We are excited to have a partnership with The Little Mag for the Playtime B2B Marketplace!
Join Holly Chan from The Little Mag as she explores the behind-the-scenes of a select few brands from the Playtime B2B Marketplace
While we are all about supporting home grown here at The Little Mag we wanted to jump abroad for a moment and be inspired by international brand - Bobo Choses. We chat with Adriana Esperalba - founder & Director about their journey with Playtime, the changes around Covid-19 and the inspiration behind the new AW range.
Adriana tell us how did Bobo Choses first come to life?
“After working for several years as an art director for an advertising agency in Barcelona, my former associate and I decided to create our own graphic design studio. In 2008 and with the arrival of our children, we realized that we couldn’t find nice clothing for them. We quickly detected that there was a gap in the children's fashion market. I remember that the brands we admired were Nordic, and there was no brand in Barcelona or shops to find that kind of designs. Everything was much more classic, with a huge difference between boy and girl’s clothes. So we decided to create a mini-collection of T-shirts, with no idea of how we were going to sell them. A friend introduced us to someone who could produce a sample collection for us and we decided to try our luck at the Playtime Paris trade fair, with a shoestring budget, sleeping at my brother’s house, and crossing our fingers that everything would go well.
When we started, we liked the word 'Bobo' from the French expression, bourgeois bohème, even though the term can sometimes be seen as pejorative; it represents a kind of society with a passion for culture, against frivolous consumerism, but with a rather comfortable life that allows that attitude. The truth is, it’s just an easy word for a child to say. In Spanish, it can also mean naive, and in comedy plays, it’s the funny character. 'Choses' because we want to come up with more ‘things’, and not just clothing. We are drawn to everything in children’s worlds”.
Interesting - I have always wondered where the name came from!
We have seen you at Playtime for many years now, just how long has Bobo been exhibiting with Playtime?
We started just at the very beginning, one year after we opened, in 2009.
Have you always showed at Playtime Paris or do you go to NY and Shanghai too?
We have always been in Paris, we used to be in NY. We’ve never been in Shanghai, yet! We hope to attend to it next season!
The new Playtime Marketplace is certainly an exciting new platform. How are you finding the new Marketplace, do you hope it will help you reach more people globally?
Our hope is great and we are really excited to meet a lot of new clients through this platform. It’s our first experience with Playtime “online”, so let’s see how it goes!
With the push to have a lot of business now exclusively online, what benefits and/or challenges has this had?
Being exclusively online has a lot of good things like being able to attend virtual one-to-ones taking more time and care.
The challenge is, obviously, that it’s not the same watching a design rather than touching and feeling it. That’s the reason why we are preparing the network to let clients visit the collection at their nearest available point.
I saw recently you released masks to your range. What was the response like? Are there any other ways you have seen Covid-19 affect & shape your brand?
We saw a good opportunity there to face the new normal with a twist and we decided to start producing face masks that complied with official regulations while keeping the essence of the brand. This is why we decided to use leftover fabrics of past collections and give them a second chance. Upcycling is in our DNA! The reaction of the families was overwhelming and we sold out the face masks in a couple of hours. Since then, we increased production and we’re trying to restock our face mask range regularly to meet the current needs of our customers. Plus, we decided to go a step further and for each face mask sold on our e-shop, we’d donate another mask to local associations to help families in need. So far, we donated face masks to social entities Fundació Germina and APC [A Partir del Carrer].
The Covid-19 situation has definitely affected our business beyond face masks. We have put on standby some of the plans we had in place that were not essential and rearranged our strategy for the coming months. Joaquim Esperalba, CEO at Bobo Choses: “We understand that it is not going to be a year of profit, but hopefully it will not be one of big losses. We are managing cost containment and rethinking strategic challenges to avoid taking risks". All in all, the adjustment plan has had no effect on the personnel, which amounts to 35 people.
One of the moves we had to make is to adjust purchases. Although we haven’t canceled ongoing orders, we have adjusted production with some of our suppliers.
On the other hand, we have reinforced our online channel. We have started to try new things and improve shipments and returns to strengthen the channel, which is the only one that worked those days.
For our own store in Barcelona, when we were able to reopen, we implemented a prior appointment system to serve customers one by one. Now it’s working as usual, with some limitations in regards of the capacity of the store.
Lastly I have to ask about the new The Catalogue of Marvellous Trades AW20 range. We can’t wait to see!
What was the inspiration behind this collection?
What do you want to be when you grow up? If astronaut or fireman is not of your like, this catalogue of marvellous trades may can help inspire you. All trades are important. The janitor is as necessary as the doctor, as long as everyone brings something positive to society. These next trades may go unnoticed but they are essential and require serious skills and a deep vocation.
The Catalogue of Marvellous Trades is our new Autumn-Winter 2020 collection. It is a celebration of creativity, possibility and freedom. You can be whatever you want to be!
Such an inspiring brand - check out more of Bobo and their latest collections available now - here.