Creating a cohesive identity as a branded retailer can feel like an impossible task. Jessica Neil, founder of boutique THE MINI EDIT, took this challenge head-on as she was inspired to create a new approach to shopping for children’s fashion.
Children’s clothing is an essential expense for all parents. But despite the plethora of choice, mainstream brands rarely cater to the same customer experience standards as adult fashion. The common wisdom is that shopping for kids clothes should be as convenient and painless as possible. But this often comes at the expense of a wow factor or brand personality that makes a retail experience enjoyable.
It was here that fashion buyer Jessica Neil saw a huge gap in the market; a stylish children’s boutique whose brand identity appealed to the sensibilities of fashion-conscious families. Rather than envisioning shopping for kids as a chore, Jessica wanted to turn it into an enjoyable, high-end experience:
“The idea for THE MINI EDIT came about in early 2014, I was working in buying at the time and was chatting with my mum (now our head of finance) who’s a management accountant by trade, about how much the industry needed a retail concept which focused on real fashion for real families. I knew that fashion lovers were used to getting gorgeous editorial content, incredibly personal service and a really focused edit when shopping for themselves, and didn’t think the experience should be any less luxury when they shopped for the kids in their lives.”
The challenges of curating a product range as a branded retailer
The success of branded retailers such as Sephora is a sign of the challenges that all small businesses are having to grapple with. When the majority of what a merchant sells isn’t original, this gets to the heart of why branding is important. In 2019, success isn’t so much about whether your product is unique, but whether you can articulate a brand identity and vision which is appealing to consumers.
When your customer can buy elements of your product range from your competitors, you need to give them another powerful reason to shop with you. For Jessica, this is an exercise both in brand positioning and curating a selection of offerings which are more comprehensive than garments alone. By having greater depth than the average children’s retailer, this helps THE MINI EDIT to stand out to their busy clientele, who want to buy everything for their kids in one place:
“We’re a branded retailer, which means everything we stock is technically available somewhere else. So, it’s incredibly important that we stay true to our edit and communicate a very clear brand vision to our customers each season. Our product mission is about curating an edit of the coolest contemporary fashion brands for families, so that’s kids’ clothes, accessories, toys and gifts as well as a sprinkling of parenting accessories. We’re ruthlessly focused on finding only the best of the best, because our customers have amazing taste, but zero time and rely on us to do the legwork for them.”
For more about brand storytelling as an independent retailer, check out our article on the subject!
Custom packaging as a tool to create cohesive branding across channels
Yet product curation alone isn’t enough to make a retailer truly memorable. This comes down to how they communicate their brand identity across marketing channels. Custom tissue paper helped Jessica to give her products the luxury brand image she envisioned for THE MINI EDIT, as well as a memorable customer experience. By offering free premium gift-wrapping, every purchase from THE MINI EDIT feels like an occasion to be celebrated.
By designing her custom tissue paper with the same marbled pattern as the background for her website and social media posts, Jessica knits together a cohesive brand identity that reflects timeless style and great taste. Having a design all ready to go, noissue’s offline design tool made it easy for Jessica to upload and get a proof within a 24-hour period:
“We love everything about noissue, from the quality of their custom tissue paper, to their sustainability guarantees and amazing personal service. Our business was our first baby, so we’re really protective over the brand and find it hard to place our trust in companies whose own branding isn’t on point. noissue’s tone of voice, strong presence on social and slick site isn’t just a gimmick, they truly understand the needs of young creative businesses and have the quality of service to back up their sexy branding… long story short, we love you!”
A sustainable outlook on fashion
THE MINI EDIT’s priority when it comes to their custom packaging design isn’t just branding and providing a high-end customer experience - it’s about achieving it in the most sustainable way possible:
“We’ve made a real commitment to minimising the footprint that our business leaves on the planet. This means everything from the big stuff like carbon neutral delivery, plastic-free packaging and limiting discounting, down to tiny details like washi tape and our amazing noissue custom tissue paper, printed with renewable soy-based inks. Fashion is at the heart of what we do, but we don’t think it should cost the Earth.”
Many small businesses still feel that they need to choose between showing off their brand personality or being eco-friendly when it comes to their packaging needs. But with noissue, this doesn’t have to be the case; our custom tissue paper is FSC-certified, acid-free and 100% recyclable, meaning you can have your cake and eat it too! This allows us to keep serving boutique brands like THE MINI EDIT, who make it their mission to offer their customers something a little bit different:
“Sourcing plastic-free packaging that is beautiful and kind to the planet is actually much harder than it should be in 2019, it’s really important that we get behind brands like noissue who are at the forefront of change, so they can keep developing amazing new products.”