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500th Fan Giveaway!!

Just a quick post on our 500th Fan Giveaway!

We hit the 500th Fan mark and as a great big thank you to all of you – we are giving away a $50 gift card to the Little Pea store. All we ask is that you send in a few lines about what your love most about the Little Pea Collection. Email your comments to info@littlepeaonline.com with the Subject WIN 50. Entries will be accepted until 1/20!

Good Luck!

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Bring it on 2011

Happy New Year!!!  Hope you holiday was joyous and full of merriment!

After a nice and relaxing holiday we are back to work here at Little Pea!  I must say, it has been nice to get the kids (and myself) back into a routine. However, with the holidays behind me – it’s time to refocus and prep for our Spring deliveries!  The Spring 2011 collection is in full production now with orders slated to start shipping at the beginning of February!  I can’t wait to see what the reaction is towards the new line as I think it one of our best to date!  We had great response from wholesale and I am certain our fans will love the new line just as much as we do!

That said, I would like to take some time to reflect on 2010 – it truly was a whirlwind year for Little Pea!  Despite challenges I was thrilled with the successes we had over the course of 2010 and have high hopes for the Spring collection.  It would be a lie to say we did not have our challenges – like all emerging brands we faced obstacles.  Our first large scale production was truly a learning experience!  I had my first encounters with “unhappy” customers (what I really mean is MEAN customers – but I am trying to be PC). Ha!  Sales obstacles were met head on and tough decisions were made. (More to come on that later…)  Overall it was amazing year and I truly feel like I have faced said challenges head on and learned a great deal about what it really takes to run a business!

There are some big changes on the horizon for Little Pea in 2011 and as plans materialize I will share more with all of you.  At this point, I feel fortunate to have had the successes we have had and look forward to sharing my plans for 2011 as they fall more into place.  Happy New Year folks! Here’s to a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2011!

xx

Sara

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Worst Blogger – EVER!

Yikes!  I knew I had been neglecting the blog but wow, my last post was in September.  That must make me one of the worst bloggers, EVER hands down!  I will admit, I even had to reset my password after numerous failed attempts to access my account.  Boo, I know.

Anyhow, no need to dwell – I am back and my Pre-New Years Resolution will be to be…. Yep, you guessed it!  To blog more regularly, yahoo!  Were to start, as it has been 3+ months since my last post.  Well, to be fair I have been a busy little bee.

First off, Fall shipping went extremely well – and despite the economy I only had a few accounts bail on their orders.  It’s to be expected but I do wish said accounts (I won’t name any names) had been a little more forth coming as to why they did not bring in their merchandise.  I’m a small business as well- I get it and totally understand but never would I simply not return follow up calls.  Oh well, it’s done in the past and I am shrugging it off.  Good of me, isn’t it? Note: this is all very tongue and cheek. 😉

Spring 11 sold well and I can happily say we booked 20+ new accounts for the Spring line!  Hip, Hip, Hooray!  The collection is currently in production and will be shipping in February and I can’t wait to see how it sells.  Honestly, I think this was our best collection to date and hope that it is well received by consumers.

Other than that we have been busy promoting the collection – we recently partnered with Grows Up a super fun recently launched site that showcases small, up and coming boutique lines.  So if you are looking for something unique and ethically produced pop on over to the site pronto – you won’t be sorry!

Other news – we will be partnering with the Mini Social for our first ever Flash Sale!  Save the date for December 7 and be sure to check out our sale goodies marked down to 40% off retail prices.  Seriously, great deals are up for grabs and just in time for the holidays.  Treat your tiny fashionista to a few pieces from our Fall collection, perfect Christmas pressies.  Or check out our dresses which I must admit would be perfect for holiday pics.

Last but not least, as Thanksgiving just passed and I definitely took some time to reflect on all that I am thankful for in regards to the business.   To name a few – I want to thank my accounts (first and foremost) for taking a chance on a new collection and believing in us!  I will always be grateful! 🙂  Next off, thanks to my sales reps – I truly appreciate all of your efforts.  Let’s not forget our sourcing partners: Alice, Kirk, Jamie – you guys ROCK!  Last but not least, anyone and everyone who has purchased a Little Pea piece – thank you from the bottom of my heart!

And on that (possible) sappy but (truly) sincere note – I am off.

Back soon for a follow up post…I promise. 🙂

xo

Sara

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Up Close and Personal!

Having spent most of my pre-Little Pea career in sourcing I pretty much always worked behind the scenes.  If you needed to source a fabric, tweak a pattern, re-sample a garment I was your go to and have always had a knack for managing vendor relationships.  Once I delivered the product, my job was done.  The sell through component of the business was handed off to my merchandiser.  After making the decision to develop my own line, I capitalized on that skill and was lucky enough to find fabulous sourcing partners.  However, being at the helm of Little Pea has also given me the opportunity to develop customer relationships which I must admit thrilled and scared the life out of me!

Up to this point, I still maintain a semi behind the scenes profile; meaning my sales reps work face to face with the accounts via shows and showroom visits.  Besides overseeing the design and development of the line, I also support my reps on the back end: sending out marketing collateral, developing press/advertising relationships, blogging, etc.  All useful tasks which I know my fabulous sales reps appreciate!!  However, now that my first big shipping season is in full swing I have had the opportunity to start getting to know some of my accounts.  Shifting from my role behind the scenes to one in the forefront has been an easier transition that I thought it would be.  Since Fall shipping has commenced I have had the opportunity to speak and follow up with several accounts, solicit their feedback, and generally get to know the buyers and I truly believe that they appreciate the personal element that I bring to my business.

Recently I’ve begun to get emails from accounts letting me know what is selling, Like Dandelion in Danville, CA.  Our Gracie skirt is a top seller for them and in Charleston, SC – Petit Amoire confirms that the Ashton top is flying off the shelves.  I love, love, love getting these reports and also welcome negative feedback as well (Luckily, we have not gotten any of that yet!!).  As a new line, I use the comments as a gauge for what is and isn’t working at retail and can use the information to make adjustment to future collections.  So, please retailers keep those comments coming!

I am only at the start of this roller coaster ride but I finally feel like the line is starting to get some much needed traction in the marketplace.  The sinking feeling that is all too familiar to many start ups is starting to ease a bit, thank goodness for that!  There is a long road ahead but I am learning and have become so appreciative of every step I take towards reaching my end goal.  That said, I want to say THANK YOU to all of my accounts for taking a chance on a new line and for partnering with Little Pea!

xo,

Sara

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Bad Blogging!

Okay, so the post is not really about bad blogging, it’s more about my lack of blogging!  Yes, thought it would catch your attention though!  So sorry for this folks, all my attention has been focused on shipping out Fall orders and uploading Fall product into the online store which is now live – so head on over to check out the Fall line and pick up a few key pieces for back to school!

That said, time for your monthly Little Pea update.

With Fall shipments almost complete and Spring line handed over to sales that I have some time to sit back and reflect on the last 6 months.  Wow!  What a crazy 6 months it has been!  Between prepping the collections for market, styling photo shoots, creating marketing collateral, and over seeing my first large scale production (I produced over 100 pieces of 6 styles last season) so perhaps not huge by other people’s standards but big to me!  Looking back, I am very proud of what I have achieved and managed but I will admit it has not come without obstacles, hiccups, even anguish at times!  Starting a business from the ground up is HARD!  Yes, I spent 10 years in sourcing and production but working for national retailers vs running a small business is like night and day.  Without major bucks behind you, one must truly have their hands in all aspects of design and development, managing everything from the size of a button to marketing, to photography.  A jack of all trades for sure!  My husband is amazed at my technical abilities now vs 1 year ago!  However, with this hard work comes the gratification of seeing your business grow and take roots and for that I am truly grateful.  I am so thrilled with the product we produced and am so excited to be shipping retailers whom I have long admired for their impeccable assortments.  Little Skye Boutique, Arte Bebe, Chi Chi Bean, and Chasing Fireflies are a few of the new accounts we booked for Fall!  Seriously cool and I am anxiously awaiting feedback on how the line sells.  On pins and needles but excited none the less.

The Spring Line has also been well received since it’s debut at ENK in August with the greatest compliment being that retailers who picked up Fall have also bought the Spring line with orders doubling even tripling in size! Spring debuts in the SE next week at Atlanta Children’s World where our new representation Brittany Harrell of Summer Place Reps has been busy setting up appointments to show the line.  This season we decided to step away from the LA Market which was a tough decision but have plans on re-entry into this region in Fall 2011.  So, if you are a west coast retailer and looking for a chic and sophisticated option to play wear contact us directly!!

With the first major unveiling of the Spring line, we are also fielding retailer comments and addressing design concerns that were presented in August with updated pieces which will be available at the October show.  Got to love the fact that I manufacture the complete line in Wilsonville, OR 20 minutes south of Portland.  Awesome, as I can react and trouble shoot in a very short lead time.  We are also adding size 8 to the collection, another request from ENK and the Spring 11 line is now available in sizes 2T-8.  We love our customers and welcome their feedback!  So please, please, please send us a shout out if you have special requests or issues with any item in the line.  As a new brand I firmly believe it is crucial to listen to the comments and concerns of your accounts/customers.  So, feel free to shoot feedback my way!

Well, I think I have rattled on for long enough.  I just have so much to say plus I am catching up on a month of radio silence.  I know, bad blogger!

Take care you all and be sure to “like” us on Facebook or follow our Twitter feed @LittlePeaTweets to stay up to date on the latest collection news.

xo,

Sara

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Housekeeping and Other Fun Stuff!

Yikes!  I just checked out my last post and realized it’s been over a month since I last posted.  Bad blogger!  In my defense I have been working day and night prepping the new Spring 11 Collection and over seeing the production of Fall.  That is a mouthful!  However, I am pleased as punch to say we are in the midst of shipping the Fall Collection.  Hooray!!  22 new accounts were booked last season and more orders are trickling in.  Double Hooray!!  That said, time for your “monthly” Little Pea updates.

First off I am pleased to announce a new addition to the Little Pea Family – our new sales rep Brittany Harrell of Summer Place Showroom in Atlanta!  After a great showing last season at the Atlanta Children’s World we decided that it was time to secure a full time sales rep in the SE!  Just last week, Brittany showed our Fall Collection at the Atlanta Gift Show and I can happily report that we booked a few new accounts in the territory.  Our big launch for Spring in the SE will happen at the Atlanta Children’s World Show August 26-30.  So if you are a buyer in the SE region please contact Brittany to schedule an appointment.  She operates a full time showroom in the America’s Mart and is happy to show the line at anytime!  Please join me in welcoming Brittany and her team!

I also wanted to bring some much deserved attention to my fabulous representation in NYC!  I cannot speak enough accolades for Terra Fazio and her team at the Thread Showroom. Thread took my little baby on last season and through their fantastic sales efforts the line has grown exponentially and I cannot thank them enough for their efforts last season.  Needless to say I cannot wait to see what they do with the line this season.  Thread Showroom will be debuting the new Spring 11 Collection as well as offering Fall Immediates at ENK August 1-3.  If you will be in attendance, please contact Thread for an appointment or just pop by their booth #2013 to say hello and peruse the wares!  I guarantee you will be blown away by the talent and impeccable stylings of their represented collections!

Last in the housekeeping department – our website.  I am in the process of making improvement to the website which will include a more interactive Look Book feature, video, updated press and where to buy.  We are super excited to see the site evolve and can’t wait to see the final product which should be live in August.  Along with the new site, we will be adding the Fall Collection to our retail store, and uploading video.  To stay up to date on the latest and greatest please “like” us on Facebook this is your go to for the most current information about the line.  Oh yes, and tell your friends as well – we love seeing our fan base grow!

Okay then, now for the fun stuff!  A preview of our Spring 11 Collection!!  Our most recent marketing piece is below.  In addition, there were just so many great pics from our Spring photo shoot that a mere flyer seemed unjust – so I put together a little video to showcase some of the looks from our Spring line.  I must admit, watching it always makes me smile and I hope that the happy little faces on my sweet little model’s wil also brighten your day.  You can view the video here.  Please take a peek I would love to hear your comments!!

All that said, Little Pea has been my most rewarding and the most difficult professional endeavor to date.  Over the last year I have ridden the ebbs and flows of the industry, made mistakes, had great successes, worked harder than I ever had before, made new friends, and over all had a damn good time!  I am so grateful to all of you for your continued support and hope you will continue to follow my journey.  Thanks again!

xo

Sara

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This and That….

So sorry folks for my lack of posting, it’s been a busy time for the Little Pea team!  With Fall production in full swing, we are feverishly preparing to ship the collection to retailers in late July.  I am bursting with excitement and have been busy prepping imagery, reviewing the Fall Look Book proofs, and doing general maintenance to the website so that we are ready for the Fall Launch in August!  So much to do and so little time left!

In addition, the first round of samples for the Spring 11 Collection is currently in review phase!  Yes, you read that right we are already working on pieces for next Spring and will be previewing the line to retailers at ENK in August!  Terra Fazio and her fabulous team over at Thread Showroom will have the collection in their booth. The collection is shaping up nicely and in addition to bringing back a few of our best sellers (in new fabrications of course) we have added a few new styles that fall perfectly into our mix and match concept!  Can’t wait to share pics with all of you but for now, I am keeping it all top secret.  🙂

I must admit, the process of developing and bringing the collection to market has been full of eye openers.  I will admit, it’s a whole lot harder than I anticipated.  I mean, let’s be honest here – between the start up challenges and daily operation it’s been darn hard!  I am sure any business owner can attest to this sentiment.  However, the hard work does pay off and with gumption and a little elbow grease the collection seems to be getting some footing and for that I am truly grateful.

In looking back on the last year, I see that the success of the brand is much in part to an extended network of wonderful individuals and I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few people who have helped me get to this point!  First off my husband (thanks for putting up with me, xo!), 2nd my family and friends without their support their is no way I would have made it this far!!  Love you guys!  My awesome sales reps, thank you so much for all of your hard work and efforts!  You guys are awesome!  Last but not least, also want to send a shout out to all the bloggers, Tweeters, Face Bookers that follow the collection, review the line, and just create general buzz about the collection.  Thank you so very much for your continued support.  It’s all paying off, yah hoo and I am so happy that you are all along for the ride!

That said, I will leave you with a little sneak peak of the Fall collection (click the image to enlarge) which will be available in select boutiques nationwide and online beginning in August!

xo,

Sara

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