April '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Flowy hemlines, fringe details, and shoulder cutouts are just a few of the fashion details trending in kidswear right now. (Images courtesy Kavio!) A ccording to market research from Statista, the global chil- drenswear market was worth roughly $203 billion in 2017. The U.S. was expected to take up about 34 percent of that by the end of 2018, with a worth of $70 billion. The childrenswear market con- sists of several categories for boys and girls, including activewear, casualwear, outerwear, formalwear, and essentials, as well as toddler and infant clothing. With the rise in customized and per- sonalized apparel over the years, some decorators and shop owners have be- gun creating T-shirt lines of their own, running an e-commerce platform, and getting their slice of the market pie— and kidswear is no exception. THEN & NOW As recent as 10 years ago, kidswear con- sisted of no-frills basic T-shirts. Today, kidswear is just as dynamic as the adult market. "Itchy, scratchy onesies and T-shirts have been replaced with every- thing mom and dad must have. From tri-blend Ts and fleece to baby sized performance styles, today's distributors can take on just about any opportunity and not feel like they are selling the market short," Nolan Parker, S&S Ac- tivewear, says. Essentially, the kidswear category said goodbye to basic fabrics and styles and hello to contemporary, fresh looks as shoppers wanted more for their kiddos. Amit Gupta, MONAG Apparel, agrees with this notion, "The fabrics with blends like 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester and even 100 percent polyester gained popular- ity like never before, and now we are encouraged to offer styles and designs in these fabrics that will provide op- portunity for printers to grow their collection as well." Retail factors are making the push for upgraded apparel options, and the bar is being set just as high as op- tions in the adult category. Accord- ing to Parker, retailers like Target and Walmart have fueled the interest in trendy children's threads by creating higher quality clothes and more unique options. "Those masses, made up of the buyers and consumers of our industry, quickly figured that they don't have to settle for drab, plain styles for the kids' portion of their business," Parker states. On top of that, the hunt for the next best thing is further amplified by kids knowing what they want to wear. For Tiny Planet Ink founder Dan Jackson, the most significant change within the kidswear market has been the shift in direct access to customers. Jackson owns and operates Tiny Planet Ink out of Denver, Colorado and runs an e-commerce store for the Tiny Planet Kids line where he sells T-shirts, hood- ies, onesies, and hats for babies, toddlers, and youth. Part of this customer shift is due to the "evolving world of e-com- merce and the ability to have products recognized on a global scale through the internet," says Jackson. "A second part, and the part which we feel much more attached to, is the expanding role that local markets have played in allowing smaller businesses to have a seat at the table. Denver, in particular, has pop- up markets throughout the year where vendors can rent a small space for the weekend and work together to attract an audience. This community of small business vendors can become a real mar- keting force when working collectively." This type of direct access to customers is available in various ways throughout local neighborhoods across the U.S. If producers and shop owners merely Google 'vendor markets near me,' local opportunities for getting that sought- after access to customers is likely a click and an application away. 2 0 1 9 A P R I L P R I N T W E A R 3 5

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