Channeling Our Resiliency

“Success is not final, failure is not final: it is the courage to continue that counts.” –Winston Churchill

This past spring, I boarded a flight for my first business trip in a year. Half-vaccinated and raring to go, I was heading to Dallas Market Center/KidsWorld and it felt surreal. I was actually going to a physical trade show. After a year of Zoom meetings, online showroom appointments and phone calls, I was invigorated to return to what I love: discussing business in-person, holding brainstorming sessions and reconnecting on a personal level. As I fastened my seatbelt, I had a bright smile under my mask.

I’m thrilled to report that, even after a year (which felt like a lifetime), the industry didn’t miss a beat. Booths were busy. Beautiful and eye-catching new merchandise was on display. And most encouraging of all, orders were being written. I felt a huge sense of relief and optimism. Everyone had their individual war stories to tell about how they navigated lockdowns, supply chain issues and curbside pickups. They explained how they pivoted in the new normal and just tried to survive. Indeed, the pandemic has been the ultimate test of survival.

Adapting to change is non-negotiable, and resiliency is critical for business success. In this issue, we highlight several such stories of resilience and adaptation. Kids retail veteran Chris Connelly talks (p. 14) about her grand opening of Tutti in Greenvale, NY, and how she’s meeting the needs of an increased customer base; the Long Island suburb has been thriving due, in part, to the pandemic. Remote working and schooling redefined how and when customers shop as well as what they are buying. This shift presents an enormous opportunity for children’s wear retailers nationwide.

Similarly, Linda Trieu of Three Hearts tells her story (p. 12) of how her Houston-based pacifier clips, teething and toy company grew from  an Etsy startup to approximately 1,500 stores nationwide—in just five years; her tale is another testament to resiliency and adaptation. In addition to a steady stream of fresh and innovative products, Trieu attributes much of the company’s growth to the retail partnerships she has formed along her amazing journey. Rather than a cookie cutter approach, Trieu tailors each relationship to the specific needs and wants of each retailer—an adaptation process that she says will continue no matter how big the company gets.

Speaking of success stories, we’re looking forward to our annual Earnie Awards—this time co-hosting the event with KidsWorld in Dallas (August 24). For nearly 50 years, the Earnie’s has been our industry’s esteemed awards event and now, for the first time, we’re taking the celebration from our Big Apple roots to the Big D. We look forward to recognizing excellence in design and retail for 2021, Texas style. It’ll be big and bold—like the best of the best our industry has to offer. I also look forward to us gathering again at Playtime and KidShow in New York this month. In that regard, some things never change—and that’s a good thing. I’ll see you soon.

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