accompanying kid’s brands
Currently representing amazing labels like Givenchy, C’era una volta, Letter to the World, Jelly Mallow, Sunchild, Djeco, Repose AMS, Gabriel et Valentin… and with new additions like Tangerine and The Sunday Collective, Kidding Communication is recognized around the world. Spending the past 20 years building a name for itself, Kidding is a pioneer in the children’s industry as the first press office dedicated to kids’ fashion and lifestyle brands. Offering advice and connections, press offices play a key role in helping brands grow and expand their reach. Evolving into influencer marketing and events, Kidding has become a full service PR & Influence Agency. Kidding has also been a longtime partner of Playtime, running the Press Lounge at Playtime Paris and acting as our PR & Influence Agency in Europe.
In celebration of their birthday coming up in 2024, we sat down with Founder & Director of Kidding, Tiphaine Macrez. We discussed how she started Kidding, what the day to day looks like for a communication office, and how they select the brands they work with and help them grow. Join us in celebrating 20 years of Kidding with this retrospective that explains the role of a press office and communication agency!
I still feel all of the energy that is linked to creating a business as if it were yesterday! 20 years ago, kid’s fashion was booming with beautiful, creative brands. New magazines dedicated to the sector (for example, MilK and Kid’s Wear) were just releasing their first issues. Seeing all of this movement inspired me to get involved and start Kidding Communication. So, I set up at an executive desk under a master work of art in the shed of an auctioneer friend. It was a very inspiring way to start my company!
I started Kidding as a press office with 4 beautiful brands whose press relations I managed alone. I must say that I was very spoiled by my friends who were journalists and fashion editors. They supported me from the beginning. As there were no other press offices dedicated to children’s fashion at this time, they were just as enthusiastic as I was about this new project! At the beginning, I worked exclusively with print and TV media companies. Digital communication wasn’t born yet. My first official office was in a beautiful building on the rue de l’Échiquier in the Bonne Nouvelle quarter of Paris. This felt like a very good omen for starting my company! The previous occupant was a Rap music producer who kindly left me his refrigerator (which I still have!)
Celebrating 20 years of Kidding gives me a great sense of pride to have been able to launch this business and been able to make it last. It also means we’ve been able to adapt to changes in the sector. We’ve continued to constantly evolve and stay one step ahead.
The first thing I always try to do is understand the brand: its concept, its values, its designs, and its needs in terms of communication. Next, if its necessary, I give them recommendations for better reaching press and influencers. This is achieved through photos, texts, and the products selected to present. Sometimes, it isn’t necessary to communicate on the whole collection. It can often be more impactful to communicate on a selection of pieces that capture the message of the collection. I also help brands find the most interesting information to communicate to the media. What moves the press and influencers the most is sometimes a detail the brand didn’t pay much attention to.
To select the brands I work with, I start by putting myself in the mindset of a journalist, fashion editor, or influencer. Then, I ask myself if I would really want to talk about this brand. I am sensitive to the sincerity of the offer, the uniqueness of the brand within the market, the quality and design of their products. The enthusiasm of their team is another key point I look for. I have chosen brands that weren’t at all in the spirit of the time, but who have an innovative concept or a completely new collection, and are therefore refreshing for the media.
The day hasn’t changed much from the start to the present day! Human relations remain at the heart of our job. The means in which we communicate are what has really changed. Today, emails and Instagram messages have taken precedence over phone calls. It makes us happy to continue welcoming many French journalists and fashion editors at our showroom on rue Étienene Marcel. We also receive visits from a lot of foreign press and writers as they pass through Paris. These are warm, informal moments during which we talk about our brands, discuss the collections, and remake the world. They offer an opportunity to strengthen the bonds between us and get their feedback on what they discover in the showroom.
Aside from the pleasant visitors to our showroom, we spend the days writing press releases, making selections from collections, preparing events, launching influencer campaigns, or thinking about future media strategies. The Kidding team passes from one subject to another with pleasure, consulting one another often to bounce around ideas together.
Jean Hugues Dubo is in charge of the French and international press. He joined the agency a year ago, but we have known each other for many years and have already worked together. In addition to being very efficient and having a lot of experience in press relations and events, he is like the sun, overflowing with positive energy. It’s extremely pleasant to work with him!
Our influencer relationships are managed by Tamara de Vidoley. Tamara carries out all of the collaborative campaigns for our clients. A true researcher, she is like a homing device! She finds the best accounts that are the most aligned with the image and DNA of each creator. Pragmatic and direct, she has managed to build loyal relationships with influencers around the world with whom we work regularly.
They are both assisted by Maïna Bourc. She moves seamlessly from one subject to another with ease and enthusiasm!
We are a small, close-knit team that works in a pleasant and happy atmosphere. At Kidding Communication, we consult one another often to share our ideas, it’s a very collaborative environment.
It was Hortensia de Hutten, the mother of current CEO Sébastien de Hutten, who first contacted me. She had launched a number of fashion trade shows during Fashion Week, and was interested in the children’s market. She was right in her interest, and our kindred spirits clicked instantly! The kids’ fashion and lifestyle market didn’t have any creative trade show dedicated to it yet. I was immediately charmed by her personality and her “artsy” vision of children’s fashion. I loved the way she wanted to highlight the brands, and how much respect she had for them. The ambiance at Playtime was always joyful, familial, and caring. It was clear from the beginning the desire that drives this company is for all players in the sector to meet and form professional bonds that are enriching and profitable for all.
Sébastien is driven by the same respect for brands as his mother was. He has managed to preserve the positive atmosphere at Playtime, as has Chantal Danguillaume who is the Event Director today. In my opinion, this positivity and respect constitutes the “personal touch” that make this trade show so unique. It is a space where buyers, press, and influencers like to visit, and where brands remain united with one another. This was not a sure bet when it started with 40 exhibitors and has since expanded to over 400! We have continued the relationship, acting as Playtime’s PR and influence agency in Europe and running the Press Area at Playtime Paris.
The biggest evolution in 20 years of Kidding happened very quickly with the arrival of social media. Social networks have completely reshuffled the cards of communication. I find that one must have a certain distance from these evolutions to avoid panicking and throwing everything that suddenly seems to have become obsolete into the fire. When social media first became popular, the most radical said that the world of influencers would replace the traditional press. They felt there was a need for authenticity and a desire to follow the advice of the “girl next door.”
However, the press is still here. It has adapted, launching digital editions and printing less. Influencers have become more professional little by little as well. I think that one must welcome all these new ways to communicate as they arise. New networks provide new opportunities to offer our clients even more visibility and different ways to communicate. We have expanded our own role from being exclusively a press office to offering marketing opportunities with influencers and organizing events, becoming a PR & Influence Agency.
TikTok has, of course, caught everyone’s attention recently. For the moment, it doesn’t seem appropriate for children’s fashion brands, nor do its requirements in terms of images. For fashion and communication professionals, Instagram remains the social media that is the most relevant and adapted to the needs of the market. Instagram remains the destination for many in search of inspiration, images, and newness. It will be interesting to see how new laws regulating influencer relationships will effect the industry, though. Intended to protects users from misunderstanding what is and is not sponsored content, it will require written contracts for certain amounts of pay or benefits when working with influencers. This runs the risk of making the relationships less fluid and less spontaneous between influencers and brands.
We are constantly on the lookout for changes and the arrival of other social networks, so it will be interesting to see what the next few years bring.
There are many more brands and collections available to buyers, media, and consumers today. Young creatives must be aware of this, and offer an interesting alternative to the brands that already exist. There is an ecological awareness that didn’t exist before, which is great to see. Many brands have a desire to participate in a more virtuous ecosystem today. The slow fashion movement has appeared and invited new brands to be more vigilant when it comes to the quality of their collections and the transparency of their production.
At the same time, AI is going to rapidly transform the sector. In terms of data alone, we can already see it disrupting different professions. It’s up to us to make AI into an exceptional tool, and to use it in efficient ways. It is a great tool for relieving us of repetitive, time-consuming tasks. As we incorporate it more into our businesses, we need to keep in mind our incredible, human added values. Creativity, charm, the capacity to take risky decisions are all part of the wonderful way we work.
There have been many great memories full of laughter over the last 20 years! Time spent with Playtime remains full of happy memories. Dancing, karaoke, climbing gates and crossing the garden in a golf cart in the snow… I look forward to many more years together.
Yes, I would thank the people who have worked alongside me and helped make this company what it is today even more! Otherwise, I’d keep all the rest the same!
I really like the work of the nanny photographer Vivian Maier and her mischievous view on everything that surrounds her. There was also an advertisement we saw online that made our hearts melt! A little girl creates a mismatched dance costume from whatever is on hand and begins dancing freely with an infectious joy, under the doubtful eyes of her brother and father. She doesn’t care what the others think, living her dream of being a prima ballerina to the fullest. It’s a beautiful image, tender and amusing, of childhood and it’s carefree nature in regards to body image.
Thank you so much to Tiphaine for sharing the story of Kidding Communication with us! We hope you all found as much inspiration as we did in the insights from this pioneer in the kids’ fashion and lifestyle industry, as well as gained a deeper understanding of the role press offices and PR agencies play. We plan on celebrating 20 years of Kidding all year long in 2024, and hope to see you all there to celebrate with us at the next editions of The Big Small Show!