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Recognizing Opportunity

Caletha Crawford
Editor in Chief

Ever see someone else’s product or business model and think, “I could have done that”? Happens …

Caletha Crawford

Editor in Chief

Caletha Crawford

Ever see someone else’s product or business model and think, “I could have done that”? Happens all the time, right? While there’s something to be said for the ability to recognize a good idea when it’s presented to you, having the vision and wherewithal to develop it out of the clear blue is a true gift, and it’s typically the difference between entrepreneurs and the rest of us. This issue is full of inspiring stories about folks who saw a need in the market and successfully filled the niche.

In “Small Wonders” (page 18), the industry lists the changes occurring in the infant and toddler market thanks to new demands from contemporary moms and gift-givers. This shift in consumer tastes and shopping trends has prompted many retailers and wholesalers to step out in new directions. For instance, a few brands have birthed diffusion collections in an effort to scoop up stores and consumers that their initial lines may not have suited, either aesthetically or financially.

Similarly, Yates Hooper, CEO of Elegant Baby, has brought a new vibe to the baby gift company he inherited from his father. “Redefining Elegance” (page 34) reveals how Hooper has added sizzle to a line once known for baby basics. Today, the company name is synonymous with fashion-forward groupings designed to evoke wows. It’s a transformation that buyers recognize and appreciate, he said. “We have some customers that have been buying from us for 20, 30 years,” Hooper reported. “It’s a joy to see those people at trade shows and to hear them say, ‘I can’t believe this is the same company.’”

Ingenuity occurs at the retail level as well. Just ask Phil and Peggy Olinghouse, who instead of lamenting the challenges at retail, continue to reinvent their stores. “Bold Moves” (page 49) recounts the opportunities they have created for their business, through school uniforms, shoes and books. Other than the welcoming environment, the stores today look nothing like they did when the duo bought them in 1980.

Retailers are also getting crafty to increase traffic and sales. In “Power Promotions” (page 31), several share marketing tactics that have worked for their stores. We hope you’ll take cues from the people profiled in this issue and find inspiration and motivation for building your own business. —Caletha Crawford

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