Rachel Williams found a gap in the market for children’s clothing and established Little Bambinos to introduce leading international brands to New Zealand. When Ulia Ash, a loyal customer of the business, discovered it was up for sale at the beginning of 2017, she jumped at the opportunity and is now the owner of the store.
Ash had three children at the time, and her youngest had just started preschool that week. “I was feeling really lost with what to do with my time as I enjoyed being busy and was exploring options for a part-time job,” Ash said. “That weekend I received a customer email from Little Bambinos that it was up for sale. I had always dreamed of having my own business, but I never knew what that business might be.” With young children, Ash wanted a job that could be flexible and fit around her family life and with her husband’s support. “I took the plunge and bought the business.”
Little Bambinos is a boutique online store specialising in infant and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories. The business highlights products from a range of local and international designers, many of which are exclusive to Little Bambinos. Like many of the company’s designers, Ash prefers to use eco-friendly fibres and sustainable manufacturing processes. Many of the store’s collections are made from organic cotton and natural dyes.
The carefully curated selection of brands and attention to detail her team provides in their customer service sets the store apart from others. “We are always striving to showcase the clothes in the best possible way of being online. Images are everything, and we are constantly trying to add to our imagery.” Little Bambinos now has a journal tab on their website and a Pinterest page. They also style their own photoshoots every season to show how many looks can be made with their brands.
To ensure excellent customer service, Little Bambinos check and read all comments on social media and emails and have an incredibly fast response time, ensuring customers feel like they are given the store’s full attention. “I also make it personal as I get to know my customers and what they like and try to make those connections when we are in touch.”
The most important thing to Ash is making her customers happy. “I really want them to be impressed with the service and to feel like they are buying something special.” Many children’s clothes are attached to memories and are passed down. Ash wants to be part of this process and nostalgia. “Buying quality over quantity also means that you are far more likely to attach yourself to the clothing items as opposed to just wearing them and then discarding them.”
Little Bambinos carries a variety of diverse brands including Ryee + Cru, L’ovedbaby, Jamie Kay, Louise Misha, Daughter, Wheat, Sleepy Doe, Konges Slojd, Bibs, Shirley Bredal, Bobo Choses and Poudre Organic and stocks mainly children’s and infant’s clothes and footwear and some bedding, swaddles, soothers and toys.
In an exciting expansion, Little Bambinos has moved into its first physical space as the team was invited to join the Collective in Christchurch – a store that runs as a collective. Ash is excited to finally have a place for customers to see products in-store.
Future plans for the business include a pop-up shop in Auckland next year and the ongoing expansion and addition of brands online. “At the moment I feel we have so much to offer for girls and would love to see more boys clothing added to our store and to have bigger sizes available.”