It's been a year since we've soft launched Itsy Cotton. What a year it has been!
In this journey, I am almost always pleasantly surprised at how wonderful a bunch Singaporean entrepreneurs are - so open to new products, ideas, brands and ways of collaborating.
A little backtracking to maybe 15 years ago: I was a young corporate, far away from having a boyfriend, a husband, children of any sort to dress and style, when I wandered into a shop which was filled with dresses with cute prints and a huge variety of toys and accessories which I knew would have made me swoon with delight when I was a little girl. I told myself I would come back here when I was a mum for clothes to dress my children. Of course, the shop I visited was The Elly Store, truly the first Singaporean children's clothing brand that made dresses that were fun, modern and reasonably priced (compared to the $300 dresses in departmental stores at that time) and perfectly pitched to Singaporeans - catering to local weather, tastes and lifestyles. A feeling of having come full circle then, when I pitched Itsy Cotton to them (half in trepidation, half in excitement), that they not only agreed to stock our Mary Jane shoes, but also introduced us to other stockists, shared their knowledge so generously with us and have showed us what it means to have an extremely strong work ethic, a passion for your job and going the extra mile in partnerships. For us, this was a milestone because today, The Elly Store has a cornucopia of popular children's shoe brands like Natives, Castell (another Spanish brand), Tip Top Joey and it's a good feeling to be among stalwart brands as such.
Another moment for us was when we approached Maison Q, another children's brand I personally LOVE, with its reversible dresses (so clever!) to ask about the possibility of a creative collaboration. Their founder, Suhana was just so nice right from the start and they agreed to use our shoes as samples in their CNY 2022 campaign - "The Great Huat". For a small, new brand like us, this was soooo exciting!!! We are excited to show you in the coming weeks photos from that campaign. (All photos courtesy of Maison Q!)
Another example of the camaraderie we Singaporeans share is when I was invited by The Play Atelier, a local children's brand that stocks the coolest, design-led kids' clothing and toys from Gathre, Londji, Maileg, Connetix, Erzi, Snuggle Hunny Kids, Mushie, Konges Sloejd to join its Christmas giveaway with 14 other local brands. We chatted, shared our posts, our thoughts and eventually gave away $800 worth of store credits to one lucky winner. It was so nice of Shanice to have thought of including me, in the first place and she kept checking in with all of us to see how we were doing and to allay any doubts or questions we had about the contest.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is in this blog post is that: I miss Singapore, our kampung spirit, its bustling commerce, economic activity and I love seeing how our retail scene has evolved over the years! I love being in the swim as a new children's shoe brand. One of the biggest motivations of starting Itsy Cotton as a Singaporean brand was so that I could feel connected somehow to my home country. I can honestly say after a year of the business, that this has been extremely worthwhile endeavour that has met its purpose.
I hope in 2022, I will get to host a little party for Itsy Cotton and meet all our wonderful customers, which we never got to do because of COVID. There's absolutely no better feeling than seeing a little girl wear her Itsy Cotton Mary Janes and I thank every customer who has taken the leap of faith in buying Itsy Cotton shoes, given we are a new brand. (Though of course, our shoe model has been made for decades in the same family owned factory by local Spanish artisans ;)
Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
See you soon!
Have an itsy day,