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01 May 2017

Our Bubble: Kite

Behind every Bubble brand, there’s a unique story – and Kite’s is one of little acorns and mighty oaks.

Kite debuted at Bubble in 2009, showcasing its compact collection on a 2x2 metre stand. Eight years later, and everything about this proudly organic brand has grown – from its colourful, ethical childrenswear range, to its network of international stockists (which now numbers 400). In the first of several ‘Our Bubble’ Q&As, sales director Ally Tyler talks inspiration, trade-show tips, and eighteen seasons at Bubble London...

Could you introduce Kite to our readers? When was the brand launched, what are its key values, where do its designers find their inspiration, and what sets it apart from other labels?

Kite is a planet-friendly clothing brand for children from 0-11 years old, brought to life with passion and care just yards from the sea in Dorset. Founded in 2007, our business has grown significantly year-on-year. We believe this is down to each and every garment being packed with original and thoughtful design features, manufactured to the highest quality and produced with the lowest environmental impact. Our designers, led by founder Jo, draw on the beauty of our Dorset surroundings (including the nearby sandy beaches, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the Purbeck Hills), giving our collections a unique look that’s inspired by nature and perfect for life’s little adventures.

How long has Kite been exhibiting at Bubble London?

We launched our A/W09 collection at Bubble in January 2009, with just 21 styles, on a 2x2m stand. Almost ten years on, with more than ten times the number of styles, we’ve come a long way. We now offer a full range of lifestyle clothing, from practical to partywear, and for newborns to 11 years.

Kite is a long-time Bubble brand. What brings it back to the show each season? Were there any high-points last season?

Yes, can you believe it - this will be our 18th show?! Bubble London has always been a key date in the trade show calendar for Kite. We’ve found it important to attend because we meet new stockists and cement existing relationships at the show.  Exhibiting consistently, season after season, shows our partners we’re a trusted brand, and that we’re here to stay. Last season was a busy show for us, with lots of follow-up work to be done after the event.

How has the childrenswear industry changed since Kite began exhibiting at Bubble?

I have seen a lot of change within the childrenswear industry, and I think that technology has been a key driver of this. A shifting high street and growing enthusiasm for online purchasing is all part of that change, but the impact of technology on the way we do business has been huge. Daily face-to-face meetings with our factories facilitated by new technologies in between actual visits means that our garments are the very best they can be. The way in which we can create and share detailed brochures has evolved hugely; I remember when we first attended Bubble we were one of the very few brands producing a brochure! Not to mention online trade ordering which has transformed much of what we do at Kite.

What are Kite’s plans for the future? And what single piece of advice would you give to brands starting-out?

We’re really excited about the upcoming seasons – from our AW17 collections being carefully made right now, through to the exciting new designs and styles for SS18. We’ve seen a real appetite for our new swimwear, which was launched this year - so for SS18 we’re looking to extend this into a beachwear range, alongside new prints and fresh styles.
For new brands, my one key piece of advice would be to not arrive at a trade show expecting retailers to flock to you.  Most have planned their itinerary before they visit - whether it be booked ordering appointments with existing suppliers, or initial discussions with brands they’ve research before visiting.  Make sure the visitors you want to target know about you before you arrive so they don’t just walk on by at the end of a tiring day.

What would your Bubble story be? There's still time to find out; apply for a S/S18 stand here, or contact Katharine Revill or Mark Bortacki for more details. 

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