Earnshaw's | August 2022

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VOLUME 106 ISSUE 3 • AUGUST 2022 $10.00



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sales@unitedlegwear.com / 212.391.4143

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CONTENTS August 2022

F E AT U R E S 12 Southern Charm With inventory for days, Plaid Rabbit of Nashville, Tenn., prides itself on a village of motherly customer service and hands-on business strategies. by Michele Silver 18 Sun Protection with Sass Meet the owners, Fred and Maureen Schmidt, behind their Insta-worthy swimwear with UPF50+ technology. 24 Free Bird Chill on location at Venice Beach, Calif., where skate and surf vibes create a rad backdrop for our super-stoked swimwear models on the move.

D E PA R T M E N T S 4 Editor’s Note 6 Seen and Heard 8 On Trend 16 Note to My Younger Self 40 Final Cut

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Noelle Heffernan Publisher Michele Silver Editor Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors EDITORIAL Mariah Walker Fashion Director ADVERTISING Jennifer Craig Special Accounts Manager PRODUCTION Laurie Guptill Production Manager Mike Hoff Webmaster Bruce Sprague Circulation Director CORPORATE Caroline Diaco VP/Group Publisher Greg Dutter Editorial Director Carroll Dowden Chairman Mark Dowden President & CEO CONTACT INFO Sales/Editorial Offices One Maynard Drive Park Ridge, NJ 07656 Tel: (201) 571-2244

This page: Owen is wearing a swimwear top by Planet Sea, denim tie-dye shorts by Vintage Havana and her own headband. On the Cover: Erin is wearing swimwear by Shade Critters and sunglasses by Zomi Gems. Photography by Zoe Adlersberg/See Management; styling by Mariah Walker/Art Department, NY; Special Thanks to Zuri Agency

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THIS IS A question I’ve asked countless times. Designers, retailers and business owners of all kinds—I always want to know what inspires them to create, build, grow, pivot, overcome, persevere. It’s also how we at Earnshaw’s approach every single one of our issues. Our team will research,

brainstorm and craft stories to reflect the best of the new season. The issue that’s in your hands right now feels especially inspiring to me. You will find creative collaborations with artists and evergreen organizations (page 6), adorably fresh swimwear (pages 8, 40) and get to take a deep dive into a Nashville, Tenn., boutique employing classic strategies and a whole lot of passion for maximum success (page 12). Then get ready to feast your eyes on our unbelievably cool fashion layout, shot on location in Venice Beach, Calif., by the mega talented duo of Mariah Walker and Zoe Adlersberg (“Free Bird” starts on page 24). Our stories continue with a special piece about a neuroatypical child who struggled well into adulthood until she found her calling. Anna Schwengle channeled her

unique brainpower into award-winning products for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As the mother of a child with ADHD, I felt incredibly moved by Schwengle’s vulnerable and compelling “Note to My Younger Self” (page 16) and I hope you will, too. Get ready for more inspiration as the market springs into action, especially with the upcoming Playtime/Kid’s Hub in New York City from July 31 to Aug. 2. Earnshaw’s has proudly partnered with the trade show to kick off our 2022 Earnie Awards—the accolades given for design excellence in childrenswear for nearly 50 years. We will be announcing the prestigious nominees live on July 31, with more details coming to your inbox and on social media. We look forward to raising a glass to everyone who inspires us!

Luxury Peruvian Pima Cotton

SPRING - SUMMER 2023 Atlanta

Stokes for Kids sharidhenderson@aol.com

New York

Lola Jo - East laurie@lolajosales.com


The Coffs info@thecoffs.com

Los Angeles

Lola Jo - West josrags@aol.com

Shop online in Find us HERE Scan the code to sign in

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Feather 4 Arrow x Matt Allen

MAKING DESIGN WAVES AS A FAN OF international surf artist Matt Allen, Jaime Reise, the founder of SoCal brand Feather 4 Arrow, has been able to bring one of her design dreams to reality. The Feather 4 Arrow x Matt Allen Collection launches for Resort and Spring 2023, and it will include the company’s signature vintage tees, hats, and their best-selling ‘upcycled’ and ‘recycled’ UPF50+ swimwear for boys. From the vibrant color combinations to the re-worked favorites of Allen’s artwork, the collection is loaded with exclusive graphics and exciting print designs, including one of Allen’s favorites: “I SURF SMALL WAVES.” Allen has previously created custom art for brands such as Condé Nast, Converse, Pottery Barn, and Ron Herman.


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ON TREND Maniere

Sunuva Hunter Lou

Pink Chicken

Flap Happy

Andy & Evan


Sunshine and Glitter

Coral and Reef

Cover Me in Sunshine Tropical prints and sunset hues along with glittering accessories set a picturesque scene for the luminous days of summer.


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ON TREND Floafers



Mini Melissa

See Kai Run Western Chief

Tip Toey Joey

Baby Deer


Summer Kick Off Your school-free customers will crave these lighter, breathable sandals and sneakers that look fab and can navigate water, sand and playground turf.


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Bamboo Baby Brand Keeping families cozy since 2007 #15YearsOfKicKee

kickeepants.com @kickeepants #kickeepants

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At the Plaid Rabbit children’s boutique in Nashville, Tenn., warm customer service and cozy merchandise keep this small-but-mighty business booming. M I C H E L E S I L V E R WHEN KINDERGARTEN FRIENDS Macy Mulligan and Kendra La teamed up to take over the well-known Plaid Rabbit baby shop, they could not have guessed how much love they would have for their jobs more than a decade later. Mulligan, who has a degree in nursing and worked with recovering open-heart surgery patients and heart transplants, was looking for a career shift once she became a mom.


La began her retail career in high school, studied broadcast journalism in college and then worked at Dell, managing an all-male sales team They are both driven women who have a passion for fashion. Mulligan and La purchased Plaid Rabbit in 2011 from prior owner Angie Patterson, who had bought it in 2006. Under Patterson’s stewardship, Plaid Rabbit primarily sold European clothes up to size 6. The



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new owners wanted to keep the well-established name, which had a three-decade history, but their vision entailed big changes for the merchandise–more U.S. brands and greater variety–and the overall gestalt of the store. “Our mission was to make Plaid Rabbit a place where moms can bring their kids to pick out their wardrobes for an entire season or just the perfect outfit for an occasion.” Mulligan enthuses, “It isn’t uncommon at all for us to hear a customer say to us ‘I have never seen a store with more inventory!’” WOMEN HELPING WOMEN The duo channeled many of their own needs and wants into the store, knowing that most of the items on their wish list were universal in the parenting world. “We both have children so we realize the importance of having a place where moms can shop and the kids have a place to play.” Plaid Rabbit went one step further, employing a village of females who just get it. “Everyone working is a nanny, mom or grandma so they are always happy to help. You will always be greeted with a smile. We have the sweetest team of ladies working for us and everyone loves helping customers,” La says. It isn’t uncommon to see an employee in the play area engaging with a child so the mother can finish her shopping or witness a baby on the countertop while one of the employees is helping change their outfit. Knowing that accidents happen, the store keeps its bathroom stocked with diapers from newborn to size 4 and of course, wipes. While the village keeps the store running well, Mulligan and

La still face the daily challenge of being business owners with families–the juggle that all working moms can relate to. “I always say that my main goal in life is for my family not to know I have a job and my job not to know I have a family,” Mulligan says. “That obviously creates a ton of stress at times!” DIVIDE AND CONQUER While both owners are equally invested in their inventory, there is a division of labor with other tasks. Kendra has always held more of the managerial cap, according to her partner. “I make the schedule, train our team, and focus on sales,” La says. “I also love putting together displays throughout the store.” La explains that Macy focuses on buying and designing outfits and she spends “hours doing custom embroidery for our clients.” Although Plaid Rabbit’s online and social media business has increased significantly since 2020, the buying strategy is still primarily buy for in-store customers. The location—and reputation—of the store yields amazing foot traffic on a daily basis. The store primarily caters to sizes 2T-6 and the owners make sure to buy double in lots of sizes for all the multiple births these days. Plaid Rabbit prides itself on being one of the leaders in the industry in buying classic, timeless children’s clothes—and doing it with the utmost attention. “We visit practically every vendor and look at every garment at market so that we can make the best selection

New York The Showroom NYC Los Angeles The Dressing Room Atlanta Janet Hunter Hawkins Dallas The Closet Chicago Whitney Douglas shadecritters.com/wholesale nuorder.com/shadecritters

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possible for our customers,” Mulligan expresses. “We try to find unique pieces that you can’t find in big box stores or online.” The depth of the inventory is impressive. Layette includes brands such as Kissy Kissy, Angel Dear, Magnolia Baby, and Pixie Lily; choices for toddlers include Bella Bliss, Little English, Beaufort Bonnet, Luigi Kids, and Bailey Boys; gifty merchandise is extensive, with options from 3 Martha’s, Little Giraffe, Oh Mint, Noodle & Boo, and Aden & Anais as well as accessories from Jefferies Socks, Wee Ones, New ICM, Weefarers, Babiators, and Lily Nily for jewelry. Finally, Plaid Rabbit also stocks goodies for teens and tweens from Bella Bliss, Mayoral, James & Lottie, Hayden Girl, and Queen of Sparkles, among others. It’s safe to say that customers do not walk out of Plaid Rabbit empty-handed! SIZABLE STAFFING In order to ensure a steady stream of sales help and enough coverage for the busiest seasons, there’s a host of part-time help—more than 30, in fact. There are five full-timers, and some employees have been with Plaid Rabbit for close to 30 years; these sales people are now helping to outfit the grandchildren of their first generation of customers. Mulligan and La want to keep their staff as content as possible since they know that reliable, loyal help can be tough to find, and it’s often small gestures that go a long way. “We are constantly taking our ladies to dinner and buying them coffee. We do our best to make their pay rate comparable in the industry,” La says. When it comes time to hire new staff, they only need to rely on word of mouth. Not only does Plaid Rabbit benefit from consistent sales help and very little turn over, it has also managed to remain largely unaffected by supply-chain disruptions—with the exception of socks and gliders. “We are very lucky,” Mulligan admits. “Our manufacturers were able to continue producing almost everything we needed.” POST-PANDEMIC PRACTICES The owners feel lucky in many other ways, too, even in the aftermath of the pandemic. The shut-down really forced the store to get online. “The best change that came out of Covid for our business was teaching us how to go live on social media, create more stories and posts, and to put most our products on our website,” La says. “We’d been delaying it for a long time, but we are so glad we moved into the e-commerce world when we did.” The owners plan to continue growing their online business and potentially opening another brick and mortar. Mulligan and La feel a deep commitment to their small business and others—locally and nationally. Their shopping center is filled with other small-business owners, with whom their have friendships and partnerships, often providing fun events and promotions for their collective customers. “We also have lots of boutique owners in other cities that we talk to on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. We love brainstorming with friends in the industry,” Mulligan effuses. “We feel like this is such a great tool to better our business and we hope we help others in the process.”

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BRAIN QUEST Anna Schwengle, creator of the Moodies from her company Owl and Oak, relays how her lifelong struggles being neuroatypical led to her triumphant and award-winning present.

Dear Anna, Growing up in the 1980s with Attention Deficit Disorder has not been easy on you. The diagnosis didn’t exist and the ’80s were just not a time when people talked about mental health, let alone in children. You’re constantly told that you’re way too much. Mom feels overwhelmed and you know it; she just doesn’t have the tools and community she needs to understand a kid who is different. But that doesn’t stop her from loving you and constantly cheering you on—because what she sees is a fearless little girl full of determination. (That’s why she let you jump off that 10-foot diving board at the age of 2 ½.) You know that you don’t exactly fit in and that people think you’re weird. But I’m telling you that it’s your weirdness and the parts of you that don’t allow you to fit in that lead you to all of the amazing things you’re going to accomplish. You won’t believe it, but at age 23, you will sell everything you own and move from Berlin to NYC with nothing but an old suitcase and a whole lot of blind optimism. Over the years, you will see how the demand for organic baby clothing is quickly growing, but you won’t like what the market has to offer. You will take your optimism and turn your dining room table into an office, and Google how to write a business plan. Voila, your clothing line Finn + Emma is born. Ten years later, your little idea to change the organic baby market has now grown into a multi-million dollar business and one of the leading baby & kids organic product brands in the U.S. WOW! I know right?! I promise you though, you are far from done. You will turn 40 years old and embark on an emotional pilgrimage in search of the answer as to why it feels like your childhood experiences are still in full control over your life. As you stumble through your ‘eat-praylove’ journey, you will discover that you are far from alone!


You will think about how your personally different childhood experiences would have been had society given our parents permission—permission to ask for help and tools to deal with emotions and normalize discussions about mental and emotional health. You will once again roll up your sleeves and create a company that produces social emotional learning toys, Owl & Oak, and the Moodies. What are the Moodies you ask?! They are cuddly toys with a build-in book on the back that tell playful stories about different emotions. They encourage open discussion between children and their families to build a bond of communication, teach empathy and emphasize that all feelings deserve a space to be shared. And now buckle up...the Moodies are a great hit! Parents rave that the Moodies allow for that connection and communication that both parents and kids are craving. And you Anna Schwengle used her own ADD helped create that. diagnosis and research to develop an invaluable You did that! You will never tool for neuroatypical children. stop feeling grateful for the fact that you’re able to bring some relief to a generation imperfect will allow you more opportunities that has been so misunderstood. Through and insight than you ever thought possible. Owl & Oak, you’ve helped your community It will encourage the people around you to more than you’ll ever be aware of. You’ve also be boldly imperfect. This is a superpower nourished your inner child and grown that you will never stop being grateful for. more than you ever thought was possible, So, keep jumping off diving boards. Keep in the best way possible. You have been being loud and adventurous and curious. your own champion. Keep being every inch of weird and imperfect So, Anna, here are my final notes to you. that you are. You are not too much. You will find your way Lastly, little Anna, I love you. I believe in and have the courage to be imperfect. You you. And I’ve got your back. are not as alone as you think you are. Being

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New York

The Rose Garden Showroom Roseann Yasuri customercare@therosegardenny.com



Don Perry 704-591-0683 denimrep1@gmail.com


Kathy Fedoryshyn 262-781-8685 kathyfed@yahoo.com


Jennifer Rush Showroom 214-747-8608 info@jenniferrushkids.com

Southwestern Kids

214-634-9415 southwesternkidsdallas@gmail.com

Los Angeles

The Glitter Box Showroom Jeanette Trujillo 213-489-7605 theglitterboxshowroom@hotmail.com

Canada Deborah Phillips 604-817-3320 d.delrio@telus.net

app.next.nuorder.com/bestofchums 626-457-8823 | hello@bestofchums.com

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Q&A SUN PROTECTION WITH SASS Shade Critters has made a splash with its UPF50+ pool, beach and resort wear. Discover how co-owners Fred and Maureen Schmidt keep their fashion-forward business happily afloat. By Michele Silver

MORE THAN 30K followers on Instagram can’t be wrong. Shade Critters, the Sewall’s Point, Fla.-based swimwear manufacturer that offers sun protection with a dress-up element, has been building its fan base of parents, bloggers and some celebrities; the company counts model and mom Molly Sims as one of its devotees and an Instagram post featuring Khloe Kardashian’s daughter, True Thompson, garnered more than 3 million likes. The husband-and-wife team of Fred and Maureen Schmidt have been producing Shade Critters since 2016 under parent company 8 Oak Lane. Despite being affected by global supply-chain disruptions, Shade Critters succeeded in retaining its staff during the height–and aftermath–of Covid.


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August 14-17, 2022 Javits Center, NYC

Trends. Directions. Products.


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Earnshaw’s: What’s your professional background and how did you get started in the swimwear business? Maureen Schmidt: I started my career as a buyer at Limited Too and then I wound up pivoting to product development. I have designed a wide range of products over the years for top retailers, but my true passion became children’s sun protective swimwear once I started having a family. Shade Critters emerged out of a personal need for sun safety for my own small children after moving to sunny Florida. We wanted our children to be able to active and enjoy the outdoor space without getting sun damage, but the options in the marketplace were very limited and frankly, very boring. Beyond white, black and navy, there was very little available in the children’s market. I decided that my next company would make sun safety fun and fashionable, focusing on designs that kids would actually want to wear—and moms would want to post on social media. ER: What has been the evolution of the company? Fred Schmidt: Shade Critters launched with a handful of styles featuring long sleeve rashguards and swim sets featuring UPF50+ fabrics. Today, we offer several hundred styles of swimwear, cover ups and resort wear for the whole family. Shade Critters can be found on the shelves of top retailers around the globe. We love coming up with new designs and constantly evolve our collection. We’re constantly challenging ourselves with new techniques, fabrics and silhouettes. Our retailers love us for it, but it does put a lot of strain on the product development team and our manufacturing partners. ER: Do you sell direct to consumers? Fred: Actually, we don’t and that is intentional and how we approach our business. Our focus is on B-to-B and supporting our network of retailers. The primary function of our website is to build brand recognition and offer access to families lacking retailers in their area.

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Kids Showroom, and Whitney Douglas. ER: How do you attract and retain highquality employees, especially during The Great Resignation? Maureen: We are fortunate to have a great team in place and like many small business owners, we treat our employees like family. By offering flexibility and a great work/life balance, we have many tenured employees. Some of the team continues to work remotely. We were fortunate to keep everyone fully employed during the Covid shutdowns and have been able to grow our ranks as the economy recovered.

ER: Who comprises your staff? Maureen: We have an amazing team in place in our Florida design office. We’ve brought sourcing from Hong Kong back to the U.S. due to Covid, and we have recently moved to a new state-of-the-art warehouse facility

in Indianapolis. We have between 12 to 18 dedicated staff members working on our business at any given point. Equally important is our sales reps out in the field servicing our retailers and they are: The Closet, Janet Hunter Hawkins, The Dressing Room, NY

ER: What are some aspects of your business model? Fred: Our categories and supply partners continue to grow and evolve with consumer demand and fashion trends. We are on top of the emerging color and design trends and adapt the styles within the collection to address this. We are one of the few swim companies that stock swim year round and

View the S23 collection: Kids Hub | NYC | #Booth K05-L02


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The demand for swimwear definitely saw an uptick during the pandemic. –M AU R E E N SCHMIDT

replenish stock throughout the year. That way, we keep the inventory fresh rather than bringing in the bulk for one delivery window. ER: For S 2023, what are the top trends you think will perform the best and why? Maureen: There are so many fun trends emerging right now such as crochet details, smocking and shimmer fabrics. We believe fashion silhouttes, unique fabrications and the small details will continue to be important. Today’s consumer is so informed and savvy! The demand for swimwear definitely saw an uptick during the pandemic. Everyone wanted to be outside and not confined in the house whenever possible, even if it was just to be in their own back yard. ER: How has your business been affected by supply-chain disruptions? Fred: The global supply chain continues to be a challenge for everyone on both side of this industry and the labor shortage here in the U.S. is greatly contributing to the delays as well. Our biggest challenge has been absorbing the freight costs, which have tripled since the pandemic began. We have worked hard so we don’t have to pass these additional costs on to our retailer partners. We’re also working much further ahead this season to help navigate any possible delays. ER: What advice do you have for a company that wants to get into childrenswear? Fred: It’s very simple: Be authentic and work tirelessly at exceeding your customers’ expectations. Also, be kind to everyone–your employess, suppliers, customers and fellow vendors.

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Sloane is wearing a swimwear top by Submarine, shorts by Feather 4 Arrow and her own cap. 24

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Erin is wearing swimwear by Stella Cove; hat by Jan & Jul; bracelet by Zomi Gems; and her own necklace, socks and roller blades. 26

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Jolie is wearing a swimsuit and swim shorts by Puma and her own sunglasses. Opposite page: Catherine is wearing swimwear by Coral & Reef Beachwear, tie-dye shorts by Mabel & Honey and her own hat.

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Owen is wearing swimwear by Pepita & Me and shoes by adidas.


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Jolie is wearing swimwear by Submarine, bucket hat by Puma and her own watch. Opposite page: Sloane is wearing swimwear and T-shirt by Feather 4 Arrow.


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Catherine is wearing a swimwear top by Snapper Rock and shorts by Vintage Havana. Special Thanks to Zuri Agency 34

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STEP RIGHT INSIDE FEATURING CUSTOM DISPLAYS that will serve as models for future brick-and-mortar outlets in the U.S. and abroad, footwear company Floafers has opened a location shared with its corporate headquarters in Holmdel, N.J. The concept shop will double as a lab and retail experience, allowing the team to garner direct feedback from consumers, according to CEO Larry Paparo. The Floafers

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Floafers Concept Shop

shop highlights product against a backdrop of lifestyle imagery that includes a range of outdoor activities to a day at the office. “The concept stores and shop-in-shops will enable

us to present a consistent face of the brand to consumers,” Paparo said. “Our goal is to create a fun and easy way for people to step into the world of Floafers.”

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THE NATIONAL CHILDREN’S MARKETPLACE Only in Dallas you can source over 750 top baby and children’s lines across a complete lifestyle marketplace. Explore trending children’s products in a variety of categories: apparel, accessories, footwear, gift, toys, décor, and more.

Dallas KidsWorld AUGUST 23 – 26, 2022 OCTOBER 25 – 28, 2022 dallasmarketcenter.com


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C is for cookie and a super cute collab

OUTDOORSY COLLAB CHILDREN’S BOOT COMPANY Western Chief teamed up with the Girl Scouts of the USA for a collection of waterproof boots featuring fun and whimsical designs, including the nationally beloved cookies. Girl Scouts x Western Chief offers three styles for smaller adventurers in kids’ size 5 to 6 youth and two styles for their parents (women’s 6 to 11). “It’s Raining Cookies” features those favorite treats dancing across glossy “Girl Scout Green” rubber with sparkly cinnamonbrown sawtooth lug soles and pull handles while removable patterned padded EVA/poly-cotton insoles provide added comfort. “Brownie Squad” has been decked out with interests and icons of the organization such as sisterhood, the outdoors and the signature Girl Scout vest and sash. The Neon Neoprene boot, in matte black with pops of color, sports removable memory foam padded insoles for warmth and comfort and can withstand temps of minus-20 degrees. Girl Scouts x Western Chief is available at Murdoch’s and the Girl Scout Shop online.

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SCENE & HEARD A rainbow with staying power

FOUR DECADES OF CARING CELEBRATING ITS 40TH anniversary, the lovable and iconic Care Bears are showing up on limited-edition apparel from Peace Collective and Retrokid as well as during concept events such as those held during June Pride in Toronto, Canada. The milestone merch has been produced between Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, a world-leading international producer, distributor, and licensor of children’s ani-

mated and live-action content, and Cloudco Entertainment, owner of the Care Bears™ entertainment brand. First introduced in 1982 through a line of greeting cards, the

Care Bears have amassed fans of all ages and are known all over the world for spreading sharing, caring, and togetherness—messages that all of us can get behind today.

JULY 31 - AUG 2

Metropolitan Pavilion 125 West 18th St New York, NY 10011


(just blocks from penn station)




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MONDAY – FRIDAY: 9 – 6pm Call a participating showroom to schedule your one-on-one shopping experience. Sales for SS23 begin July 2022 and go through October 2022.

NYKIDSMARKET @NYKIDSMARKET www.nyckidsmarket.com

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FINAL CUT Ready-to-Wear for Generations Made in Spain with evergreen designs so that they can readily be handed down, Pepita & Me’s clothing and swimwear aims to contribute to a more sustainable world. Owner Pepitamendieta creates prints to inspire kids with “happy thoughts, magical places and beautiful places.” Little nuggets can swim and play in one- and two-pieces, rash guards, bucket hats, and poncho towels to show off for summer 2023.


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Quinn - Blue Denim

WYNN - Silver

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Madison II - SILVER

Wynn- Light Grey

Rascal II - Blue/Navy


August 2 - 4

August 8 - 10

August 13 - 15

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