Predictions for Holiday Shopping 2011

The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8% during this month and December to $465.6 billion.

Armed with savvy shopping skills and a renewed focus on value, consumers this holiday season are shopping at a variety of locations and channels as they scope out ways to get the best bang for their buck. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch®, holiday shoppers say they plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year.

Nearly six in 10 holiday shoppers say they plan to take advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves and their families during the holiday season.

When it comes to retail growth this holiday season, slow and steady wins the race – and the same is true for shoppers who are meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar. Knowing their customers are more focused than ever on value, retailers will entice shoppers with promotions that go beyond discounts, whether they’re promoting free gifts with purchase, an extended warranty or stellar customer service.”

-NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay

In addition, online retailers have plenty to be joyous about this holiday season as new research shows companies are adjusting their holiday plans based on expected growth and strong demand from holiday shoppers. Continue reading

Kapital K Boys Clothing

Cool, hip, stylish, off-beat and edgy – the Kapital K way.

“We are a true collection-based brand that provides functional mix & match clothing for boys. Every piece, color and category in each collection is a result of extensive research and has a reason for being there. We are driven by hip styling, cool graphics and what is current, while keeping a boy’s sensibility in mind.”

– designer Spencer Sujjaporamest, a Parsons grad and children’s industry veteran

Kapital K is a boy’s clothing collection that focuses on mix & match, fashion-forward styles at an affordable price point. Inspired by the cool styles seen in today’s men’s fashion and keeping an active boy’s taste in mind, Kapital K collections are available in sizes 12 months to size 8 with wholesale price points ranging from $9 for accessories to $41 for outerwear. An attention to detail sets this collection apart, including fur-trimmed hoods, color blocking and striped double pockets.

Inspired by rock n’ roll, car racing and sports, the fall/winter ’11 collection features t-shirts, button-downs, vests, pants, jackets, hats and scarves. Standouts include the suspender/bow tie shirt, color blocked shiny nylon vest, knit herringbone hooded vest and Mohawk trapper hat.

For the upcoming spring/summer ’12 collection, Kapital K features bold, eye-catching graphics of surfing, monster trucks, varsity sports and rock n’ roll; sharks, boxing gloves, and headsets are combined with soft, lightweight fabric for a casual-cool boys look.

Now sold in fine retailers and department stores, including Barney’s and Fred Segal’s Ron Robinson.

Pily Q Girls

Women’s swim and resort company Pily Q launches Pily Q Girls, débuting this November.

Pily Q Girls is a kids line of resort and swimwear for girls who love to dress like momma. Just like the women’s collection, Pily Q Girls uses all of the same soft European fabrics and details and also features the same sassy adult styles as cover-ups in as age-appropriate versions. Sizes run from newborn to 16 years.

The Pily Q swim and resort women’s line is uniquely created with lush fabrics from Barcelona, Spain. The design team selects quality material to ensure not only the utmost comfort, but a supportive and flattering fit. The San Diego-based company is known for  having “a bottom for everyone” –with swimwear offering rear coverage in three choices: teeny, full and modest.

Pily Q Girls will be available at Barney’s New York and children’s boutiques nationwide and ranging in price from $40 – $86.

Little Ruler and Knuckleheads Team Up

Two seven-year-old companies agree on a sublicensing partnership to grow the brands in both line size and worldwide distribution. Anticipate lots of new designs, colors and garments for Little Ruler’s licensed brands.

Little Ruler licenses children’s clothing for some of the most popular brands in the world of skateboarding, like Independent Truck Co., Santa Cruz, Creature and Nor Cal Clothing. Knuckleheads produces a unique line of edgy, skate and music-inspired clothing. The two companies are collaborating on a début line currently booking for a Spring 2012 delivery.

“Knuckleheads’ creative team will take Little Ruler’s licensed brands to the next level by creating a more complete apparel line that includes wovens, printables, headwear and accessories.”

-Maureen Kendall, Little Ruler CEO & owner

Made in the USA. Maureen and Jeff Kendall were inspired to create Little Ruler as a response to the limited choices in clothing for babies and kids that represented the skate/surf  lifestyle. A traditional family business, Knuckleheads is manufacturing most of the Little Ruler line in the United States without sacrificing cost, quality or ship windows.

“The Little Ruler and Knuckleheads brands complement each other. This is a perfect union and we are very excited to design with these iconic skateboard brands. The fit couldn’t be better!”

-Melissa Nash, Knuckleheads CEO & owner

In a market where cool boys clothing is notoriously limited, Knuckleheads creates a line that moms and kids love, and dads envy, catering to parents looking for something different for their boys.

“The synergy of Little Ruler and Knuckleheads works well, while at the same time targeting a slightly different market segment. With Santa Cruz celebrating its 40th anniversary and Independent celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2013, these brands appeal to the older generation of skate dads who want their kids wearing the same brands they wore back in the day.”

-Paul Merrell, licensing manager, NHS

Dressing Up for Halloween

This Halloween, the trendiest costumes are coming back from the dead. Literally.

According to NRF‘s 2011 Top Costumes survey conducted by BIGresearch, more than 2.6 million men, women and children plan to dress as zombies this Halloween. Due to the popularity of the characters in recent books, television shows and video games, zombie costumes jumped from number 22 in 2010 to number nine on children’s top costume list.

The survey finds Americans are expected to spend $2.5 billion on Halloween costumes this year, forking over $1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.2 billion on adult costumes -and $310 million on pet costumes. The average person is spending $72.31 on Halloween candy, costumes and décor, bringing total spending to $6.86 billion -the most in the survey’s nine-year history.

“Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore, as adults are just as likely to get in on the fun with clever, unique costumes. With Halloween falling on a Monday, restaurants and retailers will benefit as many Americans celebrate all weekend long.”

– Matthew Shay, NRF president/CEO

Top 10 Children’s Costumes. Even though Halloween is at the end of the month, over 46 million children are already planning their specific costume. As in previous years, traditional costumes still rank as consumer favorites:

  1. Princess
  2. Witch
  3. Spiderman
  4. Pirate
  5. Pumpkin
  6. Fairy
  7. Action/Superhero
  8. Batman & Vampire tie
  9. Zombies & Disney Princess tie
  10. Star Wars Characters

Man’s best friend is also getting into the Halloween spirit this year. Pet owners love to dress their pets like pumpkins, devils and hot dogs. Bees, fancy bows and ghosts are popular, too.

-NRF’s 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, is designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the Halloween season. The poll of 9,374 consumers was conducted from September 6-14, 2011.

Stanford Distributing Corporation Celebrates 50 Years

“Having been a member of Baby News for 23 years, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to succeed in the baby business for the long haul. The group is willing to open up their operations to others and share what makes them successful, or even share their failures. There are a variety of store sizes, so we get differing perspectives from all types of demographics. Merchandise is also available from a shared warehouse, but not restricted to purchasing from the warehouse like some franchise operations.”

– Richard Woo, Citikids Baby News Store, San Francisco, CA

Stanford Distributing Corporation, the main business arm of Baby News, an association of independently owned children’s retailers, celebrates 50 years of business this year. “There are many difficult issues confronting retailing today,” says president Roger O’Callaghan. “However, if you have good people who recognize the value of ‘we’, you can adjust to the bad times. The Baby News family has always been willing to take some chances and change with the times, but the communality of the business and the willingness to work together remains constant.” Roger tells us more about this unique association and its benefits for retailers.

What’s the greatest way an association like Baby News helps a retailer in this economy?

We believe that specialty stores now need to work together to find exclusive products, get better pricing and develop an expertise on juvenile products that will separate them from the mass merchants. Although Baby News stores pay fees to be part of the association, they all benefit from the partnership they have formed together. All independent stores should consider joining one of the major retail groups in our industry.

What one membership advantage do you find is universal among all Baby News stores?

The secret of the growth of the business has been the interaction of the Baby News store owners. Stanford Distributing was created by the stores to service the association of stores. BNO Inc. was created by the stores to answer the need for an online registry and fulfillment. The registry has over 30,000 items with pictures and descriptions due to the stores’ involvement in helping to create the registry program from scratch.

Baby News considers itself a family of stores, which shares many things, from ideas, store volumes and merchandise. The Baby News catalog is a creation of the individual stores in bringing the best products to customers. Yes, nearly all of the growth of Baby News has been from personal contact with existing Baby News store owners.

How do potential retailers find out about Baby News?

Retailers can find out more about our association by visiting, our informational website. Meetings are held at trade shows and independently. Stores communicate collectively through online services and the corporation sends out newsletters about business promotions and changes.

Congratulations, Roger and everyone in the Baby News family!

Skylar Luna débuts at ENK Children’s Club

Designer Wen C. Reese is débuting Skylar Luna, an in-stock, organic pajama collection for Fall 2011, at ENK Children’s Club -offering retailers year-round availability.

“Through my experience in children’s wear, I know that value is key for retailers today. With Skylar Luna, retailers get a high‐quality product at reasonable prices.”

-Wen C. Reese

She describes the line as “soft, organic cotton washed in a sophisticated palette using simple designs,” choosing organics because children wear pajamas close to the skin for many hours each day. “I wanted a product that was as pure as possible.” The collection is available in sizes 12‐18 months to size 8 for both boys and girls, and meets CPSC guidelines. Features snug‐fitting, two‐piece bodies constructed of yarn‐dyed,100 percent organic cotton and flat seams. Each set packaged in reusable linen pouches. The launch collection features stripes in eight color combinations including a holiday-themed combo perfect for Christmas pajamas, a bubble print and a hand‐drawn robot motif. New colors and prints released twice a year, wholesaling for $17. “Because we ship all the time, stores can try the collection out right away with minimum risk and easy, immediate reorders.”

Wen also owns and designs the Skylar sportswear label, a family business, and like it,  Skylar Luna is produced in the family factory in China. This arrangement ensures the line is always delivered on time and offers consistent, superior quality.

See Skylar Luna at booth#2211 during ENK Children’s Club July 31-August 2.

Made in the USA! Oxanna set to début

“Strut your green pride, girlfriend!”

When Oxanna launches with a first line for little girls at Playtime New York, it will be reveling in the charm of a bygone era. Simple silhouettes in natural, mostly plant-based fibers for sizes 2T to 6X in dresses, blouses, skirts and Capri’s complete a unique collection trimmed with intricate re-purposed handcrafts. The all-natural fibers and re-purposed vintage embellishments create a couture look with a playful attitude.

Oxanna is the creation of Roxanne Quimby, founder and former owner of the internationally distributed Burt’s Bees brand. Roxanne recently set up production for Oxanna in Maine, USA to provide entry level and skilled jobs for the children’s wear industry. Nationally known for her dedication to preservation and the environment, the Oxanna venture reflects Roxanne’s mindful philosophy to recycle and reuse in ever increasing ways.

This July 30-August 1 at Playtime New York, look for the début at the “Oxanna by Happy Green Bee” booth space.

Surf Expo débuts new kids feature

Surf Expo’s Newest Feature Focuses on Kids Apparel

An array of children’s apparel and accessories fills up a new and exclusive feature at the September 2011 Surf Expo trade show, giving retailers the opportunity to preview kid’s lines in an area devoted to kid-exclusive manufacturers.

Show organizers plan to display swimwear, towels, tees and more in a floor section specially reserved for kid’s products, designed as 10-by-8-foot preset booths surrounding a buyer’s lounge.

“The kids feature is going to be a great way to help kid’s brands stand out. It’s an outstanding addition to the show and Surf Expo is thrilled about adding it.”

-Jane Preston, Surf Expo

According to, the kid’s apparel market is expected to reach $186 billion by the year 2014. The creation of Surf Expo’s new kids feature is in response to these market trends. “With the market growing so much, it only makes sense to feature it,” Jane says.

According to Surf Expo, swimwear and accessories are essential to any child’s wardrobe. Children’s summer trends for 2012 emphasize eco-friendly materials, illustrative prints, tropical and surf themes.

Surf Expo takes place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL September 8-10.