AN EMERALD ISLE IN TEXAS
VOLUME 97 NUMBER 7 • AUGUST 201 3 $10.00
SPRING STYLE FROM EUROPE
PINK CHICKEN’S MOTHER HEN
INFANTS’, GIRLS’ & BOYS’ WEAR REVIEW
By the Shore
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Jona Michelle New York Buzz Dannenfelser (212)695-5151 Los Angeles Teresa Stephen (213)623-8155 Dallas Greg Morgan (214)643-0100 Philadelphia Martin Arnold (609)471-6189 Seattle Carrie Martin (253)851-1418 Atlanta Paul Daubney (404)577-6840 Chicago Robert Centen & Associates (312)464-0999 Miami Miriam Devesa (305)261-5374
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1385 Broadway Suite 1800 NY, NY 10018 212-279-4150 Mark Zelen
www.littleme.com Northeast Bill & Sandie Ellsworth 781-326-3999 Southeast Paul Daubney 404-577-6840 Caribbean/Latin America/ South Florida Rolando & Ana Hidalgo 305-266-8745 West Coast Teresa Stephen & Krystal Crooymans 866-723-KIDS Midwest Richard Finkelstein & Al Zaiff 800-935-0236 Texas/Southwest Annette Cardona-Stein 214-637-4446 International Nathan A. Mamiye 212-216-6008 See us at: The Kids Show Bally's, Las Vegas Aug. 19th - 21st Aug. 19th - 21st The Children’s Club NYC, Oct. 6th - 8th ABC Kids Expo Las Vegas Oct. 15th - 18th
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212 947-4040 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Photo: Laura Aldridge
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AUGUST 2013 FEATURES
Audrey Goodson Kingo Editor in Chief
28 Emerald Aisles Inspired by her days in Ireland, Millie & Mox owner Angela Hession offers Texas shoppers an enchanted retreat.
Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors
32 Ruling the Roost Pink Chicken founder Stacey Fraser is turning her breezy girls' brand into a boho-chic lifestyle destination.
EDITORIAL Angela Velasquez Fashion Editor Lyndsay McGregor Associate Editor Social Media Editor
38 Happy Campers With camp attendance on the rise, gear up for surging sales by stocking irresistable getaway essentials. 54 Euro Stars Bright and bold Spring '14 fashions ruled the runway at Pitti Bimbo, Playtime Paris and Bubble London. 58 Spring Fever From juicy watermelon hues to jelly sandals, Spring '14 footwear for tots provides plenty of retail temptation.
FASHION 44 Down by the Sea Designers dive into an earlier era for next summer's timeless swimwear. 10 Editor’s Letter 12 Talking Points 16 Hot Properties 18 Fresh Finds 20 Shop Class 22 On Trend 26 In the Bag 62 Behind the Seams 72 Stargazing This page: Mini Rodini striped bathing suit and boy shorts, stylist's tights. Cover: Wovenplay striped skirt worn over Coral & Reef cover-up jumper, Wovenplay socks, Capezio ballet slippers, Mini Rodini striped cap. Photography by Alexandra Stonehill. Styling by Mindi Smith. Hair and makeup by Vivi Lapidus.
Noelle Heffernan Publisher
Brittany Leitner Assistant Editor ADVERTISING Caroline Diaco Group Publisher
44 Spring swimwear recalls simple days by the shore.
Alex Marinacci Account Executive Jennifer Craig Special Accounts Manager PRODUCTION Tim Jones Deputy Art Director Production 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 firstname.lastname@example.org editorialrequests@ 9threads.com Circulation Office Joel Shupp 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300 email@example.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 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 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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E A R N S H AW ’S M A G A Z I N E
EARNIE FINALISTS! (DRUMROLL, PLEASE.)
Congratulations to the following companies on being nominated as a 2013
Earnie Awards finalist. Hundreds of companies were selected by the retail community, but only four per category made the ballot. Now it’s time to pick a winner. Cast your vote at www.earnieawards.com. Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 30. Best of luck! Cast your ballot to help select the top companies in childrenswear.
Best Accessories & Jewelry
Best Special Occasion Wear
• Joe’s Jeans • Levi’s • True Religion • Diesel
• Isobella & Chloe • Joan Calabrese • Biscotti • Laundry by Shelli Segal
Best Licensed Apparel
Best Infants’ Collection:
• PGA Authentics by Fore!! Axel and Hudson • United Legwear • Parigi Group • Desigual
• KicKee Pants • Rugged Bear • Zutano • Kissy Kissy
Best Hosiery • Gina Group • McCubbin • BabyLegs • Jefferies Socks
Best Footwear • Stride Rite • Robeez • Pediped • Livie & Luca
• CHARM IT! By High IntenCity • Wee Ones • Fast Forward • Chewbeads
Best Gift Items • Aden + Anais • Little Giraffe • Mud Pie • Elegant Baby
Best New Company: • Daily Threads • Liv and Lily • Jaxxwear • Andy & Evan
Best Community Outreach • HALO Innovations • TOMS • Pediped • Tea Collection
Best Swim Collection • Stella Cove • Isobella & Chloe • Cruz Swimwear • Snapper Rock
Best Outerwear • Widgeon • Rugged Bear • Appaman • Mack & Co.
Best Brand Rep • Nancy Markert/Amy Hoffman • Lisa Tompkins at Tree-House of Fashion • Duo Showroom • Thread Showroom
Best Girls’ Collection:
Best International Collection
• Fore N Birdie • Hartstrings • Moxie & Mabel • Millions of Colors
• JoJo Maman Bébé • Mayoral • Mini a Ture • Eliane et Lena
• The Shade by Imagine Baby • Knot Genie by Wee Ones • Chewbeads • Keds Kids Lace My Way
Best Boys’ Collection:
Best Made-in-the-U.S.A. Collection
Company of the Year
• Fore!! Axel and Hudson • City Threads • Andy & Evan • Kapital K
• Daily Threads • City Threads • Tadpole and Lily • Sofi
“It” Item of the Year
• Stride Rite Children’s Group • United Legwear • Pediped • Cutie Pie Baby
Best Tween Collection • U Go Girl • Curio + Kind • KC Parker • Blush
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editor’s note Have you spotted a PANK in your store? If reports are to be believed, she will be toting a designer handbag and possibly a latte, with no kids in sight. Even so, she will spend big on children’s apparel and gifts. That’s because a PANK is the latest demographic dreamed up by marketers: A professional woman in her 30s or 40s with no kids of her own but an abiding love for her little nieces and nephews. The acronym was first coined by Melanie Notkin, who runs the blog SavvyAuntie.com. “While parents are stretched to their limits, PANKs are able and happy to offer support to the children in their lives in meaningful ways. They may be secondary caregivers, but with their emotional, financial and material gifts—not to mention their quality time and positive influence—PANKs play a primary role in the vitality of the American family village,” Notkin asserts. Whether or not most aunts live up to that noble role may be up for debate, but there’s no doubt, at 23 million strong, that they make up a huge chunk of the American population. According to a study jointly conducted by Notkin and public relations firm Weber Shandwick, “PANKs estimated that they spent an average of $387 on each child in their lives during the past year, with 76 percent having spent more than $500 per child. This translates to an annual PANK buying power averaging roughly $9 billion.” Can $9 billion be right? If my recent purchases are any indication, it’s entirely possible. Here, I must confess: My name is Audrey, and I am a PANK. With a nephew turning 3 and a goddaughter on the way this month, I’ve been going a bit wild at my favorite children’s boutiques here in the city—not to mention on sites like Giggle and Magic Beans. Every time I re-dedicate myself to reigning in my wayward impulse-buys, another adorable romper or hooded towel comes along and I fall off the wagon yet again. Thankfully, I’m not alone: “We have a lot of dedicated aunties who frequent the store on a regular basis for special gifts,” says Angela Hession, owner of Austin, TX-based children’s boutique Millie & Mox. (Check out p. 28 for a profile of her charming shop.) “They love to attend birthday parties and other family events and want to have the best present at the party.” Aunts are an ideal demographic for specialty retailers, Hession notes, “as they don’t worry too much about the cost of an item—it is more important to them that a gift is special, well made and something that they will be remembered for buying. They love shopping and you can feel their enthusiasm.” Looking for ways to lure the PANKs in your area? This issue is chock-full of helpful advice, with features on everything from how to shore up your swim sales (p. 20) to the best ways to boost your camp business (p. 38). And any of the gorgeous swimsuits on our fashion pages, beginning on p. 44, would certainly make a splash with aunties looking for the perfect summer splurge. Happy hunting!
Confessions of a PANK
Decoding the newest shopping demographic: the Professional Aunt, No Kids
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AUDREY GOODSON KINGO
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the original muslin swaddle since 2006 – and now so much more
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Points Pin-Up Model
Make the most of social media site Pinterest, and boost your bottom line.
MART COMPANIES ARE constantly looking for ways to turn their social media efforts into actual sales, but Nordstrom upped the ante last month when the retailer announced it would use information mined from Pinterest to help boost business at 13 of its 248 locations. The mass merchant is expanding a promotion it began in March at its Seattle headquarters, marking its most-pinned products on Pinterest with little “p” logos in store. Nordstrom has almost five million followers on the site (10 times more than its competitors), and plans to leverage the data supplied by its fans to determine which items to stock and display at various locations. It’s just the beginning of what many marketers think may be a wave of retailers relying on the popular site not only to drive online sales, but to also improve sales in their brick-and-mortar locations, too, says Apu Gupta, the CEO of Curalate, which provides Pinterest and Instagram analysis to companies like Toys “R” Us and Gap. “The social cues that we get from sites like Pinterest are far more robust than we used to get from traditional social networks,” Gupta points out. “Now I don’t just ‘like’ Gap, I ‘like’ the individual items Gap makes. If I’m a smart retailer, I can start leveraging that information to make informed decisions.” What’s Gupta’s advice for making the most of Pinterest? We asked the knowledgeable CEO to share his top tips.
dous aspirational quality, and you’re making it impossible for people to share that content. It’s a really big lost opportunity,” he points out. Next, use cues from Pinterest to make smarter visual merchandising decisions. Struggling to determine which products to put in your window displays, customer e-mails, Facebook updates or advertising campaigns? Let Pinterest do the work for you, by looking to what your customers are pinning most. “Let’s say I’ve got a sweater available in three different colors, and it turns out the white one is the one that everyone keep pinning. Use that instead,” Gupta advises. Collaborate with your consumers. “Pinterest allows for a new type of engagement with your biggest fans via collaborative boards,” Gupta notes. “Invite those from your community to pin alongside your brand.” This tactic works perfectly for e-commerce site The Grommet, says Tori Tait, senior community manager. “We’re trying to launch the most innovative products, with new ideas. The problem is we need access to the new ideas,” she explains. “So we created a group board on Pinterest, where the whole board is dedicated to our followers telling us what products we should be launching,” she says. So far, hundreds of people have pinned products on the board, and The Grommet has used its followers’ suggestions to launch eight new products on its e-commerce site, Tait says. Run a Promotion. “As Pinterest becomes a more important social channel for brands, they’re starting to think about how Pinterest promotions can move the needle,” Gupta says. With ‘Pin It to Win It’ promotions that reward the lucky winners with everything from store products to cold hard cash, retailers are boosting their presence on Pinterest—which in turn drives more traffic back to their e-commerce site, even weeks after the promotion has ended, Gupta says. The Grommet has run two Pinterest promotions, both of which increased their followers on Pinterest, the number of their products pinned and the traffic to The Grommet’s own website, Tait says. The promotion that enabled The Grommet’s followers to have free reign was more successful, she discovered. “If you say, ‘Pin 10,’ people will get intimidated and just won’t do it,” she notes. “The lower barrier to entry, the more inclined people are to participate.” —Audrey Goodson Kingo
Optimize your e-commerce site to maximize pinning. “The easiest and most often overlooked tactic is to place the 'Pin It' button throughout your website,” Gupta suggests. “This gives consumers a seamless way to save the products they love and share this love with their friends,” he adds. This also means making sure your website is set up on the back end so that pinning is possible. Gupta says flash, which is often used by luxury brands to create immersive websites, is a no-no. “You’re taking a brand that has a tremen-
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The Lay-n-Go activity and clean-up mat is the most-pinned children’s product on The Grommet’s Pinterest boards.
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in the quiet months and blast them up at the busy times,” he says, adding, “It’s survival of the fittest.” So how can smaller specialty retailers avoid going the way of Toys “R” Us and remain competitive?
Trouble in Toyland
1. Get educated. Melaniphy advises stocking a better selection of educational toys. “Young mothers today are very focused on their kids’ education and what toys they let them play with. Don’t try to compete with [big box stores] on price because you can’t, but try to carry what they don’t,” he says.
With sales sliding at Toys “R” Us, how can specialty stores avoid the slump? RETAILING IN AN era of flash sale sites, groupbuying deals and online behemoths like Amazon is never easy, no matter your wares, and even big box stores are feeling the heat. Toys “R” Us reported a loss of $111 million for the first quarter of 2013, compared with a $60 million loss in the year-ago period. Net sales for the quarter, ended May 4, are down 7.8 percent to $2.4 billion. Samestore sales declined 8.4 percent and fell 5.8 percent internationally. A statement by Antonio Urcelay, the interim
CEO, cited “the ongoing challenges of the global economic environment” as the reason behind the toy retailer’s weak sales. But retail consultant John Melaniphy, president of Chicago-based Melaniphy & Associates, places the blame squarely on Wal-Mart’s shoulders. “Toys “R” Us has tried numerous alternatives to get a leg up on Wal-Mart, but in a business where so many of the sales are done in December, it’s hard. Wal-Mart, with its flexibility and large range of products, can reduce the amount of toys it has
2. Quality over quantity. As Melaniphy points out, big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Target buy goods cheaper and sell them cheaper because they have to appeal to the masses. By offering higher-end items, smaller businesses will be able to attract customers who are willing to pay for better quality. 3. Go the extra mile. Specialty stores have the opportunity to offer their customers a little something extra, such as concierge services and community-oriented events. Customers are much more loyal to businesses that make them feel special. “Think about your marketing and focus on your customer,” Melaniphy suggests. —Lyndsay McGregor
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A slew of new software aims to help brands with CPSIA compliance.
FROM SHIFTING RULES on lead limits in children’s products to million-dollar fines for mass merchants who fail to comply with regulations, it’s no wonder many manufacturers are nervous about meeting recent government mandates passed down by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Aiming to offer peace of mind, software companies claim their new and revamped products provide everything manufacturers need to comply with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), a law passed in 2008 which requires periodic testing of children’s products to ensure the items comply with lead limits and phthalates bans, as well as recent shifts in regulations. “The word of the year is compliance. I’ve seen interest go up tenfold this year,” says Mark Burstein, president of sales, marketing and R&D for New Generation Computing, which was one of the first companies to release CPSIA compliance software in 2009. What’s driving the concern? Bill Jacoby, principal of Jacoby Solutions, a company that recently released the compliance software program CPSIA Ready, says the government’s shift towards focusing on overall compliance has made keeping up with regulations more important than ever. “You used to only need a test report, but in all the recent settlements,
the CPSC has taken a different tack—they’re looking at comprehensive compliance programs.” What does comprehensive compliance mean? More than just having a test report from an accepted third party laboratory that certifies a product is safe, manufacturers must have a plan in place to perform periodic testing, at least annually (according to regulations that went into effect earlier this year). In addition, manufacturers must have a written statement by company officials that states the exercise of undue influence on third-party laboratories is unacceptable and directs every appropriate staff member to receive training on avoiding undue influence, as well as an escalation plan for reporting. Jacoby says that’s where his program fills the gap left by other compliance programs, by offering undue influence and other compliance related training to employees via any web-based device, along with the implementation of an escalation policy and company compliance plan. And like many of the programs already on the market, including NGC’s, Jacoby’s software allows manufacturers to store test reports, search by product to check results and share those results with retailers. How much will these cloudbased compliance programs run the average children’s manufacturer? CPSIA Ready is $250 to $400 per month, while Burstein says NGC’s program’s costs depends on the scope of use. However, he notes: “It’s always considered expensive until you really need it. Imagine that a child dies or is injured from ingesting a company’s products, especially with these CPSIA laws in effect. That brand will be destroyed overnight. You can’t put a price on the value of brand protection.” —A.G.K.
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Sofia the First Enchants WHAT BEGAN AS Disney Channel’s most successful TV movie to date, Sofia the First is now a television series on Disney Junior—and retailers can reap the royal rewards, as products based on the popular princess roll out this summer. “We knew we had something very special,” says Josh Silverman, executive vice
president of global licensing at Disney Consumer Products, about the show. Now that a Disney Store exclusive is over, companies such as Mattel, Jay Franco and Children’s Apparel Network have partnered with Disney Consumer Products to produce items like talking castles and dolls as well as T-shirts and pajamas that are currently available at mass merchants and specialty stores. Additionally, activity tables, backpacks and nightgowns will be in stores by September. Retail prices range from $3.99 for storybooks up to $64.99 for bedding sets. Silverman chalks the success of the children’s show up to its creative storyline, in which Sofia is a princessin-training. “The music and aesthetics are wonderful,” he adds. For more product information, go to www. disneyconsumerproducts.com.
Flowers by Zoe Shoes Up BUSINESS IS BLOOMING for Synclaire Brands, best known for producing children’s footwear for designer licenses like Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Stuart Weitzman. For Spring ’14, the company adds Flowers by Zoe to the mix. The girls’ footwear line will include a range of casual to dressy styles retailing from $38 to $58. Even though Flowers by Zoe has a strong following in the tween segment, “the line definitely has a toddler audience in its clothing, and the shoes will complement that,” notes Evan Cagner, president of Synclaire Brands. Cagner sees the new line as a great way to round out the company’s portfolio, since several of its brands “are more driven by women’s styles and have a bigger ‘big girl’ presence.” The collection will include colorful ballerina flats with cut-out designs, cork wedges with metallic straps and neon colored sandals. The line will be available at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom.com, Zappos.com and other retailers at the end of this year and sizes range from toddler to preteen. For more information e-mail Kerry Magnusson at kmagnusson@ bcnyintl.com.
Flapdoodles 1385 Broadway, Suite 1800 NY, NY 10018 212-279-4150 Joanne Post-Wexler Caribbean/Latin America/ South Florida Rolando & Ana Hidalgo 305-266-8745 West Coast Teresa Stephen & Krystal Crooymans 866-723-KIDS Midwest Richard Finkelstein & Al Zaiff 800-935-0236 International Nathan A. Mamiye 212-216-6008
See us at The Kids Show Bally’s, Las Vegas Aug. 19th - 21st
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Five Star Deal for Lee ICONIC DENIM BRAND Lee has partnered with Five Star Blue, LLC, to produce children’s apparel under the Lee label. The deal will allow Five Star Blue to manufacture tops, bottoms and sets for boys and girls in infant and toddler sizes. “We are thrilled to enter the children’s apparel market with this diverse assortment,” says Liz Cahill, vice president of marketing at Lee. “The retail climate is right for an expanded children’s apparel line from Lee, and we have a great partner to bring forth product to capitalize on demand,” she adds, noting that Five Star Blue produces more than 10 million pairs of jeans annually. The collection will feature boys’ shirts, girls’ denim and knit bottoms in candy-colored washes in sizes 4x to 20, and boys and girls toddler and infant
Planes Fly Off Shelves
denim, twill and knit bottoms in sizes 2T to 4T. Available this fall at department stores, baby superstores and specialty stores in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as on Lee.com, the line will retail for $32 to $40. Lee plans to expand the line for Spring ’14, but the season’s collection is still in development. For more information email email@example.com.
FOLLOWING THE IMMENSE success of the Disney’s Cars and Cars 2 franchise, Disney Consumer Products has lined up a number of licensees for its latest anticipated blockbuster, Planes, a spin-off of Cars that hits theaters this month. Partnerships with Thinkway, Bentrex and Payless will produce a range of items based on the movie’s characters, including remote control planes, apparel, sneakers and books, with retail prices ranging from $5.99 to $49.99. Josh Silverman, executive vice president of global licensing, says the Planes franchise will be “wholly complementary and incremental to Cars because Cars’ business is still growing.” Products moved quickly from being sold exclusively at the Disney
Store in June to all retailers in mid-July. Silverman notes items pegged to consumers as “collectables” should be a favorite among specialty retailers, like the die-cast toy line from Mattel. For now, products are only planned through July, but Silverman hints, “it’s just the beginning” for the new franchise. Visit www.disney consumerproducts.com for more information.
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Swedish brand Leopold & Livia offers a fresh take on classic clothes for girls in sizes newborn to 8 years. Made from natural materials, the collection includes everything from circle skirts and smock dresses to knitwear in peach, dusky pink, gray and cream. Wholesale prices range from $19 to $80. Go to www.leopoldandlivia.com.
Rock Around the Clock
When Olena Dmytruk started Petite Amelia in 2012, she planned to use her background in architecture to help design a line of girls’ special occasion wear, but for Fall ’13 her vision has expanded to include tees, shorts, pants and skirts in sizes 2 to 8. As she sees it, every day in a little girl’s life should feel special, whether she’s dressed simply or sparkly. Wholesale prices range from $15 to $115. Visit www.petiteamelia.com.
Practical duds to educate and inspire.
Drawing inspiration from exotic hotspots around the world, Kikli Design captures the carefree spirit of childhood with its debut collection of printed dresses in sizes 2 to 8. Offering six summery silhouettes in a vibrant color palette, wholesale prices range from $30 to $34. Check out www.kiklidesign.com.
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Smarty Pants Career Guidance
When it comes to what they want to be when they grow up, kids’ minds are always changing, and now TinyTinkers allows them to try on any persona they choose. Using trompe l’oeil images, the collection’s polo rompers, T-shirt dresses and tees depict grown-up jobs, so boys and girls can play musician, baker or photographer. Sizes range from 12 months to 4T and wholesale prices range from $12 to $20. Visit www.tinytinkers.com.
As the saying goes, education begins at home, and Coney Island Baby wants its creative clothing to spark kids’ imaginations. Spanning T-shirts to pocket bibs to hoodies, each piece features a well-known quote by a literary giant complemented by an original illustration. Sizes range from newborn to 5 years and wholesale prices range from $9 to $35. Check out www. ci-baby.com.
Adelaide, a new line of hair accessories by the makers of Crawlings, adds perk and polish to ponytails with colorful holders and clips in cute shapes. Created for girls ages 3 and up, these acrylic accessories won’t shatter if hairdos come undone and wholesale for $10 each. Go to www.crawlings.com.
Cut It Out
Designed for warmth without weight, Pop Out Clothing introduces a collection of vests and jackets for Fall ’13. The styles feature fun cutouts such as dragons, hearts, unicorns and stars and are available in colors spanning lilac to black. Sizes range from 2 to 10 years, and the outerwear will retail from $78 to $85. Go to www.popoutclothing.com.
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THE WATER’S FINE for the swimwear category, with worldwide sales of swimsuits and beach apparel predicted to grow 3.1 percent annually and hit $19.4 billion by 2018, according to market research firm Global Industry Analysts. What’s behind the spike? High-tech fabrics and increased interest in health and fitness are two factors, but the firm also credits swimwear brands for incorporating more fashion elements into suits, particularly in the children’s market. Tania Snyder, owner of Kids Klothesline, a children’s boutique based in Perrysburg, OH, says those fashion details are precisely why parents are willing to pay a premium for specialty swimwear: “The other kinds of suits you can find anywhere,” she notes. And while mass swim labels may eventually copy the fancy flourishes found on boutique brands, “you can’t get the same look with a cheaper blend of fabrics,” she points out. Plus, elements like UV-protective fabric and a full line of coordinating accessories make today’s swimwear too tempting for parents to pass up. Surf’s up— are you ready to ride the wave?
DIVE IN With swimwear sales on the rise, now is the time for children’s retailers to use smart tactics to boost business.
By Audrey Goodson Kingo
IT’S A GIRL’S WORLD. It’s no secret to longtime swimwear sellers: Girls’ suits and accessories make up the bulk of the category. Snyder recommends retailers maintain an 80-20 assortment ratio, with the majority focused on girls’. In fact, it’s an industry-wide guideline. Terra Fazzio, president of New York City-based Thread Showroom, says that no matter the size of a brand’s boys’ swim collection, her retailers almost always make sure around 80 percent of their store’s swimwear selection is geared toward girls.
REVISIT THE PAST. Filtering down from the womenswear market, where high-cut ’50s-style bikinis are big sellers, anything with a retro flair is faring well, retailers report. “We did really well with a vintage-inspired line this past season, Chichanella Bella. Yes, it had a high price point, but it sets itself apart,” Snyder says of the collection, which retails for around $76 a suit. “That was my first order, but I’ll definitely order it again,” she asserts. “A surprise to us is how well one-pieces are selling,” says Kristin Swati, owner of the Fawn Shoppe, an online children’s boutique based in New York City. Swati believes the move toward more modest silhouettes is a reflection of the market’s shift toward vintage-inspired designs. Other signs of the shift? Classic swimwear prints featuring sailboats and anchors are a bestseller for Stella Cove, Fazzio notes. And vintage-inspired pin dots prints, like the Jenny Annie Dots suit by Kate Mack, are bestsellers at LaBella Flora, Felke says.
REMEMBER RUFFLES, ROSETTES AND NEON. When it comes to what little girls love, more is always more. “The swimsuits we really do the best with are the ones that
look like dress-up clothes,” Snyder says. In other words, you can’t go wrong with ruffles and other eye-catching embellishments. LaDonna Felke, the buyer for LaBella Flora, an online children’s boutique, says, “Anything with rosettes right now is very popular.” Beaded swimwear, she adds, has been a hit with tweens. Even customers who prefer a more streamlined look, like the Stella Cove suits Fazzio stocks in her showroom, appreciate a pop of color, or an original print. “What we’re seeing is any of the conversational prints doing very well, whether that’s a funny graphic like a rubber ducky or a beautiful flower,” she notes. “And what we’re seeing trend-wise are neon trimmings. We’re doing very well with those.”
SWIM ALL YEAR LONG. Spring and summer are a no-brainer when it comes to stocking swimwear, but many retailers now note that the fall and winter months are becoming increasingly crucial selling seasons. Swati suggests retailers carry swimwear all year. “I think that gives you an
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advantage because there are obviously people looking during resort season,” she points out. “They may become loyal to you because you were there when others weren’t.” If you don’t have the floor space to maintain a year-round swim section, then timing is key when it comes to displaying the latest spring/ summer styles. “Get them in early—sometimes we like them even in December,” Snyder advises, wisely adding, “No one is sad to see spring/summer and vacation clothing.” Fazzio seconds that suggestion: “The resort delivery is very important, so getting the goods in around mid-November for people who are traveling is really important. If people miss it the first time around, they may not know you are a swim destination,” she points out.
ACCESSORIES ARE A MUST. From sunglasses and sandals to hats and rash guards, swimwear accessories aren’t simply a nice addon sale—they are essential to your store’s bottom line. “We do as well with our accessories, I would say, as we do with our swimwear,” Felke reveals. “We find that we do well when we offer coordinating pieces, such as sandals, flip-flops or cover-ups. Sometimes parents want the full ensemble for the pool or the beach,” she points out. Cover-ups do especially well in cooler
climates, she adds, where evenings can be a bit chilly even in the summer. For Snyder, Kate Mack and Jamie Rae Hats are a hit at her store, as are sunglasses by Teeny Tiny Optics. “The top suggestion I would make to retailers is to create an overall beach look,” Fazzio says. That’s why she is particularly excited about Stella Cove’s new line of espadrilles, featuring prints that match the brand’s most popular suits. (The shoes begin shipping in November.) “In order for your swimwear to have a better representation, and something that gets your customer excited about resort wear, have the whole look,” she adds.
PARENTS LOVE SUN PROTECTION. “One thing I would say is becoming more and more popular is anything with UV protection or greater sun protection,” Swati shares. The Fawn Shoppe did well with a navy rash guard from Stella Cove, and Swati plans to add more to the mix next year. “It’s cut so that it can go with the boys’ fitted shorts or go over the bathing suit,” she points out. However, Snyder cautions that just because suits are UV-protective doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to sell. While Kids Klothesline did well with a Hawaiian line of rash guards, the brand’s protective suits didn’t fare as well at retail. “The suits were really cute,
but they didn’t have those special boutique stylings, like cut flowers, rhinestones and tutus, and they didn’t sell as well for us,” she reveals. Before diving into the category, Swati suggests considering the concerns of your consumer, as eco-minded parents may be put off by some of the protective gear on the market. “Some of those fabrics are sprayed with chemicals, and if you get those chemicals in the sun, I personally wouldn’t want to put that on my child. I try to stay away from anything that’s chemically treated, especially for kids,” she says.
SIZE IT UP. “Talk to your customers about how each brand fits differently,” Felke advises, noting that swimwear for many European brands tends to run smaller than their U.S. counterparts. “We recommend as a general rule ordering a size up. A lot of moms or grandmothers aren’t usually aware that swimwear needs to be a size larger than their usual clothing,” she points out. And Fazzio suggests carrying an assortment in larger sizes, too, even if your store primarily caters to tots. “Don’t forget about the teenagers,” she says. “We sell a lot of tween and 12/14/16, both for larger children and for teenagers who aren’t quite there yet for women’s bikinis, but don’t want to wear kids’ bikinis, either.” •
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A.D. Sutton & Sons
What do the Golden Gate Bridge, Oompa-Loompas and Doritos Locos tacos have in common? Along with being some of the most buzzed about pop culture icons past and present, they are also glorious shades of juicy, happy, vibrant orange. Spring ’14 is bursting at the seams with the hot hue: Orange is a go-to color pop on shoes, socks and other small accessories for men. Not to mention, designers like Christian Dior and Ralph Lauren setting runways ablaze with tangerine tennis dresses and billowing orange chiffon for resort. Likewise, kids are getting a dose of vitamin C this season with citrus-hued basics, sporty togs and cheery sundresses that are poised to give your bottom line a booster shot. —Angela Velasquez
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY MCCANDLISS AND CAMPBELL; RUNWAY PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF PITTI BIMBO
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For $500,000 you can purchase a private island off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua complete with three thatched cabanas and a heart-shaped swimming pool. Or, you could take that cash and recreate a tropical paradise in your store with the wave of islandinspired fashion rolling into the market for Spring ’14. Look for prints splashed with palm fronds, hibiscus flowers and flamingos—and even a touch of Carmen Miranda with kitschy fruit. Styles for tweens call for more exotic accents of tribal charms, sun-kissed gems and a mix of wild animal prints. These haute details are a reminder that there is more to island living than just boogie boards and surf shorts. —Angela Velasquez
pink dress on top here
Piece of Cake hat and jumpsuit
Girl & Co.
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Sew Lati Couture
Quis Quis & From the World
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IN THE BAG
The life of a new royal mum may have its perks— a private hospital wing, a kitchen staff to prepare healthy meals, a tailor to nip in maternity frocks— but the pressure to raise a down-to-earth, dutiful heir to the throne while keeping up appearances is no easy task. Luckily, a parade of practical products lends a helping hand, not to mention ones that will stand the test of time with traditional designs. A cuddly toy from a Commonwealth country, a cheeky notebook for to-do lists and a bundle of soothing skin products should help keep the royal order. —Angela Velasquez
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1. Kissy Kissy one-piece 2. Lotus Springs jacket 3. Uncle Goose toy blocks 4. Lunt Baby silver comb 5. Elks & Angels bear 6. Guava Kids mitts 7. Tuff-Luv Kindle cover 8. Mud Pie rattle 9. Smythson “Mum’s the Word” notebook 10. Aspinal of London passport cover 11. Lunt Baby brush 12. Little Giraffe mini blanket 13. Bonpoint body and bath lotions 14. Barefoot Dreams receiving blanket 15. Storksak diaper bag. 2 6 E A R N S H AW S . C O M • A U G U S T 2 0 1 3
PHOTOGRAPHY BY McCANDLISS AND CAMPBELL
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[ON THE BLOCK]
Emerald Aisles Inspired by Ireland, Millie & Mox lets its littlest customers frolic in a fairy tale forest, deep in the heart of Texas. By Lyndsay McGregor
T’S BEEN ONE year since children’s boutique Millie & Mox opened its doors in Austin, TX, and owner Angela Hession couldn’t be happier. “As a child growing up in Ireland, I always played shop, as many kids do, and I always wanted to open a store. I just didn’t know when it would happen, or if,” she shares. While the games of make-believe on her family’s farm in County Mayo were nothing like the competitive (and very real) world of retail, Hession has harnessed the creativity
of those carefree days and applied it to an inviting concept shop chock-full of clothing, shoes and educational toys. “I designed the store around Ireland and how my siblings and I grew up—in the sense of being outdoors and playing games, building forts and using our imaginations,” she explains. A whimsical tree house takes center stage on the forest green floor, offering a hideout for kids and a break for the store’s clientele after shopping the boutique’s 200-plus brands. While the decor is Irish-inspired, the assortment is PHOTOGRAPHY BY GAYLE COATS
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us at Come see s Club ren ENK Child 4 Aug 4-6 4 9 booth #2 d ~ ~ an Las Vegas Kids show 9-21 Aug 1 CORPORATE OFFICE - CHERYL GROSSMAN - 416-789-2638 EXT 308 CHERYLG@TENDERTYME.COM NEW YORK/ NORTHERN JERSEY - JOE PALANT - 516-935-2480 / 516-972- 3017 JLPALANT@OPTONLINE.COM MIDATLANTIC - CAROL SIEGEL - 215-782-9853 / 1-800-219-9994 SALESLADY1@AOL.COM MIDWEST - WHITNEY DOUGLAS SHOWROOM - 312-644-2040 WHITNEYDOUGLASSHOWROOM@GMAIL.COM WEST COAST - 2-2 HOT SHOWROOM - 213-627-5773 TOOHOTUSA@AOL.COM WESTERN CANADA - CMA SALES AGENCY - 1-877-858-5108 CMA_WPG@SHAW.CA EASTERN CANADA - JULIE DONALDSON AGENCY - 514-384-9753 JULIE.DONALDSON@VIDEOTRON.CA
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WHAT’S SELLING? What’s your best-selling item for girls? Melissa shoes. Parents have gone wild for them, and we’ve sold out of them twice. For boys? Mayoral shorts and top sets are a big hit. For babies? Kissy Kissy and Petit Bateau. What’s your hottest toy? Educational toys from Melissa & Doug and Vilac. Any other “it” items flying off the shelves? For little girls we have goggles from Bling with little diamonds around the edge. We’ve had parents come in and buy them and then come back because their daughter’s friends want them, too.
all-Austin, spanning organic duds from Winter Water Factory and Go Gently Baby to wooden toys by the likes of Melissa & Doug and Vilac. As Hession puts it, “Austin shoppers are international. They’ve traveled a lot, and they know the brands they like, but they’re open to the brands that they don’t know, which we love to introduce them to.” That’s why the store’s selection is as much a melting pot as the city it calls home.
Bestsellers include French fancies Arsene et les Pipelettes, CdeC and Moon et Miel, and Mayoral from Spain. “We obviously want to carry what the customers want, but we try to find unique and international items that they wouldn’t normally see,” she explains. Many of the locals who frequent Millie & Mox are drawn in by the nonclothing merchandise, too: ErbaOrganics baby moisturizer and sunscreen, non-toxic necklaces
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“Everyone feels at home here... I think the events at our store help families foster new friendships within the community. ” and bracelets by Chewbeads, and a wealth of enchanting playthings, like Yellow Label Kids’ knitted rattles. Thanks to its wallet-friendly prices (most items are between $35 and $65) and anythingbut-intimidating atmosphere, it’s no surprise that business is booming. “We’re trying to do a lot of things. We’re trying to open an e-boutique, which means photographing everything in the store, and we’re trying to add more and more products,” Hession says. The biggest challenge? “It’s trying to find the time to do it all!” IT’S WHAT YOU KNOW While Millie & Mox’s quick success may make Hession look like a natural, her path to retail was anything but ordinary, with detours along the way to a mushroom farm and Rudy Giuliani’s office. As one of seven children growing up on a cattle farm in the west of Ireland, Hession’s first successful business was located a little closer to home. There she ran a mushroom farm using a mix of modern management and agricultural techniques, and became known as one of the youngest female entrepreneurs in the country. When her mother died she decided to pack her bags and join two of her sisters in New York City, where she ultimately spent seven years in the administration of Mayor Rudy Giuliani. As his associate chief of staff, one of her main responsibilities was event management. Hession handled numerous receptions at Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s private residence, with guest lists ranging from 200 to more than 2,000 attendees, as well as many major public events. But it was the post-9/11 memorial services held at Yankee Stadium and the World Trade Center site that really taught her the importance of community-oriented events. Her personal life had also jelled by then. She met her husband, John, during the aftermath of the tragedy, and after the birth of their son, Arann-Ryan, Hession began yearning for the open spaces of her childhood. John, a native Texan, eventually persuaded her to give his home state a chance. “First we checked out San Antonio and the day we arrived it was 105 degrees—it was too hot to get out of the car!” Hession remembers, laughing. “Coming from Ireland I knew there was no way I could live there. So we drove to
Austin, and it was very green. I said, ‘Hmmm, maybe I could live here.’” It wasn’t long before her entrepreneurial spirit started itching for an outlet, but she was also loath to leave her son’s side. Inspiration struck: What if she could create an environment where she could do something she loved and also spend time with her son? Thus, Millie & Mox was born. Hession wanted to create a kids’ boutique that offered everything from traditional to trendy, keeping quality and price top of mind, where kids could play while moms shopped. “Everyone feels very at home here,” she shares. In an effort to further enhance that in store experience, Millie & Mox also offers a carefully selected roster of activities, such as Story Time Saturdays with local authors and puppeteers, and massages and mimosas on Mother’s Day. To celebrate this past Independence Day, the store served hot dogs and lemonade on the sidewalk as a local kids’ musician performed patriotic tunes. “Here in Austin we have new families arriving daily and weekly. It’s hard for them to adjust to their new surroundings, and I think the events at our store help with that and with fostering new friendships within the community,” she says. Creativity is important, too, she notes, and her events background in New York City has served her well since setting up shop in Austin. “Manhattan is a combination of communities within a giant city, and you have to be creative to garner attention.” She adds, “Building a brand and developing brand loyalty are critical to our growth plans. We also want to be positive members of the Austin community, and these events allow us to accomplish brand affinity while being good citizens. We really see it as a win-win for the community and for the store.” For now, Hession and her team are focused on growing the shop’s social media presence and expanding inventory. “I think the kids’ market is doing very well. It’s hard to keep up with the amount of new brands that are coming out. There are so many, but I think that’s a good thing because it’s getting back to what parents want—quality, price and style,” she says. “The more brands, the more competition and the better the prices will be.” That’s a business plan we can all support. •
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Ruling the Roost
A FORMER EXEC AT TOMMY HILFIGER AND GAP, STACEY FRASER, THE FOUNDER AND DESIGNER OF PINK CHICKEN, IS USING HER FASHION BONA FIDES TO TURN HER BOHO-CHIC DRESSES INTO A LIFESTYLE BRAND FOR FAMILY AND HOME. BY AUDREY GOODSON KINGO
ooking at Pink Chicken’s easy, breezy designs, you would be forgiven for guessing the company’s owner is a bit of a beach bunny. Stacey Fraser, the founder and designer behind the 7-year-old brand, is the first to admit the beach is her favorite place. It’s where her family spends most weekends, at their Hamptons home in Amagansett. It’s where the brand’s bright, fun photo shoots take place. And it’s where Fraser opened her first Pink Chicken retail store five summers ago. In fact, Fraser herself embodies her brand’s relaxed aesthetic. Often found wearing her loose, colorful dresses, she prides herself on Pink Chicken’s “warm and fuzzy” relationship with its loyal customers. But just because the laidback founder lives for weekends biking down the
PHOTOGRAPH BY MCCANDLISS AND CAMPBELL
Belle and Sadie (standing) love playing with their dog Clyde and offering design advice to their mom Stacey Fraser, the founder of Pink Chicken.
Long Island shore with her family doesn’t mean she’s not a hard-working designer and brand visionary, with some serious fashion credentials as an executive at labels like Tommy Hilfiger, Gap and Old Navy. So how did a girl who grew up in Alexandria, VA—whose parents worked in the less-than-fashionable confines of Capitol Hill and the Pentagon—go on to lead entire divisions at some of the biggest clothing brands in the U.S.? For Fraser, it’s all in the DNA. “Both of my grandmothers worked in fashion,” she explains. “My mom’s mom owned a women’s clothing store in Ohio. We’d go there every summer, and I would work in her showroom and help her put buys together,” she recalls. “And my dad’s mother was a fashion designer in New York City when she was younger. Later, she lived in North Carolina, and she had a whole sewing room set up, with quilts and clothes and teddy bears and all kinds of amazing things. I think seeing that at a young age made me
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realize that’s what I wanted to do.” Her determination only became stronger with time, much to her parents’ amusement. “My mom laughs that I used to cut up all my clothes in high school,” Fraser says. A trip to New York City with her high school fashion merchandising class sealed the deal: “I fell in love with the city. I knew the second I graduated I would be back,” she admits. And that’s exactly what happened. At first she took typing classes, figuring she could get her foot in the door at a fashion house as a receptionist. But before she ever needed to put her new skills to the test, she landed a plum gig: as an assistant designer for sweaters at Ralph Lauren Collection. “I was in awe,” she remembers of her first days on the job. “There would be some days where I would be winding balls of yarn, and that was all I did, but I was happy to be doing it. It was such a great first place to work just to see how a really incredible multifaceted brand works.” And working at Ralph Lauren during the heyday of the 90s supermodel certainly came with its perks—including dressing Cindy Crawford for fashion shows. Soon enough, opportunity came knocking again for the talented designer, when a recruiter offered Fraser the chance to help create the boys’ collection at the newly-launched Baby Gap. The job would begin a pattern for Fraser of launching new divisions for large brands— experience that would prove invaluable when she later launched Pink Chicken. “I learned a lot about how to build a brand down to the smallest thing—from how to make your labels and set up worksheets to creating a whole division and building a team,” Fraser says. Next came a job at Tommy Hilfiger, as a director of their new infant/toddler division, and later their new girls’ collection, followed by a stint as the vice president of design for Tommy Jeans. “That was great, too, to learn the juniors’ market and how that’s a completely different animal with how fast that market changes,” Fraser says. It’s a lesson she put to good use when tackling Pink Chicken’s tween line, which launched two years ago. Fraser was working at Old Navy in her biggest role to date, as the senior vice president of women’s design, when the company announced its plans to move to San Francisco. Pregnant with her second daughter, the now-dedicated New Yorker decided it was a good time to take a break from the corporate world. “Someone gave me the good advice to take six months to just don’t do anything or think about anything,” Fraser remembers. She took the opportunity to take drawing and painting classes at nearby Parsons. “I just got re-inspired again,” she confesses. “When you work at a big corporate culture like Gap and even Tommy, so much of it when you get to the level of an executive is less about the actual designing and more about
NEW S p ri n g s u m m e r 2 0 14 c o l l e c t i o n USA WHOLESALES NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES groupezannier.biz/en/
overseeing everything.” She began buying fabric and making dresses for her daughters, and it wasn’t long before her friends were encouraging her to sell them. In fact, Fraser’s friend Stefani Greenfield, cofounder of the New York City boutique, Scoop, was her first customer. Fraser credits the brand’s early success to Pink Chicken’s bold, original patterns. “I’ve always had a love for vintage textiles, and when we first started out there weren’t really many people doing oversized, colorful fun prints,” she explains. “I felt that at that time we were really filling a niche.” Later she began traveling the trade show circuit and building her wholesale business—a path she describes as absolutely critical to the brand’s success. Soon enough, stars like Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner were dressing their daughters in the brand’s bright patterned dresses. Then came two retail stores, the first in Amagansett and another on Madison Avenue in New York City. But that’s only the beginning for Pink Chicken, which Fraser envisions as a lifestyle brand that might even branch into the realm of home décor. In fact, the brand is well on its way to lifestyle status, already encompassing the world of baby, girls’, tweens and women’s, with plans to launch into fleece and denim. (Listen up, licensing companies!) Thankfully, the busy mom has the help of her husband, John, who spends every Father’s Day dutifully “carting stuff around” for the brand’s spring/summer photo shoot. “He’s always on the sideline offering support,” Fraser says. She also has the help of her daughters, Belle, 11, and Sadie, 7, who proudly wear Pink Chicken but aren’t afraid to offer design advice to mom. For now, Fraser would love for the brand— already on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram—to be more strategic in its use of social media, an outlet that’s been fantastic for connecting with customers, she notes. “We’re a small, warm and fuzzy company, and we want people to know who we are, and to feel inspired by our brand.” First, I have to ask: Pink Chicken. Where did the name come from? We were just trying to think of names that meant something to our family and were memorable. When Belle was little, her favorite color was pink, and she wouldn’t eat anything. So we would say, ‘Look, chicken is pink before you cook it!’ So every night, we’d ask, ‘Do you want pink chicken tonight, Belle?’ And it’s a really identifiable logo. People always remember the name. When I’m at the bank people say, ‘What’s Pink Chicken?’ With all your experience at companies like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, were there any challenges in the beginning?
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UPCLOSE What’s your favorite childhood memory? We built go-carts and raced them down our hill. My dad had a shop, and we’d build them out of wood and put little wheels on them. It’s funny going back as adults and looking at that hill—it’s not really quite a hill. But at the time we thought we were such daredevils. What’s your favorite way to spend a free afternoon?
My favorite thing to do is to be with family at the beach— bike riding, playing softball, going to the farmers’ market and cooking nice meals with friends. What are you reading right now? The Good House by Ann Leary. During spring break I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I was sobbing the whole time, but the characters are so well written, and you really escape into their world. I was so moved by that book.
So many challenges! Someone once said to me, ‘You’re going to have really high highs and really low lows,’ and it’s so true. There were challenges in everything that we did, from finding the right production people in the city and ordering the right fabrics to meeting minimums and having the money to hire employees. I put all the savings I personally had into the company. But getting your first order and seeing your clothes in a store is so inspiring and exciting it just keeps you going. Pink Chicken launched a couple years before the recession. How did you make it through? It wasn’t easy. You can definitely tell when things change. We’d have 10 to 15 stores each season cancel their orders or close their doors. But our focus stayed on offering value to our customer—something that was different, beautiful and something people felt good about. Pink Chicken is a lifestyle brand that’s about a beachy escape, and people were still attracted to that, thank goodness. What’s been the biggest change in the industry post-recession? I think buyers in our boutiques are ordering differently. They’re more cautious about their buys, and they’re sticking to brands that do well. I’m the first to say to someone if I feel like they are overbuying, ‘Why don’t you start with a smaller buy? We’re happy to do reorders.’ You want your retailers to be successful, because when they’re successful, you’re successful. People say to me, ‘You’re not a very good salesperson.’ But I want them to do well. Has opening your own retail stores helped your wholesale business? Having your own store helps you realize the importance of delivering goods on time and
What’s the last movie you watched? The Heat. It was hilarious! I saw it with my sisters who were visiting, and it just made it even funnier. We were laughing out loud. What superpower would you like to have? Avoiding traffic. Is that a super power? What three things could you never live without? Iced coffee, solitaire on my iPad and a good book.
paying on time. If you’re a week late, it makes a difference. We can really understand some of the requests from our wholesale customers having been in that position. And as it relates to our design process it’s been amazing because we now have a direct link to our customer. We get great feedback, both good and bad. We actually have the stores do a monthly recap of feedback and we spend some time listening to that information and incorporating it where necessary. That’s one of the biggest benefits of having a store—being able to really hear customers and respond to them. Is that wholesale boutique business important to the brand? Absolutely. That’s the foundation of Pink Chicken. We started with small mom-and-pop boutiques, and they are still the most important to us today. In fact, we are now putting together marketing materials for our top stores in each region—think catalogues, Pink Chicken logo window decals, postcards and balloons. We are focused on giving our stores more tools to sell more. It’s a grassroots way of getting the brand out there. It also can’t hurt that celebrity moms like Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner love dressing their daughters in Pink Chicken. We have a good wholesale business in Los Angeles, and I think they shop in the boutiques there. We love it. We love to see any kid wearing Pink Chicken. It’s the most exciting thing to see people wearing your clothes—little girls running around wearing these colorful dresses. It still gives me goose bumps. Did you always envision Pink Chicken as a lifestyle brand for moms and girls? No, I don’t think I set out in the beginning to create the brand as it is today. The process
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was kind of organic. I started getting inspired again when I really got back to the creative piece of true design—picking fabrics, designing fabrics and creating my own silhouettes. I realized, ‘Wow, this is really about a lifestyle and a brand, and I think people might like this.’ That was exciting when it really clicked. What inspired you to expand into tweens? We started with girls’ 12 months to 6 years. As my kids got older, we began adding sizes to the brand. When Belle grew out of the 6, we added an 8. We had customers who were growing up with us also. They would say, ‘I need a 10. My daughter is getting bigger, and I love the brand.’ And now that Belle’s a tween, we started a tween line two years ago. Tween can be a difficult market, right? I think at first figuring it out was a challenge. At that age, tweens are starting to be more body conscious and trend aware, and they are less interested in dresses, which is really the core of our kids’ business. There’s so much tween out there that is very slick and short and tight, and we wanted to do something that’s tween appropriate, but that’s on-brand. We took our classic beachy, boho styling and
tweened it up a bit—and it took a few seasons to get the right mix and fit. I think we finally hit it with tween, and our business in the segment is really growing. Tween tastes change so quickly. How do you keep up? Belle and her friends are a great resource for us. She and her friends do our photo shoots and they’ll say, ‘We like this, but we wish it was more like this.’ Or, ‘We think these things are trending now, mom. Can you do something like that?’ They know more than I do, especially about that age group. We try to listen to them all the time. And after tween, you branched into women’s. We’ve always done a little bit of women’s here and there, but we’ve really found that women who buy our kids’ clothes really love what we call a reimagined mommy and me look. It’s not necessarily the same print for mom and daughter, but a similar aesthetic. A lot of children’s brands seem to be branching into women’s and maternity. You have a built-in customer base already,
and hopefully if they already like the brand, it translates. Your beautiful beach sombrillas quickly sold out this summer. Any plans to dive into swimwear? We tried swim for a little bit, but I think that small boutiques tend to go to a swim manufacturer to buy swim. I think our plan for growth will really be dressing kids from head to toe. We’re looking at expanding into shoes, tights, socks, hats and mittens and all kinds of things. Now that the brand is more established, doing more lifestyle pieces like that would be well received. Like your Luna Leggings collaboration that launched last month! We loved collaborating with Luna Leggings. We feel the brand’s tights and leggings have the same free spirit as Pink Chicken so it was a great match. The designs are colored perfectly and work back to our fall collection, and it’s really great to offer our customers something really fun and new. I’m also excited to announce we’re doing a T-shirt collaboration with Lucky Fish in Spring/Summer ’14. We have always admired
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the brand’s tees, and no one can do them better. We sell them in our store right now, and they sell out like crazy. The logo is a little fish with a chicken surfing on top. It’s really cute.
products, like bedding and napkins. We have fun great prints, and it would be nice to use them more, to amortize them over a whole lifestyle collection.
Can customers look forward to more collaborations in the future? I love the idea of collaborating with people. There are some people who just do things the best. If we could find someone to do a collaboration with denim, we’d love that—we’re looking for that for next fall. If you can find someone who can do it better than you can, that has a different competence than your company does in that particular area, I think that’s always great. And it adds flavor to your assortment, too.
Did you have to make any big changes to reflect the brand’s new lifestyle focus? We recently revamped our website in March. It was mostly a kids’ website that had a little bit of tween and women’s, but as our tween and women’s business have been growing, we wanted to give it a facelift to really look like a lifestyle brand with equal part babies, tweens, kids and women.
What advice would you give to other moms looking to launch a children’s brand? I think the number one thing for people running their own business is to really have a passion for it. That will get you through the highs and lows. Also, when we started in kids’, it wasn’t as big of a space—but now there are a lot of designers doing really amazing things. So be specific about what you want to do. Have a point of difference that separates you from everyone else in the market. Then roll up your sleeves and work hard. •
Are there any risks with these types of partnerships? Yes, there’s sourcing new factories to do different things, and when you start a new classification, you’re not going to have the same quantities as you do with your core business. But if it’s a collection that we feel strongly about we can suffer with a lower margin to build the business until we can get it where we need it to be. Speaking of sourcing, where do you find your fabulous prints? We have really strong partners in China and India who we’ve been doing our production with for years. The quality in China is superb, but a lot of our brand has an artisanal flavor to it, so we really love the balance of doing some in China and some in India, where you can really get some of the hand-sewn, artisanal feel of embroidery and Indian block printing. We’re actually starting to look at expanding our knitwear assortment and adding some domestic production. We’re in the sourcing phase right now. I would love to be able to produce more in the U.S, but when you’re a small company, it’s expensive to produce in small quantities, so to do it overseas makes it more bearable. But hopefully we can find a way to do some things domestically as well. So first, knits, leggings and denim. What’s next? Our focus going forward is to really continue to build our wholesale business. The core of our business is printed dresses, and we really want to build some depth in what we do by offering more fashion basics, all the way down to the shoes and up to the hat. In addition, we’re looking at more direct-to-consumer sales—opening more retail stores, as well as having a bigger focus on our online business. And then eventually adding more lifestyle
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BY LY N D S AY M CG R E G O R
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PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF ACA, NY AND NJ
WITH MORE AND MORE KIDS SIGNING UP FOR SUMMER CAMP, SAVVY RETAILERS ARE REAPING THE REWARDS BY STOCKING THE ESSENTIALS.
SUMMER CAMPS ARE having a moment. Since 2002, the number of accredited day camps has shot up 69 percent, and resident camps have increased by 21 percent, according to the American Camp Association (ACA). “We’re living in a time when people are very plugged in, but there’s still this sense that kids have to be outside—playing, trying new things, making new friends and all the wonderful things that camp has to offer,” declares Susie Lupert, ACA executive director. “I don’t think camp will ever disappear.” Children’s retailers can—and should—position themselves to tap into this growth. If a well-run camp can have profit margins in the 25 to 40 percent range, stores can boost their bottom line by adding summer camp essentials to their merchandise mix. “Camp gear is a very significant portion of our January show,” confirms Stanley Kaye of ENK Children’s Club. “It’s a major, major part of the market, particularly in the Northeast where summer camps are prominent. For retailers, it’s proven to be an excellent sales opportunity and every year it grows bigger.” These days, summer camp can mean everything from hiking and swimming to forensic science and farm-to-table activities. This month, Elle Creative Director Joe Zee will take a two-week hiatus to join his boyfriend, Parsons adjunct professor Rob Younkers, and a crop of fashion-loving tweens at Stitched: Fashion Camp in East Hampton, NY. Co-founded by the couple, the camp for aspiring young designers ages 10 to 14 is just a sample of the many specialized options available for today’s happy campers. “Kids these days are very unique and like to do very specific things,” Lupert says, but she is quick to note, “I also believe that general camps are wonderful because it gives kids time to try new things, such as swimming, arts and crafts, boating—things that they don’t normally associate themselves with.” Whether your littlest customers are headed to a traditional sleep-away camp for a summer full of outdoor adventures, or to one of the growing number of specialty camps, such as Michigan’s Harry Potter-themed science camp or New York’s i2 camp, which features a program where tweens design their own urban transportation system, there are plenty of opportunities to capitalize. Not sure where to begin? Start by checking out the National Camp Association’s sample packing list on www.summercamp.org. Clothing and toiletries are a no-brainer, but camp-bound kids also 2 0 1 3 A U G U S T • E A R N S H AW S . C O M 3 9
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need hiking boots, water shoes, backpacks and iron-on labels so no belongings go astray. “Tons of kids go to camp, whether it’s for the summer or for a few days. Retailers should even just have a section that’s sneakers, sunscreen, T-shirts, shorts and towels, and the basic stuff that every parent is going to have to buy, like bug repellant,” Lupert suggests.
BACK TO BASICS
Lester’s recently added a kaleidoscope of CamelBak options, and Jennifer Ganz reveals they sold so well she will be bringing them back next year.
Retailers who can’t afford to dedicate a whole section of their budget to camp can still cash in on the season by carrying a handful of necessities. Sunscreen, for instance, is on every camper’s checklist. Jennifer Ganz, accessories buyer at Lester’s, recommends Sun Bum, a Floridabased sun-care company whose advanced broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection is available in a convenient and easy-to-use face stick. If your customer is eco-minded, Badger’s line of creams and lotions is made of safe, USDA Certified Organic ingredients, and is a hit with healthconscious mom bloggers. Speaking of sun, don’t forget the shades. Offer your customers a range of affordable sunglasses that block 100 percent of harmful rays. Buyers flocked to Real Kids Shades and Baby Banz at
the March edition of ENK Children’s Club. The former’s sporty sunglasses are shatterproof and specifically constructed to fit kids’ faces, with a wraparound design to guard against peripheral sunlight, while Baby Banz has introduced prescription swim goggles for ages 3 and up, made from tough and durable polycarbonate with 100 percent UV protective lenses and an anti-fog system. Water bottles are a mainstay on both sleepaway and day camp lists. Lester’s recently added a kaleidoscope of CamelBak options and Ganz reveals they sold so well she will be bringing them back next year. “All these outdoorsy brands are trying to be a little more fashion forward and colorful so they can appeal to retailers like us and to our customers,” she says. At June’s Gotham Gets in Gear press event in New York City, editors from Outside praised Avex’s BPAfree kid-sized water bottles. The patent-pending lid features a press-to-release button that opens the drinking spout for easy, one-handed drinking during activities, while a built-in carabiner clip attaches to backpacks. Campers also need a good shower shoe. While most camps don’t allow flip-flops as a general footwear option, they’re a must for communal
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showers. Greenberger points to Showaflops, whose slip-on styles feature drainage holes, as the perfect sandal for protecting kids’ feet from fungus. Another way to capitalize on camp is by stocking an array of colorful basics for color wars. For the uninitiated, these fun-spirited meta-games pit campers into color-coded teams to compete in different activities, and kids are encouraged to dress head to toe in their team’s color. Malibu Sugar offers most of its tank tops and shorts in up to 30 colors, which CEO and President Jil Garcia says helps attract kids’ eyes to a product parents already know they need. “What we suggest to our retailers is to purchase an assortment of the neon colors, as well as the camp colors, and the eye appeal will spur people to buy multiple pieces,” she offers. Ganz agrees and recommends stocking tees, tanks, shorts and socks in red, white, green and blue. “Camps always do some kind of Olympic color day,” she points out. Basics are also a great way to tap into the under-served market of camp clothing for boys. “It is a challenge to find clothes to stock in the store that boys like and will wear, but as much
as there’s not really a supply for it, the demand is also less,” admits Abbie Greenberger, who, with her fiancé, Brian, runs summer camp specialty store Bee Bee Designs in Livingston, NJ. “Girls want to wear their camp name proudly— boys are happy to throw on an Under Armour T-shirt and start their day.”
TIME IT RIGHT
Aside from stocking a mix of basics and tempting add-on accessories, retailers looking to set up camp should also employ an array of savvy tactics to maximize sales. The most important? Timing is key. “People start shopping for camp in February because paying for camp is expensive in itself, and with the added expense of clothing and anything else the kids might need, parents want to get it out of the way early,” Greenberger says. She adds, “From February into the end of July is our busiest time.” The same goes for Lester’s, Ganz says. But while earlier is better, don’t forget to keep some products in store in the height of summer camp season, Ganz adds, noting that many of her customers love to stock up on fun items to bring on visiting day, when parents
invade campgrounds to see what their offspring are up to. It’s another banner time for sales at Lester’s. (The chain of six 10,000-square-feetor-bigger department stores has been in the camp business for 15 years and became an official camp outfitter in 2008.) It’s also the perfect time for shop owners to reach out to parents about what their store offers. “Retailers need to let parents know they carry product that would be perfect to bring to camp,” she advises. That’s exactly what Greenberger does at Bee Bee Designs. To prepare for visiting day season, she and her staff put together pre-selected packages chock-full of games and activities so boys and girls can interact with their bunkmates on rainy days, thereby warding off bouts of homesickness. “It’s important to carry something that parents know will make their kids feel comfortable being away from home,” she offers, noting stationery and sticker books always do the trick. For example, a bestseller at both Bee Bee and Lester’s is I-Scream, a madein-the-U.S.A. line of candy-themed stationery, apparel, bags and bedding for girls. Lester’s even offers its own “camp counselors” to ensure overwhelmed parents pack every overnight basic, from towels and bedding
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to raincoats and flashlights. Bee Bee Designs offers a similar service, inviting customers to schedule an appointment for one-on-one attention with one of its in-store specialists. And when Greenberger started getting calls from parents in other states, she even decided this summer to take the store on the road and started hosting camp parties in towns throughout the East Coast.
STAY ON POINT
Buyers flocked to Real Kids Shades at the March edition of ENK Children’s Club. The sporty sunglasses are shatterproof and specifically constructed to fit kids’ faces, with a wraparound design to guard against peripheral sunlight.
Keeping up with the ever-evolving tastes of young campers is certainly no easy feat, but Greenberger tackles the task by being responsive to her customer’s wishes. “That’s how we find out about items. Somebody comes in and they say, I heard about this brand, and a week later we have it in the store. If someone says, ‘My daughter is so bored of peace signs,’ we try to find something with a leopard pattern,” she shares. “We really try to get a sense of what each child is like and what each parent is comfortable with spending, and we try to balance that.” An eye on price is especially important, Kaye confirms. “It’s about carrying lines that are a little less expensive because they’re things that parents send in trunks, not as Sunday best, but
are hoping they’ll get through the summer,” he advises. But as with any trend, retailers should do their homework before making their buys. “In terms of retailers understanding their community, they need to know the affluence and the ability for those parents to send their kids to camp. Then it’s up to them to merchandise camp gear and advertise it,” Kaye says. As Ganz points out, a lot of camps are now fully uniformed. “There are many camps that now supply their own towels and bedding, even basic accessories,” she says. “I think they’re trying to decrease the amount of clutter and internal competition between the kids.” Although summer camps can be a big business, they offer a nice respite from routine, the promise of nostalgia and the prospect of happy memories and best friends for life. “Summer camp makes kids very independent because they’re learning how to deal with issues on their own without their parents,” says Laura Martin, owner of Confetti & Friends, whose Bunk Junk autograph pillows offer a perfect camp keepsake. “I watched my kids’ progression, and now my daughter could go off to Europe and not look back. I really believe that stems from her time at camp.” •
Contact Info: www.unitrendsusa.com Phone: (631) 390-9081 E-mail: email@example.com
Show Dates - 2013 KSA Shoe Show August 6-7 Doubletree By Hilton Hotel Los Angeles, CA - Westside
Atlanta Shoe Market August 14-16 Atlanta, GA
FN Platform August 19-21 Las Vegas, NV
The Children’s Great Event September 10-12 Teaneck, NJ
This is my world
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Explore the benefits of attending the 2013 ABC Kids ExpoÂŽ, the worldâ€™s premier juvenile products trade show, as we return to Las Vegas for our 11th annual trade show. Exhibit among the industry elite, with virtually every significant manufacturer or distributor of products for infants and children presenting their newest, most innovative products and services. Engage with international buyers, media and fellow suppliers, when more than 1,000 exhibitors and over 14,000 attendees are expected to converge at this private trade event. Experience the best this industry has to offer, including dazzling networking events and more.
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Vintage style shores up Spring â€™14 swimwear.
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Wovenplay one-piece and bathing cap, stylistâ€™s stockings.
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Floatimini swimsuit, Le Vestiaire de Jeanne linen bloomers, Chat Mechant cap, stylistâ€™s stockings, Capezio ballet flats throughout. Opposite page: Floatimini tankini top, Platypus Australia boy shorts, Wheat handkerchief worn in hair; Le Vestiaire de Jeanne white linen coveralls.
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Stella Cove bikini top and cover-up, Kate Mack leggings, stylist’s belt and scarf worn as headgear. Opposite page: Isobella & Chloe dress worn as jumper, stylist’s scarf and tights; Goat Milk tank and underwear; Wovenplay one-piece, stylist’s leggings and scarf worn as headband.
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Appaman rash guard, Wovenplay swim trunks; Mini Rodini striped swim shorts, Goat Milk tank, Le Vestiaire de Jeanne linen button-down. Opposite page: Mini Rodini hooded sunsuit, Appaman hat.
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Wovenplay onepiece, Appaman hat, Wovenplay felt bird clips, Zutano ball; Platypus Australia swim shorts, Wovenplay tank, Ellen Christine hat. Opposite page: Kate Mack boy shorts worn over one-piece, Ellen Christine black cap; Snapper Rock boy shorts worn over Stella Cove onepiece, Wovenplay bathing cap with stylistâ€™s flowers; Snapper Rock tankini, stylistâ€™s belt, Meg Dana hair bow, Aigle rain boots throughout. Hair and makeup: Vivi Lapidus; prop stylist: Alexandra Egan. 53
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The arrival of Fifties prom dresses, light wash denim and Eighties funk mak e for a fun-filled trip back in time. By Angela Velasquez Designers revealed their Spring/ Summer 2014 creations to a global audience at the latest round of Bubble London, Pitti Bimbo in Florence, Italy, and Playtime Paris shows held throughout the months of June and July. The result is a color-infused season riding high on perennial favorites like nautical and bohemian looks and boosted by whimsical takes on comic book fashion
TRAINING WHEELS Thematically for boys and girls, few other layering looks were as bold as the grungy biker trend, reports Kirkhope, design manager for kidswear for WGSN. Done up in lightweight leathers, denim and twills, LaMaar, a trend consultant for Promostyl, sees the motorcycle jacket as a must-have layering piece. “Some moto styles had a playful twist, no sleeves or cap sleeves for girls,” he adds.
and Gatsby-era flair. Trend experts Ellen Kirkhope from WGSN, Jerome LaMaar from Promostyl and Terra Fazzio of Thread Kids NY were on the ground speaking to designers and retailers and uncovering the inspirations for these oh-so-chic European collections.
Fashion from Spain
YACHT CLUB Designers return to the high seas
in high class. “Nautical was huge—this time in a clean, preppy variation,” Kirkhope says. Traditional red, white and blue combinations delivered a regatta vibe to boating blazers, she reports, while other brands focused on vertical and thickbanded stripes for a sportier look. In addition to denim and chambray, Kirkhope says, “Textural fabrics added a new dimension [to the nautical trend], especially in girlswear.”
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Fashion from Spain
HERE COMES THE SUN
Quis Quis & From the World
Fun & Fun
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF PITTI BIMBO
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Sun-kissed summer days call for a new rotation of bohemian threads and this season designers took a more eclectic, global approach to the look. “The trend was more multicultural and nomad-like, with styles from Japan and South America fused together to create some new, geometric prints and casual silhouettes,” LaMaar describes. Kirkhope observed “a nod to Hawaii for both boys and girls, which is something that’s been trending in youth for some time.” This time around it’s resulted in easy pull-on shapes and textural fabrics. “There were large amounts of dying techniques, from batik through to dip-dye, ombré and tie dye,” she adds.
Fashion from Spain
Whether the blast of yellow illuminating the show floor was a sign that sunny days have returned to retail has yet to be determined, but the delightful hue certainly made a bright impression. In general, the mood at the European shows was happier than in previous seasons, LaMaar reports. “There was better energy and that was reflected in the bright, cheerful colors,” he explains. Kirkhope says new colors like lime and lemon updated classic looks. Even shades of green, like chartreuse, were trending as gender-neutral hues.
OLD SPORT Kirkhope names Il Gufo’s matching shorts and blazer outfits for boys as a show highlight. “[They were] very clean, crisp and smart,” she explains. That dash of gentlemanly dressing took a 1920s turn with white, pastel, muted shades of red and blue and even linen and leather wingtips. Yet other brands like Quis Quis & From the World added a kidfriendly vibe to the polished trend by layering striped blazers over T-shirts with old-timey photos of athletes. Athletic motifs were spotted in other collections as well, including Stone Island, which based its Spring ’14 collection around the World Cup in Brazil, proving football is a universal language.
Fashion from Spain
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Fun & Fun
BLUE CRUSH A palette of
COLOR BLAST The psychedelic, Technicolor prints of Lisa Frank—which were de rigueur on Trapper Keepers for girls growing up in the late 1980s and early 1990s—might be considered vintage by today’s tweens, but Frank’s anything-goes approach to design has inspired sugar-coated, fun sportswear for girls. From whimsical flamingo prints to peace signs and paint splatter effects, the intense look on T-shirts, leggings, tanks and accessories calls for saturated brights. “Key colors for spring include limeade and turquoise worn together, watermelon as the new pink and several tones of orange from peach to vibrant tangerine,” Kirkhope states. Even boys’ fashion got a pop of color with prominent themes of Astro turf green and spearmint.
spring-like washes and summer-friendly layering pieces are set to shed new light on denim. “Colored denim is still relevant, but you’re going to see more and more lighter washes,” LaMaar reports. Fazzio, president of Thread Showroom, spied lightly distressed denim, noting, “They weren’t quite stone wash, but they had a worn-in, vintage feel.” The push for washed denim stemmed from the marketplace’s overarching demand for authentic and workwear styles, Kirkhope reports. Lightweight denim, chambray, and even cauliflower blue French terry fabrications are helping to widen the market for more layering pieces.
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POP ART Kirkhope had her eyes peeled for mod influences (a big trend in womenswear), but didn’t see it coming through as strongly as she expected. Instead she saw bold geometric graphics, black and white stripes and plenty of checkerboard designs. Taking a page from Roy Lichtenstein’s playbook, designers turned to comic bookinspired pattern mixing to create action-packed ensembles befitting a superhero. Some brands used the theme as a clever way to incorporate logos, LaMaar adds. “Logos are not as in your face as they were in the ’90s, but they are there often in a monochromatic way,” he explains.
Fun & Fun
CITY OF ANGELS “We’re seeing the very start of the emergence of a 1950s prom look,” Kirkhope reports. Despite the fact that silhouettes were full, round and even old-fashioned in some instances, the season’s dressiest frocks had a tinge of street cred thanks to cool accessories and casual footwear. The unlikely pairing made a dramatic impact, which LaMaar described as “ready-to-wear meets couture.” While some honored the Audrey Hepburn look with a chic and playful take on the little black dress, others were ethereal, swathed in white and cream feather-light tulle and dreamy chiffon. Kirkhope adds, “Textural white fabrics are key, especially for summer dresses with three-dimensional jacquards, plissé and embossed synthetics.”
Any way you stack it,
Dallas offers more for kids Dallas KidsWorld Market APPAREL. GIFT. ACCESSORIES. TOY.
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Fever In the Clear
Cute, quirky and part of little girls’ summer fashion memories the world over, jelly shoes are making a nostalgic comeback in 2014. The clear uppers make a perfect canvas for flower, peace sign and polka dot embellishments. Others get a sprinkle of shimmery glitter— a must for any girls pining away for that elusive glass slipper.
AFTER MONTHS OF being laced, buckled and zipped up in fleece-lined, waterproof winter boots, kids will be eager to let their tiny feet free in the hot hued sandals, sneakers and loafers that are set to liven up the Spring ’14 season. Prints run wild, touching on kidpleasers like peace signs and flowers to tropical and camouflage motifs inspired by the runway. Heels get bigger as girls continue to chase their tween idol style inspirations. And a bit of oh-so-colorful, iconic Eighties fashion returns with jelly sandals. By Angela Velasquez
Casual styles as green as the grass they graze are cropping up this spring for boys and girls. Warm weather fabrications and easy slip-on silhouettes lend themselves to being kicked off for runs through the sprinkler. Plus, these summer staples can be refreshed and renewed with a quick rinse through the wash.
Juice Bar Chooze
Sweet, refreshing and bursting with color—the blend of hot pink and bright orange footwear for girls may rival summer heat waves, and is sure to make a statement on the selling floor. The juicy blend is especially potent on chunky athletic styles fit for school and camp.
Breezy, tropical motifs of paradise coupled with earthy textures and natural materials like jute and linen speak to sophisticated kids who one day may favor private islands getaways over themed resorts. Guess
See Kai Run
5 8 E A R N S H AW S . C O M • A U G U S T 2 0 1 3
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Come See Our New SS 2014 Collection ENK Children’s Club August 4-6 Pier 94 New York, New York
MODA August 11-13 National Exhibition Centre Birmingham, United Kingdom
Atlanta Shoe Market August 14-16 Cobb Galleria Center Atlanta, Georgia
ENK Children’s Club October 6-8 Javits Center New York, New York
ABC October 15-18 Las Vegas Convention Center Las Vegas, Nevada
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High Expectations UV50+ CHILDREN’S SWIMWEAR
As if the instant growth spurt wasn’t enough, Spring ’14 wedge sandals bring with them a heap of fashion trends from the women’s and junior markets. From flashy metallic materials and fiesta-inspired color stories to natural cork, the sophisticated silhouette has gone from novel to essential in tweenfriendly collections.
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Less incognito than basic beige and brown, and more eye-catching than combat boots, the military trend continues into spring with lightweight canvas iterations and sporty constructions. For girls, the rough and tough look is softened with camouflage prints that skew floral and flourishes like petals, studs and crystals.
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Jungle Fever Vans
There’s never a shortage of animal prints, but this season the kingdom is getting even wilder with electric colors, glitter and metallic accents. And for a more luxurious take on the trend, exotic skins like python and alligator are revamped in a new breed of summery colors.
See us at ENK Children’s Club NYC, Aug 4-6 Booth 2621
Livie & Luca
Borrowing style cues from grandpa, today’s fisherman sandals complete with handy Velcro straps and durable outsoles make function fashionable and youthful. Standout styles are given a modern touch with buttery leathers and splashes of untraditional color.
2 in 1 Baby Swaddles & Sleep Bags. ergopouchusa.com Ph: 877-333-0074
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BEHIND THE SEAMS
Shore Thing InGear splashes into Spring ’14 with new swimwear licenses.
H Sugar Plum NY, Inc. Carol Meyerson 212-695-8990 (ext. 204) firstname.lastname@example.org ENK Childrens Club, August 2013 Booth 3426
EADQUARTERING A SWIMWEAR company in Miami may seem like a perfect business plan, and for InGear Fashions Inc., it certainly is. Since 1990, InGear has been one of the leading suppliers of swim and resort wear in the U.S. The company produces in-house swimwear and cover-ups under the InGear label, but also boasts a number of licensing deals that has expanded its product and consumer base across the country. And for Spring ’14, InGear is continuing its most popular collaborations in recent years, with Warner Brother’s DC Comics, Hello Kitty and Paul Frank, as well as diving into a new deal with SeaWorld. First up, the new SeaWorld line will be available in infant and toddler sizes and will feature SeaWorld characters like Shamu, seals and sea turtles with fun sayings like “Seal With a Kiss” and “Tough Shell Soft Heart.” Look for one-pieces with ruffled skirt trim and two-piece tankini styles in sizes 12 months to 4T. Spring ’14 will also be the second season for InGear’s partnership with DC Comics and the third season for Hello Kitty and Paul Frank. The DC Comics girls’ line, which stems from the success of its women and junior lines, will fea-
ture Superwoman, Wonder Woman and Batgirl themes in one-piece, tankini and bikini styles in bright colors and glitter fabrics. Sizes for the line will range from 12 months to 14/16. (All of the company’s licensed swimwear wholesales from $11 to $12.) Although InGear was initially focused on womenswear, Adam Frija, director of licensing says, “We have equally become a girls’ swim powerhouse.” The company first swam into baby and kids seven years ago, as one of the first brands to introduce cover-ups for the category, something previously only seen in the women’s market. “Our cover-ups are our heart and soul,” says Frija, adding, “A cover-up is great because it’s a fashion accessory, and it allows [kids] to have more guard against sunlight.” The company doesn’t currently produce boys’ swimwear for its licensing partners, but it does produce infants’, boys’ and men’s board shorts under the InGear label—and execs certainly aren’t adverse to expanding the company’s reach in the category. As Frija notes, the demand for girls’ swimwear is simply greater because girls’ outgrow their apparel faster than boys. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to be had in the boys’ swim category: Frija temptingly reveals that a number of licensing deals are currently in the works—and those may include boys’ swim. —Brittany Leitner
7/22/13 4:05 PM
E’S STARRED IN his own eponymous television show and designed one of Target’s most successful diffusion lines to date, but the one thing iconic designer Isaac Mizrahi hasn’t done? Design a line of children’s shoes under his own label. That is, until Fall ’13, when a few styles, including boots detailed with studs and chains and cheetah-print ballerina flats, hit the market. It’s all part of the designer’s plans to expand his fashion empire into a complete lifestyle brand. In fact, the fall collection was so well received, he has expanded the line into a bright and uniquely-Mizrahi Spring ’14 collection. “It’s a good time to branch out into children’s shoes because I now do clothes for children, and I like to present the total look from head-to-toe,” he says, noting his line of girls’ apparel launched last spring. Showcased at June’s FFANY show, the Spring ’14 collection received glowing reviews from retailers. Standouts include strappy flat sandals in various colors with rhinestone accents, perforated shoes with small heels and metallic bows, multi-colored woven flats available for kids in a smoking slipper style and for infants with a secure elastic strap and colored tassels. “My aesthetic is based a lot in wit, color and modern classics,” says the designer. “These shoes are not going to be for shy, retiring kids.” While the collection includes some of the season’s biggest trends, like neon colors, metallic embellishments and color blocking, it still brings a dose of the designer’s flair to the kids’ market, combining youthful, mixed-media styles with an elegant composition. “I think there’s a classic point of view mixed with a healthy irreverence,” says Mizrahi. The Isaac Mizrahi label now appears under Xcel Brands, Inc., which acquired rights to the brand in 2011. Xcel Brands is working with Synclaire Brands, a New York-based sales and marketing organization under footwear and accessory manufacturer BCNY International, Inc. to produce the shoes. “Isaac is an iconic designer with multichannel distribution,” says Peter Roccamo, vice president at Synclaire Brands. “We see his energy and infiltration in the market as an opportunity,” he adds. The shoes are available in infant sizes 1 to 4, toddler sizes 8 to 12 and girls’ sizes 13 to 5 and wholesale for $20 to $31. They will be available at specialty stores and various mass retailers like Bloomingdales and online at Nordstrom. com and Shoes.com. “I want kids to have fun wearing them and learn to appreciate quality of ideas and quality of product from a young age,” Mizrahi declares. —B.L.
Final Frontier Famed designer Isaac Mizrahi finally makes the leap into girls’ shoes.
baby sling crafted of fine all natural fibers: soft Irish linens and lush dupioni silks. adjust adjustable, one size. newborn-35lbs. made in massachusetts.
7/19/13 1:00 PM
BEHIND THE SEAMS
Urban Waterways A Manhattan-based swimwear brand reinvents summer cool.
N Sugar Plum NY, Inc. Carol Meyerson 212-695-8990 (ext. 204) email@example.com ENK Childrens Club, August 2013 Booth 3426
EW YORK CITY hipsters’ no-fuss uniform of soft tees, skinny jeans and distressed boots gets them through day to night no matter the season. But when the city heats up and weekends in Montauk beckon, these curators of cool look like fish out of water. “There was a niche for something different in swimwear that wasn’t overly European or mass market,” says Carl Cunow, co-founder of Onia, on the inspiration behind the brand. With co-founder Nathan Romano, Cunow launched Onia in 2009 to balance what he describes was a “high-end men’s swim market overrun with loud and flashy French brands.” Based on a more sleek New York City aesthetic with a focus on unique fabrics sourced from Italy and Spain, the men’s line was snapped up by specialty boutiques and quickly grew its luxury distribution to the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York. That partnership with Barneys led Romano and Cunow to test the waters in the children’s market by creating a boys’ line exclusively for the fashion emporium a year and a half ago. The boys’ line has since followed a similar trajectory as the men’s collection and is now available in specialties like
Lester’s in New York, as well as high-end department stores and hotel shops. Requests for matching father and son styles were frequent, Cunow recalls. “The matching look is typically something only French brands offer, but people are starting to realize that isn’t just for European families,” he states, adding that the mini-me styles offer hotel and resort stores a unique merchandising story for a small space. This season Onia’s range for boys size 4 to 10 mirrors the men’s collection with dyed blends, stripes, gingham and a new stretch fabrication sourced from Spain, which Cunow notes was a hit in men’s last season and is already getting a great response from children’s buyers. And despite the broad selection of classic solid gray, navy, bright teal and cherry red swim trunks, Cunow says the fabrics are deceptively techy. “It’s not your typical nylon and polyester swimwear. They dry superquick,” he offers. Additionally, Onia is expanding its collaboration with famed print masters Liberty Art Fabrics—a move that Cunow was initially weary to make because of cost. “The Liberty fabric is exceptionally expensive. Those styles will retail at $150, our highest price point ever in kids’, but the demand is there, especially from better kids’ specialty stores,” he explains. Wholesale prices for the Spring ’14 collection, including the Liberty styles, range from $26 to $60. —Angela Velasquez
7/22/13 4:03 PM
Snap to It
Snapping Turtle Kids combines fashion and functionality for beach bunnies.
S A FIRST-time mom, Kimberly Goodwin’s first trip to the beach with her 3-month-old daughter in 2010 was anything but smooth sailing. “Not long after we got there she had a dirty diaper, and I had to pull off the wet bathing suit, change the diaper and try to put the damp suit back on again. She screamed the whole time,” she remembers. Knowing there had to be an easier way, Goodwin, who at the time was a promotion director at Lucky, set off on a mission to find it. A year later, she launched Snapping Turtle Kids, a line of functional bathing suits with stainless steel snaps to make diaper-changing a cinch. “It started off as a niche product for girls ages 3 months to 3 years, but some people have older daughters or they have sons, and they want all their kids to match,” she says. Coordinating trunks for boys quickly followed, and sizing expanded up to 6 years. For Spring ’14, Goodwin is adding unisex rash guards in navy and white. “My customers were asking for them, and I
wanted a universal style. You can pop a white rash guard over a navy one-piece if you’re at the beach all day, so it’s stylish but still has that functionality,” she explains. Designed and made in New York City’s Garment District, each collection is inspired by vacation hotspots across the country. Next season the brand docks in Laguna Beach with sea-foam green suits, while Nantucket inspires green and white seersucker styles and Beverly Hills offers striped suits that would fit right in at The Pink Palace. Wholesale prices range from $21 for rash guards to $32 for suits. Goodwin believes that if consumers are paying premium prices, it should be for U.S.A.-made product. “For me it’s about keeping the resources here. A lot of my customers like that I’m not outsourcing to China,” she notes, adding, “This is right for my brand and right for my market.”—Lyndsay McGregor
7/19/13 1:31 PM
BEHIND THE SEAMS
All Grown Up
Skip Hop expands its toddler category with bed sets.
Y Sugar Plum NY, Inc. Carol Meyerson 212-695-8990 (ext. 204) firstname.lastname@example.org ENK Childrens Club, August 2013 Booth 3426
OU CAN CREDIT Skip Hop for the first strollerattachable diaper bag—a feature that has since become standard for baby brands. The bag, named the Duo, is what set business in motion more than 10 years ago for Skip Hop founders Ellen and Michael Diamant. Since that first successful year, the company has expanded to include just about everything mom and baby might need, from bath accessories and bibs to playmats and backpacks, all in the brand’s signature bright and modern style. This month the company is adding even more products to the mix. Skip Hop’s popular zoo category, already a hit for toddler backpacks, lunch bags and home décor items such as hampers and storage bins, makes its debut on three bold new bedding sets. Sporting the label’s monkey, owl or lady bug characters, each four-piece set will include a flat sheet, fitted sheet, comforter and pillowcase and will retail for $60. The bedding will be available at specialty
stores as well as SkipHop.com. Ellen Diamant runs the company with her husband, Michael, who manages finances and business operations. Ellen, a former editorial art director, works more in sales and with the creative direction of the company. In keeping with the company’s goal to “create products that help kids learn and make parents’ lives easier,” Ellen notes that every Skip Hop product endures hours of research. And while many details are considered in the launch of a product, functionality remains a top priority. It’s important for products to be easy to handle for little hands, durable and fun, Diamant asserts. As for what’s up next, the growing lifestyle brand plans on expanding into even more categories in upcoming seasons. “We’re always looking for new opportunities and new solutions,” says Diamant. “Sometimes we’ll be developing a product and it becomes a full line.” Does that mean there are more toddler products in store for the brand’s devotees? No word yet on specific items, but Diamant hints the company sees a big opportunity in the space. —B.L.
7/19/13 1:32 PM
Brazilian sandal brand Rider revs up its kids’ offerings.
HEN RIDER SANDALS joined forces 27 years ago in Brazil with shoe manufacturer, Grendene (the same company that launched jelly shoes in the ‘70s), the partnership produced a line of eco-friendly sandals—which immediately became a staple in the country. “The Brazilian lifestyle is all about beaches and coastlines,” says Brad Gruber, Rider Sandals’ national sales manager. In 1997, the company launched in the U.S. beginning with men’s styles, and has been expanding ever since. All Rider Sandals are still designed and manufactured in Brazil, which Gruber believes adds “little touches and nuances that make the product that much more interesting.” The company has been producing kids’ shoes for 10 years, but by the end of 2014, it plans to take down its popular men’s and women’s sandal collections into an expanded offering of kids’ shoes in sizes 9 to 5 and 11 to 6. Available at self-service family shoe stores and sporting goods chains, the kids’ styles will come in the brand’s Action, Cape, Drive, Dunas and Neo Thong adult styles, as per consumer demand. In the slide styles, Gruber expects particular interest from young athletes like gym-
nasts who are required to sport a post-exercise shoe without a thong or toe post. Even though Gruber freely admits the brands’ focus is on emphasizing the sport aspect rather than fashion, the line still features pops of kidfriendly color, such as light pink and magenta for some girls’ styles, while the boys’ shoes come in dark gray, blue and yellow tones. And all shoes in the kids’ collection will feature signature comfort traits like arch support and cushioning systems— features that make the sandals a bargain at $11 to $15 wholesale, Gruber points out. Like all Rider Sandals, the kids’ line will boast the same eco-friendly touches as its adult counterparts. All shoes are made from up to 30 percent recyclable material, and since Rider owns its own zero-waste factory in Brazil, 100 percent of the excess materials used for production are recycled back into the manufacturing process. Gruber adds that the shoes themselves are recyclable and you can dispose of them accordingly in plastic recycling bins once little feet have outgrown them. Gruber expects strong sales following the release, noting that Rider has seen a turnaround as more and more people realize cheaper flipflops and sandals don’t hold up. The brand’s business at specialty running stores remained stable during the rocky road of the last five years, he reports, adding, “We’re seeing some accelerated growth now.” —B.L.
7/19/13 1:32 PM
ST YLE INCUBATOR Squirtini Bikini is a fashionforward, age-appropriate girls’ swimwear line created to fill the void in the tween and juniors marketplace. Flattering, feminine suits cater to a girl’s continuously evolving and maturing body, mind and spirit. Suiting sizes 2 to teen, Squirtini Bikini allows girls to be confident and comfortable in their own skin when transitioning to adolescence. Both moms’ and daughters’ needs will be met when they discover Squirtini’s unique, modest, quality and American-made suits, all with built-in sun protection. Each collection contains a bevy of vibrant prints and coordinating, solid mix-andmatch separates in a kaleidoscope of colors. Young fashionistas can express their creativity by combining suits from past seasons with Squirtini’s new reversible tops and bottoms!
Minimalist and functional, Zaikamoya is a children’s apparel line lovingly crafted in small editions of high-quality fabrics. With clean, simple design, using natural, durable materials in neutral tones, the mostly-unisex Zaikamoya line is pure, versatile and essential. Ideal for children from newborn to age 7, wholesale prices range from $15 to $85. Contact: (646) 248-4586 email@example.com www.zaikamoya.com
The Cayre Group is proud to introduce our new Asics Kids line, which has gained great momentum since its Spring ’13 launch in boys’ sizes 4 to 20. We constantly strive to achieve the same authentic quality and performance to live up to the outstanding reputation of Asics footwear. It is important to us that we maintain the integrity of the brand through the quality of our fabrics, attention to detail and overall aesthetic of the designs. This performancedriven line is currently available throughout the country at all levels of retail, including department stores, sporting good stores, specialty retailers as well as e-commerce sites. The overall response to the product has been so great that we are already considering expansion into younger sizes as well as girls’ styles. Contact: John Strashun (212) 789-7000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cayre.com
Wheat, an adorable Scandinavian-style clothing line, ranges in size from infant up to 14 years. Tailored for comfort and durability and designed in Denmark, garments are made with natural fabrics to withstand the wear and tear of an active child, while allowing room to move and grow. Contact: (410) 626-1508 email@example.com www.wheatusa.com
7/22/13 11:43 AM
LIFE in style
Sell your Boutique Overstock with us! Bitty Birdie Boutique sells overstock & past season clothing for children's boutiques and vendors around the world! It's make believe come true for buyers and sellers. Those teeny, ruffled bikinis not selling in snowy Chicago? They will online, during Australia's summer.
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Bitty Birdie Boutique takes care of all the details-photography, online listing, customer service, packaging and shipping- with no upfront fees and a great commission. We accept boutique brands like: Persnickety, Catimini, Livie & Luca, Pixie Girl, Nohi Kids, Tea Collection, Swanky Baby Vintage & more. Come sell with us. www.bittybirdieboutique.com
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E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +1 917 907 1937 www.platypusaustralia.com
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THE BABY ISSUE SEPTEMBER ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS
SEEING GREEN Stocking eco-friendly gear and apparel can be a high-risk, high-reward proposition. Follow our top tips for success. SO MUCH MORE… Inspirational and insightful, Earnshaw’s magazine has been the goto resource for children’s apparel retailers for 96 years. With thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter, in addition to its award-winning print publication, Earnshaw’s is an industry leader across a diverse array
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PHOTOGRAPH BY RAPHAEL BUCHLER
MOMMY AND ME We take a look at why more and more children’s brands are branching into the women’s and maternity markets.
7/22/13 9:22 AM
What the A-list love at… Yoya, New York, NY
Stars love to shop Cristina Villegas’ curated collection of clothing, accessories, toys and nursery furniture. By Lyndsay McGregor
Celebrity moms aren’t the only famous faces at Yoya: Javier Bardem pops in and picks up organic threads by Mini Rodini for his son, Leo.
Keri Russell is a regular and favors comfy basics from the likes of Imps & Elfs.
Sienna Miller snaps up screen-printed tees by New York-based Atsuyo et Akiko for her daughter, Marlowe.
hen Cristina Villegas went in search of clothing for her first daughter, Mila, the Colombia native quickly became frustrated with the lack of children’s stores in New York City that shared the laidback aesthetic of the women’s boutiques she loved shopping. Taking matters into her own hands, she opened Yoya in Manhattan’s West Village in 2002. Eleven years in, the boutique counts Sarah Jessica Parker, Gisele Bündchen and Julianne Moore among its celebrity clientele. With an impeccable eye for design and detail, Villegas curates Yoya with a perfect mix of high-end clothing, novelty toys and modern nursery furniture, as well as her own small-production line of organic clothing made in North Africa and Colombia. “My customer is a well-traveled one, from educated moms with a lot of extra money to spend on their kids to parents who appreciate fashion and good quality pieces,” she notes. Yoya’s merchandise mix is as globally inclined as its customers. Bestsellers include Morley from Belgium, Soft Gallery of Denmark, French favorite CdeC, Dutch brand Imps & Elfs and Spanish newcomer Pequeño Tocon, but Villegas says her eyes are always peeled for better boys’ collections. “Boys’ clothes are usually all very similar, therefore boring,” she says. “I want texture, color and functionality.” Stylish duds aren’t the only reason Yoya is a favorite among the celeb set: Villegas tailors the store according to what she knows shoppers need— there’s a bench in the back for feeding and a bathroom with a changing station. “We want moms to feel at home and at ease,” she says. •
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Published on Jul 29, 2013
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