Baby apparel trends come and go in today’s growing babywear market. For this article, store staff members and owners offered their opinions on what parents are looking for in apparel for their children.
At La La Ling in Los Angeles, Calif., Co-Owner and Buyer Celine Vacher said her customers show an increased awareness of organic fabric and interesting styles in her 1,000-square-foot shop. She said that seeking out items that fit this awareness is the biggest trend that she has observed. “For a long time, we’ve been seeing a big trend in bamboo cotton, and in really soft and breathe-y fabric as things that shoppers want. We have just come across brands incorporating that with organic fabric,” she related. “We are also coming across fabrics made of soy beans, and we are excited about that, too, because people are really looking for more fun organic clothing, as well as items that are interesting and funky. Our best-sellers have always featured fun graphics and band tees, but we’d found it harder to break into organic in those styles. A lot of organic apparel items were very sweet looking, and our biggest appeal here is for more edgy styles. But now, which is important when people are so conscious of the fabrics, the variety has really expanded into organic.”
Vacher’s described her top-selling items “for years and likely always” as her shop’s band items by Rowdy Sprouts. She noted that “These are band T-shirts and onesies, all licensed, and they feature really cool band graphics from tour prints and album covers.” She adds that “We have recently developed our own brand in band apparel as well, and these have become best-sellers, too.” She feels this interest in rock n’ roll clothing is in part because of the location of her shop. “Being located near Griffith Observatory, we get a lot of tourism in our area. We get people wanting something that represents Los Angeles, but isn’t corny, that doesn’t look like it came from the boardwalk.” She added, “People want local area representation that is also design conscious. Those are the kind of items that do well for us.” She explained that local aunts and uncles may be sending items to relatives and babies in a different state, and they are looking for items that represent California as well. “But they are not looking for a souvenir-type item as a gift either. Something that isn’t hokey but represents the location is what really attracts many different shoppers.”
In Gilbert, Ariz., at Joss + J, Sales Associate Bronwyn Marr, speaking for owner Aimee Barro, related that the idea of local-centric items is also important at her store, which features locally-made baby apparel. The local theme of the store is one that has real meaning for Owner Aimee Barro. Marr asserted, “The interest in local is definitely trending. Locally-made apparel is very appealing to people. I think people like that we partner up with and champion other small companies. I also think the interest in locally-made is fueled by peoples’ desire to know where things come from. Buying the items also forms roots to the community.” According to Marr, top selling items include Not a Gown from Little Sleepies, which while not made in Arizona, focuses on another clothing feature that is important to the store, softness. The item is made from a stretchy bamboo fabric that is naturally hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and regulates body temperature. “It’s unique and comfortable to bring your newborn home in something like this, that’s both super light but cute, and environmentally friendly.”
At Lovebug Baby in Las Vegas, Nev., Manager Viridiana Puga asserted that the biggest trend she sees in the store are customers seeking out colors that are “not as bright as they have been. They go for shades like mauve, rose pink, ivory, or mustard. I think that trend started in part because the brands that people follow have lots of those colors.” Another factor in the new color trend is what she described as images posted on the internet. She reports that many social media bloggers post photos
that show those colors. For best-sellers, Puga names a variety of brands that do well at the store. “Kickee Pants, Kissy Kissy, and Riley + Cru all do very well. Kickee Pants are just super pants, they’re comfortable, soft, and they have cool prints. Riley + Cru has great colors and concept.” In sleepwear, the trend is to purchase complete layette sets, she said, rather than just a single sleep garment.
Also in Las Vegas, Brenda Diaz, owner of Buttercup Baby, said a Bohemian look is what is trending at her shop. “Along with that style, I would say the current favorite is more organic clothing in general for babies, something soft and comfortable. The interest in Bohemian patterns is really because parents just want something that looks different,” she said. Riley + Cru items of all kinds are among her best-sellers for both of these reasons.
In Santa Monica, Calif., at Caro Bambino, Manager Catalina Gana called “an interest in organic and sustainable” the main trends at this shop. Like Diaz, she cited Riley + Cru as a best-seller both because of how the clothes are made, and “because their clothing has that cool Bohemian look, and people love that. Also, the colors of our best-sellers are not super bright, nothing like a vivid pink that used to be trendy. Today, people are into more gender-neutral things, and beautiful prints that are not so childish.” Her best-selling items have both of these features. “Classic onesies and rompers are very popular, and gender-neutral colors and prints, as well as organic cotton are important. Garments really need to be soft and ecologically sound these days, and certainly here in Santa Monica, people are willing to pay more for these kinds of non-toxic, better quality, well-made items.”
Overall, the trends in baby apparel skew toward items that are unique, utilize eco-friendly and soft materials, and feature colors that are more muted than in past years. Stylish prints, and items that reflect a parent’s, or gift-givers’, lifestyle or location are also on trend for baby fashion.
Top Tips to Sell More Baby Sleepwear
For this article, baby shop owners and staff members offered their tips to increase interest in slumber apparel for babies. Those interviewed said display, the ability to touch an item, and social media are all key.
At La La Ling in Los Angeles, Calif., Co-Owner and Buyer Celine Vacher said, “When it comes to baby sleepwear, honestly the brands we carry kind of sell themselves. But we are also conscious of how we display in the store. The bold fun beautiful graphics and prints are what draw people to our sleepwear. We get people in here who are not looking for sleepwear but are attracted to it and purchase it anyway because of the bright prints and fabric.” She added, “As long as a sleepwear item is displayed where people can see it, and they can feel it – being able to touch the bamboo cotton, and see how soft it is, that’s important, too – then if they see it, they will buy it. Touch is important because once you feel the sleepwear we carry, you’ll just want to put a baby in it and cuddle.”
In Gilbert, Ariz., at Joss + J, Sales Associate Bronwyn Marr asserted, “Displays are highly important; creating strong, attractive displays as well as posting in social media, are the prominent factors in how we communicate what we sell across the board, including sleepwear.”
At Lovebug Baby in Las Vegas, Nev., Manager Viridiana Puga agreed with the use of social media to sell any baby item. “We use a lot of social media, Instagram, Facebook, and we have a Facebook group also. In the store, we have our items displayed well, we keep things fresh and we try not to leave our displays up for too long. We will put one new brand on display on the front table, including sleepwear items.”
In Santa Monica, Calif., at Caro Bambino, Manager Catalina Gana explained, “We keep everything very mixed in our store; we don’t have a separate area even for baby boys’ and girls’ items. We don’t separate out sleepwear items. The way we show all our items is about creating a beautiful look with beautiful garments. We don’t use pop-ups or that kind of marketing.”
Brenda Diaz, owner of Buttercup Baby in Las Vegas, Nev., said her Little Sleepies onesies are very appealing to customers, and displaying them to show off the fact that they keep baby feet covered is key to sales. “They have great patterns, and you want to show that, too.”