Monday, June 15, 2009

A Hybrid Model for Garment Production

The traditional model seems so wasteful: make $20,000 worth of samples which you will distribute to your showrooms, ALL of which cost 3X the standard garment production cost, FEW to NONE of which will ever be sold to recoup any of the money.

In launching Pixyworld, we just couldn't do it. Why not do a real production run right off the bat, with reasonable production costs, and sell direct to the retail customer, at a reasonable retail price?

Well, this approach turned out not to be the whole solution either. Selling to the retail customer, "cold," without brand recognition, turned out to be unworkably slow. We realized that retailers and showrooms do provide a valuable service to the designer, especially the new designer.

So we have begun giving samples to showrooms and taking wholesale orders. Mind you, the samples we are giving them cost a fraction of the typical sample cost. Also, we believe we are giving retailers a much-needed option: to buy small quantities for immediate shipment, rather than ordering large quantites 6 months in advance. In today's retail climate, retailers need this kind of flexibility.

But there are still two down sides to this approach: First, it limits our sales potential to what we actually have in stock. Our fabrics, to date, are non-reorderable; so we have no way of taking orders for more garments than we had made initially. Second, we are finding that many retailers, used to the season-ahead ordering system, simply don't have money to spend on orders for immediate shipment; they have already spend this season's money, last season.

So our idea is to move toward a hybrid approach: make a moderate-sized first production run, rather than making samples. Make these garments available for immediate sale. But design the garments so that they are also re-orderable. This way, we can also be taking orders to be filled at the beginning of the next season.

This approach can only work if our collections are extremely versatile, season-wise. Also, it will only work while we are small enough to avoid the stigma attached to "last season's" designs. But those are exactly our strengths. Perhaps this can be a way forward for today's new boutique line.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dressed 2009: Pixyworld on the Runway

I'm really not an "event" person. So it was out of my comfort zone to organize 12 mini-models, with male relatives as their escorts, for the fashion show in our area last weekend.

But I have to admit it was kind of fun, when it actually happened. The little girls were thrilled have their moment in the limelight, and I guess I was too!

It was even fun for my two boys, who can't model for Pixyworld, but enjoyed attending their first runway show. They got to come backstage, and were proud of their designing Mama.

My fashion mentor, Mary Gelhar (The Fashion Designer Survival Guide) questions the payoff of participating in runway shows. I have to agree with her there. The exposure gained is still so limited compared with the time, effort, and expense of participating in a show.

But interacting with models and other designers can stimulating and energizing. I'd say that it's worth doing, if a designer keeps in mind why she's doing it.
Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Princess Phenomenon

Disney Princesses have caused parents of little girls everywhere to stand up and take notice. The sheer volume of Princess products insures that even the most oblivious parent will have heard of them.

And, as with any big money-maker, the Princess movement has many enemies. Bloggers cite racism, traditional gender roles, and unrealistic expectations as some of their reasons for hating Disney Princesses.

Interestingly, I recently heard a different spin on the Princess Phenomenon. In a thoughtful sermon on the dignity of being human, my pastor pointed out that the connection between a little girl and a fairy-tale princess is instant, instinctive, and strong. Perhaps, he said, little girls are metaphorically glimpsing their true identity and destiny.

As a child of God, he said, every little girl is made to be a princess. And somewhere deep down, she knows it.

If this is the case, then I have my own beef with Disney. It seems to me they may be thoughtlessly exploiting is something that is tender and deeply human in the little girls they cater to. Is it OK to make money by producing princess products? I would say yes, but it has to be done with... well, love.

I myself am a designer of little girls' products. In all my designing, I need to think not just about our profit margins, but about the girls themselves. The litmus test has to be: Are our products supporting their dignity as true human Princesses? Or, to make it personal, is this a product that I want to give my own daughters, to help them learn who they truly are?

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wholesale for a "Continuous" Line

When Pixyworld hired our first sales rep at Lace and Denim, Terrie asked me whether our line was "seasonal" or "continuous." It was a surprise (and a comfort) to me that a showroom would have a name for what we do. Rather than making $20,000 worth of samples a season ahead, then taking orders, and then manufacturing the product, we just make each collection once. We sell what we have, both retail and wholesale, and when it's gone, it's gone. Meanwhile, we are always working on new collections, to replace those that sell out.

The advantages of this are overwhelming from a manufacturing point of view. The fabrics we use are mainly non-reorderable: either we have them printed ourselves, or we buy yardage that is in very limited supply. And, as far as making samples a season ahead... adding an extra $20,000 to a season's bill does tend to drive product prices up!

So when we were contacted by Summer Place II, a showroom in the Southwest, we had hope that they would be able to accommodate continuous manufacturing. Although this wasn't the way they were accustomed to selling, they were willing to work with us. Gail, my contact there, said, "Typically our buyers spend budgets a season in advance, however, I think the need is growing for "pay as you go" ordering, so to speak. I have been seeing some success with my lines that carry inventory and are flexible with opening orders and reorders."

So Pixyworld Wholesale is now "good to go" with Summer Place II, thanks to her flexibility!

Monday, May 11, 2009

ALWAYS Get Counter-Samples

My overseas production manager has proved herself responsible. After sending her a physical sample, graded patterns, and finished product measurements for my new Pixyworld collection, and after being hit with high FedEx bills in the past, I figured it would be unnecessary to have her send me finished counter-samples. Photos would be fine.

But she was concerned enough to do it anyway, at her own expense. And, sure enough, we had narrowly averted disaster. She had made the dress bodice out of jersey knit, whereas I had designed the pattern for a stretchy rib knit. The dress would not even come close to going over my toddler's head!

There are some absolutes in life, and one is toddler head size (see A detail like this can make or break a design. And how many other details that seem obvious to the designer can be miscommunicated to a factory?

So have I learned my lesson? Well, when next season comes around, we'll see!

Also Posted at Pixyworld Blog

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Giving Birth to a Brand

Like many first-time parents, my husband and I had no idea what we were signing up for, when we decided to create our own children's clothing label. He had grown an online watch business, from startup to profitability, in less than a year. "Piece of cake," we thought.

But building a new brand from scratch is a whole different ballgame. Like giving birth to a child, it is a long process, during which there are times when it seems nothing is happening and nothing ever will!

There are the months of waiting for the first production run to be finished. The months of waiting for a website to appear on google. And the long, slow process of building a customer base.

When a child is born, we celebrate a job well done! But of course the job is really barely started. The child is utterly dependent, taking constant care and devoted attention, and, at first, unable to give back even a smile.

When a new brand is finally launched, the situation is similar. The clothes came out well -- good! Showrooms and retailers are signing on -- great! But profitability is still a long way off.

Production quantities need to be gradually increased, until a sell-able wholesale price is actually twice the production price. And this has to be done without spending so much on advertising that the business' debt swallows up its future!

We have hopes that one day our brand will grow to maturity. Maybe (like a good child) it will even take care of us in our retirement! But for now, we have only the satisfaction of doing our best day after day, waiting, and hoping.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Profile of a Designer-Entrepreneur

I'm sure everyone has a different opinion about what it takes to be an independent designer-entrepreneur. We designer-entrepreneurs probably all think, "you have to be like me!"

I know I started out feeling extremely under-qualified. With no current connections in the industry and no fashion education, where was I to start?

At that time I failed to recognize the strengths I had inherited from my family. Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, who can never be happy in an ordinary job. They are always starting something. Since they are both in the non-profit world, I didn't make the connection at first between their careers and what I was trying to do.

But there are very close connections in what was needed: extreme persistence, a mysteriously unshakable confidence in their eventual success, problem-solving skills, and an inabililty to stop thinking of new ideas!

I also didn't put two and two together, at first, about the previous generation. My paternal grandfather was a knitter in New York City, who owned a factory and designed his own sweater line. My maternal grandmother was a dressmaker out of her home. Why was I so surprised to discover, at age 30, that I had a passion for design and a need to sew my designs into existence??

And then there's my situation in life. At first glance, being a middle-class stay-at-home mom doesn't seem ideal for starting a new career in fashion design. But there were some hidden strengths there as well. I found I had married (surprise, surprise!) an entrepreneurial husband, who enjoys taking risks and thrives on new business ideas. And I found myself in the position of not needing a salary to support myself right away. That has given me the time to get started, without the financial pressure of mounting debt.

These may not be the characteristics you would list if asked to describe a well-qualified designer-entrepreneur. But I think there's one universal qualification we can all agree on -- slight to moderate insanity. :)

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Friday, May 1, 2009

Why Wovens but Not Knits??

It's a little puzzling, given the immense popularity of knit fabrics in fashion today, why knit prints are relatively hard to find. Premier fabric designers like Robert Kauffman (pictured), Amy Butler, and Michael Miller all seem to design prints produced exclusively as woven fabrics.

Is this because their target market is primarily quilters? Today, with the emergence of so much patchwork in boutique apparel, there would seem to be a growing market for designer knit prints.

At this point, Pixyworld is relying on the mercy of fabric printers who bring their minimums WAY down for us (in return for extra compensation, of course.) If there were wholesale knit prints available with the kind of thoughtful and artistic design of today's quilting fabrics, what heaven for a designer like me!

But then again, where would be the challenge in that?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hiring a Sales Rep: A Big Decision

So, Pixyworld is taking the plunge. In a certain way it feels like we're signing away our freedom. But, all things considered, I think signing on with Lace and Denim for the Southeast US region is the best next step for us in building our line.

When we first considered a different showroom in 2008, we were scared off big-time. In fact, it was that experience that inspired us to start selling to the retail customer through our own website! It was my husband Jon who spoke with the first showroom, and he came away feeling belittled, bullied, and thoroughly discouraged.

But now that we have our line manufactured, photographed, and selling, we are in much stronger position. We began selling wholesale ourselves in early 2009, and were contacted recently by Lace and Denim. We were leery at first: Would they complain about our online retail sales? Would they exercise too much price control? Would we be paying high sales commissions and showroom fees? Would we have to furnish expensive look books and brochures?

Well, to work with Lace and Denim, we do have to have our retail prices at a certain level in all of our online sales venues. Retail stores can't be put in the position of feeling undercut by an online outlet. But we found Terrie to be a very reasonable person, who understood the financial pressure we are under at this stage in growing our line. Or production volumes are barely high enough to break even on wholesale pricing, and we don't have much extra room for sales commissions.

But to increase production, we need to increase sales. And to increase sales, a good sales rep will certainly be a help. She gave us an introductory discount on her fees, so that we can have a little extra room the first year, to get our volumes up and our production prices down.

It will be an interesting year. We'd be glad to have it lead to showrooms or reps in other regions, but for now it's nice to be starting down this road gradually, with our own sales venue well established.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Princess and the Pea

How could I have understood, before giving birth to a Princess, the humor of The Princess and the Pea?

It can get to you, if you lose your sense of humor about it. Some little girls are simply born with an acute sensitivity to anything -- ANYTHING -- that rubs them the wrong way.

I suppose I was this way myself as a girl; perhaps that is why I find myself designing little girls' clothing.

My little princess had issues with jeans. She simply would not wear them. Denim was just not soft enough to be in contact with Her Royal Person. Then I started meeting other moms with the exact same problem!

My Pixyworld jeans are one attempt at pleasing the exacting little mistress. They worked for mine. The baby-rib-covered elastic waist was what she needed. Now she wears them almost daily.

I think I will also buy her this book. Perhaps she will have a flash of self-recognition?? In living with a Princess, that can make all the difference.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flattering Lines for Little Girls

My favorite fashion & style book has to be Does This Make Me Look Fat? by Leah Feldon. The title is perhaps somewhat misleading, in that it is not a strictly thinness-oriented book. It gives some very helpful tips on looking chic and having an artistically well-proportioned ensemble.

This, more than any other style handbook, has helped me in designing toddler girls' clothing. For a toddler, looking "fat" is not the issue. The shape and proportions of a toddler's body are so unlike an adult woman's, that many of the principles for adults simply cannot be applied here.

But principles of style and proportion are still important to understand. They must either be adapted for the very young girl, or deliberately ignored because the desired effect is something distinctly toddleresque!

My favorite example is the 1/3, 2/3 rule. An ensemble gains beauty and harmony by dividing the figure vertically into thirds, rather than chopping it in half. A shrug that ends mid-torso can accomplish this; so can as a dress/jeans combination.

Dressing primarily in dark neutrals is an example of a rule that I deliberately ignore for little girls. A healthy baby girl has a distinctive comeliness of form, whether she's rounded or slender. And, baby girl, you know you've got it, so flaunt it!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Are We Tired of Pink?

Accessorize Me! Set: Tee, Jeans, ShrugNot too long ago, we were hearing from the fashion world that Pink Is the New Black. But the faddish popularity of the color seems to be fading. The best-selling collection in my toddler girls' boutique line this season has been Flower Power, my only collection without even a hint of pink.

Maybe we are sick of pink because, in this economy, Pink Slips are the New Black! Maybe moms shopping little girls' boutiques are looking for something very unique, and they feel that pink for little girls is too common.

Whatever the reason, we may have to find a new New Black. Nevertheless, I believe pink is more than just a trend -- it is a classic color for baby girls, and in moderation, it will always have its place in the market.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Page Rank: The Chicken or the Egg??

So, if I understand it right, you get page rank by having other highly ranked sites link to your site. OK. So your options are: solicit link exchanges with highly ranked sites, or create your own highly ranked site (like, hmmm... a blog!!!) which links to your site.

The problem is, highly ranked sites don't want to swap with lowly 1's and 2's. So we have to settle for linkbacks from other 1's and 2's. Hopefully, some of them will someday succeed in becoming 3's and 4's, and their links will become valuable to us.

But as much as we are rooting for them, our links to their sites will not do them much good because... well, we are 1's and 2's ourelves.

Ah, the conundrum of page rank!!

Perhaps, like an exponential function, Boutique Baby, Toddler, & Little Girls' Clothes by Pixyworld will one day hit that great big growth curve which soars ever higher from glory to glory! Until then, I'm taking almost all comers in my link directory.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"I Want to Do it Myself!!"

Have you ever heard this from your toddler or preschool-aged girl? Especially in the area of apparel, it seems they have an independent streak.

This has several interesting results. Firstly, in dressing themselves they reach new and interesting heights of clash. Secondly, it seems that more than 50% of their clothing is on backwards at any given time. Finally, they gravitate towards wearing certain items as often as possible, while leaving others (the ones we like best) lying forlornly in the drawer.

Well, I'm not offering Pixyworld as a panacaea for all of these fashion ills. But, as a mother of toddlers, I have tried to lend a helping hand. The clothes I design can all be donned without adult help from an early age. They also have toddler-friendly cues for matching (e.g. the monkey jeans go with the monkey dress!)

As for the backwards problem, sometimes it just has to be accepted. But if there's a picture she wants to look at, she's more likely to put it on the front!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Toddler Hair Accessories: What's Out There?

Gymboree (hairpiece pictured) is clearly a leader in mass-produced hair accessories for little girls. There are also many clever moms producing unique custom hair pieces, selling on etsy or eBay. So, is there room for more?

Gymboree seems to have two advantages, besides the obvious cost benefit of mass-production. One is one-stop shopping. Moms shopping online will choose a hairpiece from the same site as the clothing they are buying, if possible, to save on shipping.

Their other advantage is outfit coordination. This is where cheaper grocery-store hair baubles often fall short.

It does seem that an independent girls' line like Pixyworld could benefit from having its own collection or hair accessories. My idea, as a mom of toddlers? Include an extra piece in every set of two, for the inevitable day when she loses one!
Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Standard US Sizing???

In soliciting our business, the overseas factory Pixyworld is currently working with proudly announced that they could grade our patterns for us according to "standard US sizing." Is there such a thing??

Even for women's clothing, I've found significant variation between brands. But in the children's clothing I buy, sizing is all over the map!!

In shopping for my boys (aged 7 and 9) I've found that the smaller brands tend to run on the smaller side. Gap Kids is long in the legs, good in the arm length. Sports brands like Nike and Reebok are right on, in my opinion. TCP is inconsistent in tops, but pretty good in bottoms. Old Navy has huge sizing variations from one pair of jeans to the next!

Are the cheaper brands trusting their pattern grading to overseas factories' "standard US sizing"?

Sorry, but I'd rather do my own grading. Then, even if my customers don't like my sizing, they can at least know what to expect from one collection to the next.
Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

For the Toddler Divas of the World

Accessorize Me! Set: Tee, Jeans, ShrugI have two tiny divas of my own, so I knew the Accessorize Me! collection would have to be part of my toddler girls' line.

I knew it the day my 2-year-old sached into the kitchen where my husband had just arrived from work, struck a pose, and waited for him to compliment her new shoes.

I knew it when my 4-year-old became fascinated with filing her nails and having them painted.

I knew it when, a year before that when she was still perfecting the finer points of speech, she asked me for a cotton ball with "salsa" on it, for her facial toilette.

Isn't it great to be a girl??

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Basic Sewing Studio for Knits

I am indebted to the Leabu Sewing Center for not only repairing and maintaining my machines, but advising me on how to provide myself with the essential machines for my work, without breaking the bank.

Many designers do great work without sewing, but I design mainly by sewing. Since I began working mainly with knit fabrics, in developing the Pixyworld line, I realized that my sweet little Huskystar 219 (Husqvarna) wasn't going to be adequate for sewing my samples.

I first acquired a serger, used, which was a good start but a bit of a disappointment. It arrived broken, and after the first repair I was able to use it for awhile. I then started having trouble with the threads breaking, and Leabu showed me that it was because of a design flaw, not a problem that could be repaired. My new serger, only about $500, is the Janome 1110DX, and it is working just fine for me.

I then splurged on the MemoryCraft 350E, an embroidery machine which I needed to embellish my designs. It was very inexpensive for an embroidery machine, and I have had no problems with it so far.

Finally, I got my CoverPro 900CP, on sale for $300. Nearly all my hems are coverstitched, and it does fine with those. It does not have a narrow gauge setting, which I would have liked, for foldover necklines, but I am happy enough.

If I were to choose on more machine, it would be a 5-thread machine for topstitching. But at present I can use covertitch, upside-down, to create an approximation for factory samples.
Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Online Clothing Sales: Return Policy Matters!

When I was considering advertising my little girls' clothing line on, I ran across a very interesting snippet on their advertising page:

"Online Shopping Concerns (ranked in order of most common response to least common response:

Fit of items
Hassle of returns
Shipping costs
Quality of items
Security of entering credit card number online
Finding right item or shop
Wrong item(s)/lost item(s)

MomFinds Consumer Insight:

Online shoppers' primary concern is that an item will not fit and that it will have to be returned at the consumer's expense. To address these concerns, we promote well-known brands (so that sizing is familiar), feature items that do not need to be tried on (i.e. handbags, sunglasses, gifts, etc.), and aim to select vendors with free shipping and return policies."

This confirmed what I had already felt: that, for items that are size-sensitive, going overboard to make returns easy and fast is really important.

Thankfully, I don't get many returns. My returns policy requires me to pay shipping both ways for any and all returns & exchanges. (Ouch!!)

But happy customers matter. I once heard a stat that said a customer who is happy with her purchase the first time will tell 3 friends about it; a customer who is treated well when returning an item will tell 10 friends!

So, as much as it hurts, don't cut corners on returns!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Date Change for Michigan Runway Shows

Designers and models can still sign up for Dressed on Washington Street, southeast Michigan's new annual fashion event!

The runway shows will now take place on Saturday, May 30. Pixyworld still has spots available for mini-models, sizes 18M to 7. You can contact me directly if you're interested.

In addition to the fashion shows, there will be an accessories show inside the What is That Gallery in Ypsilanti, MI. If you're nearby, don't miss this fabulous event!
Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Link Exchanges Gone Berserk

OK, I can see getting link exchange requests from all sorts of sites. Who really knows how google defines a link's relevance? On my webmaster dashboard, a link is a link. Even if they don't contain words like "baby" and "clothing," I'm willing to add most family-friendly sites to Pixyworld's Link Directory.

But I had to laugh when my husband, while building the link directory for his men's watches site, received a request to link to a page called Pimp Costumes! I am not making this up.

That is one enterprising webmaster!!

If you want to buy a pimp costume, do me a favor: just google it. If you want almost anything else, you can probably find it in my site's Link Directory!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What Happened to Wide Leg Jeans?

The big news in jeans last year was the wide leg jean. (See,, and

What happened??

It seems to have virtually disappeared. The Gap is now highlighting three options for jeans: Long & Lean, Curvy, and Low Rise Boot Cut.

Their Long and Lean jean is flared. Curvy and Low Rise Boot Cut are boot cut. They have backed off completely from the wide leg jean.

It stands to reason, since boot cut and flared jeans are so figure-flattering, slimming the thighs like no other cut can do.

As a children's clothing designer, I have to keep two factors balanced: the jeans cut that works best for kids, and the adult trends which inevitably predict kids' trends.

Fortunately for both adults and kids, flared and boot-cut jeans seem to be here to stay for awhile.

Monday, April 13, 2009 The Fashion World Is Not Ready

It sounds like such a great idea, doesn't it? Sourcing made simple via the internet. A site that connects designers and manufacturers using spec sheets and a formal bidding process. No more phone calls, faxes, or sending samples just to get a bid.

But in practice, I just don't think we're ready for When I submitted spec sheets for Pixyworld's dresses & shorts last summer, the response I got was somewhat puzzling.

Of all the hundreds of suppliers (domestic and overseas) they had listed, the only bids I got were from China. I have nothing against China, but I had hoped to be able to compare with some domestic factories too. Furthermore, the bids were so widely varying that I had trouble believing that all the suppliers were understanding my designs. Language barriers are still a big factor, as much as we would like to think otherwise.

The most unfortunate part of the experience was feeling stalked for months afterwards. I kept getting phone call after phone call to solicit more business, until I finally stopped answering their calls.

I would say the idea is visionary. Perhaps someday the fashion industry can run like a well-oiled machine, with a co-ordinated bidding system, and with buyers and suppliers leaving helpful feedback for future clients.

But we're just not there yet.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Full Belted Skirts are Only for the Few

Have you noticed the growing popularity of the belted full skirt?

I was on a discussion board (Body Type and Body Image) recently, where someone was asking whether this type of skirt would work for her body type. My question is, who does it work for??

OK, it looks great on these models. But it seems to me it is not for most women. It is so waist-conscious, and the fuller styles require slender hips as well!

One thing is for sure: It is not a style for my children's clothing line. Toddler girls' waists go out, not in. Anything belted ends up sitting down at the hips. As much as little girls would love the fullness of the skirt, I think the belted look will have to be saved for the willow-thin grown-up models, and very few of the rest of us.

(Pictures from Neiman Marcus website.)

Also Posted at Pixyworld Blog

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yummy Yarn-Dyed Stripes

Fabric quality is such an important element in producing a pleasing and long-lasting product. The average consumer does not necessarily know the technical terms for different types of fabric, but she knows good fabric when she sees and feels it.

My aspirations in this area, for my toddler girls' line, are high. One aspect of high-quality knit fabrics is that striped knits are yarn-dyed rather than printed.

Having a yarn-dyed fabric custom made for a small boutique line is virtually impossible, because of impossibly high minimums. But there are some wholesale sources that can provide good yarn-dyed stripes. I m finding them gradually online, and will soon be incorporating them into my striped designs.

Some of my favorites are Denver Fabrics and Sand Textile. If you find any others, please let me know!

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Friday, April 10, 2009

WAHMs in Fashion: an Age-Old Tradition

If you are one, you know what it stands for: Work-At-Home Mom. (As if moms who stay home with their children without pursuing a career are not working??) At any rate, as Pixyworld's designer, I am one.

Now, it's interesting to me that we have a term for this now, as if being a mom pursuing a career from home were a brand new phenomenon. As far as I can see, most moms throughout the centuries have been WAHMs.

Take the biblical ideal woman, described in Proverbs 31: "She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night..... She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes." (Prov. 31:18, 24, NIV) Which brings me to fashion.

Fashion is a great career for a WAHM. My grandmother was a dressmaker out of her home; Almonzo's mother in Laura Ingalls Wilder's famous Farmer Boy actually spins, dies, and weaves her own wool before making it into warm and attractive clothing for her sons!

Besides being a fun and satisfying artistic outlet, fashion fits in well with family life. Unlike the "helping professions" early 20th century women were encouraged to pursue (ie. nursing & teaching,) fashion is not about serving people whose needs often vie for attention with the needs of a mom's own children. Rather, it is an income-earner that stays in its place and can be done in flexible hours at home.

There are, of course, down sides too. But those can wait for another blog, another day....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Images on Clothing: Embroidery vs. Applique

The ability to put images on clothing has opened up new vistas of fun and personal expression, both for adults and children. Printed fabrics and printed tee-shirts are so ubiquitous now that we take them for granted. But my favorites, especially for children's clothing, are embroidery and applique -- two methods that give an image a special texture and style that really makes it pop.

Embroidery Library has great examples of both. With embroidery, there is the possibility for almost limitless detail. With applique, although the scope for detail is more limited, the design incorporates one or more different fabrics. This gives the design a very special quality, resembling the beautiful appliqued quilts that have long been a part of our country's artistic tradition. You can see more great applique designs at Embroidery Boutique.

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pixy Friends for Little Pixies

Pixyworld fairy swing top with shortsIt's not hard to see the logic behind Pixyworld doing a collection called Pixy Friends. There's something irresistible about the idea of magical people, when children are concerned.

My inspirations for this collection, besides my own little pixies, were C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and Johhny Gruelle's Raggedy Ann & Andy stories. My own children love these stories, wanting them read aloud, and then reading them on their own as soon as they are old enough.

I fell in love with the fairy embroidered on this dress as soon as I saw her. The color scheme I chose for this collection, which is my most pastel, still has the satisfying richness of periwinkle against gold. Perfect for fairy-land, I'd say!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spec Sheets, Schmeck Sheets.

As much as I love Mary Gelhar's The Fashion Designer Survival Guide, there is one area in which it hasn't tallied with my experience.

Tech sheets. Spec sheets. Whatever you want to call them. The fact of the matter is, I have rarely ever been able to get a manufacturing quote for my little girls' clothing line with one.

When I first started looking for a factory, I made beautiful tech sheets. By the book. One production manager even went out of her way to compliment my flats. But the response I invariably got was, "Send a sample."

Fortuntely, I happen to sew. Otherwise, the amount of capital needed to start this line would have been prohibitive. Can you imagine?? Hiring a sample maker every time you have an idea?? And then most of my ideas don't even make the first cut, (no pun intended) once I see them in real fabric on a real toddler.

We would like to think we can visualize the whole manufacturing process in the abstract, from a spec sheet. But we are in the garment industry. Production managers need to touch and hold an actual garment to think about making it on a large scale. And I can't say I blame them.

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Monday, April 6, 2009

Beauty Products & Packaging (the depressing news)

Great Idea: Pixyworld could start a little girls' beauty product line!

After all, I have a science background and two little girls to try out all my products on... and have already produced some cool products they love to use.

Bad News: Suppose I wanted to start with a test run of 100 units of product. I've investigated bare-bones packaging costs, and for this quantity they soar to $2.50 plus per unit. (See Labels Stickers and More and Midwest Bottles.) Multiply by 2 to get wholesale cost, 2 again to get retail cost, and the retail customer would be paying $10 in packaging costs alone!!

Obviously, we would have to absorb much of the packaging cost for a trial run like this, and large-scale beauty product lines are paying less per unit for packaging.

But... it does make you wonder what we are paying, as retail customers, for the packaging of our beauty products. Then again, I suppose we really couldn't use them without the packaging?

From now on, when paying for a tube of lip balm, I will think of myself as purchasing a nifty lip balm dispenser, with a little lip balm thrown in as a bonus!

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Top Sites Lists: Heart or Hate??

Top sites lists. We have a love/hate relationship.

While doing the webmastering for Boutique Baby Toddler & Little Girls' Clothes by Pixyworld, I have joined quite a few of them. They are, of course, a free inbound link to my site. Hopefully they are also a little bit of advertising, allowing visitors to see a banner and description of my site.

But here's the catch: My theory is that you pretty much have to be on page one for your link to be found by google; also, you have to be on page one for your ad to get decent visibility.

The top site list moderator is usually more than happy to offer you a paid spot on page one. But if you are doing your business on a shoestring, as many of us are nowadays, you are depending on the free spots.

Many of the lists are ranked by "votes," (clicks to the list from your site.) This is to the advantage of the top sites list moderator, who likes to rack up traffic stats in order to sell more paid ads. But you feel a little silly "voting" for yourself once a day just to keep your spot on page one.

The other way sites are ranked, occasionally, is by traffic. They have a nifty traffic counter you put on all pages of your site (which, incidentally, gives the top site list hundreds of inbound links rather than just one,) and your site goes up and down in the rankings all day long, based on your site traffic.

Now, this type of top sites list I find irresistibly interesting. I have to confess to checking Top Baby Boutiques several times a day to see how my traffic stacks up. And that means -- you guessed it -- more traffic for Top Baby Boutiques!

Well, they are a clever idea. It can't be denied. And who am I to knock them, when they are undeniably helping me too?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Colors in Fashion Design

As cheesy as the title has come to sound, Color Me Beautiful, by Carole Jackson, has been a milestone in fashion history. Take a look on Amazon at how many titles and products use it as a springboard. And for me, it was the beginning of the love affair with color that eventually led me to a career in children's fashion.

Jackson's color theory forms a foundation for color selection in fashion design. It reminds the designer to select colors from all four seasons, so that her line can have the broadest possible appeal. It also recommends the basic dark neutrals that a wardrobe can be built around.

But it does need to be balanced with the colors that are trendy in fashion at the moment. For example, our Pink Jungle and Flower Power collections are both built around chocolate brown, and the popularity of the color has led to much greater sales than could be expected from Autumn shoppers alone!

A lifetime of selecting colors for fashion is still too short for me...

Friday, April 3, 2009

I see London, I See France...

I volunteer occasionally to work in the preschool class at church, and as much as I love the age, being a preschool girl does come with its fashion dilemmas.

In fact, I began designing children's clothes with just these dilemmas in mind. These little girlies are at the prime dress-wearing age, and they look as pretty as posies in their twirly dresses and piggy-tales.

But, they do tend to expose themselves for all the world to see. Parents tend to either ignore this problem -- fair enough, I guess, since at this age are practically babies -- or, they put them in leggings or jeans under their dresses.

My personal favorite is the jeans, both for their durability and their style. I love that jeans with dresses is a current trend even among teens and adults. (See Heart or Hate: Dresses Over Jeans on

Put some fun embroidery on the jeans, and they become a favorite with little girls as well!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sublimating the Shopping Urge

When a girl needs to shop, she's going to shop. I've accepted that about myself.

The question is, how to direct the shopping impulse toward something easy on -- or not too catastrophic to -- the credit card balance! And that's where it comes in so handy being a clothing designer.

When I need to shop, I can browse fabrics for my next Pixyworld collection. And if the urge is strong upon me, I can even request swatches.

Swatches are one of life's few free pleasures. When they arrive in the mail, it's like my birthday! I can spend hours holding up fabrics next to each other to see how they look.

And -- voila! -- I have successfully distracted myself from the desire to purchase that diamond cross ring from!

(Well, almost...)

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baby Jewelry: Sweet, Impractical, Irresistible.

There is something absolutely adorable about toddler jewelry. I used to make jewelry to go with my outfits when I was doing customs on eBay, but when I began manufacturing for Pixyworld I had to simplify things for awhile, and I miss the jewelry!

I bought this sweet silver ring recently for my preschooler, from, and she just loves it. It fits perfectly on her little ring finger, even though she is so small. (A size 1 actually exists -- who knew??)

I do have to help her keep track of it, which is the big drawback with all toddler jewelry. What has helped is that she loves it even more than I do, so she is very motivated.

If Pixyworld does decide to add the element of jewelry to our ensembles, I think we will have to start on the well-trodden ground of rings and bracelets. So many accessories, so little time!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inventory in the Bedroom

I take comfort form the story Mary Gelhar tells in The Fashion Designer Survival Guide about a young designer who's apartment was so full of inventory, her husband had to take refuge at Starbucks to find a place to sit down. At least we're not that crowded!!

But it can't be denied that we do have Pixyworld inventory stacked in our bedroom. It's neatly stacked, and securely packed, but the fact remains that it's there.

Right where our next baby's crib should be, should there be a next. (Would Freud have something to say about that??)

Doubtless, we will soon move up to the dizzy heights of Having a Seaprate Warehouse. And I'm sure that, then, we will look back with fondness at the gritty days, down in the trenches, when we were sleeping amidst our products.

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Puppy Love

My little girls have never been super into dolls, but they LOVE stuffed animals. (They love real animals too, only we can't have cats or dogs because of allergies.) So it seemed natural to do a Pixyworld collection with a pet animal theme, which I had to call Puppy Love.

The color combination really pops on this one. I did a design with these colors when I was selling customs on eBay, after a customer asked me to do something with puppies and kittens. I got a lot of enthusiastic comments on the colors, so I decided to make it one of Pixyworld's launching collections.

It has turned out to be a favorite with my girls. They pet the animals and even talk to them! It's nice to remember, in the midst of trying to run a viable business with good profits, etc., that it's really about making little girls happy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

DIY Webmastering

So, I find myself a webmaster (webmistress?? that sounds scandalous -- how about web queen?) by necessity, for my toddler girls' clothing site. Not because I love computers -- on the contrary!! But, because no other volunteers seemed to be materializing.

I've picked up a smattering of HTML along the way, thanks to some great online tutorials, including (Who writes these things, anyway??) And I've also had to enter the mysterious world of Reciprocal Linking and Top Sites Lists.

At one low point, I found myself drawn to sites like, after all the inbound links I had so carefully cultivated suddenly disappeared off of my google webmaster dashboard. But they have gradually reappeared, and when all is said and done, I figure we might as well accept our google thralldom and think about more interesting things.

So, for now, here I sit at my computer. I hope to carve out a little studio time amidst all the webmastering, one of these days....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's In the Fit (that's where it is...)

There are so many thing that have to go right in garment production, to make a pleasing product. It's no wonder I find myself returning half the clothes I buy from Chadwick's, my cheap online clothing source.

But if I had to pick one detail that is make or break, it's fit. And I'd say that with the childrens' clothes I design, sizing is even more challenging, but just as important.

It's more challenging because children vary tremendously in both height and weight, whereas in standard adult women's sizing the differences are mainly in weight. (Fortunately we now have petites and talls, but even there, there is a relatively slight difference in height.)

I had a stress attack this morning, when looking at counter-samples made by an overseas factory we're working with. It was clear to me that they had done something to my patterns!! I agonize over my patterns, and what they had made was clearly proportioned wrong. Fortunately, having paid nothing yet, I was able to ask for another sample, after getting to the bottom of the problem.

Is overseas production worth this kind of stress?? The jury is still definitely out.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cluttered Studio, Cluttered Mind??

The classic retort to the aphorism "Cluttered desk, cluttered mind" is, "Well, then what about an empty desk??"

I might say the same for my design studio, the wellspring of Pixyworld children's fashion, should it ever be accused of being... shall we say, less than tidy? I had to admit to finding a large piece of unused marker paper the other day, after having made do without any (thinking I'd run out) for several days of pattern making.

But I like to class myself as "artistic" (as if that somehow explains the tendency to allow one's environment to become progressively less livable.) Or, there's the other great descriptive, "intensely focused." That's why I have to throw my scraps on the floor, rather than in the trash can. I'm just too focused to bother with mundane things like trash cans!

But I do clean up when the mess threatens to get in the way of my work. That's when I have no choice. And it's a great opportunity to rediscover wonderful things like old fabric samples, and get re-inspired by the new possibilities they open up!

At least I keep my creative clutter confined to one room. What more can my tidy husband ask? (Except to be able to see the studio floor so he can vacuum it...)

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A New Look at Wholesale

It seems that with the advent of e-commerce, the rigid dividing lines between apparel wholesalers and retailers is softening, and Pixyworld is ready to step into a newer hybrid role. We have always been open, in theory, to wholesaling, but we seemed to have readier access to the retail market. Not to mention profit margin -- which is miniscule for our wholesale sales at present.

However, we've been getting more and more wholesale inquiries, and it's caused us to take another look at the potential there. I've never forgotten how, awhile back, Baby Gassy Gooma had a sliding scale for smaller wholesale orders. That works for us, and also seems to work well for smaller retailers who can't buy large quantities at first.

The ideal for us could be a happy medium -- retailing for the financial profit and the energizing effect of direct contact with the consumer; wholesaling to boost production quantities and increase brand recognition.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Little Kid/Big Kid -- and in beTween

If I've heard it once, I've heard it 100 times -- Pixyworld needs to add bigger sizes. Moms want it, girls want it. So this season we're adding sizes 6 and 7.

There is an age, though, where kids stop wearing matched sets. Not that all kids wore them before that age -- but they definitely go from cool to uncool somewhere around age 7. Funny, isn't it?

My two boys, 9 and 7, have made the transition. Now they don't just not match -- they usually clash. Boys' athletic clothes are sold as separates, for the most part, but that doesn't stop the manufacturers from putting all kinds of colors and stripes on them, hence the clash effect for boys!

It seems that beyond age 7 there's a need for a new look for girls, too. Limited Too is doing a great job appealing to tweens, but I've heard moms complain that their clothes look too old for their little girls. At any rate, a little more competition wouldn't hurt, right?

So maybe someday we'll have to start a new line for girls 6-12. So much designing to do, so little time!

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flower Power Colors

When I did my first manufacturing run for Pixyworld last year, I tried to choose colors that would appeal not just to me personally, but to a wide range of customer tastes.

For example, I had learned, through selling custom outfits on eBay, that in toddler girls' clothes, pink just sells. As an Autumn, I can't wear pink at all, so it's not a color I naturally gravitate to. (Though it looks gorgeous on my little Summery 4-year-old!)

At any rate, I had to let myself go on just one collection. For Flower Power I chose chocolate brown and violet -- really a periwinkle blue. For me, a beautiful color combination is a heady cocktail -- I was high on this one for weeks!

With Flower Power, the risk has paid off with great sales. I don't expect to hit it every time, but I sure do enjoy the ride....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Skinny Jeans: What's the Skinny?

When Pixyworld puts out our next jeans collection, what cut will make the cut?? According to, the skinny jean is here to stay. I have to say, when a company like BabyGap is selling them at full price, the prognosis does look good.

The tricky part is that right now we seem to be between trends, as evidenced by the plethora of choices available there. There's wide leg, straight, & boot cut; embroidered, whiskered, and appliqued.

Or, one could interpret it differently: perhaps we are actually entering an era of individuality when it comes to jean styles. Could it be??

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kids' Fashion Photography

cool funky baby & toddler girls' outfitsIt's so difficult with little kids to get everything right in a photo. I'm impressed with Melanie Reyes' work here, in a recent photo shoot for Pixyworld.

boutique baby clothesShe gets the most of the details of the clothing, while still getting a cute smile. I'm a sucker for a twirly dress, and she even got a little twirl into the photo!

Hats off to you photographers -- without you, there would be no online shopping!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Confessions of a Linkoholic

OK, so I may be just a little bit obsessed with Page Rank -- not that I use to check my google page rank, link popularity, and those of all the stores around me on every google search. I mean, just some searches -- the important ones!

Pixyworld doesn't exactly have a huge advertising budget these days. It's basically sweat-it-out, knock on zillions of e-doors, and hope somebody puts up my link somewhere.

I do have a very nice reciprocal link directory, by the way, in case you're interested.

Now, someone came up with a clever idea when they invented What better way for a starving designer to feel like she is shopping, when she's actually working?? You get a shopping cart and everything -- it almost brings a tear to the eye.

You don't have to understand... just nod and smile. I'll be OK. (Especially when I make it to a 4!!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Overseas Manufacturing: Pros & Cons

Pixyworld is dipping its toes into the deep waters of overseas manufacturing. We're starting with one collection, as an experiment, this season. Amazingly enough, we found a factory that is willing to come low on minimums and even make one fabric in an extremely small quantity.

But there's more to overcome than high minimums. How about shipping cost -- not just shipping for the product, but back and forth for sample fabric, patterns, samples, & counter-samples!! Using a courrier service like FedEx has its advntages when it comes to speeding up customs delays, but the expense is truly daunting. It's adding dollars to the production cost of each piece, not to mention the dollars that will be added when the final product is shipped!

At this point it looks like it will come out a wash -- anything we save on labor will be made up for in these shipping & import costs. But my hope is that if we can develop a relationship now, as our volumes increase we can start to see some savings. At any rate, I'm excited about the product, which I think is going to be incredible.

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hitting the Runway in Michigan

We may not be LA or NYC, but my little town of Ypsilanti, MI will be hosting an annual fashion event, starting this May 9-10. Dressed on Washington Street will have 4 runway shows over the course of two days, including "Wearable Art" and "Recycled Clothing." Pixyworld will be participating on Sunday afternoon, with our mini-models hitting the runway for the first time. Those who are too tiny to model alone will be accompanied by their proud dads.

Any local mini-models sized 18M to 5T who are interested, please get in touch with me.

There are still spots open for apparel and accessory designers too. You can contact the event coordinator at the What Is That Gallery in Ypsilanti, at 734.485.0113, or email

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's Going On With eBay?

So, what's up with eBay??

It's been a disappointment this year as far as Pixyworld sales, compared to Amazon and the Pixyworld website itself.

One thought is that maybe eBay shoppers are just looking for too much of a bargain -- they don't want new boutique kids' clothing, for the most part. Another is that the fixed-price listings eBay has been pushing are not getting the exposure they promised. My husband, who sells discount men's watches in his eBay store, says his traffic is down from last year, even though he has more listings.

Rumor has it that eBay was trying to be too much like Amazon, and lost the excitement that was their greatest strength. Perhaps a mid-course correction can still bring back the eBay magic!

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Idea for Pink Jungle

cool funky baby & toddler girls' outfitsThe popularity of animal print fabrics in women's apparel seemed like an opportunity for Pixyworld to do something trendy and yet fun and kid-friendly for little girls. My daughters love to see character on their clothing, and while I had not considered this look fashionable before, their enthusiasm put it in a new light for me.

Putting monkeys on the lower part of the dress and the jeans legs felt like unique twist, rather than simply slapping them on the chest of a tee-shirt. Then, I searched for a tropical-looking floral to complete the themed patchwork look. Voila: Pink Jungle!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Email, Anyone??

It took me awhile to get used to the fact that the fashion industry still uses fax over email. I don't own a fax machine, and I find myself sending faxes to work with my husband, in order to order stock garment labels and other production supplies. What's up with that??

Strangely enough, these faxing businesses seem to proliferate in the USA, whereas I stay in touch with my overseas contacts via email.

Hey -- whatever it takes!! It's a privilege to work with people who have years of experience in this industry, and if they need to fax, well, maybe Pixyworld will have to be the one to bend!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Garment Labeling for a Boutique Line

Labels can be expensive, and labeling requirements are at times confusing. With all the required information (fiber content, care, size, country of origin) a boutique line can run up against more label versions for a small quantity of clothing than can be produced cost-effectively.

I'm excited about Pixyworld's new labels, being produced by Peace Label USA. After combing through the garment labeling laws, I was able to come up with some creative labeling solutions that will allow for the use of inexpensive stock labels, as well as a woven logo label.

Feels like it's our name in lights!!

Also posted at Pixyworld Blog.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fashion Networking

Fashion networking sites seem to be proliferating. The jury is still out for me on how useful they will turn out to be. I know that Fashion Industry Network is pretty active, and has generated some good contacts for Pixyworld. Now there is also Fashion Indie, with an unfortunately slightly skanky feel, and Sayntly, for fashion bloggers.

Sifting through them can be difficult, especially with my time split so many different ways. But the "online community" is definitely alive and well in the fashion industry!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Press for Pixyworld

cool funky baby & toddler girls' outfitsPress helps. No doubt about it!!

I was contacted recently by Earnshaw's Magazine for permission to use our Paisley Print Tee in an article on Paisley. So, look for Pixyworld in their next issue!

While that is the breaking news, I am so grateful to all the bloggers who have given me a spot. So, I recently created a Press page on my site to highlight their work.

Thank you, my blogging friends!!

Monday, February 23, 2009


funky unique baby & toddler girls' outfitsI opened my Bonanzle booth last week. Bonanzle is big news these days, I guess. (I have to get all my big news from my husband, who is actually in tune with the outside world... I am in my own world of children and design!!)

I hear it is growing exponentially. That's good. I also hear it encourages buyer/seller interaction, another plus in my book.

Of course, with my promo codes you can still get the best deals on the Pixyworld site... but the more exposure, the better!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sets vs. Mix-and-Match Pieces

boutique baby & toddler girls' outfitsI've recently added a "sets" category to my online store, Boutique Baby & Toddler Girls' Clothes by Pixyworld. It will be interesting to see whether customers prefer to shop the traditional boutique outfits/sets way, rather than the mix & match piece-by-piece shopping popularized by Baby Gap & Gymboree.

I can certainly see the pros and cons of both. When purchasing a set, the price tag is right there, no math or guesswork needed! There's also the feeling that we get a slightly better deal when purchasing this way.

On the other hand, there's a feeling of excitement and individuality when each shopper can combine pieces her own way.

I'm hoping that those who prefer to purchase sets will still take a peek at the entire collection, and consider adding a piece or two to mix and match. But in any case, I hope my customers will enjoy the extra choices!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Launching on Amazon

toddler girls fairy outfitsI was pretty pleased to be accepted recently by Amazon to sell Pixyworld toddler boutique clothing. But I couldn't have anticipated how big a project it would be to get launched. Amazon has pretty strict specifications on the type of pictures a seller must use, which was the push I needed to get some photography equipment. I was pretty happy with my first batch of photos, taken yesterday.

Then there's the product upload system, which at first I couldn't make head or tail of! I think I have an inkling now, but the test will come at the end of the week when my account becomes active. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Indie Fashion for Girls

The disadvantages of being an independent designer selling my own line may be numerous (financial risk, no established customer base or manufacturing chain ... wow, I'm depressing myself!!) but I still don't regret taking this path.

The freedom is worth it. With all the pressure of being a new designer, who needs the added pressure of deadlines from everyone from employers to showrooms to retailers? In The Fashion Designer Survival Guide, Mary Gelhar describes the numerous delays that beset the manufacturing process, ESPECIALLY for the new designer with a need for small quantities. Our orders get bumped back in favor of larger ones; more established manufacturers won't work with us. I've found this to be accurate, to say the least!

And it's not just deadlines I escaped. How about the $20,000 outlay just for all the samples one showroom wanted? I'd rather put that money into making high-quality clothes I can actually sell!

Furthermore, I'm just not willing to work full-time, outside the home, at this stage in my family life. That leaves the lifestyle of an independent designer looking pretty good! I'd like to join the ranks of the many creative and competent women I've met who are leading the way in the work-at-home movement.

Here's to you, ladies!

And don't forget to stop by to check out my line at!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Something About a Shrug...

When my artist friend recently visited me with her 3 kids, she took one look at my 4-year-old daughter in her
Pixyworld dress and shrug, and exclaimed,"She looks like a butterfly!"

I do love to think of my daughter as a butterfly, because that fits her personality so well -- tiny, busy,
and colorful!

There's something about this season's shrug that I love. Maybe it's the way it divides the figure into thirds, instead
of chopping it in half like a traditional top & jeans set. Maybe it's the soft flow of the sleeves... or
the fact that it adds depth and complexity to the lines of an ensemble. Or maybe it's just that my girls love them!

Enjoy toddler girls' fashion at

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quilt-Inspired Patchwork

cute funky boutique clothes for toddler girls
My mother-in-law quilts. Before seeing her work, I confess I had little to no interest in quilting. But in my visits over the years, I have found myself staring, mesmerized, at her
quilts again and again.

It's the way she combines the different prints that gets me. I grew up thinking that putting two different prints together
made a "clash!" Now, I've realized the artistic possibilities it opens up, not just in quilts but in dresses as well!

When it comes to fashion for babies and little girls, a designer can afford to let fancy take flight a bit!
That's why I love it. See you at Pixyworld...!

Friday, January 16, 2009

What About Toddler Scents?

I have experimented with this idea with my own girls, and they just love it!

I have created special scents just for baby to little girls, blending the sweetest and lightest fragrance oils in a gentle
concentration. I use roll-on applicators so they can apply the fragrances themselves! So far, we have:

Treehouse - florals with a hint of sweet sandalwood (perfect with Pink Jungle)

Let's Dance - fruits and florals with a touch of spice (perfect with Flower Power)

Flower Girl - fresh cut roses (perfect with Accessorize Me!)

Hugs and Kisses - vanilla and yummy fruits (perfect with Puppy Love)

Storytime - clean cotton & baby powder (perfect with Pixy Friends)

Christmas Cookie - mint chocolate and vanilla (perfect with Nutcracker Ballet)

In my opinion, a girl's never too young to smell delicious! What do you think?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two Entrepreneurs in One Family??

disount Victorinox Swiss Army WatchesMy husband and I never applied the word "entrepreneur" to ourselves until recently, when we both found ourselves waist-deep in new businesses! We've always liked adventure (two years in Fiji, then 4 kids...!) but never pictured starting an online business as one more adventure we'd take.

Boutique Baby & Little Girls' Clothes by PixyworldAre men's discount watches and boutique clothing for toddler girls an unlikely pair? Well, viva la diference, in our case! The two business seem to have different fast and slow seasons, different business models, and different difficulties to navigate -- which keeps our family somewhat sane!

On the other hand, we have enough in common to understand, commiserate, and celebrate....

So check them both out sometime: Jon's Watches and Pixyworld Boutique!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Models & Photography for Boutique Girls' Clothes

boutique toddler girl swing top sets

Good photos are key in the presentation of boutique girls' clothing -- online, or anywhere. And photographing toddler girls is no easy task! I quickly abandoned the idea of doing my own photos, after trying a couple of times with my own little girls. It's an art form of its own, that takes patience, skill, technical know-how, and and artistic talent.

What means the most to me, besides accurate representation of the lines and details of the clothing, is capturing something of the model's unique personality. Baby & toddler girls are brimming with their own roguish charm, sparkle, and love. I love to see that captured on film!

Here is a recent photo taken by a friend of mine, Melanie Reyes of Melanie Reyes Photography. (If you're in SE Michigan, looking for a great photographer, she's the one to contact!) I just love her daughter's smile!

And don't forget to stop by & check out the sales going on at!