What: A line of one-piece
baby clothing designed to look like multipiece outfits
Who: Jennifer Hughes of Liloebe LLC
Where: Traverse City, Michigan
When: Started in January 2002
Jennifer Hughes and her friends always loved the look of the cute baby clothes they received at baby showers. But when it came time to put the layers on-the shorts, the shirt and the overshirt-it hit home to Hughes, 36, how inconvenient the baby separates were. "I had tons of these outfits that were completely impractical," she explains.
Hughes wondered why no one had thought of designing one-piece outfits for babies and toddlers that just looked like they were made up of two or three pieces. After all, a one-piece outfit would be much easier to get on and off, and it wouldn't bunch up as the baby moved.
After the birth of her second daughter, Hughes started seriously researching what it would take to launch her line of baby clothes. After coming up with the corporate name, Liloebe LLC (a combination of her daughters' names, Lili and Phoebe), Hughes initially focused on securing big corporate accounts. However, "They wouldn't touch me with a 10-foot pole," she explains, because her operation was so new. So Hughes went to Plan B and embraced the boutique market, which fell head-over-heels in love with her stylish, affordably priced (around $20 retail) creations.
The most difficult part of her marketing, says Hughes, has been explaining the product to customers. Because the outfits in her Stylease line look like they're made up of separate pieces, potential buyers have to actually touch her products to understand why they're so special. Now Hughes is mounting a grass-roots consumer marketing campaign. "That's the kind of word-of-mouth that's going to grow this product," she says. With 2003 sales projected into the six figures, word is definitely getting out.