The Mini-Edit is not your typical online retailer. A quick glance at the-mini-edit.com and you instantly know this website is cool. Its bold colours and statement fashion shots are a long way away from the typical frilly, pastel- adorned websites which primarily serve mothers and children.

Founder of The Mini-Edit, Jessica King, tells Essential eCommerce that a contemporary website was needed to support its stylish brands available at a wide range of price points, including Stella McCarthy, Kenzo and Marcelo Burlon.

"The products are for children, but they don't buy for themselves," explains King, whose experience lies in buying at the likes of Alex and Alexa and Selfridges. "A lot of websites are baby blue and pink and cutesy – but that's not the customer we're talking to."

Because all of the clothes chosen for the site are bold prints, King also says these translate better when buying online because they don't fade into the stark white online web page like pastels colours tend to.

Interestingly, The Mini-Edit made a conscious choice to be unisex. The website is not split into boys and girls, and while some customers initially said they found it difficult to shop, it turned out many mums were buying what would normally be a gender specific piece of clothing and giving it to their child of the opposite sex. "So we've had one mum buy a sweat-dress for her boy who wears it with skinny jeans and boots," says King.

But the issue of gender doesn't come across on the site, only contemporary, achingly-cool shots of kids in bomber jackets and statement t-shirts. In fact, The Mini-Edit does not even feel immediately like an eCommerce website, more like a fashion blog, with a strong presence on Instagram as well as other social platforms.

Development

King says since the idea for The Mini-Edit was born a couple of years ago, she knew it was important to ensure the website would be slick and easy to engage with its stylish customers, with product ratings and customer forums built into the website from the beginning.

After becoming frustrated with the kidswear industry for being outdated compared to adult fashion, King packed in her job as buyer of the kids and toy department of Selfridges to work on The Mini-Edit full time.

She worked with web design agency, WebCrate, to develop the slick, responsive website using a Wordpress template. As well as being in-tune with her vision, WebCrate was able to quickly solve technical issues which King says often floors the big players in the market.

"Kidswear is tricky because we cover newborn to 16 years," explains King. "There can be two or three cost processes per product, for example clothes for age 12-years plus are VAT applicable. This is a complicated process, but because we were built bespoke, the WebCrate guys were quickly able to create solutions."

King says pricing strategies and services such as live chat were easy to bolt onto the existing eCommerce platform, whereas large retailers would struggle to implement changes quickly on such a big scale due to their dependence on legacy systems.

"But eCommerce is never finished," she adds. "The next day there's always more changes and developments."

Physical retailing

King set up The Mini-Edit with her mother, a management accountant who looks after the company's books, and originally the two envisioned launching with a physical space.

"It would have been a concept store, where mum can have a coffee and there are activities for the kids with cool, contemporary products on the shelves."

But King soon realised the amount of capital needed to launch a physical space was too much too quickly. "We decided to launch online, start small and fund ourselves."

But her vision of a concept store came into reality for a short period, when The Mini-Edit won a competition to open a pop-up shop in East London.

"For a couple of weeks we tested out the concept, bringing The Mini-Edit experience to life," she explains. "We had events from kids' yoga, to craft workshops and storytelling, and we used social media to spread the word. We even had an online booking system to reserve tickets."

King says the experience taught her that having a temporary pop-up shop was the best way to launch physically in retail. "It captured a specific moment in time and celebrated our launch," she explains. "It had a build up to the opening that we wouldn't have been able to do with a permanent space."

She also says how the pop-up taught her about the importance of having theatre in a physical space. "The eCommerce business is about how you make the experience convenient and we spent so much time on convenience and delivery, but to justify the physical space, the only way you can get customers to shop with you is if you offer something else and an experience."

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