5 Reasons Why I Would Never Start a Kid's Line
Are you a new parent who dreams of starting a children's clothing company to work from home and spend more time with your baby?
Well, I'm here to tell you why I'd prefer to eat frogs than pursue that dream.
Throughout my experience working with numerous aspiring fashion entrepreneurs, I've had the chance to explore both the allure and the harsh realities of launching a children's clothing business. While many people aspire to kickstart their own children's clothing line, my professional journey has granted me a unique perspective that anyone currently involved in the children's clothing industry will likely confirm.
When I meet budding children's wear entrepreneurs, it's akin to encountering an enthusiastic new parent who hasn't yet faced the full reality of parenthood. They're less than thrilled with the clothing options available in the market and are understandably anxious about returning to work once their maternity benefits run out. They dream of finding a balance, working from home, and having more time for their children.
But here's the unexpected twist, the curve ball, the comical "wait, what?" moment: Starting any clothing business, whether it's for kids, adults, or dogs, isn't necessarily a guaranteed ticket to freedom. In fact, you might discover that you spend more time away from your newborn than your day job ever demanded. While there are exceptions to this rule, they're as rare as spotting a unicorn.
In this article, I'll put on my professional hat and provide some practical insights into why, despite all my experience, I'd seriously contemplate the challenges before embarking on the journey of becoming a clothing entrepreneur. And I'll explain why becoming a children's clothing entrepreneur is particularly challenging.
1/Deciphering the Complexity of Children's Clothing
Most people think that starting a children's clothing brand is like casting an enormous net, that guarantees a great catch to success. They believe that offering a bit of everything is the key. But let me tell you, the world of kids' fashion is like trying to juggle water balloons—it can get messy fast.
You see, what's trendy and fits well in infant wear might not cut it in the toddler section. And when you venture into the larger sizes (think 6/7 and beyond), it's not just about what parents like; you've got to take the kids' preferences into account. So, if you're not clear about which corner of the children's wear world you want to conquer, you're in for a financial and emotional rollercoaster.
Kids' fashion trends? They change faster than a game of musical chairs. What's a hit one season might be a total miss the next. Staying ahead of these trends and creating designs that kids and their parents love is like chasing a squirrel in a park—darn tricky. You'll find yourself constantly reinventing your products and playing a never-ending game of inventory Tetris.
But here's the kicker: lack of focus can lead to missing trends, overstuffing your SKU list (that's code for too many product variations), and pricing your creations out of the market. In simpler terms, you'll end up with too much of the wrong stuff, and a depleted piggy bank.
2/ Growing Out and Up: How Your Customer Base Ages Up and Away
Crafting branding and marketing strategies that strike a chord with both parents and their little rascals is like trying to keep a straight face at a clown convention – it's a tough act.
Going overboard, sending out offbeat messages, or being too boring can make or break your brand.
Now, here's the kicker: kiddos don't stay kids forever. They grow up faster than you can say "ice cream." And as they grow, your customer base matures alongside them, including the people holding the purse strings – the parents. So, unlike businesses that sell useful and necessary products, you'll discover that you'll need to put in extra marketing elbow grease to continuously capture a fresh audience.
3/ The Surprising Reality: Kids' Fashion Is Just as Pricey to Make
Here's the surprising scoop: Kids' fashion isn't a pocket-change operation. In fact, it can cost you a pretty penny to produce those tiny clothes. Don't let the pint-sized outfits fool you; they come with adult-sized price tags in the making.
The only place where you might spot some savings is in how much fabric you use, or perhaps if you stumble upon manufacturers who haven't quite got their pricing act together. But here's a heads-up: if a maker claims to be Canadian, boasts sustainability, and pledges "Living Wages," but offers astonishingly low manufacturing prices for kids' wear, there's a catch. Someone is paying the price, and it might not be as fair as it appears.
I've had to start saying no to producing children's brands, especially those requesting low minimum order quantities (MOQ). Everyone needs to pay their bills and more and more Canadian clothing manufacturers are saying no to producing kidswear.
4/ Price Predicaments: Why Parents Hesitate to Pay More for Kids' Clothes
Let's dive into the wild world of "Price Predicaments" when it comes to kids' clothing. Picture this: parents standing at the cash register, eyeing those price tags on children's clothes you know what I mean, and let’s face it, many of you have questioned the very same thing.
Why the hesitation, you ask? Well, kids have this superpower—it's called growing up. That adorable outfit you bought last month; Chances are it's already too snug. So, shelling out big bucks for something that'll be outgrown in a blink doesn't quite fit the budget, literally, especially these days with the economy being under such strain.
To make matters even more entertaining (not in a good way), colossal brands swoop in with low-priced children’s fashions, like superheroes crashing a tea party. So, as a smaller brand, competing on price can feel like stepping into a ring with a heavyweight champ. And, worse, some folks might raise their eyebrows if you dare to ask for a fair price. You are after all providing them with a local, sustainable product, but do they even care? It's soul-crushing, no two ways about it.
5/ The Kidswear Showdown: Navigating Intense Children's Clothing Competition
In the fiercely competitive world of children's clothing, the path to success hinges on selling a substantial volume of products. However, selling isn't a walk in the park; it's more akin to a challenging climb. And that's just the beginning of the struggle.
Competition in this industry is as intense as it gets. You'll find yourself up against companies with significant resources, enabling them to offer substantial sales and discounts. Establishing your presence in this market is no small feat. It can take several years of hard work, during which your once-tiny newborn has already outgrown those adorable clothes.
As time goes on, you might realize that you've outgrown your initial niche and are eager to explore new horizons. The aspiration for the freedom to spend time with your children can feel like a distant dream, overshadowed by the relentless competition and the ongoing battle for market share.
You come to the realization that time has slipped through your fingers, and your relentless pursuit of entrepreneurship has taken precedence over being there for your child. Which is why you started this journey in the first place.
Don't let this discourage you. My only advice is to make sure that you research your path VERY WELL before you take that vital step.
Starting a fashion business is a journey filled with challenges and triumphs. As you progress, keep refining your skills, stay updated with industry trends, and don't hesitate to seek guidance from fashion business coaches and mentors.
At Colour Alchemist Canada, we specialize in helping fashion startups navigate this intricate journey.
Take the step today to have that crucial discussion or consult before you start; it can provide the answers you need.
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