3 posts tagged brand spotlight
At zulily, we are always on the lookout for unique products for you to discover. That’s why when we met the people behind Rockin’ Baby, we knew we had to bring this innovative and charitable line of slings to our moms. Being a mom means mastering the art of multi-tasking, and this lovable one-for-one brand of baby accessories is guaranteed to make your day go more smoothly and help less fortunate moms around the world at the same time!
Rockin’ Baby CEO and proud mama of six Kathryn Wiley has always wanted to help other women flourish too. Working as a social documentary photographer for many years, she dreamed of being a “vehicle for change” in a business endeavor. For Wiley, prospering alone was not enough. On one of her many trips to Haiti, she saw the opportunity to help moms and lower Haiti’s infant mortality rate, which in some areas is as much as 50 percent.
While in Haiti, Wiley noticed that many moms weren’t able to carry their babies simply because they didn’t have a method of doing so. This was concerning to her because carrying babies is an important part of fostering connection and a sense of security between mother and child. Plus, the more mobility you have, the better you can protect baby, a lesson Wiley never forgets since learning of a Haitian mom whose legs were run over in a truck accident. While her baby miraculously survived, the crisis could have easily been averted if the mom had her hands free. So, in 2010, Wiley bought Rockin’ Baby, keeping the brand’s beautifully designed slings the same but changing its purpose: for every sling purchased, Rockin’ Baby donates one to a mom in Haiti.
Wiley likes to say “The more you sell, the more you can give!”, and with celebs like Gwen Stefani and Angelina Jolie on board, a sales boost of 200 percent and thousands of free slings given away in the past three years, we’re pretty sure Rockin’ Baby’s Mother to Mother mission is just beginning. Rack up your good karma with these cozy, reversible carriers that give back.
We’ve partnered with Pelle Activewear for almost the entirety of our zulily existence and we love them for their bright colors, high-quality fabrics and the fact that every piece is made right here in the USA. But for the current owners of Pelle, Owen and Shawn, it all started in 2007. They had been married for just five months and were dreaming about owning their own small business when they happened upon Pelle, which specializes in gymnastics apparel.
They decided to take a leap of faith and purchase the business. Suddenly they were in charge. Although Shawn didn’t have a background in fashion or patternmaking, she began designing all of the Pelle leotards. Now with every style she creates, she thinks about the girls who will ultimately be wearing the leotards. She explained, “Some companies focus on gymnastics right from the start, but we focus on the kids. What are the kids going to love, and what are their moms going to love?”
An unexpected perk for Shawn and Owen was the warmth and friendliness of the gymnastics community. Owen explained, “The gymnastics industry is primarily family-owned businesses, so the whole field is a great one to work in. We’re not in this cutthroat business. We’ve become friends with the people we work with, and we help each other out.”
In 2008, a year after they took over operations at Pelle, a buyer from zulily came calling because her own daughter wore a Pelle leotard. Owen and Shawn weren’t sure what to expect from this new partnership, but they soon found that zulily provided them with fantastic brand exposure. Shawn said, “As zulily has grown, so have we.”
Like many small business owners, Owen and Shawn love watching their business grow. But for them, the most important part is the children who wake up, put on a Pelle leotard and get enthusiastic about going to gymnastics class.
Shawn told us, “When I’m designing our garments, I’m not just thinking about a fun, cute outfit; I’m thinking about how they help get kids excited about a valuable, creative physical activity that builds great kids! Believing in all of this keeps us motivated and inspired. If our garments can contribute to a child’s happiness, growth and development, then we are all in!”
Today, Jelly The Pug is a beloved brand known for its unique kids’ apparel. But once upon a time, founder Diane McAllister was a mom who made clothes for her own kids on her kitchen table. It took a little serendipity for Jelly The Pug to become the company it is today.
After a chance encounter over a used car advertisement, Diane met her future business partner, Adnan K. Mehmood at a small coffee shop in Manhattan Beach. When he asked her why she was selling her car, Diane explained that she was trying to raise enough capital to launch her own business. She showed him the clothing samples she had brought with her and Adnan watched as people stopped eating just to admire them. He was interested, and so was his brother, Adeel Mehmood.
The three of them decided to take a huge leap of faith and become partners. They knew nothing about the children’s apparel business, but Adnan had full faith in the uniqueness of Diane’s designs. He was soon proved right. At their very first trade show, they met a buyer from a small, children’s apparel start-up – zulily! Jelly The Pug was one of our first sales, and it was an instant hit.
So what makes Jelly The Pug so special? We think it’s because Diane, Adnan and Adeel are involved with every phase of the apparel-making process, from monitoring cotton quality to designing all of their prints. Diane gives each item as much detail as possible, with sashes, extra ruffles, bias-tape trims and layers that are perfect for twirling.
Diane says, “I want to help girls feel confident and proud to be themselves. I try to mix colors and patterns that are unique so every girl feels different in a positive and creative way.”
We think she’s managed to accomplish just that. At Jelly The Pug, Diane, Adnan and Adeel are thinking big. They’ve made a mark on the kids’ apparel world because of their distinctive style and they want moms to stay excited about what they have to offer. They’re planning to introduce new fabrics, embellishments and exciting lines like mommy and me, denim and daily wear.
Jelly The Pug may be growing bigger and better, but at its heart it’s still a simple company shared by two families. They love that they can share their clothing creations with families across the United States. Diane explained, “What I love best are all the pictures the families send to me. They choose Jelly the Pug dresses to mark important life events. I keep all of them. I am truly honored people choose our dresses for birthdays and special occasions.”