Small Catalogs Forum: Kids’ Clothing That Suits Its Audience

Frustrated by children’s clothing that looked like miniature versions of adult apparel, mother of two Jane Hedreen decided to design her own children’s apparel line. In March 1998, Hedreen introduced the Flora and Henri clothing line by opening a Seattle store and mailing a 30-page catalog of the same name.

The catalog, which accounts for 50% of the business, “is still the lowest-overhead and highest-growth segment of the business,” says Hedreen. Flora and Henri’s flagship store takes orders and handles fulfillment for the catalog; a second store opened, also in Seattle, in October 2000.

Published twice a year, each catalog edition is termed a “travel book” and focuses on a locale that is incorporated into its creative. For example, the spring 2001 edition, “Travel Book Six: Red Oak, Iowa,” features tall-grass meadows and golden cornfields with quaint country farmhouses surrounded by white picket fences. The catalog blends color and black-and-white lifestyle photography to create a distinctive style.

This style carries over to the Flora and Henri Website. Launched in late 1999, the Website carries a larger selection of SKUs than the print catalog. To recruit new buyers, Hedreen rents and exchanges lists as well as takes catalog requests from retail and Web visitors. A high concentration of buyers come from urban areas and the South, she says.

Hedreen still designs the clothing, which is manufactured in Canada. Next year she plans to spin off a title from the existing insert of “essentials” — basic wardrobe pieces for youngsters that work throughout all four seasons. Additionally, Hedreen wants to include more knitwear, which has been increasing in popularity, in the core book.

Hedreen plans to stick to her knitting: designing and selling children’s clothing for parents who “are trying to get away from crop tops and flared pants…and looking for clothing that lets kids remain kids.”

Flora and Henri
Headquarters: Seattle
Founded in: 1998
Annual sales: less than $5 million
Annual circulation: 50,000
Trim size: 5-3/4″ × 8-1/2″
Number of pages: 36
Number of editions a year: 2

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