I was surprised to hear the announcement from Talbots last month that it will be closing its 66 Talbots Kids stores and discontinuing its Talbots Kids line of clothing (Bloomberg). After all, they were one of the originals in today’s enormous market of children’s clothing brands. The Talbots Kids brand was established in 1989, at the same time other well-known brands such as Gap Kids and Gymboree were getting going.
Is this indicative of a trend? I hope not. But standing out in today’s children’s clothing market is no small feat, given the 1000’s of existing brands and 100’s of new brands introduced internationally each year. Consider that Talbots Kids is only 5% of Talbots overall business. With such a small percent of the overall focus, it seems it would be difficult for any company to continue to be successful in this highly competitive, ever-changing market long term.
I think a challenge for Talbots Kids is the brand image itself: conservative, high quality, and classic with a few splashes of bright, bold color — much like their Women’s retail concept aimed at the 35-65 age group. Before the huge surge of interest in kids style, I suspect they did quite well. But with the movement toward chic, trend-setting kids clothes, and with a majority of Mom’s being of a younger age and/or mindset than that of Talbots Women’s target market, they would most certainly be challenged sustaining their brand without significant, ongoing marketing investments.
So, I have poured over the current Talbots Kids catalog, knowing it is quite possibly my last one. And, I think there are some good picks for sustained resale value that will sell well in our up and coming Loobalee.com marketplace. After the brand retires it will quickly be considered vintage, and items that classically depict the enduring Talbots Kids brand should sell quite well. One caution, for future resale of this brand is that Baby clothes may not attain the same level of premium price points as the little and big kids sizes.
Get these items from the Fall/Winter ’07 line while you can, at great sale prices.
Girls – Fall/Winter ’07 Sale
Red Basketweave Coat for Baby Girls
Velveteen Dress for Girls
Velveteen Bow Print pants for Girls
Plaid Skirt for Girls
Wool Dress Cape for Girls
Floral Border Taffeta Skirt and Matching Velvet Cardigan Set for Girls
Boys – Fall/Winter ’07 Sale
And, try these from the new Spring ’08 line – but better to wait for them to go on sale (they won’t likely sell re-sell for these prices — even if they are NWT and even after the brand is retired):
Girls – Spring ’08
Pleated Christening Gown
White, Floral-embroidered, Special Occasion dress for girls
White Eyelet Dress for Little Girls
Pink Eyelet Sheath Dress for Big Girls
Dot Print Chiffon Dress for Little Girls
Corduroy Trench Coat for Girls (I Love this!)
Boys – ’07
Wrinkle-Resistant Wool Blazer for Boys (Classic!)
Wrinkle-Resistant Dress Pants for Boys
Traditional Silk Ties for Boys
Zipper Ties for Little Boys (practical, yet nice-looking)
Wrinkle-Resistant Dress Shirts for Boys
Stain-Resistant Cotton Pants for Boys (perfect for School or Casual Dress)
Let me know what you think of the picks!