There's always a buzz when you start to plan a trade show, but the levels of giddiness have reached a new level here at Kidunk... we're more excited (if possible!) than a child on Christmas Eve because this year we are attending Playtime Paris for the first time.
We launched Kidunk in summer 2017 after two years of design development and almost 30 years of nurturing an idea by one of our co-founders Tina. Running her own nurseries, she recognised there had to be an easier way of dressing children for play. She and hubby Phill found me back in 2015, I have my own design consultancy specializing in baby and kids wear but more importantly, at the time I was toilet training my two-year-old son.
We held focus groups and interviews and as well as a more robust garment to play, nursery practitioners and parents wanted an easier way to undress a child quickly after and during messy play. Layers of bulky waterproofs ( I always describe this as peeling an onion!) and then dealing with fiddly jeans buttons and all sorts of fastenings just drives you crazy when your little one says ‘I need a wee mummy!’ Because that’s not usually a 5-minute warning it’s an immediate request! So, the waist zip was born, and no, I can’t believe no one else has thought about it either but I guess our combined experiences lead us there and our patent is about to be published (and again we are VERY excited!)
But back to Paris....
Anyone who's ever been involved in one will know that trade shows are hard work. As a Design Director at previous companies, I would start prepping with my team about 8 months before, although in those days our stands were the size of Ikea! I don’t have a team at the moment and our floor space is somewhat more modest - a spacious 3 x 2 metres but it still takes the same careful planning and consideration albeit on a smaller scale. Our Paris stand has been designed to be super simple but high impact. We are a little acorn in a forest and we hope our little green shoot of an idea will get noticed....
Playtime Paris is very Design led and ‘boutique’ and very hard to get in! Our garment is based on an easier way of doing something, making life easier for parents and practitioners so it’s really important we deliver that message clearly. BUT, I know from years of experience that everyone shops with their eyes so if our stand and garments don’t look lovely, no one is going to stop and find out more. (Patented award-winning design or not!)
Colour plays a huge role - clear graphics and a strong message. Keeping it simple - not too much visual noise (as a friend used to say!) I have watched Emma Watson, from little hot dog Watson’s Youtube channel and her great advice for showing collections at trade shows. She suggests to chose a theme - either the brand or the collection. Great advice and as a newbie brand we are going all out 'brand'.
Our brand proposition is all about letting children get on and play. Who cares if they get covered in mud and paint and all that gunk and stuff. (Especially if it just wipes and washes off!) That’s what child’s play should be. We think with the right clothing anything is possible - so at Kidunk like to think that 'we clothe their imaginations'!
It’s a big step for us showing in Paris. We spent our first year doing consumer events, Christmas fairs, county shows and festivals. Our strategy was to build our brand from consumers using and enjoying them and telling their friends, spreading the word!
Every time we sell our suits there’s a genuine rush of excitement from each of us - that’s the joy of a small brand! We’ve maybe not sold thousands yet, but certainly, hundreds and each one feels special.
To grow our business we need to be in more places. Its definitely a concept with an ‘ohhhh clever', moment so by selling into shops across Europe and who knows, the rest of the world, we hope to create a whole new generation of Little Kidunkies getting out there and exploring their worlds!
For more information about Playtime Paris visit https://www.iloveplaytime.com/