Geppetto’s Sonya Schroeder reveals how to catch the attention of tweens.

LOS ANGELES — They aren’t kids, but they aren’t teens, either.

They are tweens. They are between childhood and their teenage years and they have one foot in each of those worlds. Tweens are stressed out and they are on the hunt for their individuality, but want to fit in and be like their friends all at the same time.

The tween years can be hard, since they are trying to find out exactly who they are, but when it comes to style, they seem to know what they want. For companies trying to capture the 10- to 12-year-old customer, there are a couple of factors to keep in mind: These are passionate consumers and they tend to be group followers of trends.

That’s according to Sonya Schroeder, senior strategic planner at The Geppetto Group, a full-service advertising agency dedicated to the children and teen markets. The agency works with a series of companies, in and out of the fashion industry, including McDonald’s, Crayola, Lego and Nike.

Schroeder said while teens are generally more confident when it comes to creating their own trends, tweens are not so confident.

"A perfect example of a tween is that she is in her pajamas, hugging her teddy bear and calling her best friend to bitch," Schroeder explained. "She’s not a kid, but not a teen either. She’s stuck in the middle of both worlds."

Schroeder said brands that appeal to a tween tend to have a playfulness about them, such as in the Hello Kitty and Paul Frank brands, which are both based on fun and colorful characters.

In the cosmetics category, the tween girl is attracted to items that contain a type of shine, shimmer or glitter, as well as lip glosses enhanced with flavors.

"Take Hard Candy, for example," she said. "I am not sure they were thinking so much into this when they came up with the name, but the ‘Hard’ part of the name seems to be geared to a teen while ‘Candy’ is playful and colorful for a tween. So, it seems they have done a good job attracting both of these groups."Overall, she said, when targeting a tween audience, aiming high is key. They want to be older and younger all at the same time, but usually, whatever they see a teen wearing, they also want to wear it.

Style to a tween

Carefree individuality.

Brand is more important than style.

They are fast followers of trends.

Safe experimentation.

They look for admiration over standing out in the crowd.

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