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VOLUME 97 NUMBER 9 • OCTOBER 201 3 $10.00






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Paul Frie

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For Licens

Thank you Retailers!

Best Hosiery 3rd Year in a Row!

2011 2012 2013

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Baby & kids collection up to 6 years

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NEXT BIG THING FOR GIRL-KIND NEW! N O S L I D I N G. N O M O V I N G. N O K I D D I N G. 10.6-8 ENK Children’s Club (NYC) • 10.15-18 ABC Kids Expo (Las Vegas)

10.17-21 Atlanta Apparel • 10.23-24 KIDShow Miami • 10.24-27 Dallas Apparel •

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Earnie Awards

winner 2013


Thank you for voting Blush by Us Angels Best Tween Collection. For inqueries please contact

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Noelle Heffernan Publisher Audrey Goodson Kingo Editor in Chief Nancy Campbell Trevett McCandliss Creative Directors EDITORIAL Angela Velasquez Fashion Editor Lyndsay McGregor Associate Editor Social Media Editor Brittany Leitner Assistant Editor ADVERTISING Caroline Diaco Group Publisher Alex Marinacci Account Executive

FEATURES 22 Hot Mama Maternity wear may be a promising avenue for boutique retailers looking for ways to branch out.

Jennifer Craig Special Accounts Manager PRODUCTION Tim Jones Deputy Art Director Production Manager

36 The Suite Life Little girls slip into the shoes of their favorite literary heroine at the Eloise store in New York City.

Mike Hoff Webmaster CONTACT INFO Sales/Editorial Offices 36 Cooper Square, 4th floor New York, NY 10003 Tel: (646) 278-1550 Fax: (646) 278-1553 editorialrequests@

40 Sixteen Candles Roxana Castillo of Kissy Kissy rings in her brand's big birthday by looking back—and ahead. 58 Gear Up Check out next year's best new baby products in our first annual Ultimate Gear Guide.

FASHION 46 Modern Art Bright, bold designs pop up for tweens this spring.

12 Publisher's Note 14 Editor's Note 16 Talking Points 18 Hot Properties 20 Fresh Finds 28 On Trend 32 In the Bag 34 Bejeweled 66 Behind the Seams 72 Stargazing

This page: Curio + Kind hoodie, Simple Kids T-shirt, jeans by Hudson Jeans, Alien Workshop skateboard.

Circulation Office Joel Shupp 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300

Cover: SuperTrash jacket, Malibu Sugar tank top, Zara Terez leggings.

CORPORATE 9Threads 26202 Detroit Road, #300 Westlake, OH 44145 Tel: (440) 871-1300

Photography by Amanda Pratt. Styling by Katelyn Mooney. Hair by Brennen Demelo and makeup by Christina Reyna.

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.

8 E A R N S H AW S . C O M • O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

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Earnie Awards 2013

AND THE WINNERS ARE... We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Earnie Awards. Best Denim Levi’s Best Licensed Apparel PGA Authentics by Fore!! Axel and Hudson Best Hosiery BabyLegs by United Legwear Best Footwear Stride Rite Best Accessories & Jewelry Chewbeads

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Best Special Occasion Wear Isobella & Chloe Best Infants’ Collection Kissy Kissy Best Girls’ Collection Moxie & Mabel Best Boys’ Collection Andy & Evan Best Tween Collection Blush by Us Angels

Best Gift Items Little Giraffe Best New Company Liv & Lily Best Community Outreach Pediped Best International Collection JoJo Maman Bébé Best Made in the USA Collection Tadpole and Lily

Best Swim Collection Isobella & Chloe Best Outerwear Rugged Bear Outerwear (iApparel and Cutie Pie Baby) Best Brand Rep Thread Showroom “It” Item of the Year Chewbeads Company of the Year Cutie Pie Baby

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publisher’s note FROM THE ARRIVAL of Prince George to a deluge of cool collaborations between children’s manufacturers and quirky designers like Jeremy Scott, it’s certainly been an interesting year in the children’s industry! It’s also been an exciting year here at Earnshaw’s. We’ve redesigned the magazine and ramped up our social media, and it’s been gratifying to get positive feedback from our readers. Our main mission is to do everything we can to create a thriving children’s industry by facilitating connections between brands, reps and retailers who work so hard to make this market a success. With that in mind, I would love to know more about what we can do to help your business succeed. I know the options for building brand recognition are nearly endless in today’s diverse media environment—from blogs to Facebook to coveted celebrity endorsements. I’m not denying that these can be effective strategies, but what happens when your brand finally hits it big? If it isn’t on retailers’ shelves, then how can your new fans purchase your products? That’s why Earnshaw’s has been a critical voice in the children’s industry for 97 years. More than 15,000 industry professionals depend on Earnshaw’s for the latest in children’s fashion and retail news, and we hear every day from retailers who rely on us to find new brands. Best of all, appearing in Earnshaw’s is the only

Support Structure We’re here to help your brand succeed in 2014 and beyond.

marketing method that will make your brand profitable for years to come. Think about it: If an ad in Earnshaw’s leads to a lasting relationship with just one retailer, that’s thousands and thousands of dollars accrued through the years. We sincerely believe that developing relationships with dedicated retailers is the only way to build your business season after season, and advertising in Earnshaw’s is the best way to reach those retailers. We love helping new brands find their footing in the industry, as well as helping established brands build their brand recognition. It’s an honor to hear from industry leaders who credit their early and ongoing success to appearing in our pages. Let us do the same for your company. My door is always open, and I look forward to your feedback.


See us at:

ENK Children’s Club, NYC October 6th-8th ABC Kids, Las Vegas October 15th-18th E A R N S H AW ’S M A G A Z I N E

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AFTER A QUICK glance at the parents in the Earnshaw’s office, it’s clear the watch is no longer the de rigueur wrist accessory—instead it’s a woven rubber bracelet crafted by the kiddos at home. That’s because the Rainbow Loom, a nifty little device that allows kids to create everything from rubber rings to mini handbags, is the hottest toy of the summer. Friendship bracelets and Silly Bandz are so last year. Off-the-charts popularity and skyrocketing sales weren’t always the case for the Rainbow Loom. In a truly inspiring retail tale, the toy’s inventor struggled to sell the kit for a couple of years, until it was picked up by Learning Express Stores, which owns 130 franchises across the U.S. Now, the Rainbow Loom is one of the chain’s bestselling toys of 2013. If accessory fads seem to come and go more quickly than other children’s categories, there’s a good reason for it: “It is the most affordable way to update one’s fashion,” notes Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group. “Kids, too, are learning how to update on a budget.” According to Cohen’s data, sales of accessories for children under 12 are projected to climb by 3 percent in 2013—even though overall volume is down. Why? “Either the accessories parents are buying are a little more elaborate, which is true, or the promotions are less frequent, which is also true,” Cohen speculates. “The product is a little more elaborate or a little more labor intensive or a little more exciting.” We can definitely agree that children’s accessories are more exciting as of late. Just check out all of the stellar accessories brands that nabbed an Earnie Award this year: Chewbeads, for Best Accessories and “It” Item of the Year, Liv & Lily for Best New Company and Tadpole and Lily for Best Made in the USA Collection. (Check out p. 10 for a full list of winners.) All of those brands offer a new spin—be it fresh design or a clever concept—on the standard hair bow, necklace or hat. Even tried-and-true brands like Wee Ones are getting in on the act, updating their classic hair accessories with a new no-slip technology (p. 67). And if that’s not enough proof, just check out the dainty Parisian-inspired baubles on our new Bejeweled page, perfect for tweenaged Francophiles (p. 34). Exciting yes, but even for the most agile retailers, it can be a lot to manage. “The accessory business is always one where you have to be nimble,” Cohen points out. “You have to be ready to change direction and have a broad enough assortment to keep kids’ interest. One of the keys is to really learn how to read trends early,” he notes. It’s certainly no easy task, but the payoff of keeping your eyes peeled for the Next Big Thing can certainly be worth it. Just ask Learning Express Stores.

IN THE LOOP Summer’s hottest bracelet proves once again how fast-growing accessory fads can be a retailer’s best friend.



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Sacha-Marie, the daughter of New York Knicks player Tyson Chandler, walks the runway in Levi’s classic denim, elevated by a kid-pleasing star print.


Walking the Walk

Kids get in on the Fashion Week action, as New York’s brightest stars from the sports and TV worlds welcome a runway of casual, cool duds, modeled by their very own.


N THE MIDST of the insanity that is New York Fashion Week, a few brands kept it down to earth, showcasing their latest kids’ looks for a good cause. Converse, Nike, Levi’s and Jordan teamed up with the Amar’e Stoudemire Foundation, dedicated to inspiring at-risk youth through education, and K.I.D.S., a non profit organization that gives new items to kids in need, for a starstudded fashion show in New York City’s Grand Central Station. Each of the featured brands made a product donation to the two charities involved in the show, which was hosted by New York Knicks player Amar’e Stoudemire. The labels used basketballs, tennis rackets, lunch boxes and headphones with “Yolo” emblazoned on the speakers to accessorize the Spring ’14 styles, which spanned graphic tees with sayings like “Built for Noise” from Converse, to an update on the classic jean jacket, with letterman style patches, from Levi’s. The sporty lines were perfectly in synch with the famous basketball and football players in attendance, including New York Knicks players Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith, and former New York Giants player Carl Banks. A mix of professional models and celebrity offspring walked the show, cheered on by an audience that included "Orange is the New Black" star Dascha Polanco and "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd, who watched her son work the catwalk for the very first time. “I thought he was going to be nervous!” jokes Shepherd. “But he’s kissing all the little girls back stage. I’m so jealous!” La La and Carmelo Anthony’s son, Kiyan, who was announced as the face of Jordan last year, rocked a jersey in Knicks colors and a T-shirt with his dad’s image. He, along with Lil Jon’s son, DJ Young Slade, were among the kids with previous fashion show experience. “It’s for a great cause,”

notes rapper Lil Jon, adding, “It’s great for the kids to get up on stage and be superstars.” New York City radio host Angie Martinez, whose son Nikko walked the show, recalled how much fashion has changed for tweens, especially since she was a kid. “I don’t know that I paid attention that much to fashion,” she says. “My son has a very specific idea of what he wants to wear. I do find that younger kids are way more involved and aware than our generation.” —Brittany Leitner

"Shameless" actress Emma Kenney shows how girly girls can get in on the sporty look with a bright purple and gray trimmed dress from Converse.

Sherri Shepherd’s son, Jeffrey, pumps up the audience and high-fives guests in head-to-toe Converse duds.

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Market Fresh

Children’s brands are enticing shoppers to return for more with multiple in-season deliveries. HOW DO SPECIALTY shops keep customers coming back for more? Executives at some of the industry’s leading children’s manufacturers may have found an answer to the age-old question: Constantly tempt customers with new styles. In fact, a number of brands plan to bump up their deliveries in 2014, with new styles in each shipment. Why? “Multiple deliveries helps retailers because it keeps the assortment fresh for their repeat customers. I believe that customers always want to see something new from brands they love,” offers Lucky Jade Designer and Founder Leslie Pitts. Known for its pima cotton and cashmere/cotton blend layette sets and blankets, Pitts hopes her plan to go from one to two Lucky Jade deliveries per season will help build the label’s spring sales. “By adding the option of more deliveries, we feel retailers can keep their assortments fresher while still maintaining their cashmere/ cotton gifting business,” she adds. On a similar note, luxury infant label PaigeLauren also aims to boost its spring business by going from one to two deliveries for the season, says Account Manager Chloe Rosenblatt. “We believe that certain styles are more fitting for a particular part of the season and wanted to encourage our buyers to carry specific bodies during particular times,” she explains. “We believe that these changes will not only increase our sales numbers but also

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help our buyers sell the collection better.” Many manufacturers report the decision to dive into more deliveries was inspired by feedback received from—no surprise here—their current retail clients. For Stacey Fraser, the founder and designer of Pink Chicken, the decision to deliver two, sometimes even three shipments a season, came from lessons learned at the brand’s store in New York City. “When we opened our store on Madison Avenue, we realized we really needed more deliveries on the floor to keep the store fresh and have something new to offer our customers each month,” Fraser says, adding that the change has been very well-received by Pink Chicken’s boutique buyers, too. Yet while an array of new styles may keep shoppers spending and cash flowing, it’s up to retailers to capitalize on the trend, notes Leigh Rawdon, co-founder and CEO of Tea Collection, which plans to offer 11 deliveries in 2014 (up from seven this year). “Marketing and merchandising demands increase with each new delivery,” she points out. “Retailers will need to keep their inventory turning through great displays, windows, face-outs and clienteling with key customers.” As for Tea Collection's plans beyond next year, "We're still planning for 2015, but we intend to offer nearly monthly deliveries with more and more options within each delivery," Rawdon hints. —Audrey Goodson Kingo

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Founding Friends

Two leading brands in the children’s market link up to swaddle babies in style. WHAT STARTED OUT as a friendship between Aden + Anais co-founder and CEO Raegan Moya-Jones and Zutano founders Uli and Michael Belenky a few years ago has now turned into a unique brand collaboration. “They are wonderful people with a great company and brand,” Moya-Jones says of Zutano. “So when they approached me to do a collaboration, I didn’t hesitate.” For Spring ’14, the brands will join forces to create a line of bibs, hooded towels, washcloth sets and a four pack of muslin swaddle blankets, at a wholesale price range of $5.50 to $19.50. All of the line’s products will be made using 100 percent cotton muslin from Aden + Anais, while featuring Zutano’s signature prints like bright and colorful owls, cars, butterflies, dots and stripes. “We don’t have anything like it in our current collection,” Moya-Jones notes.

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Vermont-based Zutano and New York City-based Aden + Anais will debut the collection, available for specialty retailers, at the ABC show this month. “This is something I know both of our retailers will welcome,” says Owner Michael Belenky. “It’s a really good fit. Both Zutano and Aden + Anais have really strong followers. Both of our brands share a lot of the same values.” While there are no set plans to continue the collaboration after the spring season, both brands remain open to the idea of working on future collections. “At the end of the day, our customers will be the final judge, and we will have to wait and see what the market thinks,” says Moya-Jones. Belenky agrees: “We will take things one step at a time,” he says. “But we are really excited about working together and would welcome the opportunity.” —Brittany Leitner

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Tweenage Dream

From the designers of Little Society comes SooperGirl, trend-driven clothing for girls ages 7 to 14. Sourced and produced in Los Angeles, the SoCal line is all about girl power. The tween-inspired designs wholesale for $13 to $35 and span over-dyed jersey and terry cotton to pastel stripes and lace panels. Check out www.thesooper

Sublime Style

California-designed and Swiss-owned, Velveteen offers classically styled fashion for boys and girls sizes 6 months to 8 years that’s as whimsical and comfortable as it is beautiful. Embroidery and embellishments, such as silk and cotton fabrics that are block printed by hand, provide a playful edge to the brand’s timeless silhouettes, which wholesale for $16 to $100. Visit www.

Baby Steps

Hand-seamed socks padded with anti-skid silicone from JynJyn help prepare little feet for their first steps. Designed in Europe, the 3-D hosiery currently comes in three groupings (animals, floral and cars) and is manufactured to the highest product standards in Chinese factories certified by OEKO-TEX Standard 100. Available in sizes 0 to 24 months, socks are gift boxed in sets of three and wholesale for $9 and $10. Go to www.

International imports and homegrown heroes hit the market. 2 0 E A R N S H AW S . C O M • O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

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Book Club

Fans of “I’m So Hollywood,” the first title in the Summer Saltz series by Connie Sewell, can now get their hands on the heroine’s oversized white sunglasses as part of The Hollywood Premiere Package. Wholesaling for $13.95, the giftable set also includes a hardback copy of the book, two sheets of stickers, three temporary tattoos and a pencil, all packaged in a hot pink organza bag. Check out www.

Float On

Designed and made in New York City from fabrics sourced in Japan, Baby Cloud is a line of unisex clothing and accessories for infants sizes 0 to 12 months. Simple silhouettes like one-pieces and cotton cardigans wholesale from $9 to $45, and come in an array of grays and creams with a smattering of stripes. Go to

Jump Around


Philippines-made Dizzy Dress spins a new tale for spring with its line of reversible twirly dresses for girls sizes 3 to 10. Built for play but pretty enough to party in, the secret to the swirl is in two seamless, full circle skirts made from a blend of cotton and spandex. Wholesale prices range from $33 to $44. Go to www.dizzydressshop. com.

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Each Kids the Frog piece travels from Italy to Hong Kong to New York in order to bow a line as globally-inclined as its clientele. Tailored for urban children whose parents appreciate sophisticated style that’s grounded in practicality, the contemporary collection, available in sizes 2 to 8, is made to be mixed and matched. Wholesale prices range from $12 to $39. Check out www.kidsthe

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HOT MAMA As Millennials enter motherhood, and big box stores shrink their maternity selection, it’s a bright time for children’s retailers to discover their motherly fashion instincts. By Angela Velasquez

Shapewear by Belly Bandit is a must for many moms-to-be at Holly Schneider’s North Dakota store.

YOU CAN TALK CPSIA regulations in your sleep and might know the differences between Bugaboo’s Bee and Chameleon strollers, but the world of maternity fashion, with its stretch panels, support bands and wrap silhouettes might seem like a whole other universe to conquer. But Chief Industry Analyst of the NPD Group, Marshal Cohen, says it is time to think again. The recession might have slowed the U.S. birthrate, but as the economy recovers he expects people who have put off having kids until they were more financially stable to be revisiting the idea of starting (or expanding) their family. In other words, look out for more demand for pretty maternity frocks befitting baby showers. “Maternity, like any niche market, ebbs and flows with the economy,” Cohen offers, noting that many big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart have decreased the amount of floor space devoted to the category. The NPD Group reports that 2013 sales of maternity apparel have dropped 26.6 percent from last year to $630,139,000. “They go where the fish are swimming so when shoes and accessories are selling well they bulk up those sections, but it has to come at the expense of another area, like maternity and plus-size apparel. There’s only so much space in a store,” he explains. That’s where smaller retailers and independents can sweep in and discover new opportunities. One of the biggest changes Armanda Texidor, president of A New View Maternity showroom in New York City, has noticed in the maternity market is the number of non-maternity retailers carrying pregnancy clothing. “Children’s stores are realizing that they already have pregnant customers in their store ready to spend, so why not capitalize on that,” she explains. “Just because it’s not a growing category, doesn’t mean it’s not a good category,” Cohen advises. WELCOME TO MATERNITY A first-time maternity retailer and first-time mom have a lot in common. For instance, a ton of research lies ahead of them. “Millennials are of childbearing ages and are a lot more likely to go online either to buy or discover what is available to them,” Cohen states. Texidor agrees: “Most first-time pregnant women go online to get an overview, see what brands they might like and then go into stores to try on items because they really don’t know much about sizing, or how it will look on their new body.” Fit is a struggle for new moms, says Holly Schneider, owner of Adley Anne’s Baby & Maternity in Grand Forks, ND. Most of her pregnant clientele come in around week 16 for jeans. “They worry about if they will need a bigger size

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down the road,” she offers, but notes that women who are typically a size small in their pre-pregnancy clothes will remain a small in maternity. “They might just need some new shirts in the last couple of months if hems start to creep up or just because like any other woman, they start to grow tired of the same looks,” she says. “Pregnant women want to dress in the same looks as they’ve always dressed and thankfully there are a lot of brands in the market making maternity clothes that help them appear slimmer, accentuate the belly and key into trend colors, prints and styles,” Texidor reports. Sheer blouses, tanks and skinny jeans are wardrobe staples for Greenberries owner Rachel Baliff’s Columbia, MD-based clientele. “Maternity trends don’t skew too far what is seen on the runway. Pregnant women want to keep their personal style,” she explains. For example, Kristy Olsen, co-owner of Lilac Clothing, names trendy striped tops as a brand bestseller. “We thought they wouldn’t love it because it might make them appear wider, but the print always sells out. Polka dots, too,” she says. Texidor says there is a fine line of what can be adapted to maternity, but one thing is for sure— the oversized billowy dresses of yesteryear are out. At her consignment shop, Baliff repeatedly has to turn away the outdated frocks people discover while cleaning out their attics. “The maternity customer is definitely a more fashion-savvy woman,” she quips. DRESS FOR SUCCESS Susan Gibeson, owner of Apple Seed Maternity and Baby in Alexandria, VA, reports a strong and steady demand for dresses. “Moms-to-be have so much other stuff they are worried about. Dresses allow them to put on their favorite jewelry, add a pair of Tory Burch flats and be out the door with ease,” she explains. Bestselling brands are Maternal America, Olian and Rosie Pope. As a category, Texidor believes it is important for retailers to offer a full scope of dress styles. For instance, maxi dresses are poised to fall out of fashion in the regular market any time now, but the long silhouette is continuous in maternity. An endless parade of maxi dresses marched in and out of Baliff’s doors this summer, as well as wrap dresses which Texidor considers an essential to any expecting mom’s closet. She notes, “Every maternity line has at least one.” Expect to see more maternity casual/work dress designers add a second dressier collection to ensure that they have a style to offer for special occasions as well—especially as dresses tend to be an area where consumers are willing to splurge for events like baby showers. And despite hearing a lot of push back against prints, Texidor sees a lot of re-orders for printed dresses. “It’s hard to tell, but I think women want solids for work and prints for play,” she offers.

MOM JEANS “All women, whether they are pregnant or not, want good denim,” Schneider says. Nowadays, the retailer finds it is easy to discover maternity jeans with hidden tummy support that looks like regular denim. Flare leg styles by Three Seasons Maternity are a hit at her boutique. “They sell out constantly because our customers like that they have a real waist,” she offers. At Baliff’s store, any gently used designer denim from the likes of Citizens Of Humanity and 7 For All Mankind, which she prices no more than half the retail price, are a hot commodity. “Denim is an investment piece,” she says, noting that while most purchases for tops ring in between $10 to $20, customers will shell $50 to $60 for pre-owned jeans. Olsen believes offering a good stock of denim can help drive sales of other items like sweaters and tanks. “Women want to leave the store knowing they have a complete outfit,” she states. Her brand’s selection of stretch cotton poly spandex denim—key to help retain the jean’s silhouette— is a big part of business. Each pair comes with an internal adjustable waistband and hits on all the essential cuts women look for: trouser, skinny, straight and boyfriend, to name a few. Dark washes are a must, but the designer sees more “bright and happy” colors like cobalt blue and peach, as well as printed denim for Spring ’14. SMOOTH OPERATOR Schneider keeps a bellyband in tow when she’s needed in the dressing room to help a customer having difficulty finding the right size and style. “The bands are an easy solution to help keep pants from falling down and provide a little extra coverage for shirts that are getting too short,” she explains. Similarly, she says Belly Bandits, an abdominal compression binder designed to help decrease bloating and provide support, are a must-have post-pregnancy. Texidor believes these underpinnings (and extra sales) are often overlooked in maternity. “It might not be something you think about, but just look at how popular shapers and smoothers are in regular women’s apparel,” she points out, adding that many of the best products are being designed by mothers that saw a need for it. For example, Blanqi, the maker of the Bodystyler maternity support tank. Designed by friends Valerie Darragh and Sabina Melarti—who have six kids between them—Texidor says they are essentially their own customer and have a good understanding of what is comfortable. She adds, “I think you’re going to see this category come on a lot stronger in the next few years.” Another bonus? Smoothers and support garments take up a small amount of valuable retail space. “Our tummy bands are a great and affordable add-on to have near registers,” Olsen says. In Lilac Clothing’s case, the bands can also be worn at the bust line to hide cleavage—

Breezy dresses by Maternal America are an easy choice at Susan Gibeson’s store, Apple Seed Maternity and Baby.

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giving retailers another chance to explain the product’s versatility while they are already at the register. And like Texidor notes, “As a store owner, you have to think about what you can offer that won’t take away too much space from your bread and butter.”

“I think maternity has taken a great turn for the better with styles that accentuate.”

MOTHERLY PRIDE “We all remember when Princess Diana stepped out in her billowing, polka dot muumuu and bows. I think maternity has taken a great turn for the better with styles that accentuate and disguise the right areas and women are finding that a lot more of these so-called maternity styles can transition into nursing,” Gibeson notes. For example, Kate Middleton made her first official appearance after giving birth in a spotted Zara blouse she last wore while five months pregnant. In fact, in a weightand celebrity-obsessed culture, where waiting to reemerge in the public until after every last pregnancy pound is dropped, or inking a lucrative deal with Weight Watchers is de rigueur for famous moms, Middleton has been lauded from day two as a mother for showing her realistic post-pregnancy body in a empire waisted (albeit custom) dress by Jenny Packham. The need for versatile, figure-flattering

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clothes for all stages of a woman’s pregnancy and post-pregnancy is what prompted Olsen and her sister Becca Taylor to launch Lilac Clothing in 2007. As storeowners, the sisters spoke to many moms-to-be who wanted to stretch their dollars. “They didn’t want to buy clothes that they wouldn’t be able to wear after the baby was born, so we came up with a few top silhouettes that worked for while they were expecting, post pregnancy and in general, items they’d want in their closet for years,” Olsen explains, adding that they knew they were onto something when the blouses became their store’s bestsellers. Lilac is now carried in more than 300 boutiques worldwide, including Gibeson’s. “Our No. 1 goal is to make women feel beautiful and combine current trends with silhouettes that flatter and conceal other parts, whether it’s early in her pregnancy, or at her pre-baby weight,” Olsen explains. The designer makes it sound easy, but she points out that tops and dresses that “accentuate the belly” are key to pleasing modern moms-

to-be, while versatile features stretches them post-pregnancy. For example, Lilac’s Bella wrap top hugs the belly and can be altered to suit an ever-changing body—the neckline is adjustable and the top can be tied in a ruching way to help camouflage unwanted bulges. Rayon and Spandex blends help, too. The fabrics are maternity staples, as Olsen says they snap back to the original shape after being worn. Plus, she adds, “It feels good and soft on skin and is still comfortable and breathable, while looking high-end.” Similarly, Cohen sees a spike in sales of performance apparel that tends to have a lot of give. “Customers look for other creative ways to have maternity wear and these items can be worn for a longer period of time,” he explains. WWKD (WHAT WOULD KATE DO?) As the unofficial ambassador of British fashion, the Duchess and newly minted mom, has become the cover girl of sophisticated yet attainable maternity (and post-pregnancy) style. When it comes to Gibeson’s chic clientele, many with Capitol Hill careers, she quips, “Kate is essentially my customer. They’re also young, pretty and like Kate, have fallen in love and married a great guy.” In the eight years since taking over Apple

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Seed Maternity and Baby Boutique, Gibeson has noticed how fashion plate celebs—from Jessica Simpson, who bowed an eponymous maternity line this fall, to Victoria Beckham, Rachel Zoe and any of the Kardashian sisters—have helped introduce expecting mothers to new brands and styles, while often pushing the envelope in terms of what is considered maternity (i.e. Kim K.’s Neoprene peplum dresses and Givenchy cage stilettos). The good news, Cohen reports, is that when you have a celebrity or big name designer breaking into a new category like maternity, it sparks a newfound interest in it as a whole. “They help make a splash and bring attention to the market,” he explains. Even though Prince George is already three months old, the Duchess’ eye for maternity and post-pregnancy fashion with clean and modern lines, cheery colors and timeless prints continue to rule the roost. As recently as last month, Gibeson was receiving requests for the fuchsia Séraphine Maternity knot dress worn in the first official royal family photo, which in Kate’s signature down to earth style, was snapped by her father in the backyard—not a royal palace. Gibeson adds, “The girls who come in my store love her look and can really identify with her.”

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE When Olsen and Taylor owned their store, they tried to find ways to bring pregnant women together by hosting how-to classes with skincare specialists, baby photographers and make-up artists. “They like to learn and be around each other and compare and share stories,” she says. That’s where Baliff of Greenberries believes boutiques have the opportunity to excel. “We work really hard to form relationships early on with new parents. They might come in for maternity clothes, but then they start to kick around the baby section and try out toys and gadget. And then they are back shopping for size 6 to 12 month baby clothes,” she explains. Since opening the store in 2009, Baliff’s business has become a local resource center for expecting parents, hosting a rotating calendar of interactive courses spanning baby wearing, cloth diapering and tips on how to make homemade baby food to more topical lessons in couponing and infant massage that can be added on a whim. And Baliff sees no expiration date on the longevity of these relationships—the store’s website even posts which days local restaurant offer kids eat free deals—details that are not yet top of mind to her maternity clients. But

Tea Collection’s signature tunic is a bestseller. “It’s effortless and versatile, moms can toss it on with their favorite jeans or even wear it as a beach coverup,” Emily Meyer, chief creative officer and co-founder of Tea Collection, adds.

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Customer requests led Livie & Luca to launch women’s footwear last year, which Dennise Allred of Little Monkey Toes says has helped boost the number of multiple sales on her website.

she adds, “We want to help them through this journey and provide support at every stage along the way.” Dennise Allred, owner of the online children’s footwear store Little Monkey Toes, found a way to keep moms in the mix by adding adult styles from brands that are primarily known for their kids’ collections, like Livie & Luca and Chooze. The women’s styles keeps moms on the website longer, she reports, adding that most orders for women’s are placed with an order for kids’ shoes, too. It’s a bonus sale that taps into the growing mommy and me trend Emily Hajen, design assistant for Livie & Luca, says is too profitable and fun to ignore. “We got lots of comments from customers saying they wish they could wear the brand. That was very much part of the decision to add women’s,” she explains. Allred warns that crossing over to women’s is not for all brands, but those with a signature look that can be adapted for a more sophisticated customer can be successful. A women’s collection, which launched in 2010, had always been part of Tea Collection Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder Emily Meyer’s dream. Just as the kids’ line is inspired by a different destination each season, so is the women’s. “We design for the effortlessly chic woman who appreciates our global vision and the context of our design pro-

cess,” Meyer says, adding the line of tunic, sweaters and scarves is not a “sized up” version of the kids’ range, however most women come across the line while shopping for their kids. When DeNai Jones, founder of Petunia Pickle Bottom, decided to branch out of baby gear and expand to handbags with her Petunia line, she was mindful to keep the DNA that made so many women fall in love with the PPB line intact. “We knew we struck a chord with our approach to product and fabric design and thought we should ensure longevity with our customer base... It just really seemed like a natural next step,” she says. And Jones sees a crossover between users. In both cases, the products are geared towards women who are fashionable and enjoy beautiful things. “One of our core foundations diving into the world of handbags was knowledge of a customer base of non-moms using our diaper bags as handbags—so we created the Petunia handbags for them, and for those women who move beyond the diaper bag as their little ones grow,” she says. As Texidor embarks on her 29th year working with maternity retailers, she says you can’t forget that most in the industry are of a unique breed of people. “Most people who work in maternity love what they do and want to help new moms. There’s a nurturing camaraderie,” she describes. Participating in local fashion shows and community events have helped her connect with customers, but Gibeson says nothing is as rewarding as spending time on the shop floor and cultivating relationships with soon-to-be moms, grandmas and aunts. She notes, “I have one grandma that comes in and buys each of her new grandchildren the same music box,” admitting, “I’m pleasantly surprised by how much fun it is to be a part of a special time in these women’s lives.” •

THE CHILDREN’S CLUB New York City, October 6 - 8th

ABC KIDS EXPO Las Vegas, October 15 - 18th


1385 Broadway, Suite 1800 NY, NY 10018 Mark Zelen: 212-279-4150


Bill & Sandie Ellsworth 781-326-3999


Paul Daubney 404-577-6840

Caribbean, Latin America & South Florida

Rolando & Ana Hidalgo 305-266-8745

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West Coast

TeresaStephen & Krystal Crooymans 866-723-KIDS


Richard Finkelstein & Al Zaiff 800-935-0236


Annette Cardona-Stein 214-637-4446


Nathan A. Mamiye 212-216-6008

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Sugar Plum NY, Inc. Carol Meyerson 212-695-8990 (ext. 204)

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City Threads glittery T-shirt

Coccoli wave print one-piece

Coral & Reef ruffle-accented swimsuit

Fiveloaves Twofish fish print dress

Sea Urchin Studio notebook

Electrik Kidz mermaid gown

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Tiny Tinkers beach scene T-shirt

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KicKee Pants snap suit

Lunacy shark T-shirt

Couture Clips mermaid hair accessory

Sea Worthy

Lemon Loves Lime ruffle tank dress

Le Top cutout swimsuit

Milk and Honey whale tank

Quis Quis & From the World

Move over unicorns—mermaids are the season’s mythical “It” creature. From the 100th anniversary of Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s legendary fairytale to Disney releasing The Little Mermaid on Blu-Ray, the aquatic goddess is capturing the imaginations of a whole new generation. Just take a look at the fin-tastic, ocean-hued fashions making a splash for Spring ’14. Ariel and her ocean friends never looked so fashionable. — Angela Velasquez

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Cupcakes & Pastries goldaccented dress

Anais & I glittery dress

Flutter by Huggalugs pettiskirt

Miss Blumarine

Tulle Time

In addition to creating a college fund, parents of grade schoolers may want to start one for prom. The average prom attendee spent an average of $1,139 on gowns, limos and all the pre-promenade rituals such as updos and glittery manicures in 2013, reports Visa. That’s a five percent increase from the year before (nail art doesn’t come cheap). In the meantime, as piggy banks collect pennies, girls can hone their prom queen wave in this spring’s confection of frothy tulle and over-the-top Fifties-inspired prom frocks. — A.V.

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Kissy Kissy dress set with crown embroidery

Candy Bean dress with sequin accents

Lil Darlings feather flowerembellished tutu

Moxie & Mabel dress

Bela & Nuni embellished shirt and tulle skirt

Bari Lynn tutu dress

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Motherhood hasn’t forced this über-cool downtown mom to skip gallery openings or even a trunk show at an East Village boutique. In fact, one-of-a-kind diaper bags by avant-garde designers have enhanced her cutting edge look, which her tot is bound to inherit. After all, bold black and white cuddly dolls and ironic picture books already rule playtime. With an eye for the offbeat, it’s no surprise that she’s souped up her little one in the same trendy socks Dad likes to wear. And she’s sure to keep her baby au courant— a burger T-shirt is not just adorable; it’s also social commentary on the city’s war against trans fat. —Angela Velasquez

bottle service 6

5 7



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1 1. Cybex by Jeremy Scott diaper tote and changing pad 2. Luxury picture book by The Tiny Universe 3. Teeny Tiny Optics aviator sunglasses 4. Kushies sensory activity toy 5. Chevron print blanket by Meg Original 6. Wee Gallery pet-themed picture cards 7. Plush Ugly Doll 8. Richer Poorer trio of socks 9. Lifefactory glass bottle with silicone sleeve 10. Faceted rubber watch by RumbaTime 11. Manhattan Toy soothing silicone teether 12. PsychoBaby cheeseburger T-shirt.




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SPRING STYLE ISSUE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS STUNNING SPRING STYLE Let our irresistible array of Spring ’14 sportswear help beat the winter blues.

EARNIES WINNERS ROUNDUP We honor the best brands in the children’s industry by revealing just why retailers can’t resist them.

TRADE SHOW PREVIEW It’s time to start planning for 2014. Don’t miss these insider tips on next year’s not-to-miss shows.

SO MUCH MORE… Inspirational and insightful, Earnshaw’s magazine has been the go-to resource for children’s apparel retailers for the past 97 years. With thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter, in addition to its awardwinning print publication, Earnshaw’s is an industry leader across a diverse array of media platforms, relied on by buyers and manufacturers for the best in children’s fashion and retail news.

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Ooh La La

2 1







Coco Chanel may have famously said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory,” but the gaggle of baubles and flourishes prettifying today’s tween market might have made the French fashion icon change her haughty tune. From ladylike pearls to gleaming crystals and wistful charms of sweet hearts, chic handbags and the Eiffel Tower, accessories are revisiting the elegant days when ladies lunched, poodles primped and macarons were a decadent treat. —Angela Velasquez

1. Vinca necklace with acrylic Parisian-themed charms 2. Hip Hop Candy conversation heart ring 3. Tiny Hands scented macaron pendant 4. Fairy Tale Jewels crystal and pearl charm bracelet 5. Chambre de Sucre macaron trinket boxes 6. Anais & I tulle-accented hair clip 7. Charm It! by High IntenCity Frenchinspired charm bracelet 8. Couture Clips chunky pearl and crystal necklace 9. Enchantmints musical ballerina jewelry box.



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Girls don feather boas and tutus in the fashion room.


The Suite Life

The Eloise boutique in New York City treats its young shoppers to (real) life at the Plaza. By Brittany Leitner HE WALLS ARE pink and so is the lemonade. Macarons and cupcakes are tiered on dessert stands, and a zebra print carpet is rolled out in the fashion room. Though it’s an enchanting set-up worthy of precocious children’s book character Eloise, it’s not fictional. Today the goodies are in honor of the Mini A Ture fashion show for the Danish brand’s third season in the U.S. market. The location, the Eloise store located in the worldfamous Plaza hotel, couldn’t be more ideal. (As any true Eloise fan knows, the delightfully fiendish heroine begins her story by declaring, “I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child. I live at the Plaza.”) The store was opened in

2009 as an extension of the beloved books written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight, and since then little girls have flocked to the shop for tea parties, shopping and book readings—living the life of their favorite literary heroine. Though the store is certainly no stranger to sweets and playing dress up, the Mini A Ture event is actually its first trunk show. However, store Director Jane Scott would love to see more fashion events at the Plaza. “Mini A Ture was the start of something interesting for Eloise,” she hints. “I’d like to continue on that path. It’s a neat opportunity to showcase what we have in the store.”

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Cruise 2013 Spring 2014 Shop the industry’s leading brands at the new and improved Children’s Market Center for a One-on-One buying experience!

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Scott. Eloise keeps the company of Though the store is well stocked with other classic children’s characters Eloise branded merchandise, Scott like Madeline, Babar and Curious makes sure to maintain a healthy fashion George, and Scott says any book assortment sure to please little trendsetthat has to do with New York is ters, including brands like Hatley, Little always a contender for shelf space. Blue House, Olive Juice and Rachel Riley. Popular titles include Goodnight And per customer request, she’s expandNew York City and Goodnight ing the selection this season, going from Central Park by Adam Gamble and around 15 brands to 25, by adding laillustrated by Joe Veno. “We look bels like Amelia, Coney Island Baby and for anything that has the same DNA Mayoral, just to name a few. In fact, the as Eloise; usually something female Mini A Ture fashion show was in part powered with a little bit of strength a celebration of the line’s arrival in the and attitude,” she says. store. “Design is key” when choosing looks for the store, Scott notes. “We pick items that are classic and beautiful THE EXPERIENCE rather than fads or current crazes in the “There’s no such thing as a typical market.” day at the Plaza,” says Scott. She As for what her littlest customers spends her workdays doing everylove, it’s no surprise that dresses are a thing from attending trade shows perennially popular pick. And while reand picking up product samples for tail prices for the store’s fashion items next season, to working on private range from $25 to $450, Scott likes to label developments. “When you’re make sure all children visiting the store having a bad day, the best thing in can take a little piece of the Plaza home the world is to just walk into Eloise The Eloise tea room hosts parties, both real and make believe. with them, by carrying toys that go for about 10 minutes,” she says. for as little as $3. (The Eloise doll and Scott’s love of the Plaza is also stuffed toys of her pet pug dog and turtle are big sellers, she reveals.) rooted in its deep history. Built in 1907, the officially recognized New And, of course, books are a huge part of the Eloise experience. “If you York City landmark has seen a handful of owners, including Conrad Hilthink about it, Eloise wouldn’t exist today if children didn’t read,” says ton and Donald Trump, and has been through many renovations over the years. “I’ve always been fascinated by the history of things and their backgrounds,” Scott adds. “This building is going to outlast all of us. To be apart of that in some way is really special to me.” Scott sees the same sense of awe on little girls’ faces once they walk into the store. “When they walk into the Plaza, kids become very well behaved. They sense the experience of being in such an interesting place,” she says, adding, “I think there’s a little bit of Eloise in every female who read the book when she was young. When they walk into the store, those memories come back to them.” She recalls one particular customer who traveled from Britain with her parents to visit the store. “She really embodied Eloise,” Scott describes. “She became Eloise for the week. Everywhere we saw her she was dressed inside and out like her.” Since that day, when Scott had just started working at the store, little girls dressed like Eloise have become a common sight. For Scott, one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is transforming these moments into treasured memories. Sure enough, the store’s décor alone helps ensure a special experience. Designed with children in mind, kid-sized chairs, tables and shelves offer little visitors a brief escape from the adult world. Once inside, Eloise fans can indulge in a quick imaginary tea party in the tearoom, or spend time watching the Eloise film, which is always playing on repeat in the reading room. There is even a miniature pink piano in the fashion room that little girls can poke away at during a break from dress up. The fashion room is the perfect place for an impromptu runway show, with its outstretched carpet that ends at a semi-circle of full-length mirrors. And during store hours, the space serves as a play room. “They can close the curtains and anything hanging on the wall for dress up is theirs to play with,” says Scott. For those looking for a longer Eloise experience, the shop offers a range of activities, including birthday parties and tea parties. “We host a significant amount of birthday parties. It’s a huge part of our business,” Scott 10% off your opening order with code: earn0713 shares. “They can be something as simple as having tea in the tea room or making a potted plant on Earth Day.” During the holidays, the boutique | 888.400.5454 even hosts visits with Santa. If that’s not enough of an Eloise-inspired


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GREAT DANE “I fell in love with the items,” Scott says of Danish newcomer, Mini A Ture, on her decision to bring the brand into the store for spring and kick off the inaugural collection with a fashion show fit for Eloise. The collection’s crisp styles, plus the whimsical additions of whipped petticoats and lace accents peeping out of floral print dresses, are what Scott says made the line a perfect fit for Eloise. For Spring ’14, Mini A Ture designer Linn Cecilie Faber Gullev reveals she was inspired by the “Moomin” book series by Swedish writer, Tove Jansson. In the series, the Moomins, imaginary characters that resemble a hippopotamus, live a carefree and adventurous life in the whimsical town of Moominvalley. Yet while the light and airy designs of the Spring ’14 collection reflect the simple Scandinavian lifestyle, Gullev insists “everything has to be new and surprising,” pointing to a bright yellow jumpsuit as a standout in the collection. Aside from eye-catching design, Scott was also attracted to Mini A Ture’s anti-bullying efforts, including its “Hands Up For Friendship” campaign, which empowers children to stick up for friends who are getting bullied instead of joining in. Working with Save the Children, an international organization that provides care to children when disaster strikes, the campaign aims to teach both children and adults that there’s a place for everyone to fit in. The label designed T-shirts featuring the slogan and proceeds from each sale goes to the charity. “They found their way into my heart very quickly,” Scott says of the brand. excursion, there’s a themed suite in the hotel designed by fashion icon Betsey Johnson, with pink-striped walls, Eloise character sheets and her name spelled out in neon pink letters above the king sized bed. And true to its literary inspiration, the shop plays host to plenty of book readings and signings. This past summer, the store hosted a sixweek summer reading program, with visits from authors of “Ollie and Moon,” Diane Kredensor, and the “Stella Batts” series, Courtney Sheinmel. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the “Amelia Bedelia” series, first published in 1963 by Peggy Parish, the original author’s nephew and current author Herman Parish hosted the reading for the series, which now includes more than 30 titles. Although the Eloise store is just seven years old, it has already grown to be a must-see tourist stop associated with the Plaza. The Eloise event calendar stays full throughout the months, but Scott has no intention of slowing down. “I want to have more apparel and more toys,” she says. “There are a couple of items that are in the Eloise books that I really want to bring to life over the next couple of years,” she teases, adding, “We don’t have everything yet.” •

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Thank you!

to all our retailers & colleagues for helping us win 2 Earnie awards this year!

"It" Product of the Year Accessory of the Year

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Founder and Owner Roxana Castillo celebrates Kissy Kissy’s super sweet birthday by revealing how her retail background helped her build a multimillion dollar la yette line that propelled the rise of Peruvian pima cotton. By Audrey Goodson Kingo

Sixteen Candles

WHEN KISSY KISSY owner Roxana Castillo moved to the U.S. from Peru at the age of 20, she confesses with a laugh: “I had dreams of conquering the world. Instead, the world conquered me.” Kissy Kissy’s Roxana Castillo But sitting in the Kissy Kissy showroom, surrounded by the hundreds of styles that make up the brand’s Spring ’14 collection, it’s easy to see that the modest owner and founder has in reality done a fair share of conquering, especially when it comes to cornering the market on super-soft pima cotton layette sets. Now sold in more than 2,000 stores, including shops in Europe, Australia, Asia, Central America, Northern Africa and the Middle East, Kissy Kissy is celebrating its 16th birthday this month—but don’t expect Castillo to wax nostalgic about the mark her brand has made in the children’s industry. That’s not because it hasn’t, but because the interview-shy owner owns a fair dose of an increasingly uncommon trait in the age of me-centered social media: good, old-fashioned humility. “Kissy Kissy is not just me; it’s the team,” she counters, when commended on the brand’s accomplishments. You won’t hear Castillo rattle them off herself, but the list includes distribution in pretty much every high-end department store in the U.S., no fewer than five Earnie Awards for Best Infants’ Collection (including this year’s award) and a roster of celebrity fans that include the likes of Katie Holmes, Nicole Kidman and Celine Dion, just to name a few. When complimented, Castillo is quick to divert credit to her team, including everyone from the women in Peru who hand embroider the brand’s intricate designs to the artists who produce Kissy Kissy’s popular prints. She’s especially grateful for the help from long-time friends like Gail Wagner, former owner of Baby Boom in Montclair, NJ, who provided retail expertise to help shape the brand’s very first collection and who continue to help by monitoring the brand’s department store merchandising. “It’s a combined effort from the team in the office,


Q& A

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the reps, our stores, plus our manufacturers,” she adds. “You take out one of those pieces, and we cease to exist.” That may be true, but certainly a fair share of the credit for the brand’s success goes to Castillo herself, first for recognizing that Peruvianproduced pima cotton layette sets would be a hit with parents across the globe. It’s hard to imagine in today’s children’s industry, now packed with Peruvian-produced apparel, but the country’s high-quality pima cotton was still relatively unknown when Castillo began selling it, as a retailer, in 1995. Inspiration struck after Castillo gave her stepdaughter, a new mother, a pima cotton layette set she picked up on a trip to Lima. “She had never touched anything so soft,” Castillo recalls. Together, the two decided to open a kiosk at a nearby mall to sell Peruvian baby apparel, but they were offered an entire store space instead. Less than a year later, they moved the store to a beautiful boutique space in a stately old home in Chatham, NJ. The pima cotton products were a hit, and a second store soon followed. Listening to customer feedback, Castillo noticed another quirk about the layette brands on the market at the time: None of them seemed to offer a full collection. “If someone wanted a gift, and wanted all the elements to go with it— the bib, the hats and the booties—we couldn’t find a line that offered all of that,” she remem-

bers. “There were lines that offered cute layette apparel and some that offered cute layette gifts, but none that offered the whole package.” So in 1997 she launched Kissy Kissy. Sixteen years later, the beloved brand features a variety of labels offering everything from christening gowns to cardigans in sizes preemie to 4T. But from the beginning, Kissy Kissy offered everything eager-to-please gift givers would want to include in a baby shower or birthday basket: bibs, booties, blankets, hats, converters, footies, playsuits and one-pieces, all manufactured in Peru—no easy feat at the time. “The analogy I use is we started with our little machetes and went into the forest and opened our way through the vegetation and the trees,” she says with a laugh. “And then the road was paved, and everybody came afterword with the trucks and cars.” It’s an apt analogy, looking at the growing number of newcomers making Peruvian cotton children’s apparel. And while the now-ubiquitous awareness regarding the perks of pima cotton certainly can’t hurt, the increased competition has its challenges. As more brands begin manufacturing in the country, costs have rapidly increased, particularly for delicate hand embroideries and smocking, a signature of Kissy Kissy’s sophisticated, timeless designs. While it may be a challenge, Castillo still sees her job as a privilege, and a chance to help her

native country. “Another reason why we thought of bringing in pima cotton from Peru was to give back to our country,” she explains. “For me, that is actually one of the things that makes this business worthwhile. Our hand embroiderers are all mothers who work from home, and they are able to work and take care of their families at the same time. And when you see the people working in the factories, the fact that you’re providing for them makes all of the problems of the world worth it.” What did you learn as a retailer that helped you design the first Kissy Kissy collection? First of all, we realized our customers loved the softness of pima cotton, and the quality. And they wanted to have items that were easy to use with the baby—like converter gowns, for example—and clothes with snaps instead of buttons. We also noticed that shoppers, especially grandmothers, liked buying special gifts, which brought about a lot of Kissy’s hand embroideries. And we also realized shoppers liked having a complete collection. Where is the hat? Do you have a blanket that goes with it? How about the bib? Shoppers wanted to be able to put together gifts that were either small and meaningful or large baskets full of coordinating items. Do you think it’s changed? Not really. However, I do think people are now

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When Kissy Kissy first launched, the brand offered a layette gift set in four basic prints, with one-pieces and footies featuring matching embroidery. Dubbed Homeward Bound, the traditional take on layette, offered in high-quality Pervuian pima cotton, was an immediate hit, and is still the brand’s bestselling collection.

used to good quality. Before they were totally surprised, and they couldn’t believe something could be so soft, but now they kind of expect it. Today I also think you see a little bit more practical purchases. We’re not selling as many accessories as we used to. I think mothers are a little more careful as to how they are spending their dollars. If a hat is not necessary, moms won’t buy it, if it means being able to get another item that’s a little bit more practical. The sales of hand embroidered items and more expensive items—the grandmotherly purchases—have definitely gone down a little bit. People are spending their money a little more frugally. But in terms of making it easier for moms to dress their babies and change diapers, that hasn’t changed at all—our converter gowns are still one of our bestselling items. Was it difficult to manufacture in Peru initially? In the beginning, we had to go knocking on every possible door, getting information along the lines, of ‘So-and-so told me so-andso does baby clothing.’ Yes, you found a lot of manufacturers in Peru at the time, but not all of them specialized in baby clothing—and you have to specialize. You can’t turn an adult manufacturer into a baby manufacturer. They have to already know what they are doing. We

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were extremely small and weren’t anywhere close to meeting the minimums at certain factories, or there were no manufacturers that met our criteria. It was very hard, and we were very lucky to find the factories that we did. Now, of course, Peru is an extremely popular spot for sourcing. Now the competition is such that everybody goes knocking on our factories’ doors, because they produce for Kissy Kissy. In fact, now you have institutions in Peru that promote exports and provide all that information on a platter—and point you in the right direction, too. There are track records of who exports how much and when. Everything is laid out on a platter, whereas it was something we really had to really investigate. In that sense, Lima has changed tremendously. The unfortunate part is because of the competition that now exists, prices have gone up. And I’m sure shoppers don’t want to see a price increase on the finished product. No, but I also believe there’s a limit to how much baby clothing should go for—there’s only so much you can pay for baby layette. Even though we have seen constant price increases from manufacturing in Peru— because the price of pima cotton went up, the local currency is stronger and labor is more

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expensive—we have not really passed those increases along to our retailers the way those cost increases have been passed on to us. We can’t price ourselves out of the market. I think value is very important, and I think we need to work hand in hand with our retailers to make it possible for them to sell the product. There’s no point in my pricing something at its true price if it’s not going to move. Aside from price, are their any other challenges to increased competition from brands made in Peru? I think right now there is an oversaturation of the product in the market. There’s a little bit too much of the same. Another brand will come in with a better price, and say, ‘Oh it’s also pima, and it’s cheaper.’ So it makes it a little bit harder to sell to the stores. How do you stand out? First of all, I think our quality is still the best. And I think people appreciate that and know the difference with Kissy—that they can trust Kissy’s quality. We also try to stay a step ahead of everybody else, while staying true to our core, which is offering high quality, excellent customer service and a large diversity of product. We have collections that we sell throughout the year, so people can always order Kissy whenever they need it. If a store is opening

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and they need product right away, we will have it for them. If a store didn’t order enough, we’ll have product for them. In what other ways do you work together with your retailers? We provide them an excellent customer service. I believe that the customer comes first, second and third. We don’t do any specific programs, but we do listen to what they need and what they want—from prices to quality to prints. Obviously, we can’t do everything that’s requested of us, because you can’t please everyone, but we try. And that is how we put the line together, too, by listening to the retailers, our clients and our reps. That old-fashioned approach to customer service is a bit rare these days. We’re extremely loyal to our clients, to our mom-and-pop boutiques, and to our department stores. We will do anything and everything to protect them. We try very hard not to sell to offprice wholesalers. We try to keep the line as clean as possible, so they are able to have good sales with the product. I think that’s our core business and to remain in business we need them, so we’ll protect them. We will do whatever is necessary to work with them, because they in turn will keep us in business.

Your retail background must have inspired your emphasis on customer service. We realized just how difficult it is for a store to conduct business if a brand isn’t working with them—if it ships incomplete or ships late. Often, we would get damaged merchandise, or we would buy a set and get the booties but not the outfit, and no one would answer the phone or respond. That’s why we make sure that we provide excellent customer service. For us, the client will always be right no matter what. We have to enable them to be able to truly sell the product. We can’t make it difficult. I found that many lines and wholesalers out there don’t do that. They don’t answer the calls. They don’t seem to care. That was a very important lesson that I learned from having a retail store. Within the season, Kissy Kissy ships every 15 days. Do you think that’s another service your retailers appreciate? Yes, because they constantly can get new Kissy collections coming to their store and they can constantly refresh their look. That’s why I have white hair. [Laughs.] Newness seems to be a big draw for a lot of shoppers. But I also think shoppers want the service that comes with buying from a brick-and-mortar boutique. And I think they also want to see

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and touch. Moms want to have that one-on-one experience with whatever they are buying, especially for their babies. I don’t think stores will ever stop being relevant. Kissy Kissy now has a store in almost every continent. How did you begin selling internationally? The third year of the business, we started with England by going to the Premier Kids show in Birmingham, just to see what happened. I’ll never forget the first store that placed an order with us was Fortnum & Mason in London. That, for me, was an incredible experience. I was flabbergasted because I knew the name, but I didn’t realize they sold baby products. I found out they had a very small baby department. At the time, they wanted exclusivity, and I was almost considering it until someone opened my eyes and said, ‘No, they’re very small—you don’t want exclusivity.’ Then we started showing at Pitti Bimbo and we found reps in Europe, and they opened up the European market for us. There are so many differences to keep in mind when designing for international clients, right? It’s an entirely different market. We include items in our collection that are specifically geared for international buyers, by listening to what our stores want. In Japan, they won’t buy

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items that are open in the back, so I have to make sure if we present a footie that it opens in the front. Some Italian stores won’t buy an item that doesn’t have a collar. And some European buyers want bolder colors, so we’ve tried to introduce that with our Qt-Qt line. Other European stores want very traditional hand-smocking and hand-embroideries, which we always try to keep in the line for them. Sixteen years later, what moments make you proudest? For me, it’s amazing to see a wall of Kissy Kissy in stores across the world. It’s incredible. And when I get expressions of appreciation from the factory workers, that fulfills me in a way I can’t describe. Also, Kissy Kissy has been more visible online recently with social media, and it’s always special when moms post pictures and are proud to show their babies in Kissy. It’s great because it gives all of these moms who are very excited about the product a place to come together as a community. So Kissy Kissy is ramping up its social media presence. Any plans to branch into e-commerce? No. That goes in line with opening a store. For me, you concentrate on one area of the business or you concentrate on another. I know a lot wholesale lines have their own stores, but my

philosophy is as much as we can prevent it, we won’t do that. I consider that competing with your clients, and I wouldn’t be able to do that to them. On your website, you note that Kissy Kissy is owned and managed by women. Do you think that female perspective makes a big difference? Yes. In my case, I’ve had a baby, I’ve dressed a baby and I’ve had to be practical with a baby. I think that when you talk to mothers, being a woman, they will open up more and tell you more about their needs and frustrations. There’s also more empathy and understanding about what moms might need to make their lives easier. I think men tend to be more business-oriented—they tend to think more of the practical issues of the business. I’m not saying women don’t do that, too, but we’ll always keep in the back of our minds what mothers really want. Really and truly, no matter how much society has changed, usually it’s the mother who takes care of the baby—and works! You have to consider all of this in how you make this woman’s life a little bit smoother. So give her good product— she can wash Kissy 1,000 times, and it will still come out as close to new as possible—and give her something that is easy and her baby is comfortable in. Give her something she doesn’t have to worry about. •

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La Miniatura suit, Burberry button-down, Dr. Martens shoes, banana pillow by MedicomToys. 47

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Limeapple top, Hudson Jeans striped pants. Opposite page: Stella Cove top with neon green trim, Mercura NYC sunglasses.

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Elisa B dress worn under SuperTrash jacket, Dr. Martens boots. Opposite page: Malibu Sugar top under jacket.


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Hudson Jeans denim jeans and jacket. Opposite page: Atsuyo et Akiko top, Zara Terez leggings, Peace of Cake hat.


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Opposite page from left: Kensie Girl button-down under Curio+Kind sweater, Next skirt; Laundry by Shelli Segal dress, Hudson Jeans leggings, Dr. Martens purse.

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Kensie Girl white tank (dots added), Mercura NYC sunglasses. Opposite page: SuperTrash top, ESP No.1 pants, Dr. Martens boots. Hair by Brennen Demelo at Utopia. Makeup by Christina Reyna at Ray Brown. Prop styling by Andi Burnett. 56

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GEAR UP Let’s face it: Baby gear can be overwhelming. With an array of updates and redesigns for everything from high-tech strollers to state-ofthe-art baby carriers, the industry is constantly growing and changing—a little like those it’s built to serve. But how do you know what’s best for you and your customers? Earnshaw’s is here to help. We sorted through hundreds of cribs, carriers, car seats and more, and broke them down into six leading categories to bring you our first annual Ultimate Gear Guide, chock full of the products primed to make waves with new and expectant parents in 2014. B Y LY N D S AY M C G R E G O R

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carried away 1. BABY WEARING Developed with pediatricians, the Baby Carrier One by Baby Bjorn is the brand’s first multifunctional front and back baby carrier that can be used from birth up to 3 years, providing the right support for a growing child’s head, back and hips. The ergonomic carrier retails for $199.95 and features a waist belt and shaped padded shoulder straps to relieve pressure, while a padded seat, outward seams and adjustable head support offers comfort for baby. 2. JUST SLING IT If you love Sakura Bloom’s bestselling silk slings, good news: The brand is introducing a new single-layer version at the lower wholesale price of $170. Crafted from specially sourced and eco-friendly wild tussah, the slings are traditionally woven with hand-dyed threads, resulting in a strong but soft textile. Available in a kaleidoscope of colors, each sling is made to order in Massachusetts and designed to fit all body shapes. www.


3. DESIGNER BABY Moby has teamed up with Scandinavian textile designer Lotta Jansdotter on a capsule collection of carriers and wraps inspired by nature and featuring a new mid-weight cotton and carrier pouch. Offered in three color choices, the onesize-fits-all design means all caregivers can easily share. Wholesale prices range from $23 to $39. 4. WRAPPED UP For parents looking for an alternative to the bells and whistles of a baby carrier, Ergobaby bows the Wrap. Designed for newborns and infants up to 31lbs, the premium fabric flexes for a perfect fit and won’t sag throughout the day from baby’s weight. The wrap (SRP $79.99) can also be used as a prenatal and postnatal bellyband. 5. HOT ‘N COLD Mom and baby both can chill out even on sweltering summer days thanks to the latest addition to the Stokke family, MyCarrier Cool. The 3-in-1 carrier keeps both baby and wearer cool, with 3-D mesh fabric that wicks away moisture and allows air to circulate. Adjustable and easy to use, it grows with the child, and wholesales for $109.99.

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grab bag 1. SEEING GREEN Looking for options for earthfriendly shoppers? Lassig reprocesses used PET bottles and crafts them into the fabric of its Green Label line of diaper bags. All four designs—backpack, small messenger bag, urban and neckline bag—come in three color ways and comprise a spacious main compartment, detachable inner compartments, a waterproof changing mat, a sealed compartment for wet items as well as a bottle holder and lots of storage space for diapers and other baby gear. Wholesale prices range from $40.50 to $80.90. 2. STOW AWAY Boken breaks into the market with a range of lightweight, convertible diaper bags. Made from waterproof material that easily wipes clean and spanning totes and duffels to hip packs, the unisex bags are designed to allow the wearer to be handsfree and fold into a small zip pouch for easy storage and traveling. Wholesale prices range from $17 to $38.

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3. GRAB ‘N GO JJ Cole’s changing clutch (wholesale price $10) offers a fashion-forward solution for moms who want to stay organized without sacrificing style. With its slim design and three chic print options, no one would suspect that it fits a wipes case and three diapers and unfolds to a 19” by 28” padded changing area. 4. QUICK DRAW On-the-go diaper changes are a cinch with A.D. Sutton’s Fisher-Price clutch featuring its FastFinder Pocket System. Wholesaling for $10, specially designed pockets labeled for diapers, wipes and disposal bags help parents find what they need quickly and easily, and the extra wide changing pad is a must for squirmy babies.

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5. WIZARD OF OZ J.L. Childress brings Australia’s No. 1 selling diaper bags from nursery brand Ryco to the U.S. Classic and affordable (with retail prices averaging $59.99 to $69.99) every bag comes with a coordinating, detachable pacifier pod, padded changing pad, pouch for dirty diapers and wipes, internal pacifier pocket and an insulated bottle pocket. An abundance of internal and external pockets offer extra organization.

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sleep aid


1. WITHIN REACH Halo introduces the BassiNest Swivel Sleeper, a moving bassinet that allows a newborn to sleep as close as mom wants. The patented design allows the bassinet to rotate a full 360 degrees from two different pivot points: the first swivels elliptically, allowing the bassinet to be pulled into the bed; the second rotates circularly, making it easy to angle it as needed. Wholesaling for $120, other features include a nightlight, soothing nature and womb sounds, music and gentle vibration. 2. SWEET DREAMS The Brica Magical Firefly Crib Soother & Projector (SRP $59.99) combines the magic of fireflies and natural soothing sounds composed by an Emmy Award winning artist to help little ones drift into dreamland. Gentle lights behind the mirror and frame mimic fireflies as twinkling lights illuminate the ceiling. The simple control panel features a built-in memory allowing the most recent setting to be played at the touch of a button. 3. SNUG AS A BUG Blanket on the Go by Bella Bundles is a reversible blanket that snaps onto strollers and carriers to ensure kids are kept super-snug. Better yet, the blankets can go around mom’s neck for privacy while nursing. Available in stylish cotton prints like chevron or damask, the blanket wholesales from $30.


4. ON THE FLOOR Pello has added a patent-pending oval design to its line of deluxe floor pillows. Featuring the same raised edges, soft fabric and padded center as the original, the new shape can support twins, while still offering a safe place for tummy time and fun reading spot for older kids. Available in a kaleidoscope of colors and prints, the pillows retail for $120, are machinewashable and have handles for easy portability. 5. NAP STAR Ideal for home or travel, the LullaGo by Chicco is a portable bassinet (SRP $149) that can be disassembled and folded in under a minute, and packed in a matching bag. The lightweight bassinet’s aluminum structure features anti-slip feet for stability, and a soft fabric mattress and mesh inserts for aeration allow newborns to sleep comfortably.

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strolling along 1. IT TAKES TWO Distributed in the U.S. by Happy Kidz, European company Kleine Dreumes introduces the Kid-Sit, an easy-to-attach board and seat that does exactly what it says on the tin. Using a series of zip straps, the accessory attaches easily to the rear of most strollers, creating space for another child up to 4 years or 40lbs to sit or stand. The Kid-Sit wholesales for $78. www.happykidssmart

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2. BABY BUNTING The Shell by Imagine Baby provides added protection for baby in all sorts of weather. With its seamless fit to any infant car seat, the water-resistant footmuff (wholesale $15) stays securely in place—no more blankets falling off— making it easy to bundle up baby before going out, and toys or pacifiers can be attached with a strap to the side elastic. 3. LUXE LINER Babies will love to snuggle into the super-soft deep pile of Fareskind’s Cozy Traveler Collection. Made from 100 percent Australian merino sheepskin, the liners’ natural insulation properties keep little ones dry in the summer and warm in the winter. Water resistant and machine washable, the liners are suitable for ages 0 to 36 months and wholesale for $40. 4. EASY RIDER With 12-inch pneumatic tires for navigating bumpy sidewalks, active parents will love the smooth ride offered by the versatile Guzzie + Gus Connect +3 (SRP $599.99). The reclining seat is removable and reversible and a large canopy provides full coverage. Other features include secret storage for a purse or cell phone and a five-point harness.

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5. OFF-ROAD Versatile, robust and spacious, the one-piece fold Bugaboo Buffalo (SRP $1,129) has a high wide seat and an extendable sun canopy for extra protection against the elements. For those who love escaping the city’s bustle on the weekends, the Buffalo offers multiple luggage options and is the first stroller with an official safety certification to be able to hang up to 13lbs on the handlebar.

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tub time

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1. TOILET TRAINING Intelligent Potty makes potty training easier with a re-recordable sound module that allows parents to record a personalized message for their child. When little ones begins to use the potty, they will hear the sound of running water after two seconds, which encourages them to carry on. When they finish they will hear the custom message, followed by a pleasant tune. The potty retails for $59.99 and comes in 10 colors. 2. BATH BUDDIES Lather away in style with Little Twig’s fun and functional cotton terry bath mitts. Gentle on baby’s delicate skin, the scrubbers give skin a fresh glow by washing away dead skin cells and surface impurities, leaving it perfectly nourished and radiant. The bath mitts come in bumblebee and ladybug options and retail for $4.49. 3. SHARING SIZE Noodle & Boo’s Newborn 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash (SRP $18) is now available in a 16 oz. “sibling size” bottle. Soap-free and tearless, the high-moisture formula does double duty, nourishing and conditioning delicate skin and hair without stripping natural moisture. Mild enough for daily use, it can be used on newborns and babies with sensitive skin. www.noodle

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4. PORTA POTTY My Carry Potty is a line of 100 percent leak-proof potties that allows kids to go anywhere. Assembly-free, lightweight and easy to carry, the childproof clip-close lid and rubber seal ensures that contents remain inside the potty until parents can find a restroom to empty it. And no disposable bags mean it’s better for the environment. My Carry Potty retails for $30. 5. AU NATUREL From shampoo to lotion, each Wash with Water product is 100 percent vegan and cruelty free, made in the U.S.A. from all natural and organic ingredients. The newest addition to the line is A Star is Born, an after-bath collection (SRP $22.60) comprising massage cream and unscented baby lotion. The combination of argan oil, roman chamomile and orange blossom hydrates and protects sensitive skin without harmful chemicals. www.washwith

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value meal 1. LEAK-FREE Bébé Confort’s no-leak Easy Clip bottle closes in just one clip, meaning no more leaks and fussing at feeding time. And with its super-smooth thread-free neck and wide opening, cleaning is a cinch. Easy Clip is also compatible with the brand’s new Natural Comfort teat, which mimics the shape of mother’s breast and reduces colic and regurgitation. Retailing for $8.99 and $9.99, the bottle comes in 5oz., 9oz. and 12oz. options.


2. ECO-FRIENDLY DISHES Fantastic Dishes by Zoë B Organic is the world’s first line of dishwasher safe dinnerware made from corn. The American-made bowls, plates and tumblers look, feel and hold up just like ordinary plastic, but don’t contain any toxic chemicals like BPA or phthalates, meaning they’re safer for kids and the environment. Available in five colors, each set wholesales for $10.


3. START EARLY The latest line of dinnerware from Good Seeds is specifically designed to help teach kids lifelong healthy eating habits that will last into adulthood. The plastic-, BPA-, melamine- and phthalate-free plate, bowl and cup feature fun illustrations representing the different food groups so kids become aware of what they’re putting into their bodies. The set includes kid-size cutlery and wholesales for $16. www. 4. SHAPING DINNER Lollaland is complementing its flagship product, the Lollacup, with a colorful—and educational—mealtime set. Wholesaling for $20, the three-piece set includes a square plate and circular bowl, perfectly sized for toddler portions, and a triangular dipping cup that keeps condiments from running onto food. Made-in-the-U.S.A. with safe materials that have been FDA-approved for use by young children, the stackable dinnerware is easy to store and dishwasher safe. 5. SAFE SIPPING Green Sprouts introduces the Sip ‘n Straw Cup, a 2-in-1 cup with interchangeable tops that offers a non-toxic alternative to traditional sippy cups. Made of tempered glass lined with a plastic shell, the design ensures liquids only touch silicone and glass, preventing possible chemical leeching and keeping liquids tasting fresh. Wholesaling for $10, each cup includes a no-drop silicone sippy top and a silicone straw top.

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JynJyn’s premium baby socks distinguish themselves with unique 3-D designs that are fashionable and fun, giving babies a touch of style before their little feet are ready for shoes. Designed in Europe, JynJyn socks are carefully manufactured by factories certified by OEKO-TEX® Standard 100. To prepare babies for their first steps, JynJyn socks are all padded with anti-skid silicone on the soles and made smooth on the toes with skillful handcraftsmanship.


The new HALO® Bassinest™ Swivel Sleeper is the only bassinet that moves. Now baby can sleep as close as mom wants and still sleep safely in his own space. Its dual-swivel design rotates 360⁰ two ways: elliptically, so it can be pulled over the bed; and circularly, making it easier to get in and out of bed. While in bed, mesh sides and a retractable wall make it easier to tend to baby. See for yourself at booth #2003 at the ABC Kids Expo.




Max Daniel Designs is a woman-owned business founded in 2003 in Los Angeles. Since the debut of the current collection, the luxury baby and adult blankets have been featured at more than 1,000 specialty boutiques worldwide. Max Daniel Designs’ blankets are soft and luxurious with a variety of fun and trendy designs, made of the finest quality materials. Every item is produced in the USA and supports local manufacturers. Meet us at booth #4641 at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas.

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Nested Bean’s Zen Swaddle has three lightly weighted areas that add gentle pressure on baby’s sides and center to mimic a mother’s embrace. This unique construction combines the benefits of swaddling and touch, allowing babies to calm, self-soothe and sleep for up to two additional hours at night. At the ABC Kids Expo, Zen Swaddle unveils its enhanced size for use from newborn to 6 months, as well as new giftworthy packaging. Visit us in Modern Child at booth #5519. www.

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las vegas october 15-18 booth 2231

What’s My Name?

With family roots in the uniform business, Stacey Blume updated the look for trendy tots.

F baby sling crafted of fine all natural fibers: soft Irish linens and lush dupioni silks. adjust adjustable, one size. newborn-35lbs. made in massachusetts.

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OR STACEY BLUME, founder and creative director of the Blume label of personalized gifts and clothing, moving into babies’ and kids’ clothes was a natural progression for the brand, which began in 2003 with lingerie. It’s even explained in the company’s tagline: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Blume baby stylin’ in the carriage.” While living in Los Angeles, a visit from Blume’s father, a veteran in the personalized uniform business, inspired her to tap into the fashion market. “I took him to Urban Outfitters, and he was surprised to see them selling Dickies,” she says. “He couldn’t believe that was fashionable,” she laughs. For the first time, Blume became excited about her family’s business and realized the name patch style that adorns industrial worker’s uniforms could be a hit with kids as well. With name patches on babies’ shirts, “no one will have to ask what the little one’s name is,” says Blume, who also designs the line. “It’s a perfect way to introduce your new baby to the world.”

The baby and kids’ line, launched in 2005, now includes bibs, burp cloths, one-pieces and T-shirts with printed ties in sizes 0 to 24 months, 2T to 6T and 10 to 16. Soon celebrity moms like Kourtney Kardashian and Victoria Beckham were buying the duds and Blume was a staple at highend retailers. Available for a suggested retail price of $32 to $64 for the personalized patch items, and tie and vest shirts, the domestically manufactured Woven line is still sold at Kitson and Tori Spelling’s boutique, Inventori. Blume, however, wanted to make her creations available to more families, so she worked with overseas manufacturers to lower the retail price to $18 to $26 for items featuring a stamped, screen printed oval with fun names like “Lil Sis” or “Rockstar.” Launched in Spring ’12, the lowerpriced Stamped line is now available at retailers like BuyBuyBaby and Nordstrom. For Spring ’14, Blume will add one-pieces with suspenders and bowties to the mix for both lines. “Customers really appreciate the value of what they’re getting at Blume at a more economical price,” she adds. —Brittany Leitner

9/20/13 3:03 PM

Firm Believer


Little girls can say goodbye to sliding hair bows with the new No-Slip Clip from Wee Ones.

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Charming British-Styled



HAT’S THE MOST important part of a little girl’s hair bow? When husband and wife duo Miles and Gina Faust took over well-known accessories brand Wee Ones three years ago, the answer was a bit unexpected. It wasn’t style, size or fabric, and it wasn’t price. “The most important factor when moms buy hair accessories is: Does it stay in?” explains Miles, the company’s owner and CEO. In fact, market research revealed that no single accessories brand had perfected the art of a no-slip clip. “We’re all using the same kinds of clips and the same kinds of barrettes,” Miles says of the accessory industry. “Ours were really good, but we saw an opportunity to raise the bar.” After more than two years looking at many different solutions, the Wee Ones team finally found a winning prototype, a silicone-like strip that has been added to the entire Wee Ones collection for Spring ’14. Dubbed the WeeStay No-Slip Clip, the Fausts believe it will be a gamechanger in the accessories arena. “This is the bow for the active girl,” Miles offers. “This is the bow that stays in at soccer practice and dance practice. It’s still in her hair and not in her backpack at the end of the day.” The new technology was met with enthusiasm from retail buyers at shows in Atlanta, Dallas and New York—especially because the improvement comes at no charge, with the brand’s assortment of bows, clips and headbands still available at a wholesale price range of $1.75 to

* N OW IN T HE U. S . ! *

Darcy Bear

Bo Rabbit

$10, Miles reports. Even better, he adds, unlike previous collections, the new clip will incorporate the Wee Ones logo. “Thanks to the logo, retailers can use Wee Ones to develop a relationship with their customers,” Miles notes. Plus, when bows inevitably get passed around among little girls, moms will see exactly how popular the Wee Ones brand has always been. That popularity came as no surprise to Gina, when the opportunity to buy the 35-year-old company became available. When Miles asked her about the brand’s prospects, she simply pointed to photos on their mantel, of their daughters sporting Wee Ones bows through the years. Now, with three years of experience under their belt, the couple is contemplating expanding the company’s tween line, Après Les Petites, and they are excited to continue Wee One’s partnership with Knot Genie, the bestselling detangling brush. “It’s a wonderful extension of our line,” Miles says, adding, “We’re all about helping little girls make their hair look great.” —Audrey Goodson Kingo


Original designs beautifully crafted gorgeous fabrics ultra-soft, high quality velour hand-knitted clothing distinctive packaging





Interchangeable clothing sets available! View the entire collection at: Roundabout.US

The Exclusive North American distributor of

805.963.8180 Ragtales@Roundabout.US

9/20/13 3:02 PM


Using all-natural merino, New Zealand-based brand Little Flock of Horrors aims to make children’s fashion both functional and fun.

Real Monsters


ITH A NAME like Little Flock of Horrors, don’t expect the brand director of the playful children’s label, Lucy Wildman, to wax poetic on the bliss of being a parent. “My husband and I often joke that we were sold this bill of goods about being parents, about how it’s portrayed as these beautiful moments with your baby sleeping on a sheepskin rug, and it’s not,” she admits with a chuckle. “Kids can sometimes be monsters, but we embrace it.” It’s a sentiment that sums up the ethos for the New Zealand-based brand Wildman launched three years ago with her husband Fran Frost, and the inspiration for the line’s simple yet sophisti-

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cated designs, with practical touches that make it perfect for little monsters at play, like drop-crotch pants and no-fuss dress silhouettes. Wildman struck upon the idea of making a merino kids’ collection in the wake of a frightening night, when her son suffered a febrile convulsion—seizures that occur when an infant’s body temperature becomes too high. “It made me aware that what you put next to a baby’s skin is really important,” she explains. Based on her background working for action sport brands, Wildman knew that merino makes an ideal fabric for regulating body temperature, and she couldn’t help but wonder if the night would have turned out differently if her son had been swathed in the moisture-wicking wool instead. “Merino can absorb 30 percent of its weight until it feels wet,” she points out. “Having kids sleep in merino is a great idea, because it can absorb some of their sweat but it keeps their temperature regulated,” she says. Wildman admits that New Zealand is an ideal spot for sourcing merino—a bonus that’s helped the brand stand out in the market. “The great thing about New Zealand is everything is ethically produced,” she adds, noting that the company’s factory is located just five miles from her home. “In terms of being able to trace it and track it, it doesn’t get more local than that.” For Spring ’14, slouch beanies and fingerless gloves have been added to the brand’s Monster Mash-themed collection. Available for boys and girls sizes newborn to 8, wholesale prices range from $12.50 for a set of gloves to $45 for a hoodie. “I just want people to think that merino and natural fabric can be cool,” Wildman adds. “It doesn’t have to be technical.” —A.G.K.

9/20/13 3:06 PM

Safe Harbor For UV Skinz Founder Rhonda Sparks, preaching the perks of sun protection is about so much more than boosting sales.


ROTECTIVE SUN GEAR sales are booming, and it’s no surprise to Rhonda Sparks, the founder and owner of UV Skinz. In just seven years since the brand’s debut, she’s seen a massive shift in attitudes about sun safety. “You can see it at the pools and beaches and lakes. There are so many kids covered now—it’s awesome to see the awareness happening,” Sparks says. “Now if you get a sunburn, it’s taboo, instead of back in the day when people said, ‘Cool, it’s going to turn into a tan.’” To track just how fast that perception has changed, Sparks points to what inspired her to launch the brand in the first place: Seven years ago, she couldn’t even find protective suits for her three boys in their hometown of Sonora, CA, so she would purchase rash guards and other gear while on family vacations in spots like Hawaii. When the family returned, she would lug the protective wear back home and give the extras away to friends. “We would bring back these traditional rash guards that were more form-fitting, with heavier fabric. It just made me think, ‘This could get repurposed into something much more

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user friendly, fashion forward and lighter weight for kids, so they weren’t so confined.” In 2007, Sparks set to work creating a line of UV50+ protective suits and swim shirts for children, in bold hues and colorful prints that appealed to parents and kids alike. “We always keep in mind it’s got to be fun. Otherwise, kids aren’t going to wear it,” she points out. She sold 2,400 units in the first year alone, and introduced adult styles the following year, following popular demand. Now, the UV Skinz line includes everything from hoodies and ponchos to hats and shoes for the entire family, and the brand’s classic swim shirt is carried at Costcos across the world. But for Sparks, the brand’s success means so much more than just booming sales. In 2001, her husband Darren Farwell died after a five-year battle with cancer that resulted from a melanoma spot on his shoulder. (Next year, the brand is creating a koi print pattern, based on his sketches, and a portion of the pattern’s sales will go to the organization Aim at Melanoma.) “It just made me ultra-conscious of sun protection,” Sparks shares. “One sunburn as a kid and you’re doubling your chances of getting skin cancer as an adult.” However, finding the right material for the collection, which wholesales for $7 to $40, wasn’t easy. Many brands use chemicals to achieve a certain level of UV protection, but Sparks sought out a process that would provide natural protection by producing a tight weave that reduces the sun’s penetrating rays. “A lot of times the UV rating will change when a fabric is wet or dry, so we do rigorous third-party testing, and we make sure all of our fabrics are UV50+ wet and dry,” she affirms. “We’re really meticulous with quality. We just want our stuff to last and be affordable.” —A.G.K.

Any way you stack it,

Dallas offers more for kids Dallas KidsWorld Market APPAREL. GIFT. ACCESSORIES. TOY.

January 23-26, 2014 Thursday-Sunday

Dallas Market Center 214.744.7444

9/23/13 12:04 PM


Earnshaw's Marketplace maximizes small budgets for emerging infant and toddler companies. Tout your apparel

Bows Arts 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. 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.


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Immediate Delivery

9/20/13 7:36 PM

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9/20/13 7:37 PM


Bel Bambini, West Hollywood and Newport Beach, CA

Celebs browse the aisles in peace at Bel Bambini, a one-stop shop for everything a new mother needs. By Brittany Leitner

Jessica Alba sports Stella McCartney menswear looks herself, but she prefers the brand’s feminine and floral styles for her daughters Haven and Honor.

Jessica Simpson loves Chloé’s two-piece sets for her daughter Maxwell.


Halle Berry, who is expecting her second child this month, picked up KicKee Pants printed layettes and caps for her first-born daughter Nahla.


What the A-list love at…

hen mom Kristina Lin was pregnant for the second time—with twins—she noticed a major gap in the infant and toddler market after hiking around town to various stores. What she wanted was a one-stop shop that carried everything from furniture to apparel to infant accessories. “She realized how tiring it was for a pregnant mom to go to different stores, even for just clothing; you can’t find it all under one roof,” says Loann Tran, Lin’s sister and Bel Bambini’s general manager. “There was also a void in the market for high-end, high-quality items all at one location,” she notes. Although the sisters consider Bel Bambini a boutique, the first location, which opened in 2006, boasts 7,000 square feet of space, while the second location, opened in 2011, hits 10,000 square feet. Bel Bambini is often home to exclusive launches and product previews, like its recent sneakpeek, invitation-only event for the launch of the Nuna Pipa car seat, where the store hosted raffles, provided “sips and snacks” and even valet services for guests. Celebrities love browsing the store’s mix of designer labels and high-end gear, including Hugo Boss, Fendi, Versace and Bugaboo. To help them relax and enjoy their time shopping, Tran says all employees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement. “Some of the staff even has a one-on-one relationship with certain celebrities,” she says. “They know each other on a first name basis.” •


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9/20/13 3:40 PM

Earnshaw's | October 2013  
Earnshaw's | October 2013  

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