Nature Baby top seller for US retail chain

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Nature Baby is forecasting $500,000 of sales with the US retailer J Crew in the coming year. Photo / Supplied
Nature Baby is forecasting $500,000 of sales with the US retailer J Crew in the coming year. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand boutique babywear brand Nature Baby is gaining sales momentum in the United States after being picked up by one of the country's leading fashion retail chains.

Nature Baby, which produces organic cotton and merino wool babywear and sleepwear, has become the top-selling babywear line for J Crew in its online store.

J Crew is a major retail outlet in the US with about 300 stores and an e-commerce site rolled out in more than 100 countries.

Michelle Obama famously chose to wear J Crew for a Jay Leno interview in 2008, and her daughters wore pieces from the retailer's children's line to their father's inauguration this year.

Auckland-based Nature Baby began collaborating with the chain nine months ago and sales had since taken off, said owner Jacob Faull.

"Our Spring line dropped in with J Crew a couple of weeks ago and they've had a huge response," he said.

"Since we started working with them orders have doubled. I'm kind of blown away by it."

Nature Baby was founded by Faull and his wife Georgia in 1998 and the couple have three stores, in Grey Lynn, Newmarket and Takapuna, as well as a thriving e-commerce channel.

They had already been selling their line in boutique stores in cities such as New York and Los Angeles when they caught the attention of J Crew chief executive Mickey Drexler.

"We were lucky enough that the J Crew bosses were customers of ours and they approached us," Faull said.

Drexler asked Nature Baby to produce an exclusive range for J Crew's Crewcuts online store, which caters for babies and children.

It was now also selling in one Manhattan store, with total retail sales through J Crew forecast to hit $500,000 in the coming year, Faull said.

The likes of Jennifer Garner, Miranda Kerr and Pink are among celebrity fans of the Nature Baby brand.

"We have always had celebrities that love our stuff but they can now buy it much more easily," Faull said.

J Crew had become Nature Baby's biggest single distribution channel in its export markets and the aim now was to see the brand expand its global presence, he said.

Nature Baby had recently been contacted by interested distributors in Italy and in Canada.

"We've had a hugely successful start with J Crew and now we're assessing what our next step is internationally," Faull said.

"This has been a huge endorsement."

Nature Baby sources all its organic cotton and wool in India, where it also manufactures its clothing.

- NZ Herald

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