Baby Luxury Market - Born with a Silver Spoon

Babies today open their eyes to a completely different world. It's time to teach them how to crawl in style and introduce them to designer bibs!

By: Karishma Parkash

Posted on: September 10, 2011

Babies today open their eyes to a completely different world. It’s time to teach them how to crawl in style and introduce them to designer bibs!

Pacifiers by Chanel, diapers by Dior and a crib by Marc Jacobs: that’s what babies wish for right from their mother’s womb today. And besides, doting parents would have it no other way. This wish list isn’t farfetched seeing how much attention, correctly so, luxury brands are paying to the tiny tots market.

Take Gucci and Burberry for instance. Besides awing at their oh-so adorable baby booties, have you ever stopped to notice how many pram-riding darlings are actually sporting luxury with a charming toothless smile? Last week, I was at a mall when I noticed a pregnant couple pouring over a Burberry shirt and a Burberry dress and deciding which one to buy. I shook my head, walked ahead and saw a yummy mummy pushing her two month old in a Burberry stroller and I assure you that every woman was eyeing this duo with envy. I made a quick pit stop to Gucci and was welcomed with a grumpy face. A mother was squeezing a Gucci tshirt over her one year old’s head who didn’t look too happy to be put into a tight necked tee. Forget Brad Angelina or Tom Katie dolling up their bundles of joy in the latest fashions. If you can afford to give your tot a taste of luxury while still in the crib, you need not look far behind to notice the next couple doing it too.

As time passes, awareness and consciousness levels are rising at lightning speed. Thus, it comes as no shock that luxury brands are diving head first into the baby luxury segment and offering to doll up your charmings and princesses in the very best. Increasingly, especially in the metros, there is a shift being seen in the way parents dress their kids and accessorize them as per their taste in fashion. Not only mothers, but many new dads also today take a great interest in moulding their minis into tomorrow’s fashionistas. There was a time when fashion and style would develop as we grew, not anymore. Today’s tots are born with it.

Million dollar toothless smile?
With their own distinctive positioning in the market today, baby luxury brands are dedicating serious efforts to boost up this segment. But in reality, does a baby couture brand actually provide increased revenue? Mr Michael Silverstein, senior vice president of Boston Consulting Group and author of Trading Up, thinks that “Pure baby luxury brands are the next wave,” referring to brands with a single focus on the luxury baby market. “Extensions by the major luxury brands into baby goods,” he concludes, “have not translated into substantial business.”

In an article for DDI magazine, Mr James McNeal, author of Kids as Customers: A Handbook of Marketing to Children and The Kids Market: Myths and Realities, says that brand consciousness begins as young as two years old. But today, it won’t be too wrong to say that brand consciousness begins before the child is even born.

Ms Cecilia Morelli-Parikh from Le Mill, however, doesn’t think that parents today would want to ‘beautify’ their kids. “While I would disagree that most parents today would want to ‘beautify’ their kids, I definitely think that there is a trend towards parents buying designer labels for their kids. Parents are looking for great design and quality and definitely there are some kids’ labels out there that offer this,” she said. Kid’s wear is a huge market these days and she has found that people are willing to spend on high quality, design centric items for their children. In fact, there is a shortage of good kid’s wear in the city which results in more demand than supply. Indian luxury brands can take a cue from this and experiment with baby luxury items. Would they succeed? Let’s wait and watch.

Baby Bliss
Coming closer home, the baby luxury market in India has seen a demand in the past years. Countless international brands are looking at tapping this global trend in India as well, but it may be too early to qualify the quantum of demand and possible growth. Currently, there are very few pockets where one can buy baby luxury products, thus the difficulty to map it out scientifically.

In case you are looking to gift your tot something special, Le Mill in Mumbai is a good option. They stock kids’ clothing labels Kidology, Pero by Aneeth Arora and Paracas by Antoinette. All three brands seem fun and the designs they offer are whimsical, playful and completely suitable for kids. “We also have a variety of wooden toys and learn-while-playing toys. Little chairs and benches which are great to add functionality and design to a kid’s room also make up a part of the store. It’s good to see that the kids’ collection at Le Mill enjoys sales almost as good as any. Our customers are very receptive shoppers for their kids, and in fact we have received a great feedback for the collection,” Ms Morelli-Parikh shared. She added that the trend has already taken hold in India and more and more discerning people are opting for luxury labels for their kids. “In the future, I see this market as only getting larger and gaining more acceptance in the country,” she said.

For baby and you
Luxury brand owners are taking note of this trend and are paying your tiny tots a whole lot of attention. From Harrods, Saks Fifth Avenue and Selfridges to trendy and adorable baby boutiques popping up across the world, the luxury market for little ones offers a perfect mix of style, functionality and comfort, but of course, with a price. Whether a new born or slightly older, luxury brands are redefining baby luxury and fashion. Be it Dolce & Gabanna’s ready-to-wear D&G Junior line or Versace’s Versace Young designed for the ‘younger Versace clientele’ aged 4 to 14, you can be sure that your tiny tot will dress to impress!

Prada, Coach, Longchamp, Louis Vuitton and Gucci are but a few design houses that have entered the baby diaper bag market for those stylish mommies. Dior has an absolutely adorable baby’s line and their collection would make anyone sigh in awe. Bugaboo’s baby strollers are quite a rage with mothers who want to make a style statement and provide the best of comforts for their tots. Gucci, along with its adorable G-logo baby booties, has been quite popular with tiny tots and even Hermes offers them in lambskin! Needless to say, you must have noticed Burberry has taken it a step further and not only offers diaper bags but clothing gear too!

If price is not a criterion, check out the sporty, three-wheel Burberry Baby Jogger. For those on a smaller budget, there is also the Maclaren Kate Spade Stroller. Besides all this extravagance, check out Tiffany’s beautiful silver baby collections with rattles, silver spoons and even toothbrushes!

After ooh-ing at these uber-adorable mini-sized items for the little ones, do you hear your baby cry? Maybe that’s the signal to get on your feet and take your little darling for some versatile, luxury shopping!

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