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Dream Job

A young owner revives her family’s special occasion legacy. Fresh out of college and faced with a struggling market, not many newly-minted finance majors would have volunteered to take on the challenge of helming a children’s special occasion company. But that’s exactly what Chewy Jung jumped at the chance to do, when the previous owner […]

A young owner revives her family’s special occasion legacy.

Fresh out of college and faced with a struggling market, not many newly-minted finance majors would have volunteered to take on the challenge of helming a children’s special occasion company. But that’s exactly what Chewy Jung jumped at the chance to do, when the previous owner of Kid’s Dream decided she wanted to pursue the women’s fashion market.

For Jung, it was more than just an opportunity to utilize her new diploma. (She graduated with a degree in finance with an emphasis in management from Santa Clara University.) It was also an opportunity to honor her family legacy—her parents had worked with the company for about 10 years, as part of the company’s manufacturing team located in South Korea. When the brand relocated to Los Angeles, the Jungs moved with it. It simply made sense for her family to buy the company they knew so well, and in January of 2012, that’s what they did, with Jung taking over as owner and her parents managing the brand’s manufacturing arm.

Jung’s plans for the company include hewing to the brand’s traditional designs, but she also aims to roll out casual wear for Fall ’13, to keep up with a market where casual is currently outperforming dressy. (Sales of infant/toddler dresses are down 15.7 percent as of March 2013 compared to the year before, according to the NPD Group, Inc., a global information company that tracks the industry.) The casual line will include sundresses and T-shirts designed by Jung and her parents. Kid’s Dream will also continue to sell little boys’ suits, tuxedos, vest sets and coats.

But while Jung plans to expand the brand’s collection, she also realizes the importance of satisfying the company’s established customers and building the brand’s bread-and-butter business — traditional, frothy girls’ dresses made out of chiffon and silk fabrics. In fact, Kid’s Dream has been producing everything from flower girl dresses to christening gowns in sizes 3 months to 14 years for more than 15 years, and currently has about 250 buyers worldwide. Since the brand had an established roster of buyers when Jung took it over, she plans to carry over many of the same designs. She notes lighter pastel colored dresses are best sellers and chiffon fabric details are still in high demand. Wholesale prices for the collection range from $12 to $32.

Jung is aware of the challenges ahead, but the intrepid owner isn’t worried. “We are a family run business,” she says, adding, “We know exactly what our customer needs and 95 percent of our items are made in the U.S.” She also believes working with e-commerce retailers will keep her business thriving. “The trend I see in buying habits are very e-commerce oriented,” she observes.

— Brittany Leitner

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