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J U LY 2016 CONTENTS
Noelle Heffernan Publisher Kristin Young Editor-in-Chief Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors EDITORIAL Lauren Olsen Associate Editor
Emily Beckman Associate Editor ADVERTISING Caroline Diaco Group Publisher Jennifer Craig Special Accounts Manager PRODUCTION Katie Belloff Associate Art Director Production Manager Mike Hoff Webmaster Allison Kastner Operations Manager Bruce Sprague Circulation Director
DE PART ME N TS
F E AT URES
4 Editor’s Note 6 Hot-Button Issue 8 Trend Watch 32 Up Close 35 New Resources 36 Parting Shot
12 How Do You Get To Sesame Street? Sesame Street Workshop’s Vice President of Licensing, Gabriela Arenas, on kiddos, fashion collabs and Cookie Monster.
22 The Wonder Years Growing older day by day with a touch of tulle and pixie dust along the way.
C O R R E C T I O N S : In the June issue’s “What’s Selling”
feature, the website for JoyJoy Wraps was misstated. The address is www.facebook.com/joyjoywraps. Also in the June issue, an image in “Hoppy Times” was misidentified. The image depicts a collaboration with Miffy and Kira Kids.
16 Jingle Bells Despite the hard hit retail has taken this year, childrenswear execs are ready to tackle Holiday ’16 sales, and their outlook has never seemed quite so merry. 19 Holiday Gift Guide Everything from stocking stuffers to lavish luxuries.
This page: MarMar Copenhagen jacket, Plum tutu dress; Stella M’Lia dress. On cover: Junior Gaultier dress and bolero, Bows Arts crown, Florsheim suede bucks, Puma soccer ball. Photography by Mark Andrew/ Kate Ryan Inc. ; styling by Mariah Walker/ Art Department NY; hair and makeup by Brett Jackson/Sarah Laird; props by Sets By Sara/Ray Brown Pro.
CONTACT INFO Sales/Editorial Offices 135 West 20th Street Suite 402 New York, NY 10011 Tel: (646) 278-1550 Fax: (646) 278-1553 firstname.lastname@example.org editorialrequests@ 9threads.com Circulation Office 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 10x a year 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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Holiday Planning WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW ACH YEAR IN July, Earnshaw’s turns its sights to the all-important holiday selling season. As we went to press, two surveys emerged that may inject some badly-needed optimism into the air as retailers plan their end-of-year buys and window displays. First, Father’s Day spending was expected to reach record highs of $14.3 billion, with 43 percent going to clothing items. National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay says it could be a sign “related to consumers’ willingness to spend more as we head into the second half of the year.” More good news: Toys also saw a bump in U.S. sales during the first quarter of the year, up 6 percent to $206 million compared with the first quarter last year, according to the NRF. In May, U.S. retail sales increased for the second straight month, up 0.5 percent. The jump was higher than economists expected and speaks to healthy demand. Looking ahead, a study conducted by Research and Markets predicts expansion in the global childrenswear business from 2016 to 2020 thanks to the rising number of working women. Anecdotally, we know the challenges that have affected
manufacturers and retailers alike. Crazy weather patterns earlier this year prevented moms from buying big-ticket items, like coats, leaving excess inventory in stores. The flip side, however, is that there will be plenty of merchandise for back-to-school and the holidays when shopping kicks into higher gear. Lauren Olsen tackled these issues and more in her holiday retail report entitled “Jingle Bells,” p. 16. Meanwhile, Emily Beckman combed the showrooms to uncover fun and imaginative items just perfect for the increasingly crucial add-on sales. See her Gift Guide on p. 20. Finally, Sesame Street Workshop opened up its world of brand collaborations with Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and more, to Earnshaw’s. See our Q&A with Gabriela Arenas, Sesame Street’s Vice President of Licensing in North America on p. 12. In the next few months, you will notice some changes in Earnshaw’s. We recently conducted a survey and heard your call for more trend forecasts, market analysis and new resources. Our goal is to deliver that business intelligence in an updated, sophisticated look and feel. We’d love to hear your feedback. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a line; my door is always open.
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H O T- B U T T O N I S S U E
Eco-Chic RED AND WHITE AREN’T THE ONLY SHADES TO STOCK THIS HOLIDAY SEASON—CHILDRENSWEAR EXECS ARE USING INCREASINGLY INSPIRED WAYS TO DECK THE HALLS WITH BOUGHS OF GREEN.
Petite Marin’s classic and preppy garments are upcycled from men’s dress shirts.
BY LAUREN OLSEN
MOVE OVER GREEN juice, a much larger entity is at the forefront of consumers’ attention these days: preserving our planet. Reusing and recycling are trending, particularly with Millennial moms, meaning industry insiders are finding new ways to keep little ones in looks that are comfy, stylish and ethical. Sofia Melograno, founder of Beru Kids, laments that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting, second only to oil. The fix? Changing production practices to reduce a brand’s global footprint. “Businesses are really making a concerted effort to produce and operate sustainably, ethically and responsibly,” asserts Melograno. Here’s how brands are making sure the footprint they’re leaving is eco-chic. Unused fabric left over from fashion production is a reality in the industry, and often too much of a specific fabric is ordered, or is not right for the envisioned purpose. Consequently, some smart brands are figuring out how to use what is dubbed “deadstock.” Melograno, whose holiday collection will consist of about 80 percent deadstock, explains that the unwanted fabric is typically sold to a jobber at a heavily discounted price and then sold to other (“small-ish”) brands, like her own. Kristin Coia, founder and
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president of Go Gently Baby, says that her team has always reworked her brand’s own past season fabric deadstock and often puts it back into its production cuts. Michelle Chaplin, owner and designer of mostly deadstock-based Ultra Violet Kids, adds that since children’s
BUSINESSES ARE REALLY MAKING A CONCERTED EFFORT TO PRODUCE AND OPERATE SUSTAINABLY, ETHICALLY AND RESPONSIBLY.
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clothing is smaller in scale, less fabric is necessary, so getting enough yardage should not be an issue. And, for many brands, it is nearly impossible to hit the minimum orders fabric houses require so it’s often difficult for those small companies to develop custom prints anyway. For some, deadstock is the solution, and consumers are responding positively. “Once people understand what it is, they really love and support our mission,” Melograno reflects. While deadstock usually refers to using new bolts of fabric that go unused, “upcycling” is yet another sustainable option that greatly reduces landfill waste, according to Petite Marin Co-Founder Rachel Schohn. “With textile upcycling, a used garment is creatively repurposed into a new garment,” she explains. She defines the phenomenon as “the process of reusing or repurposing materials to create new, even higher quality products than the original.” Two years ago, Schohn picked out a men’s dress shirt from her husband’s donation pile and upcycled it into a romper for her then-infant son. “It had the cherished memories of my husband and baby playfulness all in one,” she recalls. “It all fell into place.” The result? Her brand’s upcycling process today consists of using high-end men’s dress shirts, laying a pattern on them and creating clothing for boys and girls up to age 2. Kristen Saylor, owner and founder of the Boho Baby Boutique, an online source for upcycled garments, adds that her products are special in that they are one-of-a-kind. “This design is as unique and special as the child wearing it,” she muses. But brands need not necessarily use deadstock or use upcycling practices to keep the green, ethical movement aflame. Goat-Milk uses low impact dyes, only organic cotton, and keeps packaging to a minimum. Cate & Levi manufactures with scale using 100 percent reclaimed wool sweaters. Billie Blooms ensures all bloomers are handmade locally in the USA and donates $1 for each pair of bloomers sold to support the Every Mother Counts organization, dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. Schohn’s eco-friendly little secret? “We use seed paper for our hang tags, so they don’t have to be discarded. If you plant the paper in soil and water it, wildflowers will bloom!” No matter the technique, it is clear that eco-friendly retailers and brands will continue to become more and more relevant, particularly at the consumer level. “I think the customer is becoming more aware of waste and excess,” confirms Coia. 7i C[be]hWde fkji _j0 ÇEkh mehbZ _i Y^Wd]_d]$È
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Ivy League IN A BOUQUET, greenery often plays the supporting role to flowers—but not so for FW ’16 childrenswear. In fact, it’s never been easier to give kids their daily dose of mixed greens as collections have become bedecked with leafy limbs and climbing ivy. The foliage frenzy stemmed from adult fashion a few seasons back, with recent Spring ’16 examples from Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs and Giambattista Valli. Now the children’s industry is forgoing froufrou flora for crisp, simplistic leaf motifs. Arbor Day has never seemed so on trend. —Emily Beckman Oaks of Acorn vest
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In The Mix READY TO SWATCH things up? Buying decisions just got easier thanks to the “all-inclusive” deals hitting holiday racks. Texture is designers’ technique of choice—mixing fabrications to create one sophisticated statement. Patchwork is in play across the fashion scene, and even infiltrating the interior design space with contrasting colors and textural patterns. So don’t hold back—This season, more is more. — E.B.
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How Do You Get to Sesame Street Street? Sesame Workshop’s Vice President of Licensing, Gabriela Arenas, on kiddos, fashion collabs and Cookie Monster. B Y K R I S T I N YO U N G
ISIT THE SESAME Workshop’s headquarters in New York City, and you can’t help but feel like a giddy little kid. The T.V. show’s famously iconic opening song asks, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” And, for most people, exactly where Sesame Street is remains a mystery. Turns out, Sesame Street is across the street from the Lincoln Center. Let’s clarify: Sesame Street, the T.V. show, is filmed at the historic Kaufman Studios in Astoria, Queens. The Sesame Workshop, its non-profit arm that tackles everything from autism to girls’ education, is located a
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stone’s throw away from Juilliard. Enter the space and it’s a stimulation of the senses in kid-friendly primary colors. In the reception area, the Count, Big Bird, and Ernie and Bert greet you, staring behind frames on the wall; then they start talking to you in their widely recognizable voices and accents. Inside the office, cubicles are piled high with stuffed Elmos, Grouches, Snuffy and more. For anyone who grew up watching Sesame Street, this scene is incredibly nostalgic. Sesame Street, the program, will be 50-years-old in 2019, and once only available in the U.S., now reaches more than 150 million children in more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of the media to help children everywhere
become smarter, stronger and kinder. It recently teamed up with IBM When people ask you where you work, what’s the reaction? Watson to help advance preschool education around the world. In Everybody has a story to tell. There’s a smile and there’s a moment— April, the Workshop debuted its first Afghan puppet, Zari, a curious ‘so you were with Cookie, what did you do?’—and everybody wants and eager 6-year-old that promotes girls’ empowerment on the local to talk about their characters. Everybody has a connection to them. co-production of Sesame Street called Baghch-e-Simsim. And Elmo and Rosita have been dispatched to help military families transition What do you love most about your job? to civilian life. I love that it’s new every day. It’s never-ending. You have to ride the Gabriela Arenas, vice president of licensing in North America, trends. You have to be relevant. You have to be fashionable. It’s a has probably the most enviable job in the fine balance. And then I have to stay true to organization, developing all sorts of products [Sesame Street] values. Sometimes it’s easier to support the Workshop’s mission. to be [a] new [company]. [In a company with CHAT ROOM She’s the one cutting deals with Puma for a history] you have a big responsibility but it’s line of character-based sneakers out earlier also exciting. Do you like to read books or magazines? this year. She’s the one striking partnerships Both. I love to read magazines. My favorite with Quiksilver and Roxy for a snow gear What was an important lesson that you one is The Financial Times’ magazine line and accessories slated to hit stores this learned early on? How to Spend It. I normally read in English September. She’s the one tapping high-end Trends come and go. You can totally try to do and Spanish. I just finished Isabel Allende’s California-based T-shirt company, DiLascia, something that is on the forefront. It can be a The Japanese Lover. Also in English, I just finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. for a quirky line featuring Sesame Street ride for four years and then that’s it. You have characters sold at Fred Segal in Los Angeles. to be careful. It’s a very competitive environIf you could have dinner with a Sesame With a flare for fashion and a passion for ment. And the kids, they can like you today Street character, who would it be and dressing up dolls, Arenas, born and raised and they don’t like you tomorrow. They can what would you talk about? We would in Mexico, soon found herself in the world watch you today—they are going to going to talk about food. And we would talk about joy of life. And I think it would be Cookie. of licensing for childrenswear products and learn ABCs and 123s—and they don’t watch He’s going to eat everything, of course. At apparel. Earnshaw’s got a sneak peek into her you tomorrow. Our audience evolves every the end of the day, you never would think magical world. four years. And there are so many brands that this: He loves his cookies, but he shares start and fade, no? them. It’s, like, I love my bags and shoes, b b b but I don’t know if I would share them. How do you keep up with the trends? Do If you could have a beer with someone, How did you get into licensing? you attend trade shows? Do you attend dead or alive, who would it be? I don’t I came to New York from Mexico 15 years fashion weeks? drink beer. So I would love to share a glass ago. When I was little I always loved to dress I think [inspiration] is everywhere. It’s in the of wine with Coco Chanel. I think one of dolls and the whole role-play thing dressing U.S. but it’s also international. I do believe the things that I really, really admire about her is that she’s timeless and she was a with accessories. I’ve always been attracted there’s unbelievable talent in this office with rebel. to fabric, style and fashion. I got a very good people who are on the pulse of education, on opportunity from college to work at a leadthe pulse of research, innovation, creative— What would people be surprised to ing toy company. Obviously, when I had the How do they produce the show? What is the learn about you? A lot of people think I’m opportunity to work at [Sesame Street], it was storyline and the narrative? What are the things an extrovert. I love parties and I love to talk. But I’m very shy. I love to cook and now I’m a dream come true. I love the brand that’s been that kids are facing out there? When parents a yoga teacher. around for so many years. It’s also different to get deployed, how is the family dealing with manage a brand when you’re an intellectual that? You’re not only on the pulse of fashion Did you grow up on Sesame Street? I property holder. Not only do you go from one but everything that could be happening in grew up on Plaza Sesamo because I grew product to many but you have to ask yourself the life of a child at that very, very important up in Mexico—with characters Abelardo, Pancho and Lola. ‘how do you translate that brand into different age. And how you connect with them has categories?’ How do you translate that into to be relevant, but it also has to be fun. You fashion not only for a little kid but a mom, a learn the most when you connect but also tween or a teen? How does that translate in when you don’t know you’re learning. That’s Asia? We also license food. So how do you reflect the brand with a the beauty of it. It also happens with [adults], when you don’t know cookie? How do you do that with a toothbrush? The beauty of the you’re learning, you’re devouring it. characters is that they’re very versatile and multigenerational. They can be on-trend or they can be your best friend when you’re learning Some of these collaborations strike me as surprisingly to brush your teeth. That’s licensing. It’s a way of connecting with sophisticated. the consumer at many different touchpoints. When you talk collaborations, they are best in class. There are very
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iconic top companies. But, again, in order to stay relevant, you have not only big-name fashion companies but up-and-coming new companies that resonate with the consumer. So you need to have a balance of both. We have partners [T-shirt company] DiLascia and Tattly, a super new and super-trendy [temporary tattoo company] in Brooklyn. And we have partners that have been with us for 30-plus years like Procter & Gamble and Random House. That’s the beauty of a brand that’s been around for generations. You grow up with the characters and then you have kids and then you connect with Sesame Street in a different way. What companies make the best partners with Sesame Street? You want to be true to your values. The mission cannot be diluted. That’s first and foremost what we are for and what has really maintained our DNA. If you dilute yourself,
you stop being as relevant. Or maybe you stop being evergreen. And that’s a big risk. You ask yourself [what brand] aligns with you. And then I let the [creative teams] go. How do you know what products will be a hit? Yes, you do have an instinct and yes, you do have a gut. You’ve been in the business for a long time. But sometimes you don’t [know what will hit]. Some of those trends might not even come from the U.S. Some of the trends come from abroad. Sometimes our partners are on the pulse of a trend. Bathing Ape has a very unique look, and they interpreted our characters in the Bathing Ape type of shape. And that is something that I would have never been able to do. And it fits, and it’s amazing. It gets you thinking, ‘what else can I do similar to that?’ DiLascia is trendy and very funny. “#Hangry” on a T-shirt with Cookie. It relates to Cookie, but it’s fun and it’s clever.
Who are your retail partners? It depends on the category. You have toys, where you really play with the characters, and those you’ll find everywhere en masse and specialty: Target, Kmart, Toys“R”Us, Wal-Mart, Amazon, you name it. The collaborations with Quiksilver and Roxy will be sold in their boutiques. We have products with Apple—there’s a T.V. app that’s available on the App Store. So again, when you connect a brand with the consumer, you have to be where the consumer is. What are the challenges in the marketplace? Now more than ever, you see the amount of new properties that a kid is exposed to. Not only properties coming from T.V., but properties coming from apps, digital and gaming. So there’s so much selection that the amount of time you can capture that audience is more limited. Also changing is
the multiple platforms where you find the properties. In the past it used to be T.V., but now they discover them on YouTube, by a book or even a toy. So there’s so many ways to discover the brands, but also so many brands. The competitive landscape is huge. That’s good, in a way. There’s a lot of competition but competition is good. It pushes you a little bit harder. The harder the environment, the harder you try. That’s a challenge, but it’s also a thrill. You have to be out of your comfort zone sometimes. If you think about it, Sesame Street was the initial disruptor in kids’ media. When the show began, Creator Joan Ganz Cooney said, ‘It’s not whether kids are leaning from television, but what are they learning.’ And that was revolutionary. Get out of your comfort zone and try something different. It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s easier to remain where you are, no?
celebrating 50 like us? We mentioned Gap. It would be fascinating to say, ‘okay, we started at the same time, how do we do a collection?’ A big piece of us is our mission. Who are like-minded companies that have a mission as well? One of those companies, top of mind, is Toms. So how do you do different collaborations from different angles? We’re working on that. Obviously, it’s never too early. To have a collaboration with Chanel or Moschino, that would be super fun. We’re planning ahead but also simultaneously working with H&M, Uniqlo, Puma and Quiksilver. We have a lot of things in the pipeline.
If you had a magic wand and could change anything about the business, what would it be? Knowing who will be your core audience in a few years, so you can plan ahead and see where the trend is going to be before it happens. It’s not a matter of what I’d change. There’s no magic wand.
Where do you want to see Sesame Street decades from now? My dream is to maintain ourselves for the next 40 years, for the next 50 years. It’s funny, when you think about it, how do you get to Sesame Street? I am here. I got here. And what am I going to do now? How do I maintain this? Yes, I’m on the product side, but in order for me to have an unbelievable product, I must have an unbelievable brand and amazing characters. There’s no product without that. I want to maintain that. You must teach kids that anything is possible. Our mission: helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Those are our values. QFWhjd[hi^_fiS [_j^[h \_j eh j^[o ZedÊj \_j$
IT’S FUNNY, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, HOW DO YOU TO GET TO SESAME STREET? I AM HERE. I GOT HERE. AND WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW?
Sesame Street has always attracted A-list celebrities since the beginning. What draws them to the show? The very first celebrity on the show was James Earl Jones. Unbelievable voice, eh? Fantastic. Obviously, Do you view failure as a learning we have celebrities that connect experience? now, like Gwen Stefani. Celebrities Oh, yeah. Live and learn. And then connect with the characters. A lot — GABRIELA ARENAS move from that. Say, ‘okay, that of celebrities grew up with Sesame. happened. What did we learn? Those celebrities are also havWhat do we do better? How do ing kids so they’re experiencing we connect better? Let’s do it in a Sesame again with their kids. We different narrative, in a different storyline.’ collaborate with celebrities in experience That’s not only in work, it’s also in life. more than products, I would have to say.
What are you doing for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2019? One of the big milestones for us is turning 50. Turning 50 for us is going to be a big celebration. We’re expecting that in 2019. So we’re strategizing. We are American, we were created here. So which brands are
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RE T A I L R E P O R T
and forecasts that sales will be even better this year. “Each year I learn a little bit more about my customers,” she explains. Others are equally optimistic. Meg Fisher, owner and founder of Lincoln&Lexi in West Des Moines, IA, says that her sales for Holiday ’15 were up about 10 percent from the prior year, and expects a 15 percent increase in sales this season. Fred Pannek, president of Mud Pie, also reports having had a “terrific” holiday season last year and expects sales to be even better this year. “Based on sales thus far, we are on track to have the best Fall/Holiday kids’ launch in Mud Pie history,” he says. This is not to say that brands and retailers are not without uncertainties. In addition to erratic weather, industry figureheads like Pannek point out that the presidential election cycle is a point of concern, as elections bring with them an air of uncertainty. And while some challenges may be unavoidable, industry execs are finding creative ways to keep both customers and themselves happy. Sylvia Thompson, retail store manager, at Zutano Company Store in Montpelier, VT, adds that election years can often invigorate the economy and since the joblessness rate DESPITE THE HARD HITS RETAIL HAS TAKEN THIS has lately dropped below 5 percent, consumer YEAR, CHILDRENSWEAR EXECS ARE READY TO TACKLE confidence may actually be strengthened. Callan, HOLIDAY ’16 SALES, AND THEIR OUTLOOK HAS on the other hand, says that she cut back on the NEVER SEEMED QUITE SO MERRY. HERE’S WHAT YOU winter accessories—last year, unseasonably warm MIGHT BE GLIMPSING THROUGH THE WINDOWS weather put a damper on the store’s accessory sales—with the assurance that if she needs to THIS YEAR. BY LAUREN OLSEN reorder, she’ll be able to. She also notes that last year her team made up for this with unique gifts and more season-less clothing. PTIMISM HAS MADE a very welcome comeback, amidst Retail Editor Sidney Morgan-Petro, at trend forecasting service a stream of store closings and shaky sales patterns. It WGSN, adds that the shift away from gifting and towards experiences would be understandable if childrenswear execs had lesswill affect all categories this upcoming holiday season. “Childrenswear than-favorable sales forecasts for the holiday season. But, instead? is no exception,” she cautions. “While this has been a known threat Industry insiders are developing new strategies to make sure the to the apparel industry for some time, it is posing a greater concern littlest ones have the happiest of holidays to come and agree they for Holiday ‘16 as retailers are finding innovative ways to address the can’t wait for the festivities to begin. Best of all, they’re giving us a problem, making it harder to compete with outdated retail strategies.” glimpse of what we might be spotting in store windows and under The brighter side, she says, is that retailers are reacting and learning the Christmas tree this year. to combine experiences into gift packages, offering in-store activiGrowth of holiday-specific retail sales last year was reported ties that coincide with product purchasing and sponsoring relevant to be at a healthy 3.2 percent, according to The NPD Group, Inc.’s events. “All these things will have an impact on the overall brand chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen. Jill Callan, owner of Tiny recognition and identity perceived by the child and/or the parent,” You Children’s Boutique in Long Island City, NY, says that, despite she adds. Morgan-Petro optimistically notes that the children’s market the tricky weather, holiday sales last winter was the store’s best yet, is especially prime for this new way of delivering goods. The element
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Angel Dear of playing dress-up opens up a world of possibilities for experiential gifting, she explains, referencing American Girl and its “store of the future,” its New York flagship slated to bow Fall 2017, in which customization and personalization are the focus (including features ranging from an in-store studio to private rooms for hosting parties). Many challenges affecting retail are not tied to a specific season but persist all year long. Thompson says that, as with most small shops, her team is concerned people will shop too much online and risk “missing the lovely experience of walking down a quaint Main Street in their community and supporting their local shopkeepers.” As Cohen describes, online versus in-store sales will differ. “Yet again online will erode in-store sales,” he says. “Also, online and in-store sales will start earlier yet again this holiday,” he predicts. Fisher adds, “When I am doing holiday buying, or really any inventory buying for that matter, you always try and make your best guess on what styles and sizes are going to sell. It’s always hard to know what the most popular size for that season will be,” she explains. Fittingly, when it comes to what should be stocked, industry execs have predictions about what will be trending this season. Callan notes that her store’s clothing sells well, especially picture-ready outfits and accessories for the holidays. “We’ve already started to expand our accessory lines,” she states. Fisher expects the family PJs from Hatley will sell well this season. “We have done them the past two years and they do very well for us,” she says, adding that Kickee Pants always sell well year-round. The store’s custom and personalization does great for the store all year, she confides, but does even better for the holidays. Finally, she forecasts the store’s new subscription boxes to do tremendously well. IN TERMS OF what retailers can do to drive store traffic for the season, the possibilities are endless. Right now, Cohen laments that there is too much sameness and not enough innovation. “Nothing has stepped up to make the kids’ business grow beyond a small projected growth number,” he says, urging industry actors to “shake things up and drive traffic to stores.” Keep in mind that promotions don’t mean more business, he points out, just earlier business. “Find areas for growth other than just trying to sell more of the same items,” he recommends. Some innovations by retailers have been highly successful—and, this season, industry insiders are describing even more exciting ideas. Callan says the biggest draw for Tiny You will be an appearance by Santa Claus. “Two years ago we had a line outside the door—in the rain— just waiting to see him,” she recalls. And, last year, her team had a local photographer for the event so parents could use the pictures for holiday cards or presents. “Everyone left with a smile and with their holiday shopping for the little ones done,” she reflects. This year, her team plans to repeat the event over several days since her team booked out all the photo sessions within a few days. “It’s become quite a draw in the neighborhood,” she confirms. In addition,
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RE T A I L R E P O R T she says her store also will have several shopping nights where it will stay open later than usual and offer beverages and bites to encourage adults to shop and relax. Finally, the store offers free gift-wrapping year-round. “It’s a bonus to those who shop here— one less thing to do at the holidays,” Callan explains. Giving back is another focus for the brand. “We do a toy drive. Giving back is a big part of our season,” she states. With the Santa event, “Moms Night Out Shopping Event”, holiday music and holiday store ambiance, it would be difficult to walk out of the store and not be thrilled about the holidays, Callan says. “We make it enjoyable to shop—it’s all about the experience and making things easy for our customers,” she affirms. Lincoln&Lexi also brings in Santa for a weekend of mini photo sessions, says Fisher, noting that it’s a hit with children and parents alike. “We do a lot of specials focused around the holiday season. Last year, we did 12 Days of Christmas and we saw sales drastically increase and the foot traffic and response to the emails were fantastic,” she enthuses. “This year, we will try to get holiday items in even earlier, before Halloween. Grandmas are Christmas shopping earlier and earlier each year.” Fisher suggests a sensory-first experience. “I think all five senses need to be hit! Decorate your store so it looks like Christmas when [customers] walk in, have Christmas music playing, burn candles or have wall plug-ins with holiday scents, have products out with little signs that say ‘try me’ or ‘touch me’ on your cozy pieces, and
have cookies or candy canes for your customers to take with them on their way out,” she suggests. Zutano Company Store, Mud Pie and NYC-based Torly Kid note that being involved in the community and/or philanthropic efforts, is a part of their holiday mission to connect to consumers. Owner of Torly Kid, Carol Adams, says her team feels it generates awareness, loyalty as well as general “good vibes.” Thompson adds her team also maintains a highly active community on social media and is constantly engaging with their customers with promotions, ranging from in-store giveaways or discounts that are announced online, to gift-with-purchase opportunities. Last year, for example, the team gave away a signature Zutano red polka-dotted ball with holiday purchases. “We also support our local newspapers with ads and also advertise in media that reaches new moms in the Northern Vermont area,” adds Thompson. New for Mud Pie this year is the production of product videos that will be available for retailers to use for staff training or to incorporate into their store displays. “Video is a very powerful selling tool, so we are hoping that retailers will find them helpful,” remarks Pannek. Furthermore, WGSN’s Senior Kidswear Editor Erin Rechner says that consumers are striving for meaningful pieces and value in terms of holiday gifting. “I think that this new wave of personalization could be the perfect way to move forward special gifting items,” she muses. “Kids today are less into specific brand >34
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Haute Hits crossbody cell phone bag Made from durable pleather, this little bag is a tween girl’s dream. Shining bright with a metallic lattice pattern, the bag sports a flap-over top and gold-tone fastener. The interior contains two main compartments and one slim pocket. In the mood for a clutch? No prob. The shoulder strap is detachable for flexible wearability. Available colors include black, gold, silver, turquoise and red. www.hautehits.com msrp $24
Siaomimi Play lion tee Indulge in pretend paradise with the Siaomimi Play collection. Kids will look fierce from ears to tail with this cotton lion hoodie or any of the brand’s other furry offerings, from bears and wolves to bats and cats. www.siaomimi. com wsp $32
GIFT GUIDE Everything from stocking stuffers to lavish luxuries.
Rachel Zoe x Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 car seat Gorgeous cognac leather and chunky gold-tone hardware contrast the rich black-andwhite fabric in this special edition car seat. The seat features a padded five-point harness, rear-facing base and extended canopy with flipout visor. Be sure to check out all the new gear from Rachel Zoe’s collaboration with Maxi-Cosi and Quinny, including diaper bag, stroller and car seat styles. www.nordstrom. com msrp $400
Plae Gold Max high-tops Behold, the golden opportunity for a show-stopping fashion statement. Plae’s Gold Max high-tops are made of metallic perforated leather and are one of three styles in the brand’s limited edition Summer Games capsule collection. Launched last month, the Gold Max is available in kids’ sizes 8 to 13.5 and juniors’ sizes 1 to 4.5. www.goplae.com wsp $33-$35
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GIFT GUIDE Zooties diaper cover Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s be honestâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a newborn inevitably becomes the ceo of any household. Aside from early morning calls and constant demands, babies can remind parents whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boss with this handmade diaper cover, created from wool and lined with cotton. The collection also includes occupations like firefighter, police officer, astronaut and many other fun styles. www.thesilkroadbazaar.com wsp $14
Lucky Jade skyline coverall and hat City-chic style is on the horizon with this cotton coverall and matching pompom hat. Available for newborns to 12 months, this pairing exudes a soft yet sophisticated charm with a bold skyline graphic and monochrome colorway. www.luckyjadekids. com Coverall: wsp $18 Hat: wsp $6
Living Royal ankle socks OMG! These socks have as much attitude as the youngsters wearing them. Made from 100-percent polyester, one size fits most. www. livingroyal.com wsp $3
Little Giraffe Bliss Compass blanket Crawl, nap, picnic and play! This generous 60-inch round blanket is perfectly plush for playtime and light enough to tote around on adventures. Available in pink, blue and silver. www. littlegiraffe.com wsp $42
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Books to Bed pajama set Expanding on the family tradition of bedtime stories, this creative sleepwear company advocates reading with fun storybook pajama prints, including New York Timesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bestsellers like Dragons Love Tacos (shown on right), Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site and How to Babysit a Grandma. Each set includes a book and the coordinating pajamas. Sizes range from 12 months to 10 years. www.bookstobed. com wsp $23
Manhattan Toy Company Artful Skwish teether The revival of wood toys makes this artistic teether a musthave. Babies will â&#x20AC;&#x153;skwishâ&#x20AC;? it and watch in awe as the toy returns to its original shape while wood beads softly clack together. Available now for online preorder, the Artful Skwish is made from sustainable wood and coated with a non-toxic water-based finish. www.manhattantoy.com wsp $8
Joules glow-in-the-dark jersey top This tee is sure to be a holiday delight with its punchy glow-in-the-dark design. Made from 100-percent cotton and launched for Winter â&#x20AC;&#x2122;16, sizes range from 3 to 12 years. www.joulesusa. com wsp $12
Not Your Grandma’s Blanket (NYGB) snuggle sack and knit doll This new line from Toby & Company brings a fresh approach to baby accessories. Launching in September, this line features a unique combination of proprietary soft yarns and eyecatching knit patterns. Collection includes coordinating offerings from snuggle sacks and knit dolls to plush blocks and blankets. www.tobynyc.com Snuggle sack: wsp $11 Knit doll: wsp $9
Faux Pas Paris Opera flat Made from eco-friendly pvc material, these stylish, waterproof and washable flats are perfect for play. Better yet, girls can customize their look with an assortment of removable fashion pins—“jams”—that attach to the tip of each shoe. Flats range from babies’ size 8.5 to kids’ 3. Extra jams sold separately. www.fauxpasparis.com wsp $15
Puma Basket Statement Cookie Monster sneakers Simply the perfect shoes for sneaking over to the cookie jar. Textile fur on the upper, Cookie embroidery graphics in the lining and googly eyes on the Velcro bring Cookie Monster to life on this iconic Basket silhouette by Puma. Launched this year, sizes range from kids’ 4 to juniors’ 3.5. www.puma. com msrp $60
children’s world Apparel | Accessories | Shoes | Gifts Décor | Maternity | Juvenile Products
Bows Arts Knot Genie hairbrush Say goodbye to the foot-stomping and screaming matches that come with brushing a child’s hair. This unique cloud-shaped brush fits the palm nicely, with flexible bristles that detangle hair easily for comfortable and efficient brushing. www.bowsarts.com wsp $7
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August 4–7, 2016 North American Bear puppy activity toy Want a pet without the mess? This 16-inch soft golden plush is the perfect furry companion for tiny tots. Fresh from the litter for 2016, this irresistible pooch comes with a removable paw-print cotton jacket that holds a tethered tennis ball rattle, rawhide squeaker, barking bone and slipper crinkle. www.nabear.com wsp $25
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Design for the Cool Kid The Mini Classy went from a Milwaukee dining room to 50 boutiques and Barneys New York.
HE MINI CLASSY, ONE OF the coolest kidswear brands around, has its roots in hip-hop, I guess you could say. Two like-minded women in Milwaukee met through their significant others, one a hip-hop producer, the other a part-time rapper, and found they had more than just music in common. Michelle Lopez and Andrea Dotzauer, co-founders and CEOs of the high-end childrenswear line, had both been in school for fashion design and apparel development, both recently had children and wanted a business of their own. The Mini Classy was born. The women discovered they could bypass the retailer and prohibitive manufacturing order minimums and go straight to the consumer through Instagram. So they created a killer pair of harem pants for kids in Lopez’s dining room and popped it online. The response from consumers was immediate. The demand soon led to Etsy, another direct to consumer phenomenon. “We began an Etsy shop and started out buying small amounts of fabric, like a yard or two,” says Lopez. “We developed a design off the fabric and offered a very limited release. We created the fear of missing out.” Fast-forward three years and the duo now run a full-fledged operation in downtown Milwaukee and sell to 50 boutiques worldwide, including Barneys New York. It hasn’t hurt that celeb kids like Mason Disick, Kourtney Kardashian’s son, was snapped by the paparazzi in the line’s Dino harem pants. It’s easy to see The Mini Classy’s appeal—it’s the antidote for anybody who’s tired of the the saccharine childrenswear color palette of baby pinks and blues. A girls’ black-and-white graphic romper, for instance, features bright pink dinosaur spikes crawling down the back. A pair of boys’ stretch pleather with black waistband and cuffs is called the “Baby Kanye” harem. Need we say more? And the little
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baby harem features black-and-white stripes and spikes down the sides in various neon and primary colors. The effect is edgy, urban and, most of all, fun. All are made from super-soft eco-friendly bamboo and cotton blend fabrics. “We’re classy high-end streetwear for kiddos,” says Michelle. “We take a lot of inspiration from adult streetwear and music and try to bring that to the garments. We’re not afraid of crazy, print and pattern mixing.” The Mini Classy is made in the Midwest, which allows the company to claim “Made in the USA” status as well as keep some measure of control. “We like to keep a close handle on the quality of our products,” says Dotzauer. “Quality is something that’s important for our brand.” Now producing two collections per year, the two women also pepper in capsule collections to keep the cash flowing, grab the attention of customers and to keep things exciting—all the while keeping an eye on future growth. They’re currently courting potential investors and have their sights on a new territory: Canada. Eventually, they’d also like to venture into other lifestyle products like bedding or lunchboxes. “Neither of us have prior experience running a business,” says Dotzauer, who says that means sometimes working seven days a week and holding production meetings on Sundays. “You have some growing pains and have to figure things out.” They do have a little help. Dotzauer’s 5-year-old son, Math (yep, spelled just like the subject), and Michelle’s 4-year-old daughter, Sasha, join their mothers in the office every day. “They are huge mini designers,” says Lopez. “They show us what they like, what they don’t like, they test it before it goes into production and if it doesn’t pass their inspection, it doesn’t get made.”–Kristin Young
Sweet Treat South Africa-based Sticky-Fudge brings some much-welcome sweetness to the U.S. market. “I WANTED A name that wholeheartedly describes kids but at the same time brings a smile to your face,” says Frinette Tolken, creative director of South Africa-based Sticky-Fudge, when asked how she came up with the brand’s name. “StickyFudge is all about the inner beauty and innocence of kids,” she explains. This whimsical attitude seems to be at the heart of the brand, which launched in 2009 and debuted in the U.S. at ENK this past March. Sticky-Fudge caters to ages newborn up until 10 years, with wholesale prices ranging from $5 up to $74. From F/W ’16 onwards, it will be stocked at about 35 U.S. baby boutiques. Despite the brand’s global appeal, the South African element unique to Sticky-Fudge, according to Tolken, is the “pride and unity” that goes into each garment. “We love what we do here at Sticky-Fudge and want everyone to be a part of it,” says the Cape Town native. “I like to think this passion and drive to share experiences is something that is deeply rooted in our South African culture.” At the core of the brand’s aesthetic is clothing that kids, specifically, adore. “While still making a fashion statement, we make clothing that kids love to wear,” affirms Tolken. The brand’s Winter ’16 collection stays true to its signature aesthetic: rich, warm color palettes (think traditional wintery browns, rich blues and maroons), the use of mostly 100-percent cotton, alongside more playful and daring prints. “Inspired by fairy tales, the collection harnesses the true beauty of youthful imagination, infinite possibilities and the adventurous spirit of being a child,” says Tolken. Her personal favorites of the collection include the batik kiss print, the super soft gray mélange quilting for babies, the trendy Giovanni sweat pants, and playful panel prints. She adds the collection boasts a selection of unisex items, adding yet another layer of versatility and adventure to the season. In other words—something sure to make kids smile. –Lauren Olsen
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because every day is a gift
per bank sold
800.998.1633 | https://wholesale.mud-pie.com | email@example.com
+ March of Dimes does not endorse specific brands or products. Mud Pie guarantees a minimum donation of $150,000 in 2016 through the sale of baby socks, soft headbands and exclusive piggy bank.
RE T A I L R E P O R T continued from page 18 apparel and more about new tech items and real experiences.” In percent of purchases during the season. Rechner agrees they are other words? “Perhaps rethink that traditional intarsia sweater paramount. “In the age of everything being posted or snapped, you always buy your nephew and consider purchasing a day trip an Instagrammable window display is key to creating buzz and to that new virtual reality rollercoaster that just opened instead.” excitement for the holiday season,” she says. “This in turn won’t Rechner adds it should be kept in mind that necessarily generate sales for the brand but it customization is a strong trend, spawning new can definitely be a stepping stone for future ways to present products to customers.” It’s sales. People are craving interactions with advisable to watch the film space, she continbrands so anything that can create a conues, to see what will be “hot” for licensing, too. nection through the displays is even more She mentions key films that will be relevant important these days.” around the holiday season sure to bring strong Last year, at Tiny You, the store was decorated products include Trolls and Fantastic Beasts with lights, evergreens and oversized holiday and Where to Find Them (as well as the recent bulbs, which was effective in that it made The Jungle Book and The Secret Life of Pets). the store visible from blocks away. Zutano Another thing to keep in mind for the season, Company Store in the past has had a local artSY LV I A T H O M P S O N , Z U TA N O Cohen adds, is that last year many retailers did ist create a Victorian-inspired hand-painted CO M PA N Y S TO R E well early but then ran out of key items early. backdrop featuring a colorful fireplace mantel “Pace yourself with staggering promotions along with a portrait of a toddler. While the so the second wave of holiday shoppers can drive some big volume store’s window is small, the scenes have been lush, consisting of when they start their shopping for holiday,” he advises. everything from sledding mannequins bedecked in Zutano furry And last, but certainly not least, retailers are (and should be) paying hats and booties to a wandering penguin, brimming with Zutano enormous attention to their holiday window displays. Cohen states accessories. “Lights, snow and hand-decorated fir trees guaranthat store windows and displays continue to play a tremendous tee the amazement of every passer-by,” Thompson explains. At role in driving impulse purchases, which represent a whopping 45 Torly Kid, the window inspiration comes from Pinterest. “We have limited resources and a small space to work with so we try to be creative,” Adams says. “My kids are artistic so I always get them involved.” A Santa sleigh that was made a few years ago out of cardboard boxes comes out again every year. Pannek says that for Mud Pie’s Atlanta showroom, the team literally added window displays as a method to highlight new collection launches. A store display seminar about “creating compelling displays from autumn through the holidays” will be presented to retailers at the Atlanta Gift Show, and the session will be made available to retailers on the company’s website. Fisher says that Lincoln&Lexi starts decorating for holidays early (last year, as early as Halloween). “We always try and make our window displays appealing,” she says. “We have a few Christmas trees we set up, we hang garlands, lights and Christmas bulbs throughout the store and wrap fake presents to put under the tree. When people see items hanging on the tree or under the tree, it allows them to see how it looks and they can visualize the items on their tree.” The result, according to Fisher, is it makes for more “impulse” purchases. Above all, remind your sales associates to get in the holiday spirit. “Always be warm and welcoming,” offers Thompson. “The right displays, a warm and welcoming atmosphere and an environment that makes a customer feel at home will no doubt maximize sales.” Pannek emphasizes that stores need to distinguish themselves. There is great competition for consumer dollars, he explains, so what is important is to give customers a reason to shop in your store, specifically great service, in-store events, gift wrap, giving something back to the community, and whatever is unique to the brand. Beyond that, “A great attitude and a smile go a long mWo"È ^[ iWoi$
“...AN ENVIRONMENT THAT MAKES A CUSTOMER FEEL AT HOME WILL NO DOUBT MAXIMIZE SALES.”
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NEW RESOURCES Poppy patterns across freestyle frocks strike the perfect balance between posh and play.
C&C Califor nia is a contemporary lifestyle brand that is bringing the effortless appeal of its women’s collections to infants and girls. The brand infused the Golden State’s sand, surf and spectacular light to create ultrasoft, laid-back pieces for tiny tots to trendy teens. The infant line offers 100-percent cotton bodysuits, joggers, footed coveralls and hoodies, while the teen collection ranges from spunky tees to comfy French terry cocoon dresses. firstname.lastname@example.org www.candccalifornia.com Wholesale price range: $12 to $26 Size range: Newborn to 24 months; 7 years to 16 years Debut: Delivery starts 7/25
ObyRollz Too small for one size, too big for another? It’s not easy being caught betwixt and between. Enter ObyRollz: fun, easy-to-use cuffs that shorten pant legs without the hassle of tailoring. The innovative cuffs fold over and secure each pant leg, preserving the original email@example.com length to accommodate those inevwww.obyrollz.com itable growth spurts. Not only are Wholesale price range: ObyRollz functional, but super styl$5 to $7 ish with its reversible designs. Also to Size range: note: Founder Laura Meyer is getting Small (6 months to 24 months) and Large (18 ready to roll out Flyby Kids, a parent months to 5T) . brand to ObyRollz, that will include Debut: Meyer’s signature pant cuffs, along KIDShow Las Vegas with trendy shirts, belts, dresses and February 2016 bows for FW ’16.
Bring on-trend appeal to any laid-back look with this super sleek backpack from Nununu’s FW ’16 collection. Made in Israel, the bag is crafted from recycled inner tire tubes with a smooth cotton lining. Available in two sizes: small (WSP $98) and large (WSP $130). By Emily Beckman
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Little Black Bag
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