Maisonette is taking its act on the road.
The online marketplace for collections and independent apparel, gift and home decor boutiques for the infant to 12-year-old set, is embarking on a four-city tour with activations such as trunk shows and shop-in-shops, and partnering with retailers or brands at every stop along the way.
After operating a successful a pop-up shop last holiday season in Manhattan, Maisonette experimented with targeted trunk shows for smaller groups of moms across the city. “We saw real success with that model because our customer likes to engage with us in person,” said Luisana Mendoza, who with Sylvana Durrett co-founded Maisonette. “The multichannel approach is important for acquiring customers and retaining customers. It’s the mom sharing with her friends. We can explain who we are and tell our story. We thought about where we wanted to go from there and what are the markets we should visit.”
Maisonette will kick things off on April 5 in Miami with a dinner in partnership with Karolina Kurkova, a founder of Gryph & Ivy Rose, a brand of bath and body products, herbal elixirs and probiotics for children made with natural ingredients.
The following day, a private swim and beach accessory fashion show and public shop-in-shop event is scheduled at The Webster. “Laure [Heriard Dubreuil, the store’s founder,] has been a good friend and is very supportive,” Mendoza said. “We collaborated with her on a Webster kids T-shirt capsule. She has a real network of Moms in the area.”
The Maisonette caravan on April 7 will move on to Palm Beach for a carnival and in-store shop at the Royal Poinciana Plaza in partnership with Roller Rabbit.
Houston will be next, on April 11, where entrepreneur and designer Bailey McCarthy will host a shopping event and trunk show of Easter and occasion dressing.
In Dallas on April 13, a trunk show at Mi Golondrina will fete the launch of the exclusive collection Mi Golondrina X Maisonette. “We’re highlighting local businesses we work with,” Durrett said. “We’re bringing up the small businesses that have a hard time reaching the customer. That’s what we were founded to do.” Mi Golondrina, a Mexican embroidered brand, is local to the Dallas market.
The first leg of the road show will take Maisonette into August. Future plans include visits to Atlanta; New York City; Napa Valley, Calif.; Los Angeles, the Hamptons, N.Y., and Washington, D.C.
According to Durrett and Mendoza, the children’s wear market has become bifurcated. “There aren’t high-end designer collections and there aren’t mass appeal players,” Durrett said. “In the middle, there are young, cool designers doing really exciting things, not only in apparel, but home furnishings, decor, gear and toys.”
“The renaissance in this middle market is really exciting,” Mendoza said. “Part of reason there’s this surge is because the market dynamic and customer have changed. The consumer is design-minded and conscious about how products are made. They’re looking for unique and differentiated things. We see new designers popping up every day.”
The shift in consumer behavior is being driven by Millennials, who are having children later in life, are concerned about quality and materials, and have high aesthetic standards. “They’re spending on high and low,” Mendoza said. “They’ll spend a little more on something organic or if it looks nice in their apartment.”
Maisonette’s founders aren’t opening a permanent store just yet. “We’ve thought about brick-and-mortar,” Mendoza said, “at some point we’ll look into that model. We want to be sure to test and learn.”
They’re banking on word of mouth, which has carried them far. “Moms are sharers,” Durrett said. “When they find something they like, they have to share it with their friends.”