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A Conversation with... The Little Mag

We are excited to have a partnership with The Little Mag for the Playtime B2B Marketplace.

The Little Mag is an independently published magazine supporting small businesses in the world of kids in Australia and New Zealand. Established in 2018, the magazine sheds light on high-quality designers of children’s wear, toys, furniture, accessories and more. The Little Mag is also an online platform for updates on new brands and design content.

"Spotlight: Australia & New Zealand"

As part of our partnership, The Little Mag will introduce us to the very best Aussie & NZ designers to be featured on the new Playtime Marketplace.

To be considered for a place in the Playtime Marketplace – Register Here

Read more about the new opportunities on the marketplace with Sebastien de Hutten, CEO Playtime, and Sally Bernard, The Little Mag.

Sebastien de Hutten

Thanks for chatting with us Sebastien. Could you begin by telling us a little bit about yourself? We would also love to know a little about your role with Playtime and how your involvement came about?

I can’t remember when it all really started. I am not sure there was only one defining moment…

Was it when I was eight years old when my sister and I started helping our mother - who at the time was a stylist working for Promostyl - with her trend books?

Was it when I was 13, looking like a 10-year-old, backstage at the Chloe fashion show where none of the half-naked models seemed to notice my presence?!

Was it when my mother launched the first women’s designer trade show in Paris called Workshop, and I was baking pies to feed an amazing group of young designers?

Of course, I was doing other things at the same time, there was no way I was going to work in fashion!

I studied the piano in the conservatory, trained as an opera singer and had a beginning of a career that, after 10 years, I stopped in a matter of days.

I then decided to put all my focus on fashion, and more specifically on trade shows, which I thought were such a challenge to organise. I dove into it and we all worked around the clock on a women’s show called LeShowroom, before launching Playtime. Little sleep, crazy but exciting times, and eventually the reward of all of the hard work and dedication, was building a strong and beautiful show that brought together so many fantastic designers.

An invitation to LeShowroom

We would love to hear a bit more about Playtime itself. Can you tell us a bit of background and history behind the brand?

The DNA of our family business was rooted into art and fashion. We had a show that was called LeShowroom, a small event during the Paris fashion week, but with an amazing selection from a new generation of designers. After a few seasons, we got a few requests from several kids’ brands, young designers mostly, who couldn’t find a show that suited their needs. So, we took them in and soon there was not enough space to take in more kids’ brands. So that’s when we saw an opportunity and took it! Playtime was launched in 6 months, with a new concept at the time - to bring together fashion, decor and lifestyle, and enhance it with artists’ exhibits. That was in alignment with what we thought was the future of retail, a mixed offer of products and market categories. It was one crazy challenge, but it was the right time and the show grew rapidly to become, in 10 years, the largest network of kids shows with events in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Las Vegas and Shanghai.

What is the ethos at the core of the Playtime brand?

Above all, we love people with a story to tell, with a strong identity that is immediately recognisable, with a purpose and passion for what they do. That’s the core of the Playtime brand and, even though we have to please an audience that’s so much larger than 10 years ago, we still always keep that in mind.

For those who have not visited Playtime in the past, what is to be expected when attending an event? From both a designer’s and buyer’s perspective?

A few months ago I could have written a novel about it, but now who can say for sure what our next events will be like? We need to reinvent everything and this starts with an important question that we need to answer:

What do we get together for and why?
There is not just one answer to that question, but as many as there are people exhibiting and visiting the shows. Everyone comes with a different expectation and with different needs, but eventually, each and every one of us should know exactly why we meet.

I personally know why I love the events and that’s to find inspiration, to discover news brands, to talk and exchange ideas with people, to get an overview of the entire market in just a couple of days, and feel what next year will be about. What I love about all these interactions is that they give us an edge, and eventually help us make the best possible decisions.

How many events are held each year?

There is total of 6 events now : 2 in Paris, 2 in New York and 2 in Shanghai.

What are the noticeable differences between each of your events?

Paris is our most international show and the other two reach out to a more ‘local' visitor. North and South America for Playtime New York, China mostly and other Asian countries for Playtime Shanghai.

What has been the impact of our most recent COVID19 development and how is this impacting Playtime? What changes are being implemented in the face of this current state of affairs?

It seemed like the COVID19 pandemic, while forcing us to cancel all of our shows, was going to put a brutal stop to our activity for the rest of the year. After the first week in shock, like everyone around us, we quickly realised that our responsibility was to support our community, and choose to evolve and adapt to the circumstances. While thinking about the present, we also had to ensure we created a viable plan for a new future. We concentrated all our efforts on our digital B2B Marketplace to streamline processes and create a united and even more connected platform. The need to shift to an agile system that adapts to the changing scenarios had never been more urgent. The Marketplace is now a great way to address the new consumers' preferences that have been recently re-shaped by the pandemic.

Can you tell us a bit more about the new Marketplace?

The Marketplace is an integrated digital platform that connects brands and buyers worldwide. More than just an ordering platform and a great tool for them, it is also an event-filled space that relies on a global network to provide direct access to a great number of new and established brands.

What can we expect to see in the Marketplace?

Reflecting the concept of ‘See Now, Buy Now’, the Playtime Marketplace gives buyers the possibility to connect with brands and order all year round. For brands, it centralises and facilitates their workflow, ensures total data protection and constant analysis of the sales activity, and helps them boost their visibility in the world’s largest community for kids’ fashion, decor and Lifestyle. For a buyer, the marketplace will be a source of inspirations while providing a large selection of curated products, and it will give them the smoothest buying experience. In an effort to bring the ‘human touch’ into the digital world and help brands and buyers interact, we have been working around the clock to be the first B2B platform ever to offer integrated video meetings, a new feature launching July 1st!

Instagram: @thelittle_mag