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Q & A W I T H D E U X PA R D E U X ’ S Z A C H A R I E E L M A L E H • A D V E N T U R E S I N D E N I M • G E T W I T H T H E ( L O YA LT Y ) P R O G R A M

VOLUME 101 NUMBER 5

JUNE 201 7 $10.00

B E YON D THE HORIZON


GEAR FOR GIRLS Playful and on point.

sales@ulcapparel.com 212-299-4175


J U N E 2017 CONTENTS

F EATURE S 12 Next Generation Executive Zacharie Elmaleh, vice president of Deux par Deux, on e-commerce and diversification.

PAGE 18

14 Retail Report Why investing in a loyalty program might be the most profitable move. 18 Desert Blues Tiny trailblazers explore uncharted terrain in mixand-match denim.

DEPA RTM EN TS 4 Editor’s Note

Noelle Heffernan Publisher Kristin Young Editor-in-Chief Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors EDITORIAL Emily Beckman Associate Editor Mariah Walker Contributing Fashion Editor ADVERTISING Caroline Diaco Group Publisher Jennifer Craig Special Accounts Manager PRODUCTION Katie Belloff Associate Art Director Production Manager Mike Hoff Webmaster Ana Novikova Office Administration

6 Good Stuff

Bruce Sprague Circulation Director

8 Hot-Button Issue

CONTACT INFO

16 Trend Watch 30 Haute Topics 32 Up Close 36 What’s Selling

This page: Bearpaw hat, Emile et Ida shirt, Hudson overalls, Chipie Kids jacket (tied around waist), Cape Clogs clogs. On cover (left to right): Scotch & Soda hat, Winkniks glasses, Girl and Co. by Limeapple jean jacket, Numero 74 belt, Lee jeans, Natural Steps boots; Bailey Hats hat, Little Rails shirt, Boboli jeans, Dr. Martens shoes. Photography by Priscilla Gragg/ Apostrophe Reps; styling by Mariah Walker/Art Department NY.

Sales/Editorial Offices 135 West 20th Street Suite 402 New York, NY 10011 Tel: (646) 278-1550 Fax: (646) 278-1553 advertising@9threads.com editorialrequests@ 9threads.com Circulation Office 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 circulation@9threads.com CORPORATE 9Threads 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 Xen Zapis, Chairman Lee Zapis, President Rich Bongorno, CFO Debbie Grim, Controller

EARNSHAW’S INFANTS, GIRLS AND BOYS WEAR REVIEW ISSN 0161-2786 (USPS-320-090) The business and fashion magazine of the childrenswear industry is published 10x a year by Symphony Publishing NY, LLC, 135 West 20th Street, Suite 402 New York, NY 10011. 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 2011 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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EDITOR’S NOTE

The Bright Side W

HEN IT COMES to retail, it seems the U.S. is in a major upheaval. “Zombie Malls,� “Brick-andMortar Travails,� and “Is American Retail at a Historic Tipping Point?� were just some of the glaring—and downright scary—New York Times headlines so far this year. And you know things must be really tough when one of the most famous retail legends of all time, Millard “Mickey� Drexler, chief executive officer of J. Crew, admitted to the Wall Street Journal in late May he underestimated how technology would upend retail. “I’ve never seen the speed of change as it is today,� he told the paper, noting he didn’t fully comprehend how price and speed would drive Internet shoppers. That might explain why most retailers are funneling their investments into technology in an effort to keep up with the rapidly changing environment. Seems logical. And, yet, 60 percent of retailers said they were struggling with return on investment, according to a 2016 study put out by global consulting firm A.T. Kearney. I spoke to the study’s author, Ryan Fisher, and he attempted to sort out for me why

retailers are tossing money at technology but still coming up short. Thankfully for childrenswear, this is still a stone-cold fact: 90 percent of all retail sales happen at brick-and-mortar. And the study found that almost none of the investments the firm saw were directed toward helping store associates do their job better. “People are still the best investment,� Fisher affirms. Sales associates are the cornerstone of creating the best in-store experience, as we discovered in “Hot-Button Issue� on page 8. There are plenty of simple, low-cost things you can do now—the simplest of which is to equip staff with iPads. This month, we also take a deep dive into how to build a successful loyalty program, with tips on avoiding common mistakes and eliminating friction in “Get with the (Loyalty) Program� on page 14. The takeaway? All retailers should implement a loyalty program of some kind. So, as hard as it is to ignore the headlines and what’s happening to retailers across the country, as you page through our magazine, take note of the all the myriad simple maneuvers you can make. One simple change could make a world of difference.

KRISTIN YOUNG k ri s ti n .yo u n g @ 9 t h r e a d s . co m

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40T H A N N I V E R S A RY EARNIE AWARDS With more than a century as the leading trade publication in the children’s fashion market, Earnshaw’s proudly celebrates another milestone with this year’s 40th anniversary of its Earnie Awards. Over the last four decades, the industry has recognized outstanding companies with this prestigious accolade, voted upon by thousands of industry leaders. The honor of being selected for an Earnie Award denotes the retail community’s seal of approval in areas of design, quality and overall excellence across more than 20 categories.

BE SU RE TO M A RK YO U R C A L E N DA R W IT H T H I S Y E A R’ S I M P O RTA NT DAT E S :

Open Ballot Nominations: June 20—July 20 Final Ballot Voting: August 6—September 25 Winners Announced: October 6 Get social with the hashtag #EarnYourEarnie2017 and encourage your industry peers to head over to www.earnieawards.com to vote. But that’s only the pre-game. In celebration of our 40th, we’d like to thank the industry for their tremendous support with our complimentary anniversary lounge at Children’s Club in August. Grab a refreshment, rest your feet and catch up with industry peers on us. Then, get ready for the big unveiling of our final nominees on the first day of the show, August 6. We look forward to seeing you there!

Questions? Head over to www.earnieawards.com or contact Noelle.Heffernan@9threads.com.


G OOD S T U F F

Car Trouble PRODUCTS TO HELP FRUSTRATED PARENTS TURN ROUGH RIDES INTO SMOOTH SAILING.

Mifold Grab-And-Go booster seat

WHEN IT COMES to traveling with kids, getting from point A to point B is never as simple as it sounds. From lugging a booster seat on vacation to corralling toys in the backseat, it’s no wonder on-the-go families inspire many lucrative opportunities in the children’s market. Here’s a few suggestions to help streamline your customer’s next road trip.

Ride High

The Junkie by BubbleBum organizer

ZoLi Pod snack container

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Winner of a JMPA Innovation Award last month, the Mifold Grab-And-Go booster seat is 10 times smaller than average booster seats. Be it a carpool or a taxi ride, the Mifold ensures safe, hassle-free travel with a portable design that fits in a child’s backpack or even a glove compartment. “I recognized the hassle that comes along with the size of regular booster seats when my children were in a carpool or getting picked up by their grandparents,� recalls Jon Sumroy, CEO of Mifold. “I thought if I could design a booster that was mighty small and mighty strong, one that kids could take with them everywhere, then they could always be safe no matter whose car they’re in.� The innovative seat works by adjusting an adult-sized seatbelt to securely fit a child, bringing the seatbelt down to the correct position. It features three seatbelt clips, two on both sides of the hips and one on the shoulder. Belt guides are also adjustable

to three sizes, ensuring the belt stays snug. Meeting or exceeding all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, the Mifold is available in six colors and retails for $49.99.

Backseat Haul “The Junkie was invented to eliminate the messy backseat that all families with kids endure,� says Bernard Ward, marketing executive at BubbleBum. The Junkie features two drinks holders, a large insulated tote style bag, which then can be removed leaving a large collapsible pocket area for toy storage. It also has two fold-down trays and even a “tech holder� to hold a tablet. Plus, Ward notes how kids love to bring snacks and drinks in the car so the Junkie comes with a handy tote bag to put snacks in. Retailing for $39.99, the Junkie by BubbleBum is available online and at select specialty locations.

Snack Attack On the same wavelength as the company’s popular Sumo snack stackers, ZoLi released a new onthe-go product this month. Meet Pods: stackable snack containers that safely hold liquids. Each leakproof compartment holds up to 4 fluid oz. or 1/2 cup dry contents, with a set of three retailing for $13. Available online and at boutique retailers, Pods are BPA- and Phthalate-free and available in five crowd-pleasing colors.


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HOT-BUTTON ISSUE

Create an Experience SIMPLE STEPS TO MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE. BY KRISTIN YOUNG AND EMILY BECKMAN

A

s retailers rush headlong into creating omnichannel nirvana, consumers are only demanding small steps. According to Ryan Fisher, who authored global consulting firm A.T. Kearney’s retail operations study in 2016, there was a huge gap between what retailers think consumers want and what consumers actually want. For example, retailers are on a frenzied race to near immediate shipping times—in some cases next-day to one-hour shipping—while most consumers said they were perfectly happy with two-day shipping. After surveying retailers and consumers alike, Fisher concluded that retailers were focusing on things like shipping times and technology while falling short of getting the basics right—customer service, managing inventory, visual merchandising and creating the best in-store experience possible.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE Contrary to all the buzz about online shopping, some 90 percent of retail sales still happen within the four walls of a physical store. And while retailers are investing in technology, store associates remain the most important asset a store has. “Technology is important but [stores] can’t forget the employee and the interaction with the customer,� Fisher says. “Ultimately, it’s about having a customer experience they won’t forget.� Cary Cavitt, president of Service Starts with a Smile Seminars, who advises retailers on how to improve customer service, says simple things matter the most to consumers. A hand-written note, a quick hello (never allow customers to say hello first) even a smile can be the reason a customer feels comfortable enough to stay for a while. “Tone of voice means more to people than what you’re saying to them,� says


Cavitt, noting customers generally make a judgment about how they’re being treated in about 30 seconds. These days, customer service also means responding to a customer’s questions online or via social media. Being quick to respond is impactful, even if it’s an email that acknowledges a customer’s question or concern. “Ultimately, great customer service is about how a store makes you feel,� says Fisher. “How an employee interacts with a customer makes a big difference in their overall experience and ultimately determines whether they’ll be interested in coming back.�

stuck with merchandise. This is especially critical to children’s clothing retailers who change inventory from season to season. Fisher says the most important mistake most retailers make is waiting too long to mark down product. The performance of dead merchandise does not improve with time. “I’ve ran pilots with retailers and we can actually monitor how products are performing,� he explains. “If it’s not moving, take the markdown as soon as possible. What happens is the sell-through picks up, you sell more of it and overall you’ll do better.� The tricky question is when to pull the trigger. For some retailers, technology tracks the performance of merchandise. For other store owners, it’s an instinct and knowing the customer intimately. Villegas says that after 14 years in the business, she has a sense of what won’t move. She says you also have to have willingness to let go. “I change my inventory often,� she says. “I don’t get stuck on stuff that doesn’t work. Ultimately, I stay true to what I love and so far.� For Yoya, it’s a policy that has worked.

“YOUR MISSION SHOULD BE TO CREATE A LAYOUT THAT NATURALLY GUIDES YOUR CUSTOMERS AROUND THE STORE.�

TRAIN, INCENTIVIZE AND EDUCATE A.T. Kearney’s Fisher advises children’s retailers to spend more time talking with sales associates about the importance of communication. Discuss what’s expected of them, give them feedback on how much time they should spend behind the counter versus on the floor, and specifically what to say to customers and when. Educate them on children’s apparel and safety precautions. Better yet, give them technology like an iPad on the sales floor. If a customer can’t find SILENT SELLING what he or she is looking for, have a sales associate In today’s retail environment, providing good cusorder it on the store’s website. tomer service is not enough—especially when one “There’s a lot of investment in consumer-facing study shows 76 percent of customers never even technology,� says Fisher. “But there’s not much investspeak to a sales assistant while shopping. However, ment in putting technology in a sales associate’s hand. this statistic won’t hurt your bottom line if proper If I walked into a store and met a sales associate with visual merchandising is implemented. Eve Reid, an iPad [that could track inventory or place an order], founding director of the U.K.-based consulting that would engage me as a customer.� company Metamorphosis Group, brings nearly 25 Cristina Villegas, owner of childrenswear boutique years of experience in the visual merchandising Yoya in New York, says sales associate training is field to retailers. “Visual merchandising is not just critical in the age of Yelp reviews. “Customers are about making things look pretty,� says Reid. “It’s very public about how they feel and want,� she says. making sure that products sell.� In fact, just a simple “I have amazing people who stay with me for a long reorganization of your store can be an incredible EVE REI D, time. I train them, but they also learn by watching.� lever on impacting sales: converting more visitors FOUNDING DIRECTOR, Educating sales associates is becoming more into customers, encouraging customers to shop for META MORPHOSIS GROU P important now that retail is playing the role of a longer and increasing the average transaction value showroom or distribution center. In other words, a per customer. customer scouts a product in the store and buys it Visual merchandising encompasses the layout online. Small mom-and-pops are no longer measuring their success of a store, how it’s designed, the signage provided, the presentation of on revenue generated within four walls. Store associates are the most products and even the store’s atmospherics. “A smart store should be important assets retailer has, emphasizes Fisher. Training, incentives designed to embrace our natural movements and unconscious behavand support of the workforce’s most critical task are how to ensure the iors,� Reid offers. “Think wide chairs, easy-opening doors and no stairs.� ultimate goal: repeat sales and repeat customers. She adds that once you’ve achieved this level of ease, you can use clever product placement to take the experience one step further. Reid says, INVENTORY MANAGEMENT “That’s when your store goes from being easy to inspirational.� The numbers are staggering. Each year, retailers in the U.S. and Canada Reid notes that with work and leisure becoming less segregated, retail lose $120 billion worth of sales due to markdowns. “The loss is a result businesses must strike the balance between “run shopping� and “fun of poor inventory management resulting in marking an item down shopping.� Run shopping is all about streamlining experiences that will from retail sales price to clearance pricing or eventually to zero and help to minimize engagement for those in a rush. “Curate your prodjust throwing the product away,� Fisher says. “So improving markdown uct mix so your customers can navigate the complex world of product management can be a $120 billion opportunity for them.� Of course, choice,� Reid says, adding that retail shops tend to grow organically so inventory management comes down to a balancing act between how it’s important to stay aware of your layout becoming confusing. On that much inventory to stock and how to clear it out when it doesn’t move. note, space planning is critical. Stock too little and you miss out on sales, stock too much and you’re “Your mission should be to create a layout that naturally guides your

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Q&A Next Generation E xe c u t ive Now at the reins of his family-owned business, Zacharie Elmaleh, vice president of Deux par Deux, reveals why diversifying the company portfolio and embracing e-commerce are musts in today ’s rapidly evolving industry landscape.

BY KRISTIN YOUNG

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ZACHARIE ELMALEH SAYS it’s like he was born in a shipping box, having literally grown up in his parents’ company, Deux par Deux. Both he and the company were born exactly 31 years ago and, amid last year’s dual milestone celebrations, Co-Founders Claude Diwan and Maurice Elmaleh made the pivotal decision to hand over the day-to-day operations to their son. Always a tight-knit family, the founders believed their son was ready to lead Deux par Deux—a company renowned for its sophisticated clothing, vibrant colors and original patterns for babies, girls and boys—to the next level. Elmaleh has been doing just that. In the year since taking the helm, he has made a host of changes that he believes his generation expects from a children’s clothing company. Those efforts include ramping up its direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce platform, expanding


distribution in Latin America, striking a More importantly, the whole experilicensing deal for a snowsuit line and develence got Elmaleh hooked on the childrensCHAT ROOM oping activewear and baby organic collecwear business. He has since only wanted to tions to be launched in 2018. Pretty busy for become more involved—in Deux par Deux a man who never thought he even wanted to and the industry. “It was exciting and it was What are you reading? I enjoy reading become involved in the family business—at also perfect timing,â€? he says. “It was a way business magazines like Inc. and the last all. “I wasn’t interested in the beginning,â€? of introducing me to the family business so book I read was How to Win Friends and Elmaleh confesses. “I wanted to do anythat I could one day take over.â€? Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It was thing else that didn’t have to do with chilThe company Elmaleh now steers has written in 1936, but it’s still relevant today. dren’s clothing.â€? made its reputation based on creating pintIt’s timeless. With dreams of perhaps becoming a musisized versions of the latest styles (in girls What famous people in history do you cian or getting into marketing or communiand boys, sizes newborns to 12 years) spotmost admire? Nelson Mandela, Martin cation, that’s when Elmaleh’s mother hapted on the runways and in the hottest fashLuther King Jr,, Mother Theresa—people pened to change his career course entireion capitals around the world. Deux par who influenced millions of others and who ly. Now whether it was by some master plan Deux’s base in MontrĂŠal, which is described made the world a better place. Also, Steve or just fortuitous fate, no one knows, but as a crossroads between North American Jobs and Bill Gates, who were passionate the story goes that Diwan, who still retains and European influences, has served as a about their ideas, executed them in the the title of president and leads the design constant source of design inspiration. It’s best possible way and have a philanthropic team (Maurice is retired), handed her then a blend of ultramodern yet timeless fashapproach to business. 22-year-old son a side project while he was ion. A classic black-and-white striped top What would people be surprised to attending business school. The Canadian for girls, for example, is unexpectedly juxknow about you? That I’m very easygochain L’Aubainerie had approached Deux taposed with a jungle print in primary coling, but I like to get things done in a timely par Deux about producing a private label ors. A boy’s pair of plaid Bermuda shorts manner. I’m also a real geek. I love TED collection. Already with plenty on her plate, in muted shades of gray, yellow and black Talks, documentaries, artificial intelligence she left the venture entirely in her son’s is a sophisticated palette any stylish adult and computer science. I just started learnhands. Elmaleh accepted his mother’s offer, might wear. ing how to code, just for myself. based primarily on the one firm aspect of Sold to more than 700 specialty stores what he did want to do career-wise: “To be worldwide, Deux par Deux remains a bouIf you could hire anyone, who would my own boss.â€? tique-driven brand, according to Elmaleh. it be? A growth hacker and a financial Elmaleh was methodical in his approach “That’s really our bread and butter,â€? he says, genius. to launching what would become Kif Kif noting price points are on the upper end, What is your motto? Trust your gut, think Clothing, a lower-priced, mass market colspanning $30 to $80 suggested retail. But outside of the box and always remember lection. He says he shadowed his mother’s like any Millennial-aged executive, Elmaleh there’s never only one solution to a probbusiness moves as best he could. “She was is also focused on expanding the compalem. Great things are done by a series of really my mentor,â€? Elmaleh says, adding ny’s e-commerce capabilities, both with smaller things brought together. that having to do everything himself was online dealers and its own DTC platform. also a great learning experience. “I had to He considers the project his “baby,â€? spearWhat is your favorite hometown memship to chain stores, I had to take a course heading a five-year plan to meet the wants ory? When the summer arrived in Montr in accounting, and I remember staying at and needs of today’s consumers. “New parĂŠal, I used to love going to Mont Royal the office until midnight doing invoices,â€? ents have new shopping habits; you need to Mountain on a Sunday during Tam-Tam (a drum circle) and just sit in the grass and he says. “It was a huge learning curve for adapt yourself and be up-to-date,â€? Elmaleh stare at the crowd. me, but that’s how I learned the business says, adding, “I’m living proof of this trend: I inside-out.â€? buy my groceries online, my medication on It turns out the childrenswear manufacAmazon and most of my clothing on e-comturing talent runs in the family as Elmaleh merce sites.â€? Elmaleh believes that e-comturned that side project into a booming business that later spawned merce is no longer an option, like it used to be 10 years ago. It’s why the company’s private label division. Kif Kif, Elmaleh says, taught he believes Deux par Deux, as a company, must have a strong presthem how to go about it, and while learning how to make goods more ence online, which requires a strong social media presence as well. affordable presented some design challenges, some aspects of the “Social media is a way to acquire new clients,â€? he says. “We have no business were easier. “We had only one client and we didn’t have to choice but to follow this trend, because it’s here, and it’s here to stay.â€? produce samples or hire reps,â€? he notes. Of course, that had its risk Along those lines, Elmaleh’s goals going forward is for Deux par Deux as there is only one client who must be pleased, or else. Fortunately, to adapt, diversify and grow. He is actively seeking out more private Elmaleh is the pleasing kind as Deux par Deux’s private label division label and licensing agreements—a recent one is with Louis Garneau in now accounts for partnerships with two other retailers. QuĂŠbec, specializing in cycling and outwear clothing. “We’re also >34

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RE T A I L R E P O R T

Get with the (Loyalty) Program WHY INVESTING OR RE-INVESTING IN A LOYALTY PROGRAM MIGHT BE THE MOST PROFITABLE MOVE RETAILERS CAN MAKE RIGHT NOW. BY EMILY BECKMAN

T

HE NUMBERS ARE enticing: A good loyalty program can achieve 2.4 times more revenue from customers, a 33 percent improvement in an average order and an 80 percent increase in repeat sales frequency, according to Samir Palnitkar, founder of Zinrelo, a loyalty rewards and referral program service. “The lifetime value of a loyal customer is worth 10 times their first purchase,� he says. “A loyal customer is highly profitable for a business.� For many retailers, however, loyalty programs are a missed or neglected opportunity, according to Bob Negen, CEO and Co-Founder of WhizBang retail training. “Retailers think they will get the sale anyway,� he says. “Or they think they are giving away money or eroding their margins when in actuality they are increasing the total value of a customer.� Ignorance, in this case, is not bliss. “The reason they don’t choose to implement a loyalty program is: A. They are thinking incorrectly, or B. They just don’t think at all,� Negen says. In today’s retail landscape where consumers can shop anywhere at any time and find the lowest price with a few taps of their smartphones, the importance of retaining existing customers is more critical than ever. Not only are loyal customers a more profitable revenue stream, it is more cost efficient to try and retain customers than trying to find and attract new ones. But just as how consumers are shopping is changing dramatically, loyalty programs must adapt to be relevant and attractive in this new landscape. Offering frequent shopper discounts, for example, is not nearly enough in the age of Amazon. Paul Voss, director of customer relationship management for family footwear company Rack Room Shoes, says the trusty ol’ BOGO deal just doesn’t cut it like it once did to generate loyalty among its rewards program shoppers. Cheap is not the thrill it used to be, apparently. “Customers have a lot of options these days,� he confirms. “You need to make them feel confident that they’re getting the best

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available offers when they come shop with you.� Those offers now include members-only perks such as a special birthday reward, access to exclusive sales, earning $15 for every $200 spent and an app to track rewards. In the chain’s case, the efforts are well worth it as Voss reports about 10 percent of its customers bring in about 30 percent of total yearly sales. “Our loyalty program customers spend significantly more with us than our non-loyalty customers,� he reports, noting that members not only make higher dollars per transaction but also higher units per transaction. Koryn Wright, head sales and marketing director of Houstonbased children’s boutique The Pinkies Up Spot, also advocates the advantages of a loyalty program. “The number of repeat customers from pre-loyalty to post-loyalty program implementation has grown 63 percent,� she exclaims. “We’ve also seen an increase in first-time customers, and our average dollar sale has increased.� The first tip to creating a successful loyalty program: Keep it simple. Negen notes that the average consumer is part of at least 26 reward programs, to which he insists making your program as stress-free and easy to keep track of as possible. “Nobody likes rules,� he says, reminding retailers that this is supposed to benefit the customer—not frustrate them. “If somebody earns the reward, let them spend it the way they want!� Wright agrees, adding that while it may be tempting to try and “one-up� your competition in the loyalty program arena, customers will shop those that offer the best experiences. She advises now to “throw out your bottom line� with a loyalty program. Wright says, “Find what will work for you that is competitive but not necessarily the best of the best, and stick with it.� Tip two: Offer a variety of benefits and options. Kedar Deshpande, senior director of quantitative marketing and digital customer experience at Zappos, notes that while it’s hard to give one-sizefits-all advice since every retailer has a different business model,


there are key guidelines to always keep in mind. “Putting all your eggs in one basket is not the way to go,” he says. “You should have multiple values to the program.” Deshpande recommends thinking of ways your customer can benefit other than just providing discounts. For example, he suggests birthday month goodies or certain time periods that allow for double the acquisition of reward points per purchase. Zinrelo’s 360-degree loyalty program also capitalizes on this idea of multiple values, awarding points not just for purchases but for a variety of other activities such as friend referrals, account creation, social sharing, email subscriptions, birthday bonuses and win-back bonuses. Essentially, the more creative the benefits, the better. For instance, Voss says any Rack Room Shoes loyalty member who calls customer service automatically gets bumped to the top of the queue. Other potential offers include extending a return policy, giving additional gifts with purchase, free shipping, exclusives and sneak previews. Nordstrom Rewards program, for example, allows members early access to its highly-anticipated anniversary sales. Customization is another way to create a successful loyalty program, according to Bill Hanifin, CEO of Hanifin Loyalty. He cites Sephora’s Beauty Insider rewards program that allows consumers to create their own profile and receive trial products suggested via their buying preferences as an example. Along similar lines, Ann

Taylor Loft customized an entire loyalty program around one target audience: teachers. It offered special discounts, exclusive sweepstakes, events and even grants. Another suggestion: Make your loyalty program as pain-free as possible. Rack Room Shoes did just that when it recognized that the initial requirement of an email address in order to join was a real pain. “Customers didn’t like giving their email at the point-ofsale because they don’t want to get a bunch of emails,” Voss says. “Plus, it takes the associate longer to complete the transaction.” The solution? Rack Room Shoes now requires only a mobile phone number to be given at the register. When customers sign up, they receive a text message that allows them to respond with their email address (thereby eliminating the high rate of misspellings that were happening at the register). And if they still don’t wish to provide an email, customers can continue to be a part of the program and get periodic text messages with rewards or upcoming promotions. Voss says the changes have been a win-win for customers and employees—eliminating friction is an important aspect to keep in mind. “Does this idea benefit the customer and store associates?” he asks. “If not, then that’s how you know it’s time to change your program.” Perhaps an obvious but important tip to keep in mind when evaluating a loyalty program’s effectiveness is the ROI. “Compare the revenue-per-user for loyalty users and non-loyalty users to >35


TREND WATCH Derhy Kids skirt

Soft Gallery skirt

Paper Wings skirt (front and back view)

Oh My Kidswear

Pumped-Up Petals IT’S THE SEASON for living large! Grandiose blooms make a dramatic statement from elaborate baroque to bleeding watercolors. Beyond the U.S. market, the Florence-based trade show Pitti Immagine Bimbo is also drawing inspiration from florals by theming this month’s show as “Boom, Pitti Blooms.� CEO Raffaello Napoleone notes the whimsical nature of flowers in kids’ fashion. “Floral and graphic prints are an undeniable tool in stimulating children’s imagination and creativity,� Napoleone affirms. “There will be several brands [at the show] that have embarked on the kaleidoscopic floral universe for colors and moods in the children’s lifestyle world.� Expect to see lots of daisies, hydrangeas, hibiscus and roses on the racks this fall for girls—and even boys. —Emily Beckman

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Betsey Johnson outfit


Lindsey Berns dress

Joules jacket

Someday Soon

Sam Edelman Kids lace-up flats

Loredana dress

Rock Your Baby leggings

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Bearpaw hat, Little Eleven Paris jacket, Silver Jeans Co. shirt, Paul Smith Junior jeans, Scotch & Soda belt, Natural Steps boots.

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Bearpaw hat (with added feather), Emile et Ida shirt, Hudson overalls, Chipie Kids jacket (tied around waist), Cape Clogs clogs. Opposite page: Boboli jacket, Scotch & Soda shirt. 21


Kangol hat, MaeLi Rose top, Andy & Evan skirt, Joules jeans, Natural Steps boots. Opposite page (from left to right): Bailey Hats hat, Henny & Coco glasses, Scotch & Soda denim shirt, Munster Kids pants; Bearpaw hat, Winkniks glasses, Henny & Coco bracelets, Tru Luv denim jacket, Lee jeans.

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Bailey Hats hat (with added feather), Gabriel et Valentin poncho, Henny & Coco bracelets, Scotch & Soda jacket, Givenchy jeans, Natural Steps boots.


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Roberto Cavalli Junior scarf, Winkniks glasses, Lee denim jacket, Eddie Pen shirt, Joules overalls, Cape Clogs clogs. 27


Derhy Kids poncho, Mayoral shirt, Vintage Havana pants, Natural Steps boots; Opposite page: Scotch & Soda jean jacket and bracelets. Shot on location at Joshua Tree National Park.


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HAUTE TOPICS

DESIGNER CHAT TIA CIBANI

B

orn in Libya and raised in Canada, Tia Cibani continued her worldly lifestyle by spending much of her adult life as a fashion designer in China. In 2004, she was tapped as creative director of Ports 1961 where she led the design team, oversaw a major retail expansion and became a red-carpet darling in Hollywood. She went on to introduce her own namesake line in 2012, soon hailed by Style.com, Vogue Italia and WWD as a designer to watch. However, despite her growing recognition in womenswear, Cibani found her heart and soul in the children’s market after the birth of her two children. In 2014, Cibani refocused on a new fashion venture beneficial to her son and daughter. Enter Tia Cibani Kids. Now, ensconced on a 20-acre property in North Salem in Westchester County, N.Y., Cibani believes she has finally found her calling. Managing a small team, including designers, sales and marketing executives, who happily make the trek to her suburban home, Cibani enjoys the balance of growing her business and spending time with her children. “The industry appreciates what I’m doing and that feed me,� she says. “I find childrenswear has light, innocence and humor. You can’t be grumpy designing for kids.� –Kristin Young What is your design philosophy for childrenswear? I love beautiful things that are innovative, but most importantly, it needs to be functional for kids. The marriage of beauty, innovation and function is key to my design. It’s all about the balance of texture, color, details and construction that makes for an interesting garment or piece of art. I’m always subconsciously thinking about it being functional. Did you have any experience in childrenswear prior to going off on your own? While I was doing Ports 1961, I had a childrenswear line, Kicokids. It became my hobby on the side. I didn’t need it to succeed, but it naturally started to take off. However, after the

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birth of my first daughter, I decided to leave Ports because of all the travel. I went back to womenswear for a short time with my own collection, but it was way too much stress. Kids was much easier to fall back on. Do you ever dabble in womenswear today? A little bit to complement my collection. I’m really happy to stay away from womenswear. My little fix is a few mommy pieces. Where do you get your inspiration? I draw from my personal heritage and global exposure and experiences for inspiration. I love diversity and the clash of cultures. I often get ideas from North African culture—the souks, the region’s eclecticism, the colors, the details and the baubles. Who is your core customer? Global, artsy parents who love beautiful things and seek inventive design. My customers see the value in dressing their kids in [high-end] fabrics and clothing. I think many parents see the value in exposing their children to that level of excellence, as much as they would an interesting building. Dressing them in something that was made with integrity and beautiful fabric has to affect children. Describe the elements of your fall collection. Masterful color combinations, naïve art, cubist patterns, unexpected stripes, sportive outdoor, moccasin-inspired accessories, perched hats, fringe, shearling and handwoven textures. Price points at retail range from $130 dresses to $200 coats. Anything in the pipeline for coming seasons? We are expanding to include more baby offerings, gift items and accessories. We are developing a special baby travel kit for families on-the-go, to be unveiled for SS ’18. The kit is made from 100-percent organic cotton and contains a basic one-piece, a pair of footed leggings, a burpie, a travel blanket and a cap, all contained in a pouch in our signature tyvek polka-dots print that converts into a diaper-changing pad. The sizes will range from 3 months to 12 months. We’ve been asked time and time again, but I was always hesistant about venturing into babywear. You must be so aware of safety. With baby, there’s no messing around. Although I was intimidated at first, now I feel more comfortable. What would you pinpoint as your design signature? Color, color, color! I’ve never done anything in black. I just can’t see children


EDITOR’S PICKS in black clothes. I enjoy combining unexpected colors, modern inventive playful designs with subtle ethnic touches such as tassels, pompoms and wooden beads. We offer endless options of fantastic skirts and dresses. Relaxed shapes and unique prints developed in-house with hand-painted effects are also important signatures of our collection. I love colorful pieces of art, even color that seems a little aged and worn and that has lived a little bit. The clothes have to be playful and humorous. Do you get any feedback from your kids? When in doubt, my little girl gives me the seal of approval. For instance, we were developing one print, some with a neon colors and others with pastels. She went straight to the pastel. What is the biggest challenge facing designers today? The climate is not good. Designer kidswear is still mostly sold by small boutiques. You don’t go to the department stores for that because it’s not well-curated. They don’t take it as seriously, and that’s the blessing of kidswear in this difficult climate. We are still relying on small boutiques because they are important to the industry. Honestly, I don’t feel as worried now as I did four years ago when I was in the women’s market.

Easy Peasy Bonpoint

Critter Clutches These smile-inducing sidekicks provide the perfect pop of personality to any fall look.

Sonatina

What have you learned designing for children? For children, function comes first. The garment must be comfortable and easy to wear, easy to move in. Women are willing to suffer for a look, but children would never put up with an itchy sweater just because it is the latest trend.

2017 SHOW DATES Dallas Home & Gift June 21-27 Anne McGilvray & Co 2332 Valdina St, Dallas Astra Marketplace June 25-28 Philadelphia PA Booth #1023 Atlanta Gift Show July 10-18 225 Unlimited AmericasMart Bldg 2 Showroom #1718 LA Market July 20-24 LA Mart Anne McGilvray Showroom #345 Las Vegas Market July 30-August 3 Anne McGilvray Showroom #C1090

LA Kids Market July 31-August 3 The Dressing Room California Market Center Showroom #A610

Minneapolis Gift Show August 4-8 Anne McGilvray Minneapolis Mart Showroom #378 Orange Children’s Club August 6-8 New York, Javits Center Dallas Apparel Market August 9-12 Klein Group Dallas World Trade Center Showroom #8280 Seattle Gift Show August 16-21 Real Toy and Beyond Showroom 200 SW Michigan Suite 204 NY NOW August 20-23 New York, Javits Center Booth #5402


UP CLOSE SWIM

Surf & Turf Submarine Swim ventures into activewear and footwear.

New Wave

Coolies debuts one-piece rashguards. Coolies, the purveyor of all things surf for kids is introducing one-piece rashguards. “It’s kind of a wet suit for kids,â€? says owner Patti Tudisco, noting that one-pieces are sure to be a hit with little girls who like to play in the rough and tumble surf. The collection, which bows this month, are one-pieces that are fully-lined, UV protected and made of 80 percent polyester and 20 percent Lycra. They come in classic Hawaiian tropical colors such as pinks, blues and oranges mixed and matched. The one-piece rashguards are the latest addition to a line that caters to the whole family, from girls and boys to infants and toddlers, in addition to women’s and men’s. Prices range from $40 to $60 at retail. Tudisco is a heroine in surf circles. Born and raised in Southern California and steeped in surf culture, she created those famous “Alohaâ€? shirts worn by Tom Selleck on Magnum P.I. which, post-show, now hang at the Hard Rock CafĂŠ in Waikiki and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Those shirts sparked a nationwide mania among guys in the ’80s that lasted for decades. Living in Manhattan Beach, a stone’s throw away from one of the most fought-over surfing turfs in the world, Tudisco’s odyssey began 20 years ago when she took a trip to Maui where she met a longhaired “dangerous-lookingâ€? surfer who would become her muse. There, Tudisco came up with the concept of Coolies: rashguards with fun prints reflecting the Hawaiian spirit. She would go on to provide rashguards for The Triple Crown, held on the North Shore of Oahu, the World Surf League, Surf Legends in Costa Rica as well as numerous surf camps around the world. Her real passion began when she started to produce rashguards for childrenswear with SPF 50+ UV sunblocking technology 17 years ago. It was a no-brainer for kids who surf, body surf, paddle board, canoe, kayak, sail or wakeboard—in other words, anybody who plays in the water. “I don’t even have kids,â€? says Tudisco. “It didn’t matter. Kids was easier [than women’s] and women understood that UV protection was a good idea.â€? —Kristin Young

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WHENDEBORAH AND Marcelo Soriano started Submarine Swim 24 years ago, there was a dearth of cool, edgy and high-end beachwear for children in the U.S. He, living in Brazil, and she, living in Miami, created a beachwear collection in the spirit of Brazilian beach culture. Today, Submarine Swim, now run by Deborah alone, is in 400 stores worldwide, including the world, including Barneys New York in the U.S. and other specialty stores in Mexico, Japan, South Korea, the Middle East and the U.K. Now, more than ever, Deborah says it is crucial to innovate, create new product categories and evolve prints and colors. Evolution has meant launching a new activewear line for women a year and a half ago called 925 to capitalize on the athleisure movement. For Spring ’18, the 925 collection will add leggings, tank tops and sports bras in solid neutral colors—with playful navy bird prints thrown in—for children. Also for tots, Submarine Swim has added footwear—tan leather sandals festooned with yellow, blue, pink and black pom-poms, red hearts and black stars ($69). Submarine Swim has a long history of yin-ing when the industry yangs. When the competition for younger girls heated up about four years ago, the Submarine Swim core line began targeting older girls, age 10 and up. To satisfy a lower price point, the company launched Drama Queen (the line is skipping Holiday ’18). Submarine Swim is inspired by

the women’s market, not the children’s market. Sophisticated and edgy, the collection includes beautiful one-pieces with contrasting piping, one-shouldered ruffles and laser scalloped monokinis. Twopieces feature bottoms with belts inspired by James Bond films— who can forget Ursula Andress in the belted white bikini from 1962’s Dr. No? Halter tops feature smiley faces, flowers or stars. The company also produces rashguards, peasant tops and ruffled skirts as coverups. “We try to keep it different than everybody else,� Deborah says. “We have a following for that. We use only digital printing to make exclusive prints. Even solid colors, we make ourselves.� The average price point is $75 to $85. “We have to deliver on quality,� she says emphatically, noting bathing suits among her customers get passed along to siblings and cousins. “We don’t want to lower the price and jeopardize the quality. “ —K.Y.


UP CLOSE SHOES

Cool for School

Livie & Luca uniform shoes offer a dash of individual style. MANY SCHOOLS HAVE dress codes, but within the guidelines there is some wiggle room that presents the opportunity to introduce a little style. That’s exactly the approach Mitzi Rivas, cofounder of Livie & Luca, has taken with the launch of the brand’s first-ever school uniform–approved collection for boys and girls. While meeting the dress code requirements of black, brown and navy uppers with brown, black or gum outsoles, Rivas says the shoes contain “a little touch of Livie & Luca magic.� Said touches include liners with hand-drawn alphabet prints, subtle scalloped details and breathable Napa leather. The classroomready styles ($56 at retail) include the Briar, a scalloped slip-on; Ruche, the brand’s best-selling Mary Jane; and Hayes, a dress style with double Velcro straps. Rivas adds that the category presents a market extension opportunity for both the brand and its (mainly) independent boutiques and select online partners. In addition to the uniform collection, Rivas says the Ruche comes in new fall colorways, including Champagne, Guava Shimmer and Scarlet along with the top-selling Butterscotch hue. The popular Carta style has been reimagined as the Carta II with a cozy wool exterior in a range of warm colors. As for the style’s Livie & Luca magic touch: the insole features an oldfashioned love-letter penned by Rivas to her daughter Maya. “It’s just sweet and wonderful,� she says, “and the button is screenprinted for a touch a whimsy.� Fall also sees the addition of the brand’s first ballet flat, the Aurora. The flexible, lightweight silhouette is slimmed-down for a narrow to medium width and features non-skid outsoles. Looking forward to Spring ’18, Rivas says designs are inspired by Mexican papel picado (cutout paper), paper flowers, embroidery and tropical fruits. Highlights include the embroidered Paz Mary Jane and the Carmen laser-cut peep-toe sandal. “Our palette is vibrant and nods to that warmth Mexico invokes,� Rivas says. Other spring styles of note include a coyote-print sneaker for boys on which the moon appears when in the sunlight, and pink canvas sneaker for girls where an orange flamingo makes an appearance in the sunlight. Rivas believes such conversation pieces provide a touch-point for retailers and adds that more such styles will be in the offering coming seasons. “It’s so much fun to have an interactive product,� she says. “We’re constantly thinking about innovation and ways we can delight.� —Ann Loynd

Play Date JambuKD expands into hybrid athleisure styles for girls and boys. A MUST-HAVE in the outdoor market, JambuKD is expanding into the athleisure game, a move that the Vida Group Intl. brand believes will reach a broader consumer base, specifically boys. “Outdoor is very function driven—there’s a purpose behind the product—but we also want to make products that kids want to wear and are trending,� says Marketing Director Michelle Hinsvark. Of late, the go-to trend is sneakers. Period. The expansion into sneakers begins this fall with the debut of three hybrid sneakerboots for boys ($55 to $59 retail). The boots feature a new Peregrine outsole construction (a feather-like texture for lightness and grip), Phylon EVA midsole and molded cushion sockliner. “The new construction has brought an element that we haven’t seen in our portfolio before,� Hinsvark says. “It makes us a dual-gender brand.� She adds that the technical attributes separate the collection from the overwhelming amount of kid’s athleisure on the market. “It’s functional but looks nice and trendy with hybrid versatility,� she says, noting that buyers have responded strongly to the new offerings. “Retailers felt there was something new and special in the line. We’ve received really great reactions on our boys’ product for fall.� Building off that momentum, JambuKD will introduce more hybrid offerings for both genders for Spring ’18. “There isn’t a lot of hybrid product for boys,� states Naly Lee, director of design at Vida Group Intl. “It’s a sandal or a sneaker, and not a lot in between.� To hit that sweet spot, the brand is introducing a crossover, water-ready sneaker-meets-sandal for boys and girls dubbed the Anthozoa ($55). Its cutout design offers style, drainage and breathability with all-terra traction outsoles for grip and flexibility. Adjustable bungee lacing makes for easy on-and-off and superior fit, and the entire shoe—plus the removable insoles—is machine washable. Four colorways offer sporty hues and girly metallics that make the shoe accessible to both genders. “The girly girl can have purple and pink, but if she wants to be a Tomboy, it’s available in those colorways too,� Hinsvark says, adding, “It’s not as polarizing as a Mary Jane.� To market the new styles, JambuKD is reaching out to consumers directly with a Spring ’18 message that is all about play. A promotion for the Anthozoa, for example, depicts a fun game of tag and hide-and-seek outdoors. “We’re bringing in that playful element, as opposed to the notion of more roughand-rugged styles only to be worn outdoors,� Hinsvark explains. This mom, she adds, is not necessarily the same woman who buys Jambu for herself. So the brand has developed new Facebook and Instagram pages (a JambuKD website is also in the works) to try and reach new customers. In addition, the brand will introduce pop-up shops and hold local events, like its recent Earth Day gathering at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. “We want to make a connection with mom so that when she walks into our retail partners, she already knows about JambuKD,� Hinsvark says. —A.L.

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planning to distribute other brands from Europe and North America,� he says. “Basically, we’re looking to diversify our business while still continuing to grow the Deux par Deux brand.� b b b What’s it like taking the reins of the family business—comforting and scary at the same time? You’re absolutely right. On the one hand, it’s great because the whole family is working towards one objective. But at the same time, it’s challenging because my parents are my business partners and I see them every day. Obviously, we disagree at times. But we also discuss it through. The business is the foundation of our family. How’s business this year compared to last year? Last year was stable. In an election year, it’s always more challenging because clients are more careful with their budgets. But things have been promising so far for 2017. Already, we have been able to increase the average order from clients in the U.S., so that’s really helped us increase our overall sales. Anything new your mother has designed catching retailers’ attention? Right now, we’re trending more chic and fancy for girls as well as boys. And while we take inspiration from all over the place—the Oscar’s, music awards, Hollywood—we’re currently into flashy. That seems right up Deux par Deux’s alley, no? It is. Our goal is to always create that ‘wow’ effect. The design process is the most important part of our DNA. For example, we love doing original allover prints and creating unique color mixes. We’re really picky about colors. There’s always a big debate over which shades of gray or which pinks to use. Each season we work off of 15 different storyboards, designing 300 pieces per collection. And while we’re inspired by high fashion and street style, we take that inspiration and adapt it to the playful kids’ universe. That’s what gives it that ‘wow’ effect.

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In business you need test new ideas. If it works, great. Then let’s continue and maybe do it bigger next season. Might ramping up your DTC efforts be considered unwanted competition by your retail partners? At the beginning, some of our clients didn’t like the idea. But we’ve put rules in place—like the fact that we allow our retailers to go on sale two weeks before us. We respect their businesses and many have told us that they don’t feel like we’re in competition. I believe we’ve created an omnichannel circuit where customers can look at our website and then they’ll often go to stores and shop. It works pretty well, for now. Beyond that, I think retailers shouldn’t be scared of online, rather they should embrace it ASAP. We all need to stay updated and in touch with the new generation.

“RETAIL IS COMPLETELY CHANGING, AND I THINK IT’S BOTH A CHALLENGE AND AN OPPORTUNITY. �

It’s called keeping up with the Millennials... Consumers are shopping completely differently than they did 10 years ago. More than ever, I believes it requires having a strong brand in order to survive. Customers who shop multi-brand stores, for example, are looking for special and unique products that aren’t available everywhere. Likewise, retailers are looking for brands that provide that special something to their customers. So our goal isn’t to compete against fast-fashion, rather to bring something unique to the market that reflects our DNA as a brand. We want to be that brand parents buy when they need a special piece of clothing. That’s why it’s very important to understand our target customers—who they are and where they shop—as best we can. There are a lot of parents who spend quite a lot of money on their children to make sure their outfits are on point. Those are our primary customers. How do you see the retail landscape evolving? Retail is completely changing, and I think it’s both a challenge and an opportunity. We need to see it in a positive way, be open to the future and go with it. Our challenge is to help specialty boutiques survive, who are not only our clients but our partners in business. We need to develop strategies that benefit both of us. At the same time, we have no choice but to diversify and pursue e-commerce. We need to be available, visible and recognizable to wherever the consumer wants to shop today.

Who are you trying to please first, kids or moms? Of course, we want to appeal to moms, grandparents and everyone interested in children’s clothing. But our main goal is for kids to love it and make them feel great about themselves wearing our clothes. We do what we do for kids. We want them to wake up and get excited to get dressed, make them feel like clothing can be an expression, that they can be anyone they want to be. If you want to be a superhero for a day, you can.

What were some of the best business lessons you learned from your parents? Persistence and follow your gut instincts. Also, do business with people you truly like and build meaningful relationships.

Why did you add organic and activewear collections slated to launch in 2018? Parents are more sensitive to organic products these days. As for our activewear, we see how mom is working out with her daughter and kids are wearing that type of clothing more often in general. I think we’ll do a great job in that category. At Deux par Deux, we like to try new things and that’s how the company has evolved for 30 years now.

What keeps you coming to work every day? A passion for improving the product and the process. My main job is finding solutions to problems. Thankfully, I have an amazing team of 30 employees who, without, none of this would be possible. They are the people behind the success of this company. I need to be there for these people. That’s what really keeps me going into work every day. ?Êch[WbbofWii_edWj[WXekjm^Wj?Ze$š

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children’s world

continued from page 15 monitor the success of the program,â€? Palnitkar advises. “The ROI from a loyalty rewards program should be very high.â€? Zappos’ Deshpande also recommends keeping tabs on Key Performance Indicators (KPI). “There should be a lot of different KPIs around the program,â€? he says. “As soon as you start to see the slipping of those KPIs, that’s when you say, ‘OK, what are some other value propositions we can deliver to customers?’â€? Negen concurs, noting that the minute customers no longer pay attention to your loyalty program, it’s time to do something different. But rather than bury yourself in analytics searching for solutions, he advises going directly to store associates and customers to ask what they like and dislike about the program. Sometimes, he notes, the fix might be simple. For example, Negen says it’s important to make sure associates are spreading the word effectively about the program’s benefits. Case in point: he recalls being a loyal customer of a hardware store where, for two years, employees repeatedly asked at the register, “Do you have a rewards card with us?â€? Negen answered no each time, waiting in vain for the follow-up question, “Would you like to join?â€? His takeaway: “The loyalty program has to be structurally woven into the fabric of your business. RULES OF THUMB You can’t just sort of poke at it.â€? “The biggest mistake you can make Dos and don’ts to creating is to build a great loyalty program but a successful loyalty program. not promote it aggressively,â€? agrees Palnitkar, adding, “The program should tShow & Tell: 4QFMMPVUUIFSVMFTBOE be prominently featured in your comCFOFGJUTPGZPVSMPZBMUZQSPHSBNDMFBSMZ munication to customers.â€? He advises BOEPQFOMZ/PTFDSFUT TVSQSJTFTPSCBJU placing a link to information about the BOETXJUDIFT program on the home page banner, header tSeamless & Painless:4JHOJOHVQBOE and footer of the store’s website as well QBSUJDJQBUJOHJOBMPZBMUZQSPHSBNTIPVME as creating a dedicated loyalty rewards CFVTFSGSJFOEMZBOEIBTTMFGSFF/P page. In addition, there should be an EFMBZTPSJOUFSSPHBUJPOTBUUIFSFHJTUFS GPS introductory email and monthly email TUBSUFST communication about the program. tThe More the Merrier:7BSJFUZJTUIF One more thing: Patience is a virtue, TQJDFPGMJGFTPNBLFTVSFZPVSMPZBMUZ QSPHSBNDBOCFDVTUPNJ[FEUPUIFEJGGFS according to Voss of Rack Room Shoes. A FOUEFTJSFTPGZPVSDVTUPNFST-FUUIFN loyalty program isn’t necessarily instant QJDLBOEDIPPTFGSPNBOBSSBZPGSFXBSE magic, as the benefits can take time to PGGFSJOHT appear. “Don’t expect or promise an tSpread the Word0OMJOF JOTUPSFBOE immediate lift in sales,â€? he says. “You PGUFO"MPZBMUZQSPHSBNJTPOMZBTFGGFD really need a year or two to understand UJWFJGDVTUPNFSTLOPXJUFYJTUT&OHBHF who is shopping and what their behaviors BOEFOUJDFSBUIFSUIBOOFHMFDUPSBOOPZ are before you can really drive strategies against that.â€? Similarly, Hanifin stresses the importance of starting out with clear objectives when creating a program that will be compatible and supportive. “The first meeting everybody talks about the types of rewards, how the creative will look, whether there will be a card‌ Put the brakes on that,â€? he says. “If you begin with the end in mind, you go through a good process and get where you need to be.â€? Loyalty programs done well build communities, offer a place for customers to fit in, feel special and appreciated. Ultimately, it’s all about the experience. Make it simple, pain-free and rewarding, and you’ll be on your way. What’s more, experts agree that loyalty programs are the strongest solution to attracting and retaining customers. “I think everyone is going to need a loyalty program in the future,â€? Voss says. “There’s no other way to quickly grow a customer database than offer some kind of value proposition, and loyalty is the best way to do that.â€? Negen believes foregoing a loyalty program today is not even an option. “Without one, all you can do is hope people will come back W]W_d"Ăˆ^[iWoi$Ç8kj^ef[_idejWcWha[j_d]ijhWj[]o$Ăˆš 

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Apparel | Accessories | Shoes | Gifts DĂŠcor | Maternity | Juvenile Products

Join Us in August Children’s World at August Atlanta Apparel NEW DATE PATTERN SHOWROOMS

Tues., Aug. 1– Sat., Aug. 5 TEMPORARIES

Wed., Aug. 2– Sat., Aug. 5

Make Plans Today for the Children’s World Fashion Show Wed., Aug. 2, 2017 | 6:15 p.m.

Visit AmericasMart.com for the latest Market date information. Dates subject to change.

Register Today at AmericasMart.com/ChildrensWorld

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PHOTO: Wee Ones

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Š 2017 AMC, Inc.


WHAT’S SELLING

What sets you apart from the competition? The visual aesthetic of the store drives energy—we’ve definitely created an experience. However, I also think it’s our customer service that makes us stand out. The staff includes several former Intermix employees, most of them young moms and even some dads, with expertise that makes a collaborative and understanding environment. We are also flexible when it comes to the staff’s family life. This keeps everyone engaged and motivated—always happy to be on the floor building relationships with the customers. Is there a specific strategy to your buy? Due to my fashion background, I really understand how to buy a trend that will work for a broader base. I evaluate where the buy is more fashionable and where it is more basic. I also to avoid selling out of our most popular items right away. It’s important to keep things in stock in order to drive business, especially being that we just opened.

Ever After New York, NY

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HEN HARO KELEDJIAN and Sari Sloane Keledjian sold Intermix to Gap Inc. in 2013 for $130 million, it was inevitably the start of a new chapter. At the time, the Keledjians had just moved to TriBeCa when it was exploding with young families. For the next four years, the couple honed in on family life, allowing Sari to take time off and raise their three children. “Everyone was having babies,� Sari recalls. “You would always see a ton of strollers on the street.� As her children grew up (now ages 4, 7 and 8), Sari realized neighborhood parents, including herself, were struggling to find a one-stop shop for kids who outgrew the local baby boutiques. “I felt there needed to be a children’s store with a little bit of everything,� Sari says. “Somewhere moms could find anything from playwear and pajamas to weekend outfits and party attire.� In April, Sari brought her vision to life in a 3,500-square-foot space on Greenwich Street. The carefully curated boutique targets boys and girls age 4 to 16 years, hosting a wide variety of trend-right apparel and accessories. “The shop pleases adults and kids alike,� Sari says, mentioning how she brought in some of the same architects who designed Intermix stores to build a playful yet sophisticated environment for her new business endeavour. Beyond the expert lighting and designer furniture, Sari believes it’s her “cool and comfortable� dressing rooms that keep families coming to her brick-and-mortar boutique in lieu of hassling with online buys and returns. “The dressing rooms are very large, allowing space for both kids and Mom,� Sari explains. “There are also sofas outside, as well as colorful wallpaper, mirrors and lighting—it’s all so fun!� When the weather is nice, Ever After’s doors are propped open to entice curious pedestrians. “Of course it’s going to be a learning curve since it’s the first time we’re in the kids’ business,� Sari confesses. “However, business has been great overall, and I only hope to make it even better.� — Emily Beckman

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Have you noticed specific brands or categories performing well? I’m already seeing a huge demand for gifts. We see a lot of birthday presents, so we keep a wide range of clothes and accessories for that reason. Our Urbanears headphones are popular. Chaser and Prefresh T-shirts , Aviator Nation sweatpants and Bari Lynn headbands also perform well. What’s your top priority for this year? To continue to learn about the customer and get to know the market. I know womenswear very well, but the kids’ market is new to me. I will strive to have a collaborative relationship with my vendors and offer a creative experience to the customer. How do you plan on marketing your new boutique? We are just counting on neighborhood traffic for now. Our friends and family have also been promoting it through their kids at school. Not to mention our background helps, already having a following of people who trust our expertise. We are working on an Instagram and Facebook which will help, and we plan to launch e-commerce in the future. Do you feel the pull toward e-commerce in the children’s market? To be honest, e-commerce for kids has not really developed. It’s still segmented. It’s still high-price or mono-brands like Gap or Crewcuts. It’s hard to find a curated multi-brand experience for children’s fashion. Yes, you could go to Amazon or Zappos, but that is not an edited selection. In terms of brick-and-mortar retail, when you’re in a neighborhood where families live, your store’s bound to grab the attention of families walking by—even if they are usually an e-commerce customer. How are you dealing with competition in the neighborhood? There’s always competition in the industry and that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s taking away from someone else. I’ve been on both sides of it—the store with a new opening in the neighborhood and the new store just opening. In my opinion, there’s room for everybody. We are excited about being in the kids’ market, and we want to add to the industry as opposed to being a competitor. I want people to come in and be excited, and I want the stores around us to be excited to share the neighborhood.


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