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New warehouse and our story so far...

It's been a while since we've posted on here.  There's been a lot happening at Junior Edition HQ this year, both personal and to do with the business, and at times (well, it felt like pretty much all the time) we have struggled with keeping up with all the online orders, as well as running the retail store and keeping on top of all the customer emails that come through on a daily basis.  Blog posts have been the last thing on our minds.

A lot of our customers are surprised when they visit our store and meet us!  We really are a small family business.  I started Junior Edition four years ago, still working a full time job at the same time to pay our bills and fund nursery fees for a small toddler, and packing the small amount of orders that came through after work or at weekends from our spare bedroom.  Fast forward two years later and the online business had grown so much we could no longer hold all the stock at our house, so I decided to take the plunge, gave up the day job and opened our store in Brighton, which had surprisingly good stock room space for a little shop in Brighton, and meant that we could run the online business from the shop.  How hard could it be?

our lovely shop in the North Laine, Brighton

The online business continued to grow as we stocked more and more lovely brands, but we were completely self-funded and had no financial backing or back-up, apart from our own modest savings and money borrowed from my mum after dad passed away.  We couldn't afford to take on loads of staff and so Mr. Junior Edition - aka Nathan - helped out at the shop at weekends, my mum helped pick orders during the week, and we recruited a very small team of just three people (all fellow parents) that were passionate about our brands and helped run the shop around school hours and school holidays.

inside the Junior Edition store, Autumn 2017

it's a family run business

Of course, nothing ever goes to plan, and a new baby happened at the same time as we opened the shop!   I continued to run the shop right up until Sylvie was born, but it became clear that there would be very little I could do in a busy shop with a new baby.  So Nathan came to work in the shop full time, and I worked from home running the website.  It worked during quieter periods, but we really struggled during big brand launches and promotional periods to keep up with the volume of orders and it saddens me to admit but our customer service really took a hit during this time.  You can't pack orders when you are busy replying to a barrage of emails, and you can't reply to emails when you are packing a ton of orders!  We just didn't have enough people, our team could only do so many hours as they all had families to look after too and if I am honest, we couldn't cope and we have probably lost a lot of customer confidence in us and our store as a result.

online orders ready for collection from our store

The store was doing well, but if we wanted Junior Edition to succeed and continue as a viable online business we had to improve our customer service and dispatch times.  After looking at loads of different options, and taking advice from our brands we decided to move the online business and stock to an independent distribution centre.  They would be able to fulfil all our orders, and no matter how busy we got at launch all the orders would still go out same day.  We found a really good one, based at Gatwick, with lots of experience and a stellar brand list, distributing for great brands already such as Tootsa, Scamp and Dude and Jimmy Choo.  Everything needs barcoding, they said.  No problem, we said.  Except it was.  So many of our brands are, like us, small family businesses working on a shoestring.  So half our brands weren't barcoded.  Some didn't quite get barcodes and used duplicate barcodes on different products each season.  Some didn't barcode at all as it was too expensive to buy unique barcodes each season.  And every single barcode had to be added to our website, even previous season stock, as we just hadn't bothered before.  Why would we?  We knew every single item we stocked so well, we didn't need a unique number to tell us that!

there have been boxes all over the shop for the majority of this year!

So we worked really hard preparing for what we thought was going to be a massive improvement to our business.  Every single item got barcoded, stock checked and packed ready to go to the distribution centre, at the same time we were still packing orders and running the shop the best we could with a very small team and a baby.  But we worked every hour we could, believing that this was the right thing we were doing for our customers.  Someone else would pick our orders, freeing us up for helping our customers, both in the shop and online.

The move had to happen in two phases in order for us to be able to cope with it - and the amount of product that needed barcoding - firstly fashion, the core of our business, and then toys and homewares would move over a couple of weeks later as we would be able to quickly barcode those once we were no longer picking orders.

stock going into the distribution centre

So we moved ready for all the busy AW19 launches.  Except things went really wrong and we weren't ready.  The distribution centre worked on barcodes, and that was it.  They didn't know the stock inside out, so if they couldn't find the product with the same barcode as on the order, the order didn't go out, or even worse, the wrong product went out.  Promotional tote bags that came in packs of 10 with a barcode on the outside, were sent out in packs of 10 to the customer, meaning some customers received 10 free tote bags instead of 1, and others were left without and understandably disappointed.   Some stock 'disappeared' and couldn't be found as it had duplicated barcodes on it and had been merged into another style.  We spent so much time sorting out barcoding issues and trying to find 'missing' stock that we didn't have the time to barcode homewares and toys, so any orders containing those were delayed too.   Both myself and Nathan regularly travelled to Gatwick to find stock so that orders could go out, and it was a full time job just apologising to our customers because orders were late.  New season stock had to have barcodes and also these barcodes added to the website before the stock could even be checked in to the warehouse, in the case of small handmade products like the beautiful Soor Ploom collection this just was not possible, stock isn't barcoded.  When orders didn't have any barcode issues orders were going out really quickly and the same day, which was great.  But a small proportion of orders were causing us major headaches and it became evident very quickly that third party distribution was not for us.  As my mum would say, if you want something doing well, do it yourself...

our brand new warehouse space for Junior Edition

So about 2 months in we started to look for a new warehouse, one that we could run ourselves.  We had learnt from the distribution centre how to efficiently store the product for super fast picking and packing, and we certainly have learnt an awful lot about barcoding!   Now, property in Brighton and 'down South' in general (and as a Northerner born and bred I really notice this) is not cheap.  A small warehouse space in Brighton is at least double the price it is further North.  But against all odds we found a brand new warehouse in the lovely harbour town of Newhaven, less than half an hour away from the shop.  And by brand new we mean brand new!  The unit, when we went to view it, hadn't even been divided up so was the size of an aircraft hanger rather than the compact and bijou 1722 square foot that we could just about afford.  All the essentials for an online business - fibre optic broadband, electricity, even water - hadn't been connected yet.  But it was in an enterprise zone, there were lots of similar small businesses and start-ups interested in moving into the area too, and we could see the potential and also the huge benefits in starting with a complete shell that we could completely transform and make our own.

inside the warehouse

So we put in an offer, and got the keys 6 weeks later at the end of October 2019.  This was only possible after a modest inheritance and under very sad circumstances.  I must tell you that all the above had been going on whilst Nathan had been dealing with the very sad loss of his beloved mum Carole following a long and distressing battle with terminal cancer.  As a family business we don't have the backing of investors, and we certainly don't come from a privileged and wealthy background.  But we do come from strong, hardworking families and I hope that we can honour parents that we both have lost recently, by building Junior Edition to become a successful, well-respected and ethical family business that we, our family and our daughters can be proud of.  We don't want to be a large company beginning with A - insert your own interpretation of who we mean here, more than one springs to mind - but we do want to be proud of what we have achieved and for all the hard work that we have poured into Junior Edition to be worth it one day.

helping to build shelving units

we pay all our staff a living wage and do not believe in child labour ;)

shelving finally built

So the last two weeks has been a whirlwind of positive activity.  We've installed energy efficient lighting, heating and insulation, a modest office space for the website and shelved out the entire warehouse so everything can be picked quickly and efficiently.  All the stock has been moved from the distribution centre and the shop, reorganised, reboxed and even alphabetised for optimum picking.  This was a mammoth task in itself, but it's great to finally get all our lovely product in its new home ready to go out to customers.  More importantly, we feel in control again.  And we feel as though we can at last achieve what we set out to do when we launched Junior Edition - provide the best selection of children's clothing with the best customer service on the market.

moving stock, again...

Going forward our new warehouse will be able to cope with new launches and promotions much better than our small team in the store!  Now Sylvie is 18 months old I can be back in the shop full time, with a small team already in place to support with customer service and without the worry of packing orders!  I'll leave all that in the capable hands of Nathan, who is in charge of the warehouse now.  We are also recruiting a full time ecommerce coordinator, who will help with all things order related alongside Nathan.  Our aim at the warehouse is to get 100% stock accuracy - this will be achieved through regular stock takes when we aren't packing orders or unpacking new deliveries, and to get orders out the same day up to 1pm regardless of how many we receive.   We can then focus on customer service, making sure we are quick to respond to customer emails.  Running our own warehouse also means that we can also help our customers with measurements, print placement or whatever else you care to ask!   We'll also be looking at quicker shipping options to Europe and worldwide for our international customers, and next day express delivery will return for our UK customers. 

stock finally in place at our warehouse

We'll also be looking at greener options for Junior Edition, and trying to make our business minimise its impact on the environment wherever we can.  We use a fantastic local company called Paper Round who recycle all our waste and convert the small amount that can't be recycled into electricity.  We will use green energy suppliers for our business premises in both Brighton and Newhaven.  Single use plastics are banished from the warehouse and shop!  We will also make the switch from our current recyclable mailing bags to fully compostable paper mailing bags for all orders in the new year.

I would like to thank all our lovely customers who stuck with us and supported us and continue to shop with us, your support to our little business means a lot and encouraged us to keep going when times were tough.  I would also like to sincerely apologise to those customers who had a less than stellar experience with us when we were struggling and I hope perhaps you will consider shopping with us again in the future.  We are ready for all your new orders, and I hope you will be pleased with our improvements!  

November 20, 2019 by Georgia Ashby

Jamie Kay AW19 Iris Collection

Jamie Kay AW19 collection Iris is live!

The New Zealand brand Jamie Kay began in 2013 and became known for having the very best quality baby separates and pretty muslin pieces.  The range grows each season, always including a core selection of its bestselling cotton modal rib bodysuits, leggings and tees in a beautiful colour palettes, and expanding to include dresses, playsuits and beautiful separates and accessories up to age 7.

Each piece is designed from Jamie's studio in New Zealand and carefully considered to ensure Jamie Kay designs are not just exquisite but also the fibres and quality outstanding and perfect for your family and home, with beautiful colours and delicate prints crafted from the softest highest quality fibres in the world. Check out the full collection here.

March 13, 2019 by Georgia Ashby

The Animals Observatory X Reebok

If you were to look up the phrase 'Match made in Heaven' online we're pretty sure that The Animals Observatory's collaboration with global sportswear brand Reebok would be way up there, it's THE most fantastic thing.

Taking both a unique and fashionable approach to children’s trainers and pulling inspiration from the colours and textures of the season, these iconic Reebok styles pay homage to the vintage look and bold designs that both brands are renowned for. 

We were lucky enough to be invited to the official launch party in London last week where we literally drooled all over the 4 designs that we have been lusting after behind the scenes for so long. We were really excited to have a good chat with TAO's Creative Director Laia Aguilar and may or may not have spent quite some time at the kids craft table making sock puppets from TAO socks ; )

 

Available at a just few select global stockists, Junior Edition are hugely excited to be representing this collection in the UK.

Arriving in store in this week and launching online on Monday 10th December we will be stocking all 4 designs across both baby and children's sizes. Starting at EUR 20 right through to EUR 34 we are absolutely thrilled to reveal that we will also be carrying EUR 38 and 39 for the smaller footed mamas out there!

The launch of this collection marks our first real foray into footwear which we will continue to grow throughout 2019 with a dedicated area being developed in-store very soon.

We'd love to see you here in Brighton, we are nestled in the heart of the beautiful North Laine area and have so many lovely Christmas gifts and festive party-ware in addition to our clothing collections. If you can't make it down to see us, the collection is available online here whilst stock lasts - we ship globally with express shipping options available for those last minute purchases!

Bobo Choses Presents......The Happysads!

With the summer sunshine still blazing outside you might be wondering if its even possible to start getting excited about what Autumn/Winter has to offer. For the avoidance of doubt, that will be a big fat YES IT IS!!!

When the latest Bobo collection arrived with us last week (ALL FIFTY BOXES OF IT!!!) we couldn't wait to see what was inside and boy we have not been disappointed, their latest collection is EVERYTHING!

For AW18 Bobo Choses presents the coolest little band we have ever seen. With songs about children and the roller coaster of feelings they experience, they are The Happysads!

This collection is completely inspired by kids and how they express their emotions at an age where it can be hard for them to relay how they are really feeling - we've all been there...the temper tantrums and meltdowns one minute and the joy and exhilaration of being young and free the next - moods as changeable as the weather!

As for our favourite pieces, could there be a task any more impossible? The combination of colours, prints, fabrics and styles makes it so hard to choose but we'll give it our best shot.

For the teeny-tinies we're absolutely loving the rompers.....

 

 

 And for the big kids......how is it even possible to look this cool!?!?

There is so much more to see in-store and online, including the most gorgeous fleece jackets and winter coats, come visit us in our Brighton store, the sun is shining and the beach beckons! Or browse the full collection online here - you will not be disappointed.

PS - Just because, I'll leave you with this....

 

The Mini Rodini Space Odyssey - An Adventure Through Love, Space And Time

Mini Rodini's latest collection is absolutely out of this world awesome!

As a kid growing up in the 80s I remember being completely mesmerised by ET and all things outer space and those influences are keenly felt with this intergalactic collection. From cats with psychic powers and unidentified flying objects to a man in the moon delivering spiritual advice, this is a space odyssey with the most delicious of twists.

Of course we love it all, we always do but our absolute favourite favourite(s) are the space jackets, for the coolest of cool cats!

We also love, love, LOVE the rainbow hearts, which look especially cute in the dress and shirt but are also available in a skirt, blouse, short sleeve tee and cap.

Here in Brighton we have been enjoying an unusually pleasant run of sunshine which has been perfect for showing off our favourite shorts, tee and cap combination and the hooded dress has been absolutely perfect for bright but blowy blasts along the beach!

Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are of course UK based and it will only be a matter of time before the rain returns.....we couldn't be more ready for it with the gorgeous moon jacket for light summer showers (which packs away into the cutest of bum bags) and the edelweiss mouse mac and trousers for when mother nature unleashes her worst!

 

 

 

We have the full collection in-store now, come and browse these beauties in real life in our beautiful boutique in Brighton's North Lane or browse online here.

Rylee + Cru - The Seaside Collection

We are SO excited to welcome the awesome Rylee + Cru to the Junior Edition fold! Founded by illustrator Kelli Murray and inspired by her own little ones, Rylee + Cru merges art and imagination, offering unique and artistic clothing for the modern child.

Given that we're Brighton based we are particularly excited about their latest collection. Inspired by the sand and sea, this is THE most stunning range and has us all excited about when the sunshine finally hits these shores.

Choosing our top picks was an almost impossible task but the baby rompers and jumpsuits are probable faves  - from beachballs and seagulls to palm trees and seashells, there is an huge range of colours and prints to choose from.

The collection consists of quality basics that are each hand garment dyed, giving them a soft vintage feel right out of the box. The shapes are comfortable and the fabrics are soft, making dressing and movement easy.

For the older girls we were particularly taken with this stunning two piece - the seashell button-front skirt and off the shoulder top in cocoa,  available in ages 2/3 right up to 6/7.

Maybe its a children of the 70's thing but we LOVE short shorts on a boy and the flock taylor shorts in stormy blue immediately caught our eye. Whilst there's LOTS of beautiful tees that would make the perfect partner, we especially love the beach ball tank in spice, both available up to age 7.

There's so much more to see, click here, sit back and ENJOY or visit our lovely store in the heart of Brighton's North Laine district.

Emile et Ida - Deliciously Retro Basics

Emile et Ida, so fresh......so French! Spring/Summer 2018 is full of deliciously retro basics, inspired by folk, rock and romantic trends. The designs are simple, stylish AND comfortable, the colors are subtle, at times muted even and the detailing sublime! Emile et Ida have produced yet another beautifully elegant, fuss-free collection perfectly suited to the lives of busy and adventurous children!

We particularly love the ruffle detailing this season which can be found on the striped short dungarees, the bib dress in light chambray and (our personal favourite) the pink lurex stripe bib dress.

Socially and environmentally conscious, the Emile et Ida collection is largely manufactured in Portugal, a country renowned for its skill in textile creation. The fabrics are soft and natural and the patterns are always full of humour, we love how this cheeky little kitty has been incorporated into the collection and adore the delicate broderie anglaise blouse, such a cute outfit!

 

For the littlest ones there are beautiful bloomers, rad rompers and some super cute overalls in terry available in both a pink and blue stripe.

We absolutely adore this creative, charming and playful collection from Emile et Ida, available to lust over in its entirety here!

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These

We've been busy hanging mobiles from the shop ceiling this week and they are drawing so many admiring comments! They really are SO mesmerising as they gently twirl in the air, it's easy to see why they have such a calming effect on babies.

Quite coincidentally all of our current mobiles hail from Scandinavia. Produced by three very different but equally stylish brands, we have something for every nursery.

Konges Sløjd have designed these beautiful cloud mobiles with felted clouds and silver or gold coloured droplets, available in 3 subtly different colour-ways and coordinating beautifully with some of the other nursery pieces we stock by the brand.

Konges Sløjd are also responsible for this stunning swan in flight mobile, a truly unique piece that soars gracefully overhead here in our Brighton shop - it makes for a welcome change from those noisy seagulls!

 

The Loullou-universe is a concept evoked from the imagination of Lærke Rune, a Copenhagen based product and furniture Designer who has created a small line of architectural toys. All of their products are made from sustainable and organic materials, with all wood used FSC-certified. Their mobiles come in two different styles, "Up in the Air' and 'Stardust', simple and stylish. If you haven't seen their gorgeous baby gym and accessories yet, you must take a look but be warned, its an absolute must-have!

We have so many beautiful pieces from the Liewood range, from muslins and swaddles to the most adorable wash mitts and hooded towels but the pom-pom cloud mobiles have been the biggest hit in store, available in multiple colour combinations and sizes, they come packaged in a cute box which makes them the most adorable new baby gift.

 

 

 

Come visit our store in the heart of Brighton's North Laine area or take a look at our full collection here, we have a growing range of inspirational new baby and nursery products.

The Earth Is Our Mother, We Must Take Care Of Her

Mini Rodini have long offered highly sustainable childrens-wear and their latest collection, "Mother Earth", uses old fishnet and ocean waste to make swimwear, recycled PET bottles to make jackets and cotton that is grown without carcinogenic pesticides and harmful chemicals. Harnessing energy from the wind and sun to sew it all together in the final stages, this a killer collection without killing the planet in the process.

The first of two drops this season introduces some truly fabulous animal characters, the most striking of which has to be the draco print, available in a number of beautiful colour combinations and countless styles across both baby and older children's pieces  - equally as awesome for the girls as boys!

And who wouldn't want to bump into these cute characters down at the stables this summer? Gorgeous horses and cheeky donkeys across dresses, skirts, tees, jumpers, rompers, hoodies and caps to name but a few!

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the very newly borns we are also now stocking smallest size pieces which include wrap bodysuits and leggings in the horse print and the essential basics -  leopard, navy and black.

 

Indulge yourself further with a look at our complete collection here or come visit our store in the heart of Brighton's North Laine area and see this beautiful new collection in all its glory!

The Animals Are Here!

We are beyond excited to welcome The Animals Observatory into the Junior Edition fold for the first time and what a collection to start with!

The lovechild of Jan Andreu and former creative director for Bobo Choses, Laia Aguilar, The Animals Observatory is a timeless brand. Both children and adults are drawn to its sense of playfulness, comfort and aesthetic, all of which based on the philosophy of an old motto that Laia often repeats to her children: ‘Be a good animal, true to your instincts’.

With lots of adorable pieces for your smallest smalls, the baby-suits are some of the cutest one-pieces we have seen in a long time. There are lots of beautiful patterns but our favourites here are the hot pink Halley's Comet and more muted but equally gorgeous busts in beige.

For those super sunny days there are some lovely playsuits and dresses for older girls. We adore the apple patterned terry towelling playsuit and the gingham  sleeveless dress with peach placement print is so elegant, if only they did grown up sizes! 

As well as all of the beautifully light and summer bits there are some lovely pieces that are perfectly suited to the not so sunny days that make up much of the great British summer! These trouser and jacket combos are the perfect marriage of style and comfort.

The Animals Observatory has 10 Manifestos but out of all of them it's number 5 that resonates the most with us: "Love Above All, Equality Above All, Kindness Above All"  - available across a range of styles and colours.

Indulge yourself further with a look at our complete collection here or come visit our store in the heart of Brighton's North Laine area and see this beautiful new collection in all its animal glory!

 

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