Former French Vogue Editor Launches Collective Child, Styling Chic Kids Everywhere

by Ashley Baker
collective child
Let’s say you’re a fashion person, prone to filling your closet with Altuzarra and Ackermann and waxing poetic about Alessandro Michele. Surely you’re not content to dress your babies in the awfully predictable (if adorable) wares from Jacadi and Zara? Enter Emily Khasidy, a French Vogue vet and mother whose new launch, Collective Child, aims to outfit children in looks that will surprise and delight their fashion-savvy parents. Fill out a lifestyle questionnaire, let Khasidy and her team peruse your Insta feed, and await the first installment of your monthly subscription box. Keep the pieces you love, return (gratis) the ones you don’t, and prepare to have one of the best-dressed babies in town.
Emily, what’s your professional background?
Prior to launching Collective Child, my career was focused in the editorial magazine world, primarily at the New York office of Vogue Paris. I spent six years there where I worked with the editorial teams at Vogue Paris, Vogue Homme Intl., Glamour France, and Air France Madame, helping produce the shoots from an editorial perspective. During my time at the magazine, I was lucky enough to work with both Carine Roitfeld and Emmanuelle Alt, along with countless other extremely talented stylists, photographers, and tastemakers associated with those titles. It was a wonderful experience in luxury and creativity.
What did you think was missing from the e-commerce market directed at childrenswear?
Brick and mortar stores have always existed, and in today’s modern society e-commerce has become a staple. Where there has been a gap is the technology-driven space between the two—people want the ease and convenience of online shopping coupled with the sensory pleasure of seeing and touching the clothing in the person. The past five years, we’ve seen fashion retail companies pop up that do this successfully—TrunkClub, Stitch Fix, Lyon + Post. It was only natural that childrenswear would follow suit. From a functional perspective, a childrenswear sub-com is perfect, just based on how frequently parents need to shop for their children’s clothing. From a style perspective, there have always been great brands out there to discover. However, smaller boutiques and brands have been a challenge to find, and their distribution in the US is at times limited. Thanks to today’s Millennial parents, the market is demanding all things different new and exciting. This generation has grown up on social media and within a connectedness where seeing great things all the time has become the norm. We have been spoiled in that the world is literally at our fingertips. We no longer have to settle for what’s local, if we don’t want to.
What inspired the idea to launch The Collective Child?
Collective Child was born out of a selfish need to have more stylish clothing for my son without having to work so hard to find brands and pieces I loved. It very quickly evolved when I realized that this was a pretty standard problem for all my mom friends, and other moms in the communities I’m a part of. New moms, moms of several kids, infant moms, toddler moms, expectant moms—moms in general had this exceptional lack of time. Dads, too! We don’t want to exclude anyone, but we are patiently awaiting our first dad sign-up. So much of their time was being dedicated to determining what they needed, what brands they liked, and where to buy them that shopping was more of a chore than pleasure. It became something we needed to check off our list. So with that in mind, I set out to build a business that caters to busy parents who want to shop for stylish clothing for their kids in the most convenient way possible. For many parents our free time exists in the hours of 6 p.m. to midnight when our little ones are asleep. After a busy day at work, juggling the family or simply being a responsible adult—it’s such a pleasure to be able to pour yourself a glass of wine and shop for your child in the comfort of your own home. Collective Child is a luxury in that now everyone has access to professional stylists and buyers that can dress your child and save you time.
What kind of assortment do you carry on the site?
We focus on a contemporary assortment from a style perspective in a wide range of price points. Some of the brands we carry at any given time are Oeuf, DL1961, Tinycottons, Petit Bateau, Imps & Elfs, Splendid, Patachou and more. We’re constantly adding new brands every season, both big and small.
How do you and your team of stylists go about selecting looks for your young clients?
We like to get to know them. New clients fill out a style questionnaire that consists of basic sizing info for their child, but then also some questions about their lifestyle. What are they doing with their child? Do they go to playdates mostly? Are they attending school or more formal functions? Once we have that information it narrows down our inventory offering to a smaller selection that would be most suited to that client. From there, it really is a personal stylist picking out the looks. They base their decisions on the initial style questionnaire, feedback from previous months and pieces that clients have purchased before. We like to pay attention to every detail and give our clients what they want, but at the same time, suggest some things they may never have considered before.
How do you source new brands?
Coming into this business sourcing brands was probably one of my favorite aspects of building the company. For so many years at Vogue Paris, my job included finding the absolute best of something no matter where it existed in the world. So to be able to do that for childrenswear was a true pleasure. Endless hours are spent scouring e-com sites, checking out shops, reading the industry-focused mags like Babiekins & La Petite, paying attention to what’s happening on Instagram and with child style influencers. We ask parents and our clients what brands they love. Even traveling—in January, our team traveled to Kleinefabriek, the childrenswear show in Amsterdam. We try to make sure that we know about everything that is going on in the market. From there, we select our brands based on the value we think our clients will appreciate. That can be any number of things—quality, design, price point, fabrication, materials used, company history, brand story. We really stand behind the brands we sell, and want to introduce our clients to all of these great options. On the other hand, we like to encourage our clients to tell us if there is a brand they love that we don’t carry. Many great European brands are not widely distributed in the US, and if we can help get those favorites to our clients to make them happy, that makes us happy.
How do you aim to grow the business?
Our growth thus far has been very organic. The mom community is hugely loyal and supportive of one another, so many of our initial clients came directly from NY-based mom communities. If they find our service helpful, they recommend it, and we’ve been very fortunate to have our clients help us spread the word by telling their friends. The next step for Collective Child is to fundraise and grow. We set out to pilot the program in order to test the market and make sure that we are solving the problems these moms face. Now that we feel we’ve done that somewhat successfully, we are getting out into the startup tech community and looking to raise the seed round capital needed to scale the business. There are so many wonderful plans, ideas and features we hope to build out for our clients. Right now, we feel that finding the right partner will help make those dreams a reality and go a long way in innovating the way parents shop for their kids. With that said, one perspective that makes us truly unique is our desire in many ways to stay small. Unlike many startups and companies who have their eye on the bottom line and massive growth numbers, we want to make sure that we stay focused on customer experience and the service we are providing. We feel so strongly that we don’t want to sacrifice the experience of one, for many. It’s our belief that high-quality goods, a helpful service, and a strong community will build a great company that our clients will be proud to stand behind.

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