new projects, pointers,
An icon of the kids’ fashion and lifestyle industry, we’re sure you know Katie Kendrick from Pirouette! With big things coming in 2024, we sat down with her at Playtime Paris to learn more. Join us as we discuss Pirouette, Katie’s upcoming project, The Directory, the advice this expert of the kid’s industry can offer brands, and her experiences at Playtime & Kid’s Hub.
Let’s dive in!
Hi, I’m Katie Kendrick! I’m a kid’s fashion editor, consultant, and content creator, and I have a platform called Pirouette. On our site, we advocate for independent brands and talk about the kids’ fashion and lifestyle market, all mixed in with a little bit of culture.
The Directory has been years in the making, and I’m so excited for it to launch! I’ve spent hours in this industry working as a consultant or on different projects. Even for me it can be so challenging to find the information I’m looking for. Visiting brands’ Instagrams and websites are great resources for information, but you still have to know where to look. It can take a long time. I feel like the kids’ fashion and lifestyle industry is still quite fragmented following the global pandemic.
It’s time for us to all get together; the trade shows, the brands, the photographers, the stylists, the stores, the print designers, the manufacturers. There are so many different aspects in this industry, so the idea of The Directory is to create a one-stop space where you can go and search. The Directory will primarily be a search engine where fellow professionals can find the brand they’re looking for or suggestions of photographers or manufacturers that meet their needs. It will also be about community, providing forums where people can post questions. The Directory will be all about getting together to share and learn. I want it to be about trying to keep this industry that we love going so well.
Yes pretty much! Of course there are already websites like LinkedIn and The Business of Fashion, but there’s nothing like that specifically for the kids’ fashion and lifestyle market. The Directory will be this missing piece in the industry. It will discuss kids’ fashion and lifestyle, parenting products, and everything that encompasses this market. It will be everything that we’re trying to build together.
Right now, The Directory is at a grassroots level. We’re currently onboarding brands, then we’ll start opening up other categories like photographers, stylists, makeup artists, and stores. We’ll finish up with onboarding manufacturers, before officially launching this spring. We really want The Directory to be member led, so we want to get feedback from everybody. We want users to tell us what they’re looking for in terms of features and what they could see value in. We’re going to be really reactive to that, and very open to the feedback.
There’s definitely an all over aesthetic. You can tell with very young brands if there’s something there, but they just need a bit more time. It’s also clear when brands are ready. They will have enough range in their collection to get picked up, and strong images. It always helps when the designer is the one selling their products. I must stress that even if you’re feeling disappointed by the results of a trade show, you have no idea who that person is that’s walking past or nearly coming into your booth. Making sure that you smile at everyone, that you say hello it’s really important. I’ve known brands who’ve had one order in a show that has made them that season because it was the one right buyer. You never know where those connections are going to take you, so always be friendly.
There is so much I could say on content creation! I feel it’s really important to just leap into it. Sometimes people think too much about it, but the truth is that sometimes the more raw the content is, the better it is. I think for brands, the more you as a designer can communicate who you are, who your team is, it’s something we can all buy into. This is especially true in the independent industry. When you look at people who have done well, they’re the ones being really transparent. So for me, the most important thing about content creation is to think about it, but not too much – just get going with it!
I really want people to accept that we have to do video and we have to do social media. These are some of the best tools for getting your brand seen. We can’t just sit back and hope that everybody comes to us, we have to get out there. The best way for someone to do that is to link up with others, whether that’s big trade shows like Playtime & Kid’s Hub or partners like Promas.
Over my years as a professional, I’ve really gotten into the content creation side of interviewing brands and the business side of working with Playtime and Promas. Each season, I interview French labels to promote at the show. I am really enthusiastic about meeting brands, especially young ones, and trying to tell their story. Working with a company like Promas who is advocating for these brands is such a pleasure. They’re helping to build connection. There are so many brands, so if you have a brand and can have somebody like Promas promote you, I would definitely go for it!
I think the range at Playtime Paris is second to none! I really do. As I’ve been working on The Directory, I’ve been researching even more than usual what brands will be at the trade shows. Playtime Paris really has everything, from new scents for children to first bras, baby products to lifestyle brands lke Papperlapapp who has cardboard ships and kitchens. There are hundreds of amazing fashion collections, and it’s really good that you have giftables, too. It’s always brilliant to add gifts to a store’s offering, and I think that’s really great here. The range is just really amazing!
The main difference between the two shows is the buyers market, which is completely different. European buyers require a huge courtship. But the American buyers shop like old school buying. Brands cannot be precious about their collection, because these buyers are going to come up and put products on the floor to see how it all goes together. I think that’s the main difference. They buy and act very fast, it moves at a rapid pace. When I was at Playtime & Kid’s Hub New York last summer, I got a real vibe from it! I hadn’t been back to the New York show for a long time, and I had just forgotten about the way they buy. I find it really invigorating. The past few years have been tough for everyone, so when I was in New York I was like yeaaa I love this fast buying!
It’s also worth pointing out the unique offer at the New York show as a result of having both Playtime and Kid’s Hub. There’s an openness from buyers there to mix some of the premium brands with more commercial price points, which sometimes doesn’t happen so much in Europe. There’s much more adopting of that in the U.S. market. The city that never sleeps really lives up to its name! Even when we went to the show first thing in the morning, there were tons of people in the foyer waiting to get in. You don’t really see that as much at the shows in Europe.
I’m really looking forward to that vibe I just described, and to meeting people. At the last show, I met lots of interesting people. I am also excited for the great talks at the show, like the Earnshaw’s semianr. Last season there was a really interesting specialist about AI, so I’m excited to see who they’ll have speaking this season. Brands and visitors should really take advantage of the conferences more and attend the talks. The information you can gather from them is really important. I’m also looking forward to just walking the streets of New York and seeing the Playtime Team again!
Well there’s no point in bringing your own tote bag! I always make sure to get a printed map of the show and to bring a pen. I go through the exhibitor list thoroughly beforehand…research, research. It’s so important to have an idea of who you want to meet. Business cards are great to exchange information, but otherwise nothing really special. Personally, I’m the lowest maintenance girl! We do bring a lot of tech to combat any issues. It can be hard filming at the shows, to create good, quality content and get it out in real time. So belt n’ braces is our motto.
I’m so excited to show everyone The Directory! At the moment we’re still building, but we’ll officially launch in the spring when we’re ready to show everybody what we’ve been working on. I’ve also started a podcast with my friend Linda McLean from Smudgetikka called Kidswear Therapy. Linda is a bit of a legend in the industry, and it’s been really fun to launch this project with her. Our hearts are really in it, and we talk about the kid’s industry and people’s childhoods.
I really believe 2024 is going to be the year of being reactive and active. We can no longer blame anyone else. I know these are tricky times, but there are different ways of distribution, different ways of looking at everything, and you’ve got to be positive.
Thank you so much to Katie from Pirouette for taking the time to talk to us! We are really looking forward to discovering The Directory this spring, stay tuned on their Instagram @pirouettedirectory for the launch!
Buyers can get their pass here to join Katie and over 300 international brands at The Big Small Show in New York. To save your seat at the Earnshaw’s seminar that will discuss creating successful sustainability strategies Tuesday, February 13 at 8:00am, brands and visitors can email email@example.com with their company name, phone number, and the number of seats they would like saved. Attendance is limited, so save your spot before they run out!