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Paul Frank splits up infant and toddler L&M biz

Costa Mesa, California-based Paul Frank Industries is monkeying around with programs for its youngest demo, aging down its six-year-old Small Paul line to focus on infants and rolling toddlers into the core Paul Frank brand. The move was made in deference to the disdain that older toddlers, active purchase influencers, start exhibiting for anything connected to babies.
August 1, 2008

Costa Mesa, California-based Paul Frank Industries is monkeying around with programs for its youngest demo, aging down its six-year-old Small Paul line to focus on infants and rolling toddlers into the core Paul Frank brand. The move was made in deference to the disdain that older toddlers, active purchase influencers, start exhibiting for anything connected to babies.

Because the idea is not to cater to toddlers as a separate group anymore, the existing tweens style guide will remain the same, with products now running from size 2T to 16. But the shift opens up new opps to move into preschool-specific categories, which will differentiate the tween and toddler parts of the over-arching program.

ES Originals has signed on for footwear (vulcanized rubber bottoms and fashion sandals), along with Kids Headquarters for apparel, and president and co-founder Ryan Heuser is in the market for additional merchandising partners to tackle toys, video games, educational toys, consumables (confectionery and healthy foods) and party supplies for a fall 2009/spring 2010 retail launch.

As for Small Paul, the company was looking at designs for a onesie and sleepwear program at press time, and was working with an unannounced licensee on baby accessories (diaper bags, hair accessories, gift boxes). Heuser is keen to expand the brand into new categories, and deals with ESO for footwear and Jakks Pacific for pet accessories recently fit that plan. But it’s paramount that the program continue to live in upstairs channels such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Selfridges.

Heuser hopes to iron out the kinks of this new licensing model in the US before introducing it to the global market, and he has his sights set on Europe as a first expansion target.

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