hypekids Exclusive: How Leisia Tsang and Ellen Ogren of Little Starters are Changing the Childrenswear Game
“Who wants to spend time in a mall when you could be at the beach?”
Little Starters is a dream come true for parents. You tell them what clothes your kids like, you get items delivered to your door, and whatever you or your children don’t like can be returned free of charge. Yes, it’s the same subscription box model you’re already familiar with, just downsized for kids. But considering how much sense the model makes for shopping for kids’ clothes, it’s a wonder there weren’t more companies like Little Starters until now.
The company is a result of the partnership between designers Leisia Tsang and Ellen Ogren, who wanted to find a new way to bring their California style to the masses. We recently caught up with Leisia and Ellen to talk about the background of Little Starters and how the children’s fashion industry is changing. Read our full conversation below to learn how they got their start and what children’s brands they’re enjoying at the moment.
Congratulations on launching Little Starters – what inspired you to develop a subscription service?
Leisia: Ellen and I have always been interested in the kidswear space, and wanted to start something that still felt progressive. A subscription service seemed to be the most forward thinking way to pursue our dream.
Were you concerned at all that the business model wouldn’t work for kids’ clothes?
Ellen: When we launched our site, statistics showed that subscription company websites in the U.S. had about 37 million visitors per month, so we were pretty confident going into it and that it would work, as we knew there was at least some demand in America. As both of us have been in high-level positions in the corporate world, we also knew how little time there is during the day to get personal stuff done. For new parents, that challenge is only amplified.
Do you think it’s a positive thing that more shopping is moving into the online sphere?
Leisia: Absolutely! Taking little ones shopping for clothing can be tough work – we wanted to remove that, and make it much simpler and convenient for parents.
Ellen: More than that, we felt it wasn’t enough to give people what they were looking for because online shopping enables us to get whatever we are looking for with just a click. To get a consumer excited, we wanted offer something they weren’t expecting, and the surprise element we offer in our subscription service does just that.
What other changes do you see happening in the way that we shop in the future?
Leisia: It’s kind of crazy to think how the way we shop has evolved already. As a kid growing up in Iowa, I remember subscribing to magazines through postcard sized cardstock via door-to-door sales. Today, no matter where you live, it’s a lot easier to get the things you want delivered to your door. We think that’s only going to snowball, not just the culture of shopping online, but more specifically shopping on-the-go and through social platforms.
What are the main challenges facing today’s parents who have a busy lifestyle?
Ellen: Getting time to shop for your kids – whether it be food, diapers or clothing. With clothing, they grow so fast – it’s something that needs to happen too often. Who wants to spend that time in a shopping mall when you could be at the beach or having a BBQ with your family and friends?
Leisia: Living and working in fast-paced cities like we both have, we understand how a busy lifestyle can put pressure on one’s time for family and maintaining a social life – Little Starters is a shopping solution for babies and toddlers that gives you more time for the important stuff.
How has working in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles inspired the creative process behind Little Starters?
Leisia: Between the two of us we have over 25 years combined experience in design, product development, visual merchandising, PR, buying, merchandising, you name it. All of this combined made building a brand together a thought-out and creative experience. In fact, we’ve just gone full circle and have launched an exclusive capsule with luxury retailer Lane Crawford, which is where Ellen and I were both working when we met.
Are there any other subscription-based products you would like to roll out to parents and children?
Ellen: At the moment we plan to stick to clothing and accessories and potentially collaborate with other brands and products we love down the road. In the next five years we’d like to see Little Starters occupying all the coolest kidswear spaces online and offline and in more countries around the world. Seeing Stitch Fix file for an IPO last month motivates us as at start-up!
What brands do you like to purchase for kids? Are there any collections that are currently grabbing your attention?
Ellen: Sons + Daughters do super cool sunglasses for kids, we love their whole aesthetic. We also love classic sneakers for little ones – Vans and Converse are our go-to’s for pairing with Little Starters outfits.
- Image Credit
- Leisia Tsang