“Parents don’t hesitate to give the world to their children today,” told Ambika Zutshi, CEO of Fashionbi to luxurydaily.com in February. The Milan based luxury market research firm, in its “A Kidswear Market: Evolution and Potential” report, attributes a combination of factors for this including parents having children at an older, more financially stable age; an increasing birth rate; and baby boomer grandparents with the means to dote on their grandkids have helped to boost market growth in the children’s wear sector.
In June, the online magazine Business of Fashion hailed that the children’s wear market has overtaken the men’s and women’s wear markets, and has been immune to economic fluctuations, boosted by the “infiltration of fashion into children’s clothing.” According to Fashionbi, the children’s wear market in the U.S. was estimated to reach over $156 billion in 2015, with kids more aware of trends and dictating their own style choices.
With this heightened fashion awareness, the way in which brands develop and produce children’s wear has shifted. Clothing and accessories look less childlike and more like mini versions of popular adult styles, reports Business of Fashion. In jewelry, you can imagine that charm bangles, pearls, and diamond and birthstone jewelry are among the bestsellers.
What’s most important advocates Fashionbi, is that the products have a story and are part of a collection that can be built upon.
Not surprising, the trend for charm bangles among adults is as popular for kids and teens, with a great example in the latest collection, Wishes, by the London charm bangle brand Chrysalis, a Richline Group company. Designed by Willow Maine, eight-year-old daughter of co-founders David and Andrea Maine, the line of adjustable bangles features a few of her favorite things like cupcakes, ice cream, fairies, rainbows, and ladybugs in enameled charm bangles and necklaces.
Similarly, the LeStage collection of convertible bangles by the Marathon Company is trending with teens for its interchangeable clasps in motifs like shell, flower, dog bone, flip flops, birthstones, and initials, says Audrey Robbins for the Attleboro, Massachusetts manufacturer, known for its Kiddie Kraft brand. Available in three sizes, the bracelet clasps are highly collectible and can be changed on a whim. Marathon also sells lots of guard-and-hinged bangles for kids, particularly in silver, as well as ID bangles and new takes on the classic chain-link style with details like flowers and hearts added to the bracelet design.
In fact, demand motivated Quality Gold to expand its assortment of karat gold ID bracelets says Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser for the Fairfield, Ohio manufacturer. “This includes more styles for children and parents seeking the perfect bracelet. Children are savvy to brands and in tune to the trend for personalization. Our personalized line and Disney nameplates combine this trend with appealing styles children gravitate towards.”
It is a fact that girls of all ages love pearls. In recent seasons, we’ve seen on red carpets and runways more pearl encrusted fashions, accessories and jewelry that translates well into miniaturized versions. In the children’s jewelry category, pearls are reported to be among the bestsellers.
Marathon recently introduced a cultured pearl jewelry collection including small pearl studs (especially popular are 3mm to 4mm dyed pink and lavender pearls with diamond accent) and pearls on chain necklace and bracelet. “We do a big business in pearls in both gold and silver,” says Robbins. “Girls love pearls, and pearls make a terrific gift for any occasion.”
Answering the call for more pearls, Colaizzi notes that Quality Gold added to its upcoming gold and silver catalogs many new styles of pearl earrings and bracelets, as well as full sets that feature pearls designed for children and teens.
Why not cultivate the next generation of jewelry consumers with pearls, a product girls already love, advocates Wendy Fox, senior director of sales independent division for Honora, a Richline brand in New York. “We sell a ton of it!” The company does well with its Honora Girls program, offering box sets of candy color pearl studs and jewelry ensembles, as well as pearl pendants with cross, heart and star accents, and bracelets with silver and leather. Youthful and fresh, the line introduces girls to pearls as meaningful gifts and stylish accessories.
Kathy Grenier, marketing director Imperial Pearl, Providence, Rhode Island, touts the company’s Pearl-by-Pearl program as a great way to build customer relationships, one pearl at a time, and for a minimal buy. Available in Akoya pearls of two grades and sizes from 3mm-9mm, it encourages families to celebrate special occasions with the gift of pearls that over a girl’s childhood will build a pearl necklace.
Classic jewelry styles in silver and gold sell well, says Robbins, citing stud earrings, with the company’s patented safety back, a strong product category, set with or without diamonds and color stones, and in popular motifs like flowers, hearts, butterflies, bears, ballet slippers, crowns, bows, and stars. She also lists lockets and religious pendants and charms among the bestsellers.
Not surprising, iconic brands like Disney are popular in children’s fine jewelry. Among its many licensed offerings Quality Gold sees strong demand for its Licensed Character Watches, says Colaizzi. “With the addition of more than 70 styles to our selection, kids and teens have more choices. New Mickey and Minnie, Disney Princesses, Captain America, Spider-Man and the rest of the Marvel characters can be found within our assortment and appeal to all ages.”
Colaizzi says demand for gold and silver jewelry for children continues to grow after the deluge of “toxic” jewelry and press related to it in the market place in previous years. “Parents, grandparent, and every person buying children’s jewelry take the safety of their child and what they’re wearing into consideration.” Robbins concurs that children’s fine jewelry offers an affordable, high-quality gift.