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Noelle Heffernan Publisher Jennifer Cattaui Editor in Chief Nancy Campbell Creative Director EDITORIAL Angela Velasquez Fashion Editor Lyndsay McGregor Associate Editor Maria Bouselli Assistant Editor CREATIVE Trevett McCandliss Art Director Tim Jones Senior Designer CONTRIBUTORS Michel Onofrio Style Director ADVERTISING Caroline Diaco Group Publisher Sarah Sutphin Broglie Advertising Manager Alex Marinacci Account Executive Jennifer Craig Special Accounts Manager Steven Hemingway Classified Sales ADMINISTRATION Laurie Guptill Production Manager Melanie Prescott Circulation Manager Mike Hoff Webmaster CONTACT INFO Sales/Editorial Offices 36 Cooper Square, 4th floor New York, NY 10003 Tel: (646) 278-1550 Fax: (646) 278-1553 editorialrequests@ Circulation Office 21 Highland Circle Needham, MA 02494 Tel: (800) 964-5150 Fax: (781) 453-9389 CORPORATE 9Threads 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 Xen Zapis, Chairman Lee Zapis, President Rich Bongorno, CFO

JULY 2012 20

FEATURES An Occasion to Remember Us Angels President Hank Shalom and Director of Sales and Merchandising David Gardner discuss the magic moment market.

24 Fashionable Giving Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) launches the Clothes4K.I.D.S. campaign. 28 Show and Tell Organizers reveal what to expect at the upcoming trade shows. 32

Born in the U.S.A. Children's apparel manufacturers look to domestic production to provide customers with better quality, while also supporting U.S. jobs.


The New Romantics Velvety blacks, ripe reds and tartan add to the festivity of a charming miniature horse farm. La Miniatura button-down shirt, Ralph Lauren vest and distressed jeans, Hunter boots. A. Bird plaid top and leggings, Girl & Co. faux fur bolero, boots by Hunter. On cover: Busy Bees plaid dress, cardigan by Hitch-Hiker. Photography by Christophe Kutner.

4 Editor’s Letter 6 Talking Points 8 Fresh Finds 10 Hot Properties 12 Nine Things 14 On Trend 18 Spotlight 48 Calendar 51 Retail to Go 52 Remix

EARNSHAW’S INFANTS, GIRLS AND BOYS WEAR REVIEW ISSN 0161-2786 (USPS-320-090) Vol. 96 Issue 6. The business and fashion magazine of the children’s wear industry is published monthly by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC, 36 Cooper Square, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003. The publishers of this magazine do not assume responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competition. Periodicals postage is paid in New York, N.Y. and additional mailing offices. Subscription price for one year: U.S. $48; Rates outside U.S. available upon request. Single price copy, $5. Copyright 2012 by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC. Postmaster: Send address changes to Earnshaw’s Infants, Girls and Boys Wear Review, P.O. Box 8548, Lowell, MA 01853-8548. Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photos. Any photographs, artwork, manuscripts, editorial samples or merchandise sent for editorial consideration are sent at the sole risk of the sender. Symphony Publishing NY, LLC will assume no responsibility for loss or damage. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Printed in USA.


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On Occasion

Festive attire takes center stage as Earnshaw’s finds many reasons to celebrate.


WHEN KATHY IRELAND spoke at the annual Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) Women in Industry luncheon in May, she encouraged the audience of prominent women and men to stretch out their arms and see how many lives they could touch. Being connected in the world, impacting others in a positive way, whether it is in your business or personal life, is a reason to celebrate. And this issue is about celebration: We celebrate K.I.D.S. and their work helping needy children; we celebrate our industry for gaining strength amidst continued economic challenges; and we celebrate the companies that are focusing on the magic moment market of special occasion apparel. Since the month of July is a time of revelry in the United States, we also celebrate those companies who have made the choice to manufacture domestically. In “Born in the U.S.A.,” we highlight the reasons why companies made that decision and consider what the future holds for U.S. production. Our Q&A, “An Occasion to Remember,” features West Coast-East Coast duo, Us Angels’ President Hank Shalom and Director of Sales and Merchandising David Gardner. We talk to them about the next phase in growing the special occasion brand that’s been a classic choice for flower girls since 1998. With the festive season squarely on the radar of our retailer readers, we home in on holiday wear in reds, blacks

and tartan plaids in our fashion story, “The New Romantics” shot by photographer Christophe Kutner, on a quaint miniature horse farm in Long Island, capturing the natural beauty of children in their finery. The darling (and diminutive) equines have already been penned on each model’s holiday list this year. For those of you running behind on your holiday planning, our “Retail to Go” cheat sheet will help you get organized for the upcoming Fall/Winter season. And, as we’re halfway through the year, “Show and Tell” previews the trade show scene for the rest of 2012 so you can sync your calendars. And that includes making sure the Earnie Awards are on your agendas. Pen us in for August, as we’ll unveil the ballot for the 2012 Earnies at ENK, and again in October when we celebrate the winners and our 95 years in the business. Enjoy your summer and see you at the shows,


A unique selection of today’s best collections!

the international trade show dedicated to the universe of children.

August 4-6, 2012 82Mercer in Soho, New York, NY


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Organization Picaflor Inc. e-mail tel +1 212 563 7301 Fax +1 212 947 3471 Find more info and Pre-register now on For professionals only.

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Earnie Awards

 For 35 years, Earnshaw’s has recognized outstanding companies

with the prestigious Earnie Award. Nominated and voted upon by industry leaders, Earnie Awards denote the retail community’s seal of approval in areas such as design, quality and overall excellence. The voting ballot with top companies in 20 different categories will be released on August 5 at ENK. Vote at

VOTING CATEGORIES Best Denim Best Licensed Apparel Best Swimwear Best Hosiery Best Footwear Best Accessories & Jewelry

Best Special Occasion Wear Best Infants’ Collection

Best Tween Collection

Best Swim Collection

Best Gift Item

Best Outerwear Collection

Best Girls’ Collection

Best New Company (1-3 years)

Best Boys’ Collection

Best Company for Good

“It” Item of the Year

Best International Collection

Company of the Year

Best Brand Rep

Voting will begin August 5, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. EST and end on August 31, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Go to to cast your vote.

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talking points

Jennifer Cattaui, Kathy Ireland and Noelle Heffernan

David Coleman and Dr. Janice Weinman

Debra Joester, Sharon John, Kathy Ireland, Sandy Wax, Karen Bromley and Dr. Janice Weinman. Photos by Wai Ng

K.I.D.S. WOMEN IN INDUSTRY LUNCHEON ON MAY 31, Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) hosted their annual Women in Industry Luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The event honored Sandy Wax, president of PBS KIDS Sprout, Kathy Ireland, CEO and chief designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, and Sharon John, president of Stride Rite Children’s Group, with “Women of Achievement” awards. More than 400 guests enjoyed the event, at which the honorees shared their own experiences in business and philanthropy. K.I.D.S. has distributed more than $1 billion worth of goods to needy children all over the world through their 1,000 local partners. Under former president Dr. Janice Weinman, K.I.D.S. grew product contributions from $25 million to $100 million. Weinman stepped down in early June after nine years at the helm of the organization. David Coleman has been named interim president until a successor is determined.

Outlook 2012 A 2012 KPMG LLP Retail Industry Outlook Survey found that retailers are feeling “cautiously optimistic” about the rest of the year, and while they are making certain short term expenditures (like increasing headcount), they are staying conservative on long term expenditures. According to the survey, which canvassed 100 C-suite and other top level executives in the retail industry from large ($100 million-plus annual revenue) U.S.-based companies, 65 percent said their revenues are up from last year and 77 percent predict continued revenue growth a year from now. Although most of those surveyed did not foresee a true recovery until 2014 or later, 58 percent plan to increase capital spending in the year ahead, with information technology being the most pressing area in which to spend.

Retail executives also cited investing in new products or services, geographic expansion and advertising and marketing as anticipated capital expenditures. Of expenditures that have had direct impact on their bottom lines, those surveyed noted that online shopping, social media platforms and e-mail campaigns are having the most significant impacts, as well as mobile shopping, promotions and payments. Execs identified an opportunity to harness the vast amount of data that companies receive in their operations, and note that data analytic technology is increasingly important for strategic decision-making. As for barriers to growth, retail execs cited lack of customer demand, pricing pressures and labor costs as negatively impactful, with profits gauged by discounting, manufacturing costs and lower volumes.


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Licensed product sales are climbing, rising 5 percent last year to approximately $109.3 billion in the U.S. and Canada. This marks the industry’s first gain in five years.

THE LICENSING EXPO, held June 12 to 14 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, saw approximately 400 exhibitors with more than 5,000 intellectual properties. The event, sponsored by the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), put more emphasis on the fashion industry than ever before. While there were about 20 booths just for apparel this year, Chris DeMoulin, president of licensing at Advanstar, is hoping to have around 100 fashion booths at the next expo. “Almost 45 percent of licensing revenue is generated by fashion—that’s $90 billion in sales...and a huge percentage of that $90 billion ends up being in children’s products,” DeMoulin notes. Kathy Ireland gave the keynote speech on the first morning of the expo discussing her brand Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a design and marketing firm worth approximately $2 billion. The event also hosted Licensing University, “a series of seminars that run the gamut from how first year attendees should manage their team to legal issues,” DeMoulin explains. Standouts at the show included Heidi Klum’s new Babies “R” Us collection called Truly Scrumptious, Ed Miller Designs from the children’s book illustrator, new Wacky Wallscapes designs for children’s wall murals and apparel inspired by such social games as Angry Birds, whose licensing agent Striker Entertainment partnered with Fifth Sun to create a children’s clothing line. Another new addition to the expo was the use of a mobile app, which put an interactive map, meeting reminders and breaking show news in attendees’ hands. “There are a lot of exhibitors at the show who would love to work with small- to mid-sized or regional retailers,” DeMoulin says of why smaller retailers should attend the expo next year, noting that it’s an opportunity for buyers to bring unique items into their stores.

FINGERS CROSSED Earnies nominations are being tallied this month and the voting ballot will be announced on August 5 at ENK Children’s Club in New York City. Good luck to all!

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fresh finds

Children of the ’90s may have had Captain Planet and the Planeteers, but Good Seeds is equipping today’s brood with a collection of farm-totable products to tackle environmental issues and learn healthy eating habits

Taking friendship jewelry to the next level, Tripits is a collection of 3-in-1 trinkets that transform into a necklace, a bracelet or a ponytail holder with a simple twist of a bead. Each colorful piece comes with an inspirational charm (“Stand Tall,” “Change Your World,” “Dream Big,” to name but a few) that can be collected, traded and shared among friends. Wholesale prices range from $3.50 to $10. Visit

to boot. Eco-friendly growing kits provide kids the opportunity to plant their own seeds and watch them grow, while American-made chef hats and aprons and plastic-free dinnerware involve the little ones in meal planning and preparation. Apparel is sized 6 months to 6 years and wholesale prices range from $5 to $19. Check out

Designer Amanda Rabor tapped into her Nigerian heritage for Isossy Children, a line of fashion-forward clothing for girls sizes 2 to 12 years. Her fall collection features dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, tops and jackets in bright colors and vibrant African- and Asian-influenced prints. Each piece is handmade from 100 percent cotton or silk and fully lined. Wholesale prices range from $30 to $50. Visit

Since 2008, MiniZZZ has been one of Australia’s leading sleepwear labels for boys and girls sizes 2 to 7 years and now its “Down Under”- designed duds are coming to America. All pajamas are made from the softest, machine-washable fabrics and are available in whimsical prints like cupcakes, rag dolls and florals for girls, while boys get robots, trucks and monsters. Wholesale prices range from $24.95 to $29.95. Visit

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Inspired by the color and movement of Saturn’s rings, the latest offering from Uruguay-based Trommpo is chock full of fun and clever designs for kids’ sizes newborn to 8 years. In addition to its permanent line of basics, the fall collection includes coats with interesting details like structured collars and quilted elbows, paneled dresses and drop crotch pants with geometric jacquard cuffs. Everything is locally produced in family-run factories to ensure quality, uniqueness and good working conditions for everyone involved. Wholesale prices range from $13 to $58. Check out

Le Monde à l’An Vert is a Canadian line of sustainable clothing and accessories for children sized 12 months to 12 years. Fun, colorful and ethical, the eco-friendly collection strives to care for the earth and its community without sacrificing style. For fall, expect T-shirts, painting aprons, dresses, Bermuda shorts and backpacks, all made in Canada from organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and upcycled fabrics. Wholesale prices range from $18 to $40. Visit

Dubbed “clothes for happy kids,” European brand LouAnn stands out with little details like embroidery, hand-sewn sequins, engraved buttons and smocking. Shades of grey, black and olive abound for fall and each piece, made from machine-washable fabrics, will mix ‘n’ match effortlessly. Available in sizes 2 to 12 years, wholesale prices range from $18 to $49. Check out

Natureroots knows that the root of something is every bit as important as the finished product. That’s why the Canadian company uses only organic fabrics like cotton and linen, dyed with non-toxic natural or “vegetable” dyes, for its line of clothing for girls sized 18 months to 6 years. The beauty of each piece is enhanced with hand-embroidery, wooden buttons and shells. Wholesale prices range from $15 to $38 for organic dyed linen and from $10 to $28 for organic dyed cotton. Visit

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hot properties

Lucky Kids

Dress Up SUGARPLUM’S DECISION TO partner with Jessica McClintock was an “easy marriage,” says Carol Meyerson, vice president of sales at the special occasion specialist. The well-known women’s brand is creating a tween line for “the girl who wants to feel a little more grown up and mature, in a tasteful way.” Meyerson describes the collection as “sassy, sophisticated, very feminine” party dresses. SugarPlum is looking to translate the feeling of Jessica McClintock’s women’s line to age-appropriate styles in sizes 7 to 16 for girls ages 8 to 12. The dresses are made of such stylish materials as taffeta and glitter mesh and range in color from romantic pastels to bold brights. The line, geared toward specialty and better department stores, will launch at the ENK Show in August and delivery is planned for December or January. For more information contact Meyerson at or call (212) 842-4122.

OPTIMISTIC, CAREFREE AND a love of music and art are just a few words vice president of design at Parigi, Sandra Finkelstein, uses to describe Lucky Brand Jeans’ kid consumer. The new children’s collection, which will be launched for Spring ’13, ranges in size from 2 to 20 boys and 2 to 16 girls. Finkelstein describes the line as “very color-driven, an eclectic and unique collection for kids.” Denim will be the base and core styles will include novelty shorts, jeans, graphic tees and woven shirts. “There will also be a touch of layering,” she says. “Even though it’s spring we feel it’s important to complete the look.” Target retail prices for the bohemian-inspired line differ by category: Tops range from $22 to $44, bottoms from $35 to $59, dresses from $39 to $59 and jackets from $59 to $79. For more information, contact Orly Goldstein at 212-378-1276.


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Eric Carle’s World of Clothing ERIC CARLE AND Joester Loria Group are working together to create a line of infant and toddler apparel inspired by the World of Eric Carle. The clothing line will include layettes, one-pieces, knit and woven tops, dresses, jackets and fashion accessories. According to Debra Joester, every 30 seconds an Eric Carle book is sold, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the No. 1 children’s book read around the world by kids ages 0 to 3. “Parents introduce their children to Eric Carle’s book at age 6 months or younger and by the time children are 2 to 3, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other iconic World of Eric Carle

August 4-6 • 82 Mercer Street • SoHo, NYC

characters are an important part of their lives,” she says. While a licensee has yet to be finalized, the line will launch for Spring ’13. For information contact Joester at To view current Eric Carle products visit


Rugged Childhood CUTIE PIE BABY is partnering with Cherry Stix Ltd. to extend the Rugged Bear apparel line from newborn and infant sizes to include sizes toddler to 18 for Spring ’13. Eli Yedid, president of Cutie Pie Baby, says the new sizes will fill a missing link and ultimately help to make Rugged Bear a lifestyle brand. The apparel will be mix and match knit and woven pieces focusing on school wear essentials such as sweaters, basic tees, corduroys, cargo pants and turtlenecks. “[Cherry Stix Ltd.] is a great company and we feel they are the right partner to keep up with the high standard of quality

that Rugged Bear customers are expecting,” Yedid says. “We are looking forward to meshing our creative vision with theirs to create unique lines that are fresh, but also stay true to the brand’s integrity.” The collection’s wholesale prices range from $5 to $25 and will be available at Lord & Taylor and Von Maur. Contact Chelsea Kunkel at to find out more.

More information: (415) 568-4574 Follow us (UBIfashion)

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Fairy Tale Jewels bracelet

Uncle Goose building blocks



Woolly Boo pillow


Petites Frites burp cloths

Maple Landmark fire truck


Infantissima backpack



Original Sock Monkeys stuffed toy


Sea Bags baby bag


Holgate jumbo lacing shapes

From building blocks to burp cloths, we rounded up our favorite finds lovingly crafted across the country. BY LYNDSAY MCGREGOR


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6 5 8





FOREST FRIENDS 1 baseball-style tee by Lucky Fish 2 Kid O pull toy 3 Everbloom T-shirt 4 knit raccoon hat by Virginia Dunn 5 booties by Seven Smooches 6 poncho by The Little Hummingbird 7 Flap Happy long-sleeve tee 8 hoodie by Zutano 9 Babysoy lap tee 10 Vinca leather hair clip 11 Angel Dear blankie 12 3 Sprouts canvas storage bin




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driven by




AUGUST 18 - 22, 2012




new rules.

Magnetic wooden wheels and cars by Tegu, NYIGF Baby & Child exhibitor. © GLM 2012

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5 6 7


10 11


PATTERN MAKERS 1 empire waist dress by Flap Happy 2 Seven Smooches skirt 3 Mixed Up Clothing ruffle skirt 4 hooded dress by TwirlyGirl 5 burn-out scarf by Erge Designs 6 Home Spun Vintage dress 7 geometric print dress by Hudson Threads 8 polka dot dress by Züpers 9 burn-out T-shirt by Tease 10 Hoodebaby raincoat 11 Zopheez one-piece 12 sleeveless dress by Jelly the Pug




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RED HEAD 1 Bows Arts glitter-embellished bow 2 Couture Clips felt flower clip 3 Miss Mabel by Baby Bling crystal-embellished headband 4 Confetti & Friends sequin-embellished star headband 5 beaded headband and matching bracelet by Pink Pewter 6 stretch headband by Wee Ones 7 Vinca butterfly hair clip 8 bow ponytail holder by Annie Lane 9 beaded headband by Andrea’s Beau


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Peace of Mind

Social awareness starts in the crib with Tiny Revolutionary’s line of progressive infant and toddler apparel.

Wholesale: $12 to $15 Sizes: 6 months to 4T

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IT’S A MODERN age conundrum: A baby is on the way and her two moms, one with a background in apparel and who now confesses to having a shopping addiction during that nine months, cannot find baby clothing that combines cool graphics with inspiring messages. Sound like the making of a revolution? BreeAnne Clowdus and Courtney Howe thought so and pioneered Tiny Revolutionary in 2006, an organic line of one-pieces and T-shirts with original art and slogans intended to inspire and prepare children to improve their world. With Clowdus conceptualizing designs and Howe acting as the company’s “voice of reason” keying in on voids in the market, Tiny Revolutionary has become a go-to source for quirky, progressive-thinking apparel for specialty retailers in metropolitan areas that Clowdus lovingly describes as “hippy enclaves.” “We thought we’d fit nicely into a little niche, a politically progressive one,” Clowdus says, noting the company’s first line of designs focused on two mommy and two daddy family graphics—a topic that really hit home for them. From a business perspective, she admits it was too small of a community for an entire brand to count on for sales. A year in, Tiny Revolutionary broadened the scope of topics with designs about single parent families (illustrated with adorable nesting dolls), animal and human rights, the environment, and kid-friendly anti-war slogans like “War Is Poop.” That’s when people who wouldn’t call themselves political began to take notice. “Every parent wants their kids to be kind to animals, to not bully and to be charitable,” she says. (The company’s motto is “Raise Kind Kids.”) To date, the company’s “I’ll Change the World Someday” and “Recycle Love” vintage wash T-shirts and one-pieces are best sellers. “We like to create things that look classic and still hold true even if times change,” Clowdus explains. Timeless, not timely, the owners learned, is key to a successful design. “We learned that lesson in ’08 with an Obama inauguration shirt. We realized that some things have a temporary selling point. We’ll have to wait at least 10 to 15 years for that one to be considered vintage,” she laughs. In fact, Clowdus reports anything too political doesn’t seem to connect with her customers. “It feels a little dirty. Kids are too pure for politics. Plus, you could be raising the next Alex P. Keaton. You never know,” she says. Similarly, her antiveal design didn’t resonate. “The shirt said ‘No Baby Should Be Eaten.’ I don’t think it was a crowd pleaser, maybe too intense for kids,” she recalls. But it’s that fearless, humorous and adventurous approach to design, as well as 30 to 50 styles in constant rotation and best-sellers updated in new colorways, that has helped Tiny Revolutionary garner a loyal following. The company offers adult sizes in select designs and occasionally will receive a photo of a family in the matching T-shirts at an event. “We get actual handwritten love letters from parents,” Clowdus reports. The partners believe the company will have to become a lot bigger to ever become a brand for kids and adults, but for now they are taking baby steps. The company continues to work with non-profits like Save A Child’s Heart and Hands to Hearts International to help raise funds. And starting Spring ’13, Tiny Revolutionary will introduce accessories like baby and kids’ trucker hats, yoga pants and possibly custom pacifiers once the right like-minded domestic manufacturer is found. Having seen some of the more trendy baby brands grow at the expense of their quality and company philosophies, Clowdus and Howe are mindful of not going down that road. “Many consumers don’t care where or how items are made, but it is a priority for our customer,” she notes. –Angela Velasquez

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Wholesale: $44

Moon Shine

Sizes: Euro sizes 27-34

Tecnica’s newest style takes sides. THE YEAR WAS 1969. Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Tecnica patriarch Giancarlo Zanatta sketched the first Earth-bound Moon Boot. The futuristic Moon Boot design caused a stir amongst his team in Italy, who told him he was crazy to think it would ever impact the market. They were wrong. Today, Zanatta remains the outdoor brand’s highest-selling salesperson and since the iconic style hit store shelves the bright, oversized winter boot has experienced a number of resurgences, catching the eye of snow bunnies and the hearts of nostalgia-seeking baby boomers and now their grandchildren. For Fall ’12, Tecnica is expanding its children’s line with the Moon Boot Pod, the company’s first-ever style for kids with a true left and right foot. “It’s a little known fact that the original Moon Boot Classic is foot agnostic,” says Katie Gould, marketing manager for Tecnica. The water-resistant Pod, made with a slimmer profile, a nylon shaft and EVA rubber outsole, offers better traction and fit—critical selling points in the kids’ market, Gould reports. “The Pod is an improvement upon the Classic, in terms of walkability. It’s great for slush and snow,” she adds. So far, the Pod has received a warm reception from retailers, despite coming off a difficult winter for cold weather products. Offered in red, fuchsia, blue, white and black, Gould says the design team keyed into the line’s most popular colors and kept the style’s signature Moon Boot band intact. “No matter what we introduce, the design must always go back to people being able to identify with that original style,” Gould says. –A.V.

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Introducing Spring 2013 ENK Children’s Club-TBA Atlanta International Gift Show-Booth#3-200 New York International Gift Show-Booth#6200 PHONE (510) 324-8811 • FAX (510) 324-8828 • 1 (800) 978-8088 •

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REMEMBER Us Angels’ President, Hank Shalom, and Director of Sales and Merchandising, David Gardner, talk about the recent acquisition by S&C Bridal and the next phase of growth for the special occasion dress company.

By Jennifer Cattaui

NE DRESS AT a time. This is how David Gardner, director of sales and merchandising, and Hank Shalom, president, and the rest of the Us Angels team approach the special occasion business. Friends Miriam Jacob and Norma Sawdy launched the company in 1998 with one distinctive flower girl dress. The original dress was so on-point that it’s still being offered today. “It remains a top seller and has become the iconic Us Angels dress,” Gardner adds. In 2007 the company was purchased by a private equity firm, and most recently acquired by S&C Bridal on May 19, 2012. Although Miriam retired in 2009, Gardner says, “Norma continues to be the guiding light in the company.” In 2008, the company expanded its merchandise offerings into more casual, fashion-forward dresses for tweens with the launch of Blush by Us Angels. “Very quickly, this brand garnered as much positive brand recognition as its sister brand,” Gardner says. Collectively, the brands cover over 1,100 retail accounts ranging from high-end department stores, specialty retailers and bridal boutiques to catalogs and premier


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e-commerce websites. As borders diminish, opportunities grow for apparel companies: Gardner notes that nearly 11 percent of the vast apparel industry is dress wear. Last year, he says, 26,000 children in Los Angeles County received their First Communion. “These numbers represent a sampling of opportunities out in the marketplace—there is certainly room for growth,” he adds. Being a staple in family albums and an integral part of fond childhood memories come with the territory in the special occasion business. The company receives letters weekly from parents and the girls themselves who wear their styles. “My personal favorites are the ones that detail every moment,” Gardner says. “We received a letter this week from a mother in Staten Island, NY. Her daughters were lucky enough to be flower girls three times in 12 months. Both girls wore our dresses for each event. She described her daughters dancing, eating, running, napping, playing and finally falling asleep in our dresses on the way home,” he recounts. We had a chance to chat with Shalom and Gardner to learn more about the recent acquisition, their thoughts on the future of Us Angels and the opportunities within the special occasion market. What advice would you give to others growing a brand? What have you learned? DG: I was passed the baton only a few years ago. I have spent my entire 25-year career with only three apparel companies (Flapdoodles, Charlie Rocket,

and Us Angels). I did learn pretty quickly to hire people in areas where I needed help. No one person can be an absolute expert. I am very fortunate to be able to work with the best team in the business. Our Sales Senior Manager Celinda Porterfield is the best sales person I have ever worked with and she consistently makes sure I dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Was there one opportunity that helped move this brand in the right direction? DG: Our business dictates a replenishment model. In the early days, a high-end department store invited Us Angels to be a part of a vendor trunk show; if consumer demand warranted a buy then Us Angels would be a part of this retailer’s Bridal Salon business. I believe we received a little over a hundred dress orders from that two-day event. Us Angels had arrived. Today, we ship special occasion dress orders around the world—dresses leave our distribution center within 3 to 7 days, which is practically unheard of in this business. How has the special occasion market changed over the years, and how have you addressed these changes? DG: The special occasion market overall hasn’t changed that drastically over the years. There continues to be approximately 2.1 million weddings in the U.S. every year. This number remains pretty consistent. However, in my opinion, the parents and children have become more aware of the fashion trends overall.


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Q&A and we discovered what an ideal partnership or ownership group would look like to help us with our next wave of growth. How did S&C’s acquisition of Us Angels come about? What attracted S&C to the brand? HS: It was a relatively quick transaction process. The brands have such amazing placement and we recognized the company as a true market leader. In this evolving marketplace, consumers are increasingly interested in what they are purchasing and we believe that brands that are leaders in their fields are invaluable.

HS: One special occasion trend which we’ve noticed is a renewed interest in personalization. We created “A Custom Event,” a category in which dresses can be customized through adding different types of sashes and flowers, available in a wide array of colors. This was our way of letting people who are looking for that extra detail choose their perfect little dress. DG: “A Custom Event” was developed as a reaction to the bride wanting to have more options and the ability to customize the flower girl dress specific to the wedding. We offer five flower girl dress styles, six different sash fabrications, and eight flower options. The bride literally has hundreds of options available to make this dress her own vision. This concept has been a great success. How did you know you wanted to grow with a partner or be a part of a larger company? DG: For the past several years we were owned by a large private equity firm. It was my first experience working with such a large company and the resources available, the quality of people and their breath of knowledge was remarkable. However, we were not always speaking the same language: Their focus was different from ours. As a result, the decision was made to look for a new buyer. They gave us enormous support during this transition

What does this next phase represent for Us Angels and for Blush by Us Angels? What is the strategy or plan for the brands? HS: Great design and exceptional quality are hallmarks of our two brands. We have bright plans to grow and develop our brands and that begins with product. For Us Angels, we have reintroduced our holiday dress line, which was met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction. For Blush, starting with Spring 2013, we will be offering an everyday classification of dresses. Our retail base has asked for this category from us for a while, so we are excited. What role do each of you play from a day-to-day perspective? HS: On the sales side, I am evaluating our business and looking at opportunities to grow the brand within our current platform of distribution. On the marketing side, I am focused on implementing a new social media strategy that will allow our customers to connect with the rest of the Us Angels community. On the product side, I am focused on enhancing our assortment and updating our product lines to make sure that we are continuing to offer classic and beautiful dresses that are trend-right. We are also discussing some exciting future design collaborations. David will continue to drive the sales and merchandising for the two brands. Our LA sales and merchandising team will continue to be an integral part of this process. What sort of challenges do you face building the next phase of this brand together? HS: This is an exciting time for Us Angels. Our brand has such a strong following and we’re fortunate to have amazing retail partners who are looking to us for new products. Our focus is on developing the business organically, in a manner that is consistent with our vision for the brands.


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DG: The biggest struggle for me will be patience. I finally feel as though I have been given the “golden ticket,” the keys to the chocolate factory. Our task now is to mindfully grow the labels without over-saturation or dilution. What was your background before acquiring/becoming president of Us Angels? HS: Prior to this, I worked as vice president of Taylor Fashion, a wholesale outerwear firm. My father owned the company and I worked there for three years. I learned the apparel business from him. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. Prior to that, I studied at the University of Maryland, where I majored in art history. What trends do you see in special occasion? DG: The two biggest trends I have realized are the expansion of the definition of what is considered special occasion and the increase in the number of flower girls associated with the wedding party. We were certainly delighted with the size of Prince William and Catherine’s wedding party. How are you positioned in the global market? DG: The number one city in the world for weddings is Istanbul, Turkey; the second city is Las Vegas, NV. Our website recorded visitors from 194 countries worldwide. We currently sell to over 100 accounts in 39 different countries. We also have a distributor in Canada. We see global expansion as one of our primary growth vehicles. Parties and fashion are things that girls, especially tweens like to talk about. Do you have a social media strategy that supports this market segment? HS: Our social media strategy is to provide a platform where

customers can share their stories and experiences not just with us but with the entire Us Angels network. A Facebook group and a Twitter feed are in the works and we plan to have product giveaways, and to encourage people to share their personal experiences with our products. How do you approach marketing special occasion wear? DG: The special occasion model is different from seasonal collections. Special occasion is predominately selling one dress at a time, so our largest partnerships are with our retailers. We offer annual collection dress sample lines, look books, color swatch cards, postcards, photographs, and flower and sash samples to our customers. They in turn create an in-store presentation. We help the consumer with their selections and then follow up to ensure 100 percent customer satisfaction. Part of the success of this process is our retailer knowing they will get the dress or dresses they order on time and in the quality they expect. What do you most look forward to in regards to the future of this brand? HS: We are looking forward to growing the Us Angels brand by continuing to design beautiful dresses that will help young girls feel beautiful, happy, and confident. What’s the bottom line? DG: We know that every dress we ship will have a story and a captured photo-op moment associated with the event. The driving force is to never disappoint a bride, or a little girl, for her moment in the spotlight. Special occasion wear certainly isn’t brain surgery or rocket science, but our team does take it very seriously. We have a lot of fun and take on the responsibility as our own. •


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GIVING BY JENNIFER CATTAUI GROWING NEED AND shrinking resources were the impetus for the launch of the Clothes4K.I.D.S. campaign. Crafted to address the 15 million children—nearly 22 percent—living below the poverty line in the U.S. alone, the national clothing drive for apparel and other necessary goods seeks to bridge the gap for needy kids. “Apparel, apparel, apparel—that’s the goal of Clothes4K.I.D.S. What we need to



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Children at the Atlanta Children’s Shelter enjoyed a day of face painting and crafts, and received new clothing and necessities from apparel company Carter’s as part of the Clothes4K.I.D.S. campaign.

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really help these children is more clothing donations, pure and simple,” says David M. Coleman, board member and interim president at K.I.D.S. Clothes4K.I.D.S. is already inspiring a groundswell of local activity, with long time donors to the charity initiating and participating in localized distributions to impoverished areas around the country. “The idea is to develop a more regional focus across the 1,000 agencies K.I.D.S. works with, highlighting them and supporting their work,” says Gary Simmons, CEO of Gerber Childrenswear and K.I.D.S. board member for the past 16 years. In April, K.I.D.S. paired up with Gerber and New York City mommy blog, Big City Moms, for a baby shower blow out in Miami, during which other apparel companies were able to learn the importance of providing product for agencies that serve children in need. As part of the event, Gerber donated a large amount of garments to Neat Stuff, a Miami-Dade County based organization that helps abandoned and otherwise mistreated children. “We work to do what’s

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right for kids and give back to the community,” Simmons says. “Studies show that early intervention has the greatest impact in the long term,” notes Brian Lynch, EVP and brand leader of Carter’s and member of K.I.D.S.’ board of directors. As the largest apparel contributor to the charity, Carter’s has consistently been involved in helping kids with the greatest need. Carter’s focused recent efforts on the state of Georgia, where 250,000 children are living in extreme poverty. The company stocked (and will continue to stock) a clothing closet for the Atlanta Children’s Shelter in celebration of the shelter’s grand reopening and as part of the Clothes4K.I.D.S. drive. “For us this always comes back to our core mission as a company—we are dedicated to celebrating childhood and to working with organizations that share our commitment to children’s health and overall wellbeing,” Lynch says. Carter’s and the K.I.D.S. crew also recently visited a military base in Fort Benning, GA, and


Effective and Efficient: Ninety-seven percent of all donations go to children and their families. Charity Navigator, an independent rating service, has awarded K.I.D.S. a four-star rating four years in a row based on their efficient management and financial growth. Breadth of Giving: K.I.D.S. works with more than 1,000 agencies located in all 50 states to distribute product. New Products Only: K.I.D.S. gives only new clothes and products. Receiving something new is very special for a child in need.


Studies show that early intervention has the greatest impact in the long term...

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distributed Carter’s clothing to 200 expectant mothers at a pre-Mother’s Day event for women whose husbands are deployed. “The event gave these military mothers an opportunity to meet and learn from one another, build community and walk away with a nice assortment of baby essentials from a brand they know and trust,” says Lynch. Supporting military families is one of K.I.D.S.’ (and Carter’s) priorities. “We understand the tremendous sacrifices these soldiers and their families are making and we want them to know that we appreciate their service,” says Lynch. For the agencies in the K.I.D.S. network, the partnership means that they can get brand-new apparel for needy children in their community programs. “The logistics of getting product from large manufacturers in New York or Los Angeles to a local charity in Chicago or a remote American Indian reservation is a difficult task,” Coleman notes. “Our network of more than 1,000 partner agencies allows us to move clothing from the manufacturer to local charities efficiently and quickly. In a survey of our charities, we found that more than 90 K.I.D.S. and Carter’s sponsored a percent indicated that the pre-Mother’s Day baby shower at Fort kind of products we provide Benning, GA, for military mothers whose husbands are deployed. in the Clothes4K.I.D.S. program could not be got in any other way. The charities also indicated that the Clothes4K.I.D.S.’ new clothing program has made a real impact by allowing them to increase the amount of children and families they serve by 25 percent,” he adds. To be sure, the math is easy: the more people involved, the more apparel distributed, the more children helped. As the second half of the year unfolds, with so many more events planned, both nationally and locally, retailers and manufacturers alike should look deep into their inventories and see what they can give. “The number of children living in poverty in America is at a record high, and families are struggling. This campaign seeks to alleviate their burden by providing basic necessities. Ultimately it will make their lives a little bit easier and that is pretty special,” says Lynch. Despite trends of minimizing overstock and favoring lean, or even at-once, inventories, there is always something to give—but it’s essential that more companies take part to fill the need. In the words of K.I.D.S. organizers, this year, the caring continues—and, until we live in a world without need, may it ever. •

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Show &Tell

Summertime means the trade show shuffle starts anew, with Spring ’13 goodies enticing retailers from convention floors and showroom shelves in all the major metropolitan markets. By Angela Velasquez Retailers know there’s no such thing as summer vacation: It’s trade show season, and as we hit the half-way mark of the year, buyers are skipping ahead to Spring ‘13 keying in on new brands, must-have trends, affordable add-ons and revisiting old favorites. Whether it’s at a vast convention hall or a relaxed showroom with familiar faces, leaving the shop floor and submerging yourself with industry peers is essential. Or, as Lou Ann Thomas of Atlanta’s AmericasMart puts it: “If you’re not going to market, you’re missing out on exciting ways to grow your business.” Can’t decide which to attend? Here’s a look at what markets have in-store for this summer.

THE DREAMER PLAYTIME NEW YORK / AUGUST 4-6 Wooden floors, natural light, the whirl of trendsetters outside on SoHo streets—it’s no wonder why retailers from across the country attend Playtime New York and why this year’s theme for the show is Dream. “The ambience of the show feels great. The space inspires and gives boutique owners creative ideas on how to display merchandise,” explains Clare Posnack, co-owner of Global Beginnings, the marketing and sales consulting firm for Playtime New York. “I see buyers stand at the trend spaces and they are in awe.” About 100 domestic and international lines will add their own brand of magic to the show and more are still being recruited. “We see all kinds of companies that want to exhibit, especially more gear and tween girls apparel,” Posnack reports. A diverse group of products ranging from mid- to high-end attracts better specialty and department stores, but Posnack says not everything is expensive or out of reach. The show will offer shuttle buses to and from ENK Children’s Club, as well as detailed catalogs and a website for retailers to map out their day before they arrive so they don’t miss their chance to see a line. “The lines that show at Playtime show nowhere else at that time,” Posnack states. “We make it worth [retailers’] while.”

THE FIRST LOOK ENK CHILDREN’S CLUB / AUGUST 5-7 If some of the brands at ENK look familiar that may be because they are in your own closet. The biggest story at the August Children’s Club is the abundance of brands that originally cut their teeth in the adult market making a strong move into childrenswear. “These brands are trying to expand their horizons and not limit themselves to just adults,” says Jesse Smiley, public relations manager for ENK International. Diesel, J Brand, Joe’s Jeans and Ralph Lauren are just a few names hoping to attract buyers seeking sophisticated mini-me looks. Smiley says Smartwater will be the official water sponsor this August. Organizers are looking to add other relevant sponsors that will appeal to the buyers and make their experience more enjoyable. But it’s the ENK team’s hard work in identifying new brands and helping them focus on their market that keeps buyers coming back. “The show’s been around for many years and we’re known as a source to find out what is next in the market,” he adds.

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The Southern Connection AmericasMart / August 9-13 iscovering new products, making new connections and uncovering new merchandising ideas drive retailers to AmericasMart. “Despite the evergrowing world of online commerce, it’s still essential for buyers to attend trade shows,” says Lou Ann Thomas, executive director of marketing for AmericasMart. “It’s one thing to look at a product online, but it is quite another to see that item in person, feel the texture, see the scale and encounter the item in a showroom setup.” The show continues to evolve by delivering products that buyers want and need. Thomas reports that the show’s annual research studies indicate that retailers depend on AmericasMart for the latest products, the most variety and exclusive lines they can’t find anywhere else—a potent combination for its base of children’s boutique, resort, gift and specialty retailers seeking a unique product mix. “We do not focus on the majors,” she adds. Reps at AmericasMart’s 76 permanent showrooms (each representing one to 110 lines) encourage crossover merchandising. Whether it’s a small exclusive line or the hottest toy, incorporating non-apparel items has been essential to helping independent retailers compete against the big boxes. Here, Thomas says buyers can dip their toes into new categories such as footwear, diaper bags, gifts, toys, maternity clothing and home décor and find the appropriate add-ons to ring the register. In the past the center has been more focused on apparel for newborn to age 10, but with the emergence of the tween market several showrooms are expanding their offerings to meet the market needs. In fact, The Klein Group opened their iTween showroom in April and will mark the occasion with a launch party. Amidst the buzz of the market, retailers can relax and refuel in the lounge and help themselves to coffee, lunch, refreshments and internet access. Thomas reports AmericasMart is consistently ranked No. 1 in overall satisfaction and customer service and is lauded for its convenience and professionalism. Perhaps it’s the staff’s knack for good old-fashioned southern hospitality that appeals to its core of retailers from the Southeast, as well as buyers from across the country and world. “We’ve created a marketplace unlike any other, connecting buyers and exhibitors from around the globe,” Thomas says. “We bring it all together in one easy-to-shop campus, surrounded by firstclass amenities and accommodations, right in the heart of the nation’s most accessible city.”

THE TRAVELER NORTH BRANCH KIDS MARKET / AUGUST 10-14 The bevy of showrooms located at the North Branch Kids building in Chicago, IL, has a pulse on what retailers, parents and children across the States want. From the delicate embellishments of Biscotti and Bébé Mode, the vintage prints of Trunk Ltd., the classic stylings of Claesen’s to Desiguals’ color soaked prints and Appaman’s modern tees, the centrally-located market center is a true blend of brands that combine city-chic with Midwestern sensibility. “Retailers can come to us and see a full scope of styles, trends and brands for all ages,” explains Krista Hylbak owner of K.I.T. Showroom LLC, part of the seven showroom ensemble. “And we’re the only show in town,” she adds. Still, the center is not resting on its

laurels. Show specials unique to each showroom—be it free shipping, discounts or other bonuses—lure retailers into the building. “We know retailers are bogged down with responsibilities and tight schedules and so we do our best to make the buying process as fun, efficient and painless as possible,” Hylbak adds. Free parking, lunches, drinks and giveaways are just some of the extras buyers can take advantage of, too, not to mention a relaxing patio with city views to catch some fresh air. Organizers take that vacation-like mentality seriously by taking the show on a road trip through the Midwest in the fall. Reps will be making stops in Columbus, OH, Farmington Hills, MI, and St. Paul, MN. “It’s a great chance to reach out to new retailers, show our best items and see some frequent buyers on their home turf,” Hylbak adds.

THE MODERN MIXER LA KIDS MARKET / AUGUST 13-16 A destination for children’s retailers on the West Coast, LA Kids Market attracts buyers with a keen eye for cool and top-notch wares. “We have a lot of lines that concentrate on the contemporary marketplace… lots of European lines and higher price points,” notes Alyson Bender, marketing and public relations coordinator for the California Market Center. Whereas shows in neighboring states show lower price points and licensed products, Bender notes, “people come to us for the better products.” Those products include a variety of merchandise from plush toys, sleepwear and infant/toddler and tween

apparel to gifts, home décor and maternity clothes spread across the coterie of showrooms. “We’re seeing more retailers in the fashion market diversifying merchandise and bringing in more accessories because they are selling better than apparel. There are more lunchboxes, blankets and small add-ons,” Bender explains. The center makes the most of market week by building buzz and excitement around new products, specials and giveaways. “We send postcards and try to help buyers with pre-planning,” Bender notes. Retailers also have access to lunch and a rolling snack cart for an afternoon pick-me-up, can take advantage of free parking and participate in a number of giveaways. “There’s a lot of draw for buyers to come to our market,” she says. And, Bender notes, the perks continue year-round. A permanent base to pop in and replenish 52 weeks a year is essential for retailers, especially those who may not have the freedom to leave the shop floor on specific show dates. “We work around a buyer’s schedule and by seeing them between market weeks, we’re able to build a strong relationship,” Bender adds. 2 0 1 2 J U LY • E A R N S H AW S . C O M 2 9

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THE DISCOVERY ZONE DALLAS CHILDREN’S APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES MARKET / AUGUST 16-19 A go-to source for retailers between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, KidsWorld at the Dallas Children’s Apparel and Accessories Market offers something for everyone with a balanced representation of kid-centric products. “We mainly see boutique children’s stores, but given the market center’s vast product offers we welcome every type of retailer searching for every type of product,” says the center’s Vice President of Marketing Communications, Cole Daugherty, adding that the access to nearby gift and home décor showrooms opens the door for plenty of cross-over buying. A comprehensive market place from baby to tween, Daugherty says the center’s 250,000-square-feet devoted to permanent and temporary kids’ showrooms highlight a breadth of products from apparel and accessories to décor, games and toys. In fact, Daugherty sees a growth in the juvenile toy and play categories in general, a telling sign that boutiques are still a hotspot for picking up last minute birthday presents and dance recital gifts. “The show is very efficient for retailers,” he explains. “It’s a discovery zone of what’s new and what is next for consumers.”

THE BIRTHDAY KID KIDSHOW LAS VEGAS / AUGUST 20-22 “New lines drive sales,” reminds Manager of KidShow Las Vegas, Denise Raeside. With almost 30 new exhibitors including contemporary brands like Trumpette and Tractor, as well as first-time showrooms and returning stalwarts like E-Land and Dolls and Divas, the August show is set to deliver the goods. “We need to show a mixture of prices, especially for our retailers from California and the West Coast where they are particularly aware of costs. Whether it be hair accessories and leggings, or special occasion dresses, we need to show retailers a range of prices in order for them to be able to compete with Target and Wal-Mart,” Raeside says. Accessories and gift lines always do well at the show—thanks in part to an eclectic mix of retailers that spans boutiques and departments to resorts and the zoo—but Raeside notes a boom in footwear. “Despite the fact that there’s a big footwear show going on in the same town at the same time, it’s a segment that continues to grow. Even the people who left to try the other show, they all came back.” The August edition also marks KidShow’s 10th anniversary, which will be fêted with a reception on the second day of the show alongside exhibitors like Le Top and Flap Happy, which have been with the show since its inception. “We’ve come a long way from having 65 booths in a tent in the back of the Rio,” Raeside quips. She believes that the show’s reputation for being “an oasis in the mess” keeps retailers coming back. The August show will be back at Bally’s, which Raeside says feels like home. “There are so many shows going on in Vegas that week, that we always hear from retailers that coming to KidShow is a place where they can come in and concentrate and not hear slot machines. It’s a true vacation where they can get business done,” she describes. There’s even more reason to celebrate as KidShow Miami was recently announced for 2013. Poised to tap into the business in the Caribbean and Central and South Americas, Raeside says there’s a lot of potential to develop a strong market. The new venue opens the door for high-end brands to chase after South American retailers who value quality and cuts travel time for retailers in these regions. “We get a lot of retailers from these parts of the world coming to our Vegas show who have to travel through Miami first. It made complete sense to bring the show to them,” she explains.

The Giver New York International Gift Fair / August 18-22 ho can host the world better than New York City? For five days, more than 35,000 attendees from all 50 states and 80-plus countries will ascend upon the Javits Center and Piers 92 and 94 for the New York International Gift Fair to scope out the latest giftables on the market from over 2,800 exhibitors. They will also have a number of opportunities to mix, mingle, learn about the developments and strategies in retail and of course, experience the metropolis. Children’s buyers will get to know the fair’s Baby & Child pavilion quite well: What began in 2010 as a central source for infant, toddler and kid products, has blossomed into a think tank for welldesigned innovative toys, one-of-a-kind accessories and nostalgic gifts. The August Baby & Child will feature 125 to 150 exhibitors, however Christian Falkenberg, NYIGF director and show manager, notes that hundreds of other child-related products will be offered throughout the other divisions of NYIGF, particularly in the Accent On Design and Handmade areas. Newcomers for August include hair accessories brand Monerias, newborn sock and apparel gift set maker Pipopipo and Lilliputiens, a line of educational soft toys. These lines and many more will be peppered in with perennial favorites like Little Giraffe, BabyLegs, EeBoo and Wry Baby. This year Baby & Child is expected to be easier to navigate than ever, Falkenberg reports, thanks in part to its new location. The show is making an effort to restructure the floor plan so complementary divisions are located side by side. The change is part of “Focus Forward 2013” strategic reorganization of NYIGF. For further assistance, attendees can download a free NYIGF Wayfinder app to their mobile device. The app returns real-time results with company names and booth numbers and searches can be saved and displayed on a floor plan. Children’s buyers will get an extra day to prepare this year. The show will have staggered opening dates; Baby & Child will open on Sunday rather than Saturday. First-time visitors can take advantage of a pre-show attendee webinar: NYIGF Orientation- Get Ready, Get Set, Go! on August 9th at 2 p.m. EST—just one of the many educational tools the fair has organized to help retailers make the most of their buying time. “The webinar addresses how to plan, organize and manage your time at NYIGF,” the director explains. Daily onsite NYIGF Orientation sessions will advise visitors on how to use the directory and offer tips for effective sourcing and shopping. Other educational and special events include a snack break sponsored by Earnshaw’s, specials on Broadway performances, 40-plus seminars addressing color and design trends, sustainability, retail strategies and more.

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THE BIG 10 ABC KIDS EXPO / OCTOBER 14-17 This year also marks the 10th birthday of ABC Kids Expo. President and Show Director Larry Schur laughs when he thinks back to the ABC’s humble beginnings. “It was held at the Tropicana in Las Vegas with only 100 booths. The next year was 150 booths, then we wound up at the Las Vegas Convention Center with 1,100 booths,” he recalls. Today, more than 3,500 booths are expected to blanket the Kentucky Exposition Center. Baby gear, strollers and car seats have especially exploded, taking an entire wing of the expo with more than 900 booths. Schur reports that the show is already 80 percent sold out of exhibit space and that it continues to receive applications on a daily basis. The apparel section is growing with more layette, sleepwear, footwear and hosiery lines. Other improvements include the Naturally Kids section, dedicated to juvenile product manufacturers that focus on producing eco-friendly items, relocated to a more desirable spot with better signage and a possible inventor’s pavilion aligned with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), where folks can present their product to potential manufacturers. These bigger and better areas will take place in the revamped Kentucky Exposition Center. “We took a lot of complaints to the center’s management after last year’s show and they listened,” Schur notes. The result is a $1.2 million facelift that includes better wireless networks and all new food concessions with healthier options. Retailers can also indulge after hours: On the first night of the show, ABC Kids Expo will host a bash at Fourth Street Live, a popular venue for music and mingling in downtown Louisville. “We’re closing down the entire street and guests can unwind with drinks and hors d’oeurves,” the president says. “It’s going to be a great night to kick off the show and celebrate our milestone.”

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Winter Water Factory




HEN RUTH TRUE opened her specialty shop NuBe Green in 2009, the Seattle, WA-based retailer had to dig for American-made stock. Just three short years later, an increasing number of homegrown brands are knocking on her door in an effort to gain precious shelf space amid her store’s exclusively made-in-the-U.S.A. merchandise mix that includes kids’ clothes (from the likes of Little Orange Room, Jenny Jo and Trash-A-Porter), furniture crafted from local storm-salvaged trees, jewelry fashioned from recycled metals, bags and wallets made from repurposed bicycle inner tubes and tabletop and glassware from post-consumer bottles. The store’s success mirrors the locavore philosophy


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As Chinese labor shortages continue to be a source of woe and materials and shipping costs skyrocket, domestic manufacturers flaunt their stateside addresses, answering both logistical needs and an increasing demand for made-inthe-U.S.A. merchandise. By Lyndsay McGregor

Fiveloaves Twofish

CPC Designs

sweeping the United States, a trend that took hold in part because of the recent recession and rising unemployment. “It’s hard to keep politics out of it,” says Stefanie Lynen, the Brooklyn, NY-based designer of Winter Water Factory. “All the money that I pay to make my product is paid to people who live in the community. We pay taxes on it and keep jobs here and money here and that gets reinvested in the community,” she says. Heather Haas of California-based brand Fiveloaves Twofish agrees: “We take pride in the fact that we’re keeping [San Diego’s cutting and sewing community] alive…if we can help another American keep a job, that’s a plus,” she says. Kris Galmarini, designer of Charleston, SC-based Neve/Hawk, thinks the uptick in cost is something consumers are willing to absorb—so long as the quality is there. “They know the advantages for our economy,” she says. “People are willing to spend that

extra dollar in order to support that.” Even if domestic production is more expensive, for both buyers and manufacturers, supporting the U.S. labor force and American-made products seems like the right thing to do. “At the end of the day, everyone who makes and touches our clothing goes home and has a meal,” says Kit Kuriakose, Haas’ business partner. It’s a sentiment shared by Gaby Evers, one-third of the design team behind Pennsylvania’s CPC Designs: “A really interesting by-product of working locally is that you get to see the benefits of doing business with local businesses. The people in the factories have all met our kids. We see the people that are making our goods and we know that we’re helping to support them and their families and that’s a really nice thing,” she notes. But it’s not just patriotism and community-awareness that’s fueling 2012 JULY • EARNSHAWS.COM 33

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Adore La Vie

NuBe Green in Seattle, WA

interest in local manufacturing. Ironically, one of the biggest factors contributing to the rebirth of American-made apparel has to do with China’s sourcing issues that are forcing manufacturers to look elsewhere for production, be it the U.S., India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia or Colombia, among others countries. The shift is backed by a Commerce Department’s Office for Textiles and Apparel report released in April, which found that apparel and textile shipments from China, the top supplier to the U.S., fell 12.7 percent in February to 1.6 billion SME compared with a year earlier. A report by the California Fashion Association says Chinese wages are rising due to a shrinking workforce caused by China’s “One Child” policy and also notes that apparel workers are going into other Chinese industries that offer better pay, hours and working conditions. That, plus increased shipping costs and problems with quality, has prompted manufacturers to look closer to home. So, an industry that was once pretty much left for dead in the U.S. is showing a pulse. And, according to some manufacturers, it’s an easier endeavor than making goods overseas. Keeping control of the end product is relatively simple when the whole manufacturing process takes place down the road. “I didn’t want to go overseas and have to deal with imports and mistakes; all it takes is one mistake and you could lose your whole selling season or production season,” says Amanda Boyd of San Francisco, CA’s Adore La Vie. “I’m very fortunate to have everything at my fingertips.” QUALITY CONTROL The convergence of American-made and higher quality is a battle cry heard from most local manufacturers sharing shelf space with their foreign counterparts. Incentives and payment systems overseas favor fast pace over high quality. Boyd notes, “My factory pays its workers an hourly wage; it’s not just trying to pump out numbers,” she says. “Overseas, factories pay per garment so workers might try to do 100 garments in an hour and the quality might be bad.” But to some it’s the quality rather than the “Made in U.S.A.” pedigree that makes a difference on the shelf. A really well-made Barley garment—one that is truly & Birch built to last—is deemed a worthy investment among consumers who demand more bang for their buck.

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“To be completely honest, we see people purchase our garments because the quality is amazing and, for the most part, because the designs are cute,” says Kyle Smitley, owner and founder of organic clothing line Barley & Birch. “That we’re U.S.-made is an added bonus.” Her collection of tees and one-pieces are made from 100 percent organic cotton grown in North Carolina and Texas and printed with waterbased inks. “Our choice to be made in the U.S. was never a sales pitch; it was always what we thought a responsible company would do,” she reveals. But manufacturing stateside also has perks for buyers looking for flexibility and speed in the fast-paced fashion scene. Not only does Evers, whose company works with two factories in Pennsylvania—a cutting room in Huntington Valley and production in northeast Philadelphia—get to see every single piece before it goes out, she’s able to turn around orders swiftly. “Customers are demanding. We can deliver faster than companies that are overseas. Retailers re-order consistently with us into every season. They’ll place their orders well in advance but once the season starts and they know our stuff is going to sell, they re-order and we’re able to get them goods in three to four weeks,” she says. Cynthia Jamin, CEO and designer of handmade L.A. brand TwirlyGirl, adds that quick shipping and low minimums mean that they can be responsive to buyers’ needs: “We directly impact the buyer’s bottom line. They don’t have to keep a ton of inventory and order six months out thereby [positively impacting] their cash flow.” THE ROAD AHEAD One of the challenges now facing domestic manufacturing is how to manage growth. “If we have a small group investing a bit more in supporting U.S. suppliers right now, it will become more affordable for everyone down the road,” says NuBe Green’s visual director, Anne Fenton. Where that investment goes is a matter of debate. Whereas Neve/Hawk owner Galmarini envisions, “more streamlined factories and more things set up like there are overseas, where you go to one place and they help you with everything, from the pattern all the way through to production,” the Fiveloaves Twofish team would rather keep the vendors diverse, opting for a free-market model. “Socialized fashion, as I call it, when it’s under one roof, is a set price. You’re employing one person so one person is getting that whole entire contract,” Haas notes. “But when you have your vendors, you go to your jersey shop, you go to your button guy, etc. The button guy has to compete with the other button guys. It’s more of a capitalistic point of view and more people get to be employed.” Either way, a deeper talent pool in apparel manufacturing in the U.S.—from cotton growers to sewers and patternmakers—could help ensure the industry returns in a viable way. “It would be great for everybody, from the kids coming out of college to those with the skill set that have been around for years. There’s plenty of space in certain areas of the country to put up dye mills and stuff like that and I think it would help with the prices,” Boyd says. “I think if each factory had larger quantities of us to produce for, the prices would go down a little bit. It would be easier on me and I could reduce my prices a little bit for the buyer who in turn could reduce his or hers for the consumers.”•

6/14/12 12:39 PM


Petites Frites is: ultra chic baby accessories with a bohemian twist, locally produced with love right here in the USA. The opposite of fussy, trendy or too cutesy-cutesy, our colorful versions of everyday eco-friendly staples like the bib and burp cloth represent timeless style and enduring quality.

er_07_12_USA_02.indd 35 (800) 878-2153 Visit us at ENK Children’s Club, NYC, Aug. 5-7.

6/18/12 12:37 PM

La Miniatura peacoat and button-down shirt, SuperTrash denim vest, Busy Bees plaid pants, boots by Hunter, vintage hat.


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6/15/12 1:16 PM

he grade school gentry gather close t o their horses and f riends as the festive season arr ives. The sun tuc ks in ear lier, the last leaves bid branches adieu and tartans, ruby reds and velvety blacks take hold, oft wed with winter wellies - practicality aligned perfectly with fashion.



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6/15/12 1:16 PM

This page: Busy Bees tartan dress, Hitch-Hiker cardigan, Hunter boots, socks by TicTacToe. Opposite page: Genuine Rose dress worn with a Tutu Couture pettiskirt, Junior Gaultier blazer, socks by TicTacToe, Hunter boots.

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6/15/12 1:17 PM


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6/15/12 1:17 PM


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6/15/12 1:17 PM

At left: Jayne Copeland by C.I. Castro plaid dress, blazer by Tartine et Chocolat, TicTacToe knee socks, Hunter boots. At right: Ralph Lauren jacket, Tutu Couture pettiskirt.

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6/15/12 1:17 PM

At left: Satin dress by Ralph Lauren, Zoe Ltd. bolero, blouse with velvet bow by Liv, Hunter boots. At right: Tartine et Chocolat cardigan and button-down shirt, La Miniatura skinny jeans, Busy Bees plaid tie, vintage hat; Donita plaid dress, button-down shirt by Junior Gaultier, TicTacToe socks, Hunter boots.

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6/15/12 1:18 PM


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6/15/12 1:18 PM

This page: Dress by Joan Calabrese for Mon Cheri, Junior Gaultier peacoat, TicTacToe socks, stylist’s pins, Hunter boots. Opposite page: Blush by Us Angels lace dress, blouse with bow by Liv, Le Big argyle socks, boots by Hunter. 44

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6/15/12 1:18 PM

This page: Tartan dress by Ralph Lauren, Mayoral blouse, leather jacket by SuperTrash, TicTacToe socks, Hunter boots. Opposite page: Ralph Lauren jacket, Laundry by Shelli Segal dress, TicTacToe socks, boots by Hunter. Style Director: Michel Onofrio Fashion Editor: Angela Velasquez Hair and Makeup: Tiffany Leigh Patton 46

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6/15/12 1:19 PM


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6/15/12 1:19 PM



JULY 7-9

Playtime Paris Parc Floral de Paris, L’Espace Evenements Paris, France +33 (0)14372 7537


Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market AmericasMart Atlanta, GA (404) 220-3000


KidzBiz Insights The Hotel at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, NV (603) 785-5510


Playtime New York 82 Mercer St. New York, NY (213) 563-7301


ENK Children’s Club Pier 94, 55th St. @ 12th Ave. New York, NY (212) 759-8055


LA Kids Market California Market Center Los Angeles, CA (213) 630-3683


Copenhagen Fashion Week (CIFFKIDS) Bella Center Copenhagen, Denmark

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St. Louis Gift Show August 12-13 St. Charles, MI

Atlanta Apparel Market AmericasMart Atlanta, GA (404) 220-3000


North Branch Children’s Show 1229 N. North Branch, 3rd Floor Chicago, IL


Kidz at Stylemax 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza 7th Floor Market Suites Chicago, IL (312) 527-7570


NW Kids Show DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle, WA


St. Louis Gift Show St. Charles Convention Center St. Charles, MI (513) 861-1139


The Children’s Great Event Shoe Show The Marriott Teaneck at Glenpointe Teaneck, NJ (718) 769-4251


United Boston Children’s Wear Show 75 McNeil Way Dedham, MA (781) 407-0055 www.


NY Kids Market 34 West 33rd Street New York, NY


Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market Dallas Market Center Dallas, TX (214) 655-6100


Columbus MarketPlace Gift Show Columbus MarketPlace Dublin, OH (614) 339-5100


The Children’s Show at Deerfield Embassy Suites Deerfield, IL (248) 478-1732 www.midwestchildrens


New York International Gift Fair Piers 92 & 94, Javits Center New York, NY (800) 272-7469


KIDShow Bally’s Hotel Las Vegas, NV (908) 232-0867


MAGIC Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, NV (218) 740-7092


Playtime Tokyo Belle Salle Shibuya First Tokyo, Japan +81 (3)3793 0057


Dallas Total Gift & Home Market Dallas Market Center Dallas, TX (214) 655-6100


Michigan Children’s Show Glen Oaks Country Club 30124 W. 13 Mile Rd. Farmington Hills, MI (847) 415-2156

6/15/12 8:49 AM

Playtime Tokyo August 28-30 Tokyo, Japan


The Livonia Children’s Show Embassy Suites Livonia, MI


United Boston Children’s Wear Show 75 McNeil Way Dedham, MA (781) 407-0055 www.unitedboston


The Indy Children’s Show Embassy Suites North Indianapolis, IN www.midwestchildrens


Kind + Jugend Koelnmesse GmbH Cologne, Germany +49 (0)1805 117017


NY Kids Market 34 West 33rd Street New York, NY


United Boston Children’s Wear Show, 75 McNeil Way Dedham, MA (781) 407-0055 www.unitedboston

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Atlanta Apparel Market AmericasMart Atlanta, GA (404) 220-3000


ABC Kids Expo Kentucky Exposition Center Louisville, KY (210) 691-4848

Take Your Pix® board book photo albums have sturdy cardboard pages that won't bend or tear. Perfect for kids crafts, educational activities, autism and speech therapy, scrapbooking and more!

Contact: Laura Miranti Board Book Albums, LLC 1-800-506-9683


LA Kids Market California Market Center Los Angeles, CA (213) 630-3683


North Branch Children’s Show 1229 N. North Branch, 3rd Floor Chicago, IL


NW Kids Show DoubleTree by Hilton, Seattle, WA


ENK Children’s Club Javits Center New York, NY (212) 759-8055

Editor’s Note: Show details are subject to change. Please call the phone numbers or visit the show websites for up-to-date schedules. Show sponsors may send updates to

6/18/12 12:39 PM


Join Earnshaw’s Marketplace Earnshaw's Marketplace maximizes small budgets for emerging infant and toddler companies. Tout your up-and-coming apparel or juvenile product collections to retailers looking for new resources targeting newborns through pre-schoolers. Call (646) 278-1510

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6/19/12 10:29 AM


holiday prep

Festive Thinking As more people do their holiday shopping early (last year BIGresearch reported that the average person completed 46.5 percent of shopping by the second week of December), it’s important for retailers to be prepared. Dan Butler, VP of merchandising and retail operations at the National Retail Federation, discusses how to make this busy time less stressful and more joyful. At Least 6 Months Ahead: Walk through your store and make sure the space is clean and holiday ready: check fitting rooms, carpet, doors and lighting. Ensure the equipment in the store is in good condition and products such as register tape and gift wrap are fully stocked. Start visualizing the sales floor and holiday windows. Buying should begin early, keeping in line with your stock and sales plans to meet your financial goals. Only order stocking stuffers and accessories that suit your customers’ taste.

Office and gift wrap supplies to order:_____________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Areas to be cleaned:___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Holiday products to buy, including extras:___________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Products to feature:___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Products to mark down:________________________________________________________ 3 Months Ahead: “Planogram” your selling floor. Arrange merchandise by level of importance: the most profitable goods at the front, followed by merchandise that will sell well, and sale goods at the back. Think about what fall items need to be marked down, what products you want to promote and how you will display them to make the sale. Start arranging your holiday sales floor in September and be finished by mid-October. Finalize a window idea and think about how to execute it. Plan your holiday season signage and advertising strategy. 1 Month Ahead: Holiday windows should be unveiled in November. The floor should be well stocked at all times and remain neat. Advertising should gradually increase throughout November and December. Set up signage telling your customers the percentage off or the sale price of the item. If you can add product benefits to the sign, even better. “Signs are like silent salespeople; they speak to the customer when you’re busy talking to other customers.”

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__________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Sales floor strategy:____________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Holiday display ideas:__________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Holiday advertising and signage strategy:___________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

6/15/12 8:41 AM


STYLIST: DJ FULANO AGE: 9 HOMETOWN: NEW YORK CITY From Run-DMC’s classic shell toe kicks to James Brown’s shiny suits, cool fashion and dance music are two crucial elements for an unforgettable bash. Nine-year-old spinning protégé DJ Fulano knows this well. Noted for his kid-friendly playlists, Fulano also knows a thing or two about style. The future fourth grader has mixed at parties for designers Diane von Furtstenberg and Bonnie Young, and he typically polishes off his prep school chic outfits with vintage brooches and pocket squares. Just before he left for summer vacation (he’ll spend it in the country recording), Fulano stopped by the Earnshaw’s office to give us a lesson in mixing—as in pairing classic threads with funky accessories. —Angela Velasquez Do you like to shop? Not for clothes because it always takes four hours and I have to try on a bunch of stuff and my mom is like “ooh” and “aah,” but I like to shop for toys. Wal-Mart, Target and Toys “R” Us are my favorite places for toys. Describe the perfect party. There would be a DJ with good music, lots of tasty food like spaghetti with clams, fun people and cupcakes, cake, ice cream . . . and ice cream cake. Who is your favorite musician? James Brown. Which songs get people on the dance floor? “Walk This Way” by Run-DMC, LL Cool J’s “Jingling Baby” and Loose Joints’ “Is It All Over My Face?” When you’re not spinning records, what do you like to do? I like to play video games, watch television and eat.

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Gingham shirt and corduroy pants by Baby CZ, Busy Bees wool coat and tie, argyle socks by Happy Socks, Cole Haan penny loafers.


La Miniatura striped suit, button-down shirt by Busy Bees, Cole Haan penny loafers, stylist’s brooch and bracelet.

Diesel bomber jacket, jeans and scarf, Trunk Ltd. T-shirt, stylist’s sneakers.

6/14/12 8:50 AM


6/19/12 8:42:09 AM


6/19/12 10:36:54 AM

Earnshaw's | July 2012  

US Angles Hank Shalom & David Gardner, Born in the USA, Clothes4K.I.D.S., Festivity - Earnshaws Magazine: Infants' and Childrens' Fashion Re...

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