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Tipping points for today’s top children’s wear brands

Running a business is hard, and it’s easy to get discouraged. But sometimes it just takes one product or one decision to put you on the road to success.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Leonard Lauder speak at the 92 Street Y in New York. Lauder, son of Estee, was funny and engaging as he reminisced about the early days of the Estee Lauder company and shared insights into his visionary parents. One tidbit he shared was that the Youth Dew perfume, which he dubbed “the sexiest thing you’ve ever smelled in your life,” really catapulted the business. It became so big that the company formed a separate corporation for its fragrance division, which in turn became the basis for the current Estee Lauder company.

With this in mind, at the March shows I asked a few industry friends if there was any one product or moment in which they could feel a shift in their businesses for the better. Here’s what they said:

“When I started my line, I was also working full-time at my job, and I only offered one season. I felt like I was onto something when people started asking for more depth. And I started to hear [from buyers], “I love it. I’d buy more.” That’s when I knew it was time to stop or focus on Nui Organics full time. But [even with growth] your challenges don’t go away, they scale. But when things are really hard, hearing people express how much they love the line helps.” — Amanda Searancke, Nui Organics

“I launched my brand about 10 years ago, and I’ve focused on clothing for the last 8. When I launched my second collection, I added an owl theme. It gave me a lot of attention I never had before because I hit onto the owl trend first. Stores were coming to me for it. That got me on a lot of buyers’ radars.” —Leslie Pitts, Lucky Jade

“I knew I was onto something when I took a hat that had been purchased for my son in New Zealand and recreated my way. (It’s the hat in our logo.) It got a lot of attention. When he and I would walk into stores, it would sell itself. Then I created the clothing because reps said they couldn’t sell one item.” —Laurie Snyder, Flap Happy

“I feel like we’ve gone through several reinventions of ourselves. One early turning point for us was when Istopped selling a major department store. I was in a sales meeting during which the buyer was running through the numbers. At one point, I asked her about a particular garment, and she admitted that she wasn’t familiar with the line itself. I realized then that we’re better suited to specialty stores. We figured out who we were and who our customer was. What’s the point in volume if you’re not making money and it’s not who you are?” — Chris Lun, Le Top

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