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Designer Chat with Lauren Levy & Lawrence Scheer of Magnetic Me: a collection of baby and children’s clothing featuring a patented system of magnets sewn securely into each garment for easy fastening and unfastening.
After wrangling her nephew to put on his bib, Lauren Levy was heartbroken when the Velcro tab got stuck in his hair, causing him to cry. That’s when the epiphany for a better solution came to mind: magnets. “I thought, why not make all the fasteners magnets, so they’ll not only be easy but won’t hurt at all?” she says. Approaching her lifelong college friend Lawrence Scheer with the idea, the pair quit their cushy Wall Street jobs to focus on research and development.
Two years later, the duo had the makings of Magnetic Me: a collection of baby and children’s clothing featuring a patented system of magnets sewn securely into each garment for easy fastening and unfastening. “Parents should be spending more time playing with their babies,” Scheer says. “Not fiddling with snaps and zippers.”
Despite launching in 2010, amid the fallout of the Great Recession, Magnetic Me became an instant hit. Almost 10 years later, the brand can be found in more than 2,000 specialty stores across the country. The technology is enhanced by soft materials, fun prints and a range of silhouettes and accessories for babies age newborn to 24 months. “We’re selling the technology first and foremost, but we want to appeal to as many parents as possible,” Levy says, explaining how small details like tread grips on the feet and elastic mitten cuffs are great add-on selling points. “We have something for parents who prefer trendy colors to those who are looking for something more traditional,” Scheer adds, listing popular prints like An Heir is Born, Dino Expedition and Globetrotter.
For Spring ’20, Magnetic Me is making the switch to 100 percent, GOTS-certified organic cotton for all its styles in the same luxury weight. Each new print, like savanna animal-inspired Migration and the Best in Show puppy prints, are cheerful enough to keep even a 2 a.m. diaper change upbeat. The brand is also rolling out three-pack bibs in response to parents’ frequent request. “Our efforts to keep things fresh yet functional is turning out to be quite a hit,” Scheer says, noting that the collection has already sold out. “We’re on track to sell out for fall as well—so don’t wait, book early!” —Aleda Johnson
What’s the secret formula to Magnetic Me’s success? Scheer: Patience. We’ve had lots of ups and downs launching during the recession, but this is a resilient market. We’re fortunate to have a great idea that people love. We’re growing at a record rate, primarily focusing on our partnerships with boutiques. Levy: Our retail partners can count on us for the tools they need for marketing and reordering—anything we can do to make business easier for them.
What makes Magnetic Me’s designs unique? Levy: We’re not fashion designers by trade, so we have our own take on things. We’re quirky and whimsical. We like to put lots of winks in our prints to keep things fun. You have to look closely for little twists.
What are your best-selling trends of late? Scheer: People have been more into unisex styles and neutral prints recently. We’re also constantly elevating our technology to stay relevant for moms and dads by applying our magnets to new designs. Levy: We’re also finding that black is the new black. Years ago people said you could never put black on a baby, and now they’re all doing it!
What’s new and noteworthy? Scheer: We’re opening a showroom in New York’s Garment District soon! We’re also looking forward to leveraging some great ideas and refining our look going forward. I don’t want to give too much away, but we will be expanding and improving our brand presence in all channels while looking for new and surprising ways to make life easier for parents.
What’s the best part about being a designer? Levy: I love hearing back from happy customers about how much our technology helps. Beyond the feedback we get from everyday parents, it’s extra special to hear stories from parents with babies who were in the NICU or parents with disabilities who would otherwise have had a hard time caring for their little ones. It’s an amazing feeling when we’re reassured by customers that our designs really do make life easier.