy Creatures concierge.” The Muddy Creatures service, which caters for 0-6 years, sends customers a personalised, hand-picked box full of clothing with “Scandinavian spirit”. It can provide items suited to any season, mood and occasion, with the added bonus that no two boxes are ever the same. Essentially, Muddy Creatures’ job is to do the thinking for the customer, freeing up precious family time and helping enhance the joy of the early stages with a child. 20 - MARCH/APRIL 2017
Application for the service is very straightforward and begins with the customer signing up to www.muddycreatures.com and creating a profile. “We invite customers to explore colours and themes from a selection of look books, which enable them to creatively describe their own preferences and style. We then merge those preferences with our carefully curated selection of brands, which include MarMar Copenhagen, Mini Rodini, Gro Company, Soft Gallery, FUB, Poppy Rose, Angulus and Tiny Cottons among many more. “A refundable £1 deposit is taken when ordering a box and shipping and returns are completely free, as is the personal selection service we provide when building a bespoke box of delights. The customer then simply pays for what they decide to keep. As a UK based company, we currently ship within Europe as it is the most effective way for the concept to work and keep returns and delivery straightforward for the customer.” For any online retailer, minimising returns is a persistent challenge. Muddy Creature’s preventative measure is very simple: communication, and lots of it. “The most important thing is speaking to,
and listening to, our customers,” maintains Stavnsbjerg. “Not one box is dispatched without first carrying out a telephone consultation with the client, in which we define their child’s specific requirements and discuss any special preferences. That way, the customer is far more likely to be happy with the selection we create for them.” Once a customer’s personalised box has been built, Muddy Creatures ships it to their home or place of work. On arrival, the items can be tried on for size, with 10 days to decide what is being kept. Any unwanted items are then returned, free of charge. Owing to popular demand from existing customers of the Muddy Creatures box service, Stavnsbjerg recently developed her business further with the addition of a conventional online kidswear store, CubsCartel.com, which she introduced last December. “The concept behind Cubs Cartel is more about offering customers a different way to shop with us, rather than us providing a completely different offering. It’s the perfect complement to Muddy Creatures as it gives customers a chance to create their own selections from our range of exclusive kids’ brands. While it’s still relatively new, there has
PROFILE | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
been a great reaction from both existing and new customers,” she says. The mission statement of Cubs Cartel is to present the same hard-to-find labels as its sister company, but to also create a personal connection with customers instead of becoming faceless, an aspect which is paramount to Stavnsbjerg. “The aim is to show the personable side of what we are offering; we have a telephone customer service from 7am-11pm every day and we also offer complimentary gift wrap and express next-day service. We hope that this gives our customers the ability to shop in the most enjoyable way.” Whilst the concept behind Muddy Creatures and Cubs Cartel is unquestionably impressive, in Stavnsbjerg’s eyes, it does not overshadow the attention to detail given to the curated brand portfolio the businesses mutually share. The hand-picked line-up of childrenswear labels have all been carefully selected to meet Stavnsbjerg’s criteria of “quality and longevity combined with understated style and values”. Her own personal tastes are also reflected, with the Scandinavian brands resonating with her Danish roots. “As a business we have our own style, which tends to favour clean looks and minimal lines. I want to represent brands that are hard to source and offer something unique to customers. We’re keen on cultivating longterm relationships with our brands, rather than pursuing seasonal trends, and have hopefully achieved a complementary mix of style and aesthetic. We also want our offering to be fun and not take itself too seriously.”
Being so immersed in the digital realm, I was interested to hear Stavnsbjerg’s views on the main pros and cons of having an online business. For her, the main advantage of online retail remains the convenience: everything is faster and easier to purchase. The main downside, she feels, is the anonymity associated with digital services and the fact that it is harder for retailers to achieve brand and customer loyalty. Stavnsbjerg counteracts this by proactively helping customers get the best out of shopping through her services; constantly looking for new ways to interact on a personal level, such as building knowledge of individuals’ previous purchases and favourite brands. Making the sites as easy to use as possible is also a must. “The Muddy Creatures and Cubs Cartel websites are both mobile optimised and have been designed to be very user-friendly and our main focus is to keep it that way,” she says. “All of our logistics are also optimised to ensure the customer is up to speed with what is happening with their order across all devices, via both text and email.” As with any new enterprise, increasing visibility is amid the top priorities, with Instagram having proved incredibly effective
for the job. “It is our only promotional platform so far,” says Stavnsbjerg. “It’s invaluable for creating a community around our brand, by which people with similar interests and values can connect with us and vice versa. Have a follow to find out more at @muddycreatures and @cubscartel.” Despite launching two retail business in one year, Stavnsbjerg has further plans in place to continue growing her ventures. In the near future, she is set to increase the size range as well as taking on additional brands to complement the current selection. On a more tech-specific note, a mobile app for Muddy Creatures is her ultimate wish. “The business is a convenience luxury that fits well into a high-paced lifestyle, which in turn demands 24-7 responsiveness. An application would be the ultimate platform for us to engage our customers in a fun and creative way whilst allowing them to shop with ease.” Although digital is currently Stavnsbjerg’s medium of choice, I was keen to know if a bricks and mortar shop could ever be a possibility further down the line. “The process of Muddy Creatures and Cubs Cartel is an organic one – so never say never,” she replies. MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 21
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | INTERVIEW
STEVE COCHRANE Managing Director, Psyche Psyche, a leading independent retailer of childrenswear, menswear and womenswear in Middlesbrough, celebrates its 35th anniversary this year and has just undergone a huge £500,000 extension of its backroom facilities, which had previously not mirrored the growth of the business. Tom Bottomley gets the details from managing director and industry legend, Steve Cochrane. —
Tom Bottomley: What spurred the new £500,000 extension to the Psyche business and how has it added to what you already had? Steve Cochrane: We’d just outgrown the building. It was 35,000 square foot, but it was all retail space really, there was not enough storage space, the offices were tiny and cramped, and the staff room was quite often full and just not big enough. We have 84 members of staff now, about 50 of which are on the shop floors, and we’re advertising for another two people for the online business, where there are currently 14 working. As we’ve grown, we hadn’t increased the accommodation space, but we’ve now added an additional 5,000 square foot to the building. I wanted to invest in a nice staff room with a pool table to improve staff morale. We’ve also got great office space now and everything is brand new. My office is now ridiculously big. In terms of funding the extension, we did it partly out of cash flow, partly out of a Psyche pension fund and we took on a small loan, though nothing that will stretch us too much. TB: What areas are performing and how is the business split? SC: The childrenswear side of the business has seen a big increase and the women’s has seen a slight increase, too. Tailoring has contracted, men’s fashion is a bit flat and the website is going like crazy – 37 per cent up on last year. The split of the business is 11.4 per cent childrenswear, 54.3 per cent men’s, 22.6 per cent women’s and the rest is non-specific gender. We also do a bit of homeware, which we sell quite well online. TB: Where are the majority of your online customers located? SC: The majority are in London, a whopping
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INTERVIEW | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
61.2 per cent of our online customers in fact. We do a bit through Amazon and we pay for Google AdWords and do a lot of targeted mailers – building a customer database all the time. Second is Glasgow, third is Birmingham, fourth is Manchester, fifth is Middlesbrough and sixth is Newcastle. And then about 10 per cent is coming from overseas. TB: Is the growth being driven by the online business? SC: Yes, very much so. What’s exciting is we launched an app about two years ago, but it never really did anything because you could only buy using Paypal. Now we can take credit cards on the app, it’s made a huge difference. The app now accounts for 9 per cent of our online sales and that’s a massive increase on last year, where it was only about 1 per cent. We only relaunched that mid-November last year. An app is a lot cheaper than a website, and a website is a lot cheaper than a shop, so that could be the future. TB: But surely the bricks and mortar shop still has a big role to play? SC: It does, of course. I’ve been doing this for 35 years now, it’s Psyche’s 35th anniversary this year, and I absolutely still love it. It isn’t work to me. I love buying, I love product and dealing with customers, and I love being on the shop floor, although I don’t get time to do it as much as I’d like. I still love retailing full stop, I’m very passionate about it. I also think shops will come back stronger in a few years’ time, but in a slightly different format. Things will stabilise and settle down and once they do, the novelty of going to shops will come back. Shops will have to improve and evolve and they will need screens and to be interactive. Click and collect is growing at a massive rate, so you’ve got to come in to the shop to collect your purchase.
TB: How much of your business is now done online? SC: The split is 68 per cent store and 32 per cent online at the moment. However, online sales increased by 36.7 per cent and 32 per cent the previous year, so at some point over the next year or two I think online sales will match the store’s. The amount of web sales we now do from mobile phones is enormous, comprising some 63.7 per cent of our online sales. If you include sales from tablets that rises to 78 per cent. TB: Would you consider yourself to be a ground-breaking retailer? SC: Most definitely. We try loads of new things all the time, though quite often they don’t work out. We actually launched online in 1997. Unfortunately, at the time, I had the Psyche own label and then I took on this building in 2002 and that took my focus and attention away from online. I wish I’d continued to put all my efforts in to online, because we’d be a massive player now. We probably got in to it too early if anything. We’ve only really been refocusing on it for the past three years. TB: This year marks Psyche’s 35th anniversary: did you ever envisage having such longevity, especially seeing out so many recessions in that time? SC: Well, I started off as the singer in a punk
band called Sliced Tomatoes and my first shop was called Sliced Tomatoes, too. The band wasn’t very good and we didn’t get anywhere, but I designed the clothes we wore and people liked the clothes better than the music. That’s when I had the urge to do something with clothes. When I opened the shop in 1982, it was a bit of a laugh really. It was meant to help to get me fixed up with girls rather than be a proper business, because I was still young and daft – I was only 23. This is, of course, a big business now, with a boardroom and non-executive directors – the whole nine yards. It’s been an exciting, rollercoaster growth. We’ve had a lot of challenges along the way and 2008 was the biggest challenge. That hit us quite hard. I didn’t really feel the other recessions to be honest, but that one I did. It set us back a bit and probably turned my attention away from e-commerce when I should have been getting more in to it. TB: What plans do you have to celebrate the 35th anniversary? SC: The actual anniversary is on 1 August, but we’re going to have a big party in October – it’s a better time for everyone. We’re going to throw a lot of money at it. We’ll have a catwalk show, live bands and we’ll do food and drink – they’ll be a lot of stuff going on.
I’ve been doing this for 35 years now, it’s Psyche’s 35th anniversary this year, and I absolutely still love it. It isn’t work to me. I love buying, I love product and dealing with customers, and I love being on the shop floor.
MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 23
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | RISING STAR PROFILE
A STAR IS BORN
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RISING STAR PROFILE | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
Kidswear label Love & Honor was winner of this season’s Bubble London Rising Star Award for the show’s best launch brand. Based by the Atlantic Ocean in Hossegor, south-west France, the label is inspired by founder Marie-Claire Windram’s children, Ted and Honor, and the surfing lifestyle she and her family have by the beach. The input from her husband, a touring musician, completes the debut collection’s tagline, “surf, love and rock ‘n’ roll”. Laura Turner catches up with Windram to learn more. Laura Turner: What’s the story behind the creation of Love & Honor? Marie-Claire Windram: I had a burst of creativity when I fell pregnant with my son Ted and made some little shorts for him and then some dresses for my daughter, Honor. People started asking me to make them things, too, and the brand just grew from there. I really need work that allows me to be flexible time-wise with the two children and it became apparent that owning my own brand suited our family. My husband, Rob, travels a lot touring with a band, so me being at home, or even being able to travel with him, is really important. If I had a regular full-time job, working for someone else, it wouldn’t give us the same flexibility. That said, it is still a massive juggle. LT: Can you tell us more about the collection and what it encompasses? M-CW: The signature look is ‘relaxed surf lifestyle’. The winter collection, which is available for 0-11 years, is a capsule of mix and match comfy basics in low-key colours that are designed to fit into any wardrobe. Bold music-inspired prints bring items to life and fun touches, like the pink flutter shoulder tops and fuzzy bear gilet, add personality. Wholesale prices range from ¤8 to ¤20. LT: What are the hero pieces? M-CW: Soft stretch harems, tie-dye leggings and vinyl print sweatshirts are all key. LT: How big is the collection? M-CW: It’s pretty tight for the moment, with nine pieces in the winter collection, which all mix and match. Most are unisex in style, too. LT: Where is Love & Honor made? M-CW: The collection is designed in France, but it is made in various places. Most of the production takes place in Poland, using fair trade and OEKO-tex 100 or organic fabrics. Our T-shirts are made in India and are fair trade and organic. LT: What ethos is your brand selling? M-CW: The collection really represents and reflects our family lifestyle. We are all about enjoying our passions – surfing, music and the beach lifestyle – and passing this on to the next generation. I think childhood should be a bit wild, carefree and fun and I’m trying to make clothes that allow for these things. LT: Who do you see as your target audience? M-CW: Fun-loving families who still enjoy the things they did pre-children and who also want their kids to get involved. LT: Where are you looking to for growth, both in terms of the collection and new markets? M-CW: We’d love to be stocked in more UK stores as well as others in Europe and elsewhere. In terms of the collection, we’re expanding it for spring/summer to include some swimwear and we have some exciting collaborations coming up, too. LT: What are the short- and long-term plans for the brand? M-CW: Short-term, we are aiming to deliver a fabulous and colourful spring/summer collection, which we will be showing at Bubble London on 16-17 July, as well as locally in Hossegor and via our website. Longer term, we would like the brand to have a regular two-season year, with occasional small drops of items we have decided to add to the range as inspiration strikes. We will also be getting on-board with some ‘twinning’, as we think it’s really fun, so expect to see some adult sweatshirts coming up very soon. LOVE & HONOR Founder: Marie-Claire Windram Collection age range: 0-11 years Wholesale price range: ¤8 - ¤20 firstname.lastname@example.org / www.loveandhonor.co 0033 6171 62688
MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 25
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | REVIEW
THE SHOE PEOPLE CWB’s pick of footwear from this season’s Bubble London. —
ANGEL’S FACE Angel’s Face has come far from its original core collection of tutus to include an extensive girls’ fashion collection alongside a growing footwear range. Highlights include baby booties and toddler pumps, as well as pumps and Mary Jane shoes for older girls in sizes 28-37. Glitter is key, with classic colour options including silver, gold, pink, red and navy alongside leopard print and a dusty lavender colourway. www.angels-face.co.uk
MOOI BY LIENKIE Mooi by Lienkie offers baby and toddler shoes handmade in England using 100 per cent vegetable tanned, Italian leather. Soft leather soles are used for pre-walkers and slipresistant, flexible rubber soles for toddlers, while the supple and breathable innersoles have added orthopaedic components. Currently available for 0-2 years, plans are to increase up to junior sizes in the coming year as well as introducing a school backpack range. www.mooibylienkie.com
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AGE OF INNOCENCE With the philosophy of celebrating childhood, shoe brand Age of Innocence designs styles to bring fashion to little girls’ wardrobes. Created by a team of mothers, the label draws inspiration from vintage baby shoes before adding contemporary touches for a modern, yet timeless look. Each pair of shoes is meticulously handcrafted to ensure quality, design excellence and comfort. www.age-of-innocence.com
REVIEW | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
O’TEDD O’Tedd is dedicated to creating high quality, durable and stylish footwear designed for children. All of the brand’s shoes are made from pure leather and constructed by craftsmen in Spain and China. O’Tedd’s collection offers a range of classic styles including Mary Jane, slip-on loafers, Chelsea boots and canvas shoes. www.otedd.com/wholesale
MOCCIS This season, hand-sewn Swedish moccasin brand Moccis has introduced a number of new designs including Mr Fox (pictured), a puppy design called Too Cute, and Just Chill, which is a polar bear style. Every pair of Moccis is ethically produced in Sweden, machine washable and features a non-slip leather sole and invisible support strap to ensure it doesn’t lose its shape or fall off. www.moccis.co.uk
BOGS For a/w 17, BOGS saw increased demand from buyers for gender-neutral designs, with styles such as the Blue Multi Baby BOGS in owl print (pictured) being popular for both boys and girls. The Baby BOGS range of machine-washable, 100 per cent waterproof boots include pull-on handles, plush linings and a comfort rating to -10°C. They also feature technology to wick moisture away from the feet and fight odours. www.bogsfootwear.co.uk
OLD SOLES The style of Old Soles’ range changes seasonally, with designs inspired by the latest trends from around the world. Catering for newborn through to adolescent, the brand began with two collections – Old Soles Sandals for babies and toddlers and Older Soles for older kids – before expanding into ballet pumps, trainers, high tops, loafers, moccasins, boat shoes and boots. www.oldsoles.com.au
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WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | TREND FORECAST
A/W 17-18 TRENDS Industry expert Fiona Coleman highlights six key looks in childrenswear for a/w 17-18. — MAKE A STATEMENT
SCAMP & DUDE ADEN + ANAIS
A genderless look at casual sports-inspired basics with relaxed silhouettes, in a bold palette of simple black and white offset with a pop of riot red, bubblegum pink, sunshine yellow or astroturf green. Detailing is also restrained with contrast trim the only highlight. Print is minimal and eye-catching, including letters, words and symbols used for messages and statements.
LITTLE WARDROBE LONDON
MAR MAR COPENHAGEN
Predominantly for baby and girls, Historical Romance features vintage inspired dresses layered with soft knitwear, teddy fleece and shearling coats. Brocade, velvet, layered chiffon and silk items have ruffle and lace detailing. Prints are aged and filtered featuring traditional florals. A muted palette combines floral notes peony, old rose and lilac, with pistachio, camel, dove grey and metallic gold.
MAR MAR COPENHAGEN
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PRINCIPESQUE - STORIES TO WEAR
A playful look celebrating the joy of dressing up and featuring quirky details such as pom-poms and ruffles. The colour palette is equally odd with clashing brights paired with metallic gold, black and white. Contrasting surfaces and textures play against one another; shiny nylon, matt jersey and cuddly teddy fleece. Optical illusions are created with trompe l’oeil prints, as well as surreal circus-inspired motifs, graphic spots and stripes.
TREND FORECAST | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
THE GREAT BRITISH BABY COMPANY
THE LITTLE SHOEMAKER
An autumnal trend with a focus on heritage product and brands. A mix of smart and casual styling with modern twists on traditional knitwear patterns, woven checks, classic outerwear and footwear. The colour palette features saturated shades of ochre, loden green, pumpkin, bordeaux, garnet, indigo and classic camel. Prints are inspired by English country estates, with animals and birds for all-overs and placements.
DARK NATURE This mix of historical and sporty styles is an edgier look for partywear. As well as dresses, we see more directional velvet playsuits, culottes, shiny vinyl leggings paired with print sweats for girls and velvet jackets teamed with skinny jeans for boys. A dark palette of midnight blue, forest green and aubergine has pops of colour added for print and trim.
ANGEL’S FACE GUESS
TIOOM ET MÈRE
THE SMALL GATSBY
MISS L RAY
A minimal, otherworldly look which is casual and sporty, with elements of dress-up for girls. The colour palette is simple, with black, winter white and metallic silver alongside highlights of space-age icy pastels. Surface texture and shine exploits technical materials and iridescent metallics. Prints explore the universe, from simple star motifs to planets, rockets and interstellar maps.
FIONA COLEMAN Drawing on 25 years’ experience, Fiona Coleman consults for brands and retailers on bespoke projects, as well as being a regular speaker at events and a member of the British Textile Colour Group. She creates seasonal palettes for Intercolor, a global platform for colour research and development. Fiona spent 10 years at WGSN working with a wide variety of clients; prior to this, she was a designer for international retailers and brands, including Paul Smith, Uniqlo, M&S, Next, Benetton and Evisu. www.fiona-coleman.com — MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 29
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | PRODUCT
p NIBBLING BRIGHTON TEETHING NECKLACE IN MINT AND MARBLE £12 WWW.NIBBLING.CO.UK
p COSATTO WOW TRAVEL SYSTEM IN THE SPECTROLUXE DESIGN PRICE ON REQUEST WWW.COSATTO.COM
p CHEEKY CHOMPERS NECKERCHEW TEETHING BIB FROM THE JOULES RANGE PRICE ON REQUEST WWW.CHEEKYCHOMPERS.COM
p KERIKIT THOR CHANGING BAG £110 WWW.KERIKIT.COM
p AVERY ROW COT BED SHEETS £12.50 WWW.AVERY-ROW.COM
p SQUIDGE & PIP SENSORY TEETHING TOYS £9.50 EACH WWW.SQUIDGEANDPIP.COM
p MAMA DESIGNS GREY CELLULAR BLANKETS £9 WWW.MAMASCARF.CO.UK
p CAM CAM COPENHAGEN PEACOCK MUSIC MOBILE ¤18 WWW.CAMCAM.DK
p LES RÊVES D’ANAÏS CAR PRINT BIB ¤14.95 WWW.LESREVESDANAIS.COM
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PRODUCT | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
p MUZZIES LOLLY PRINT MUSLIN SWADDLE BLANKET £7.20 WWW.MUZZIES.CO.UK
p MAMA + BELLE THE AMELIA RANGE OF MARBLE COLOUR BLOCK TEETHING BANGLES £3.50 EACH WWW.MAMAANDBELLE.COM
p ICANDY THE MICHAIR, A HIGHCHAIR THAT TURNS INTO A CHILD’S CHAIR OR ROCKING CHAIR PRICE ON REQUEST WWW.ICANDYWORLD.COM
BABY LOVE CWB’s pick of the hottest new nursery products from this season’s Bubble London. —
p JEM + BEA LEATHER CHANGING BAG PRICE ON REQUEST WWW.JEMANDBEA.COM
p HOUSE OF BIBS RABBIT WITH BALLOONS BIB ILLUSTRATED BY LAURA SKILBECK £4.75 WWW.HOUSEOFBIBS.COM
p TRIXIE SMALL SLEEPBAG ¤49.90 WWW.TRIXIE-BABY.COM
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WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | PREVIEW
HARROGATE INTERNATIONAL NURSERY FAIR 28-30 MARCH 2017, HARROGATE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE
CWB’s pick of the new exhibitors showing at this year’s Harrogate International Nursery Fair. SLUMBERLAND British bed manufacturer Slumberland has launched its first cot mattress collection, which will make an exclusive debut at the show. Highlights include a soft, breathable sleeping surface to regulate baby’s heat and an anti-allergy Actipro treatment to provide a healthy sleep environment. www.slumberland.co.uk SKIP HOP Exhibiting at the show for the first time, Skip Hop will be showcasing industry award-winning products and new innovations including changing bags, on-the-go accessories, toys, bath time accessories, baby gyms, nursery gear and its Zoo toddler essentials range. www.skiphop.com HANA BABY The Hana Baby Carrier uses an ergonomic position, has a shell and lining made from certified organic cotton fabric, and a padded waist belt and shoulder straps. It can be adjusted in width and length without the need for inserts to accommodate babies from 3.5kgs/7lbs to 20kgs/44lbs. www.hanababy.co.uk HARRY & ROSE Harry & Rose has developed a new baby skincare range free from parabens, SLS/SLES, dyes, mineral oils or fragrance allergens. Natural, pure and organic ingredients include coconut, calendula, chamomile, cottonseed, aloe vera and sweet almond. www.harryandrose.com
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HARRY & ROSE
PREVIEW | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
MILK MONSTER Milk Monster can be attached to bottles of any size to monitor the safe time for breast and formula milk, preventing it being left too long, and the nutritional value decreasing and harmful bacteria increasing. It glows in the dark and has a backlit screen for night time use. www.milkmonster.com LULLABY SHADES The Lullaby Shade is a protective, musical, sun and sleep shade designed to fit any pushchair. Highlights include 94 per cent UVA and UVB sun protection, cool flow vents for air flow and reflectors to enhance night safety. Music, white noise or womb noises can be downloaded to help baby sleep. www.lullabyshades.co.uk BABYHUB The new SleepSpace from BabyHub offers a multi-functional ‘safe space’ that can be used as travel cot (with mosquito net cover) or a play area. Providing style and structure for babies from 0-36 months, SleepSpace is designed to be simple to use and can be opened and closed with one hand. www.babyhubshop.com BELO & ME Designed and made in the UK, wardrobe dividers from Belo & Me allow parents to organise baby’s clothing by age. To complement the range, Belo & Me has also launched its own set of milestone cards, wall stickers and A4 nursery prints. www.beloandme.co.uk FUNNA BABY Offering a collection of children’s home textiles including a complete baby bedding set, mosquito net, nursery pillow, decorative pillows, play mat and a tepee play tent. www.funnababy.com
BELO & ME
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WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | PRODUCT
DONSJE Bunny Kapi Lining boots ¤24, email@example.com —
INCH BLUE Black leather lace-ups £12.50, 01495 311123 —
BABY STEPS: CWB’s pick of baby shoes and booties.
Unless stated otherwise all prices are wholesale
ANA-MOLY Geese print baby booties £8, 07775 750976 —
ALBETTA Crochet unicorn booties £8.25, 01628 820082 — 34 - MARCH/APRIL 2017
ATTIC Cashmere panda booties £13.50, 01202 696902 —
NATURES PUREST Pom Pom booties £7, 0116 279 2901 —
PRODUCT | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
01: TRIXIE Teepee ¤64.95 firstname.lastname@example.org
02: HONEY & TOAST Rocket Scooter Satchel in 100 per cent leather Price on request email@example.com
03: ACORN & WILL Rainbow enamel pin £2.60 firstname.lastname@example.org
04: LITTLE HOTDOG WATSON Explorer flatcap – UPF50+ protective, temperature regulating and insect repelling £12.50 email@example.com
05: DODDLEBAGS Reusable food and drink pouches Price on request firstname.lastname@example.org
06: HOLLYZ Hot air balloon hair clip £4 email@example.com
Unless stated otherwise all prices are wholesale MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 35
COMFORT A unique yarn blend for exceptional handle
Pre-washed for extra softness
Snug fit hems, cuffs and neckline Super-resistant to pilling
Choose from v-neck, crew, cardigan and slipover Superfast embroidery service
Speedy 4/5 week delivery service (special knitwear) Next day delivery for plain garments
Call: 0161 477 7791 Free fax orderline: 0800 072 0217 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TRUST ROWLINSON THE UKâ€™S MARKET LEADING SCHOOL KNITWEAR BRAND
SCHOOLWEAR BUYER: THE LATEST NEWS AND OPINION FROM THE SCHOOLWEAR INDUSTRY
40: Family ties How UK manufacturer William Turner, a leading supplier of school ties and accessories, is implementing the next phase of its business whilst preserving the companyâ€™s culture and core values MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 37
Hard working, great looking senior suiting options. Durability in mind. Ethics at heart.
CWB Half-page.indd 1
NEW! Girls pinstripe suit
Mix & match suit
NEW for Summer 2017, the stylish David Luke Girls pinstripe suit further strengthens our popular senior suiting range, with the same modern styling and durable poly/wool fabric as our hard-wearing Academia suits. Available in a jacket, straight skirt and slim fit trouser. The additional mix & match options, featured opposite, complement our full suiting range. Plus, our recently extended Academia range of poly/wool blend jackets now includes a Boys slim fit trouser and a Girls straight skirt â€“ creating a smart, comfortable and stylish look, suitable for the entire academic year.
Visit davidluke.com to discover more about our senior suiting range, or call 0161 272 7474 to request a sample. 23/02/2017 15:24
SCHOOLWEAR | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
RECOGNITION FOR THE MAGIC TOUCH
The latest news from the schoolwear industry. AWARD WINNING BRENDA’S
Steve Optix, co-owner of schoolwear independent Brenda’s in Camberley, Surrey, collected his CWB Independent Retail Award 2016 for Best Schoolwear Store at the recent edition of kids’ trade fair, Bubble London. Commenting on the accolade, Optix says, “We’re very proud to have won, it’s fantastic to know that what we do and how we do it is recognised. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the wonderful suppliers and manufacturers we work with and the loyal and hardworking staff.” Far from resting on its laurels, the business continues to roll out developments, with 2017 marking the launch of a new website, a restructure in terms of stock handling and management, and internal promotions in order to improve the overall dynamic of the business. “At Brenda’s, we constantly strive to improve our business for everyone: parents, schools and staff,” continues Optix. “We believe that the second you stand still, you will be overtaken. One day the energy may wane but right now it’s stronger than ever and we are making further massive improvements to our business this year to push the boundaries of school uniform supply to parents.” —
NEWS IN BRIEF
APTUS PERFORMANCE JOINS BMB APTUS Performance is the latest addition to BMB’s sportswear offering and features 12 stock-supported garments – six specifically designed for girls and six for boys. For boys, the collection comprises a short sleeve training top, polo shirt, quarter zip training top, training shorts, slim leg training pants and a rain jacket. Girls will welcome flattering design features that have been researched and tested in conjunction with students and PE staff. All tops feature front angled panels and tape design for a slimline look and a sporty racer back panel. The short sleeve training top also has side cords to adjust length to suit the individual wearer and sport. Training shorts provide complete support around the middle, whilst still enabling effortless movement The current APTUS Performance collection is available in black and navy and a colour choice of five trims, with six new base colours due to be launched in April. A personalisation service offering trims in school colours, as well as embroidered logos, is also available. —
The Trophex 2017 show, a UK exhibition for the awards and recognition industry hosted at the NEC, saw The Magic Touch awarded the accolade of Best Image Transfer Product for its latest image transfer innovation. Using cutting-edge toner-based transfer technology, the company has developed a new process to personalise football, rugby and various other sport balls with full colour logos and images. Until now, the personalisation of balls for the promotions market has been mainly restricted to single colour designs applied using traditional pad or screen printing techniques. Using the ProSeries Oki 7411WT white-toner printer and CPM transfer paper, full colour images and logos can be applied to almost any type of ball using a modified ball-shaped platen. The process is quick, easy and durable with the cost per printed panel less than 10p per image. “We recently produced some personalised balls for a local football club decorated with 18 team member photos, which was very well received,” says The Magic Touch’s MD, Jim Nicol. “It offers a great business opportunity for those in the awards and recognition market to develop over the coming months and years.” —
MADPAX LAUNCHES NEW BTS DESIGNS
BEN SHERMAN BTS SHOES
US backpack brand MadPax, which fuses fashion with functionality, has introduced new designs to its collection for this year’s Back to School. Styles include Raptor, Full Scale, Surfaces and Artipacks, with the Pint range of small backpacks seeing the introduction of new metallic shades in silver and gold. Additionally, MadPax is introducing a new style to the UK this summer, which has been designed in collaboration with an American cartoonist. Available in its half pack size aimed at 4–8 year olds, the bag comes complete with a sheet of stickers inside, which match the design of the bag. —
A/w 17 saw Shewitts Agencies, which has over 35 years’ experience in the children’s footwear industry, take on representation of Ben Sherman Back to School (BTS) shoes for the South and South Wales. Shewitts Agencies was approached by 33 Joints, a UK fashion footwear distribution company, with the aim of taking Ben Sherman BTS shoes to independent children’s retailers. The Ben Sherman BTS collection starts at size 3 and runs up to a UK size 12 to accommodate teenage sizes. There are 12 styles available, mostly lace-ups, which wholesale between £21 and £26.50. —
— Established in 2004, Havering Schoolwear in Belgrave Avenue, Gidea Park has built its business up to service over 30 schools in the borough. Now, due to the retailer’s success, it has relocated to a new shop in Hornchurch Road. The move is key to the business’s growth and an opportunity for it to work with even more schools.
— Connah’s Quay High School in Flintshire, Wales has been accused of sexism following a proposal to ban girls from wearing trousers as part of the school uniform. The school, which has experienced problems with girls wearing tight trousers, leggings and jeans as part of their uniform, has now launched a consultation with parents to allow them to provide their views on the matter.
— A recent trend among young school children for giant, colourful hair bows - the signature look of teenage dancing YouTube star, JoJo Siwa – has resulted in many UK schools banning the hair accessory. The bows – nicknamed JoJo bows – are viewed by many schools as a breach of uniform policy.
MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 39
WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK | PROFILE
CWB’s Laura Turner discovers how UK manufacturer William Turner, a leading supplier of school ties and accessories, is implementing the next phase of its business whilst preserving the company’s culture and core values. —
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PROFILE | WWW.CWB-ONLINE.CO.UK
THE HISTORY BEHIND WILLIAM TURNER & SON In 1969, a gentleman named William Turner found himself redundant from his job as a schoolwear salesman when the firm he worked for closed. What William – or Bill as he was better known – could not have realised back then, was that this unfortunate circumstance had a very silver lining. Had he not been made redundant, he would not have established his own business, one we know today as William Turner, a leading supplier of school ties and accessories, which almost 50 years later, continues to thrive under the careful watch of Turner’s family. But first things first: how William Turner all began. Until this time, school ties had previously been made from wool/cotton. However, ICI had just developed a polyester fibre that was suitable for making ties and recognising that these were much cheaper and could easily be washed, Bill Turner started buying tie cloth from Skipton and Macclesfield’s weaving mills. Based from a small spare bedroom in his house, he initially sent the cloth to local factories to be made into ties, before very quickly setting up his own tie making factory. The business model was successful. Trade began to grow, fuelled not least by the new comprehensive schools of the early 1970s seeking inexpensive ways of differentiating themselves, the solution for which they found in the school tie. As time went on, word of mouth helped build the business’s reputation and with it, additional products and customers. A FAMILY AFFAIR Before long, Bill’s son, Keith Turner, joined the
company and they themselves were joined by a team to provide the expertise to take the company forward. Sadly, Bill passed away in 1984, but not before seeing the company become a supplier to many schoolwear retailers across the UK with the William Turner & Son range. In 2000, the business extended its portfolio and to accompany the ties, began supplying school bags. To enable this addition, William Turner partnered with a factory in China dedicated solely to its production. The relationship between the two businesses has fortified and grown over time, as has the family involvement in the business, as William Turner’s managing director Daniel Turner, Bill’s grandson, explains. “My father, Keith, retired in 2011 and my brother John and I, together with our fellow director Andy Smith who joined the company 40 years ago, took over the helm. My sister Heather also recently joined as HR manager, continuing the link as a family business.” IT’S ALL IN THE NAME You may have noticed recently that William Turner has undertaken something of a rebranding exercise, which has seen the retiring of the company’s Unicol trade name. The rebranding project, which is being led by the company’s marketing manager Hayley Bonnick, was officially unveiled at the Schoolwear Show in October, with the name change coming into effect via the new www.william-turner.co.uk landing page and the company’s 2017 brochure. The brochure, which features both model photography alongside William Turner’s famous illustrated characters, has received
rave reviews for its new approach. The change of labels, swing tickets and POS meanwhile, is gradually hitting the shops as we speak. “My grandfather came up with Unicol as a trade name – William Turner & Son would sell Unicol products – but it often confused people,” explains Daniel, on the reasoning behind the rebrand. “For instance, at one Schoolwear Show where we showed under the Unicol name, we saw customers walk right past our stand and heard them say, ‘I wonder where William Turner is this year?’ What we’ve realised is that William Turner is the true ‘brand’; a name so trusted and well known in the market. We hope having all our products carry the William Turner name will make everything much more straightforward for our customers. “No extra work is required,” he continues. “All of the ordering processes are staying the same. It’s just another way of telling people what William Turner has to offer. Our company name will always be William Turner & Son but for simplicity, we have shortened it to William Turner, which is what most customers call us.” As well as simplifying the branding, the renewed focus on the William Turner brand is also paving the way for the company to reiterate its ethos and voice its values as well as providing a build-up to a very big milestone for the firm in a couple of years’ time. “We are coming up to 50 years of business in 2019,” Daniel continues. “We are all incredibly proud of the heritage of the company and the fact that we continue to manufacture our school ties in the UK. We’re a quality, well-established, British-built company and with that in mind, we believe the name William Turner reflects this perfectly. To have >>> MARCH/APRIL 2017 - 41
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William Turner stamped on every single one of our products can only spur us on to get better and better. It’s a really emotional thing, to see your family name on something you’re so proud of. Unicol has served us well, but this is about owning the brand and making sure our customers know how much we believe in it.” RENEWED FOCUS ON COMMUNICATION AND MARKETING Along with the name change, William Turner has seen other modifications in the last year, all with the aim of making the business as efficient as possible in today’s market. One such development is a new IT and phone system, now in the final stages of completion and which is having a huge impact on how the company communicates with its customers. Additionally, the appointment of marketing manager Bonnick, who joined the team just over a year ago, has enhanced the business’s marketing strategies considerably, ensuring the William Turner brand is managed consistently across all platforms. Bonnick’s input has also allowed the company to introduce new sales material for retailers along with renewed focus on digital marketing which, in light of the how the schoolwear market is evolving, will remain a priority. “Our retailers have to adapt to the rise of online consumer behaviour and the changes on the high street, but I do believe most relish these challenges,” says Daniel. “For us, it means we have to be better than ever in supporting our retailers in looking after their schools. The heavy investment into our IT systems last year is now starting to pay off, but we always have to look at how we can continue to improve.”
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CHAMPIONING UK MANUFACTURE A key message underpinning William Turner’s marketing and communication is its support of UK manufacturing. William Turner’s philosophy is that a smart school uniform is of real benefit to schools and school children. With this in mind, it prides itself on manufacturing quality, affordable schoolwear accessories including ties, bags, scarves, hair accessories, hats and winterwear. Essentially, a full range of accessories, one that the company continues to evaluate and supplement based on feedback from retailers. “We will be shouting louder than ever about the benefits of UK manufacturing,” confirms Daniel. “The quality, consistency and speed to market it provides, as well as playing a part in sustaining the Great British heritage of textile manufacturing,” With schools increasingly looking for smarter school uniform options, even at primary level, William Turner views the school tie as an effective and affordable way of achieving just that. To meet growing demand, the company is placing significant investment in production. So, in addition to its factory in Skipton, North Yorkshire, the firm is moving its second factory from Colne, Lancashire, to expanded premises in nearby Nelson. As well as the obvious advantages to production, the new factory will allow William Turner to capitalise on promoting UK manufacture to its retailers, with the plan being to invite as many as possible to the new Nelson site in order to demonstrate, first-hand, how the company’s ties are made. This in turn will allow William Turner the opportunity to relay the key benefits it gains
from UK manufacturing and for these values to be fed down, via the retailers, to the schools. “We really believe that manufacturing school ties in the UK is the best thing for us and for the schoolwear trade as a whole,” says Daniel. “We want our customers to be able to sell to schools with confidence that their products have been ethically made. It’s great to employ so many dedicated and highly skilled people and we’re proud to pay proper wages. “Having total control of our production means we can get ties made very quickly; we don’t have to wait for weeks for items to arrive from other parts of the world. And, by having a strong UK supply chain, we can also ensure consistency of quality and make-up, something that is critical to schools. “We are grateful to all of our customers for supporting Made in UK and we know that however important that is in itself, UK-made is not everything; we also have to be better, quicker and more consistent than offshore.” THE WILLIAM TURNER PHILOSOPHY With two, expanding, UK factories under its belt and a work force of 120 employees, William Turner has come a long way, and its original, spare bedroom holding is now a 14,000 sq ft warehouse. The purpose and values of the business, however, remain entirely unchanged as Daniel confirms. “As I hope our customers know, we strive every day to deliver a quality product on time, at a competitive price.” He concludes: “Dad used to say, “Be pleasant, be efficient and get on with it,” which will always be how we like to do things.” www.william-turner.co.uk
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DAN NATHAN Co-Founder, Beau & Rooster Launched last year by three dads, Beau & Rooster is the new name in organic kids’ sleepwear for 2-10 years. Boasting a conscience as clear as its ethos, it is committed to transparency and ethical, sustainable production. Laura Turner speaks to co-founder Dan Nathan to learn more. — Laura Turner: Who is behind Beau & Rooster? Dan Nathan: Two of the three founders, myself and Andreas Kindler, were in the process of moving to Paris with our wives and kids and literally met at the school gates on the first day. I was already in the fashion industry, previously working at Adidas, H&M and then as a consultant, which included a year with the Swedish kids’ brand, Mini Rodini. Andreas was a fashion photographer. The third founder, Linus Christiansson, was in advertising and branding. LT: What does the collection comprise? DN: The styles we’ve put together are kids’ sleepwear essentials; a long-sleeve, classic PJ and a nightdress. Our collections will offer some basic prints, but also some more outspoken ones designed to be recognised as Beau & Rooster. We are only in our first collection, so will adapt to what is needed. LT: Why launch a kids’ brand and specifically sleepwear? DN: Being dads, there was something appealing about starting a kids’ brand and sleepwear seemed to fit nicely. We also felt the sleepwear market could do with a little bit of a shake-up in terms of ethos, design and quality appeal. LT: What is your brand ethos? DN: It’s really simple. Our spirit and culture are based around creating a sustainable brand with as little impact on the environment as possible. We are a brand that focuses on quality first. So we only source the highest quality
organic fabrics from farms that only produce small quantities of raw materials and who specialise in producing organic crops. We also insist we stay local and we only produce in Europe – it makes work life a lot easier. Cost v quality is not something we compromise on and this has already been recognised by the brand’s early adopters. LT: Why is Beau & Rooster’s ethical stance so integral? DN: I read an article recently about a global fashion brand having to invest millions of dollars into cleaning up a local river near its production factory in India because of the toxic waste from the fabric dyes. This is not a hypothetical issue; it’s happening daily in low cost countries where insufficient systems are unable to deal with mass production methods. There are of course brands and suppliers in Europe, and indeed low cost countries, who are making huge efforts to source and operate in what is considered an ethical way, but the fact is that there will always be a huge relationship between ethically produced clothing, the production location and the price of a garment. Our focus is to work only in Europe, with the best suppliers and with the best fabrics, and to offer a middle price point. Brands often get themselves into difficulties because cost price nearly always drives their choice of supplier, and the further east you go from Europe the cheaper it gets. We look at it the other way around and see very clear opportunities to set ourselves apart. We are only four months old but we have visited every part of the supply chain, including knowing where our cotton is grown and harvested. Our customers love that and it’s partly why we have had such a positive start. By keeping to these principal values, we’ve set out the basis of our future. LT: What do you consider your USPs? DN: We lead the way for innovation and change; it’s possible to produce products from the best materials, using the best production methods, and yet still produce in Europe and be competitive on price. We also offer added features to increase our garments’ shelf life, such as double age ranges, grow-into-cuffs and repair kits with spare fabric to patch up garments. LT: What are the plans for wholesale? DN: To attract a mixture of stockists and find a balance of firmly established web-based players and more traditional bricks and mortar
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accounts who have a direct local and regional relationship with customers. LT: Who are your preliminary stockists? DN: In the UK, Olive Loves Alfie and Alex & Alexa and in Sweden, UniBarn, Babyshop, Oii Design and Geijersgatan 53 in Malmö. LT: What would you like to achieve in the coming year? DN: We are only four months old and the coming year is full of wonderfully challenging projects. Our aim for 2017 is to increase brand awareness in the UK and Scandinavia by creating a loyal customer base and to start establishing ourselves as one of the ‘go to’ sleepwear brands in Europe. LT: What inspired the brand name? DN: It just clicked. Beau means beautiful in French and we all know that roosters wake us up, so there’s a nice undertone to sleepwear. Companies can spend a lot of time on their choice of brand name but they often set about it the wrong way. Our tip is to approach your decision based on legal standpoints, with a long term view on trademark protection. Hiring a trademark lawyer could be one of the best investments you make. LT: Do you have a business motto? DN: There are three of us who own the brand, but we all realise that life is about finding a balance between expectations and personal happiness. So, the saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” is very appropriate for our journey. It makes our business a lot of fun – even though we are working very hard.
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