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CEO Talking Shop: The babywear & maternity clothing market in Hong Kong starts delivering

If you haven’t been pregnant or know someone who’s pregnant, you may not know there is a market gap in affordable quality baby and maternity clothing around Asia. When becoming a mother, Chrissy Denton saw this opportunity and created her own baby and maternity wear business in Hong Kong. Now, Denton is the director and designer for her own brand Bebe 2 be, and takes time out to talk to Retail in Asia about the story behind the brand.

RIA: What made you start your business of babywear and maternity wear?

Chrissy Denton (CD): My daughter lived in body suits as soon as she was born – during the summer and winter. I came across bamboo fabrics when I was looking for body suits that would be gentle on her skin. I found bamboo to be very breathable and fast drying as well as hypo allergenic – this was perfect as my daughter suffered from eczema and skin irritations. However, I had to buy the clothing from overseas as I couldn’t find the fabric in Hong Kong. So it made sense to create a clothing line for mums in Hong Kong who want to buy the best for their precious babies. I also found feeding accessories are very useful for those who have a baby, so I have also included some items such as nursing covers that I couldnt live without!

For maternity wear I have been pregnant twice since living in Hong Kong and found it difficult to find trendy but practical maternity clothes. Maternity clothes in Hong Kong are still mostly old-fashioned. That is the reason for me to launch the New Zealand maternity brand EGG in Hong Kong.  

RIA: How do you see this niche market in Hong Kong?

CD: The market for organic clothing is still very young in Hong Kong. I could not find bamboo body suits in Hong Kong and that’s why I decided to introduce my own line. However, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of environmentally friendly and organic products but there is still a lot of education needed. The biggest challenge is educating the public on the benefits of organic clothing.

The market for babywear and maternity wear is always there because people are getting pregnant and having babies every day here – 80,000 babies are born in Hong Kong every year.

RIA: What do customers need?

CD: Customers are looking for quality clothing for their little ones – they are willing to spend a little bit extra on good material, especially material that is going to be beneficial to their baby’s skin. They’re also becoming increasingly aware of the environmental factors and are looking for more eco-friendly products.

For maternity wear, wise consumers are looking for more fashionable items. Comfort is still a priority but there is no reason why you can’t look great while you are pregnant. However, as mentioned before, I couldn’t find trendy but practical fashion to wear while pregnant. EGG’s range is classic and stylish so it can be worn all the way through pregnancy and beyond. It is such an established and well-loved brand in New Zealand that I know it will work well in Hong Kong.

RIA:  What is your branding strategy for Bebe 2 be?

CD: Health and well-being is paramount to Bebe 2 be. I want to incorporate my knowledge and passion for healthy living, so with this in mind, Bebe 2 be also offers nutritional services to individuals and families too. 

RIA: What’s your current marketing strategy?

CD: With PR campaigns, Bebe 2 be has appeared in many consumer magazines in Hong Kong including Playtimes, Ming Pao Weekly, Oriental Daily, The List, Pre Mo, Baby Mo, Baby’s Journal, Sassy Mama and Little Steps. We also promote Bebe 2 be through social media such as our Facebook page and online advertising campaigns. To reach more potential consumers, we have distributed postcards to major Hong Kong baby and maternity retailers, hospitals, doctor’s clinics and other maternity services. Online boutique www.bebe2be.com has also been launched. To attract attention from our target audience, we have also run competitions in consumer magazines.

RIA: Bebe 2 be is the exclusive distributor of EGG maternity wear. Can you tell us more about this brand? 

CD: EGG is a maternity brand from New Zealand. The brand has thousands of followers across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the US.

The EGG range includes glamorous outfits, swimwear, underwear, nursing tops and woolens for mums-to-be. The clothing is fashionable and comfortable. Many of the items that Bebe 2 be has imported into Hong Kong are classic core wardrobe items such as stylish black tops, leggings, denim skirts, slip dresses, jeans, capri pants and shorts. I am planning to import more colourful items and swimwear this summer too.

In February of this year, EGG was honoured the gold award for the best maternity clothing range by over 5,000 New Zealand parents. EGG is now available in Hong Kong at Bralicious and Bumps to Babes. I am now looking to bring more styles to the city and expand the number of outlets that stock the brand. 

RIA: Can you tell us a bit about the current stockists Bralicious and Bumps to Babes?

CD: Bralicious is a lingerie store, which stocks sexy and sporty bras from an A to H as well as many maternity items. It imports brands including Freya, Fantasie, HOTmilk Maternity Lingerie, Deshabille Sleepwear, Kayser, fine lines and Nearly Nude shapewear. It offers a personal fitting service in its Sheung Wan-based showroom that is private and personal, in a relaxed and friendly environment. Bralicious currently stocks seamless nursing bras, slip dresses, nursing singlets, twist tops, flexitubes, shorty shorts, denim skirts, milk bar pads, cotton knickers and the essential bambino baby bag from the EGG range.

Bumps to Babes is Hong Kong’s largest mother and baby superstore, where they sell all the essentials you need for maternity, baby and children products. They currently stock a few items from EGG’s popular denim range including the denim skirt, 9 jeans and miracle jeans as well as the nursing singlets, twist top, bambino top and the popular lucky leg leggings.

RIA: Can you tell us a bit about your product range?

CD: Bamboo bodysuit is Bebe 2 be’s signature item. It comes in three colours and various sizes. Bamboo fabric is thermo-regulating which means it keeps babies cool in the summer and warm in the winter – perfect for Hong Kong.Currently, we also have feeding accessories such as Portable Dinky Diner high chair and nursing cover.

EGG covers a wide range of women’s needs throughout their pregnancy including wardrobe essentials to glamorous outfits, jeans, swimwear, exercise wear, underwear, nursing tops, hosiery and essential bodycare range. Prices range from HKD150 to HKD1,300.

RIA: What should HK retailers do if they want to stock Bebe 2 be products?

CD: Retailers interested in stocking either the Bebe 2 be or EGG maternity wear should contact me and I can arrange a visit to show them samples.

RIA: You are currently running an online shop. Do you have any special promotions, services, or marketing campaigns to lure customers?

CD: At the moment Bebe2be has some great summer specials coming up on our online store and are also running a 10 percent discount through Little Steps Asia.

RIA: Do you have any plans for expansion this year?

CD: I plan to expand the range of EGG maternity wear by introducing a range of summer dresses, swimwear and also the EGG essential bodycare range into stores within the next few months. Bebe2be is also looking at introducing some other bamboo items into the range later in the year including sleepwear, wraps and feeding accessory items.

 

Bebe 2 be  was established by Chrissy Dento in Hong Kong. The brandspecialises in eco-friendly bamboo babywear and feeding accessories for mothers and babies. 

Chrissy Denton, originally from New Zealand, has lived in Hong Kong for five years. Prior to launching the brand, Denton was a nutritionist and personal trainer for a variety of fitness clubs and sports institutes in New Zealand and Hong Kong. She has both an MSc in Human Nutrition and a BSc in Sports and Exercise Science. She moved to Hong Kong with her husband Glen Joe, an international basketball player who plays for the Win Ling team. Denton is also mumto two year old Savannah and is expecting a second child in June this year.

CEO Talking Shop is the Retail in Asia section devoted to interviews with brand CEOs and retail industry leaders.

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