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The Drama of Pajamas: The Real Business of Running a Small Business

Someone suggested to me that it would be nice to know the Moodie brand on a more personal level.  I asked them what they meant by personal?  I mean, our jams go to bed with people on a nightly basis - that is pretty personal isn't it?  I guess they didn't mean on the literal level (she didn't laugh at my joke, not even a courtesy smile. #awkward).  But I get what they meant, they want to know more about the brand and the whys, wheres, whens, etc.  For a small biz like us, we want people to want to shop with us.  We want to give them that virtual hug every time their special little people slip on a new pair of Moodies.  Most importantly, we want them to want to buy our pajamas because they support what we are about as a company.

Its funny, in the above I said the word "we" a lot, but really it's just a "me", Jody.  I didn't know what this whole small biz gig was about when I started Moodie.  I just wanted to make art and make colourful fun and cool clothes that kids wanted to wear.  My goal was to think like a kid, what would the 8 year old me want to wear to bed?  I thought this was a super clever approach (patting myself on the back), Moodie would explode on the scene in high definition and blind the competition.  I mean, the market was and still is flooding with the monotone, washed out palettes that border on the somber, to be honest - they kind of make me a little sad.  I wondered where was all the fun? the brights? the fierce design and the courageous use of colour?  Isn't that what being a kid is about?

Well, we launched Moodie SPRING 2013 and we waited for the influx of moms and dads to crash onto our website, they should just see our product and fall in love right?  WRONG!  There is a reason why the market is flooded with muted palettes and simple geometric prints.  Parents like the softness and quiet of muted tones, it is the opposite of what kids are really like.  The penny dropped. Kids are not the ones buying the product, uh oh.

I didn't want to give up and conform and follow suit with many of the other brands, despite their obvious success.  I had a dream that I wanted to be "the kids pyjama company", the brand that kids want mom and dad to buy for them, what they get excited to wear.  But, that is a bit foolish too?  I need to actually sell the product!  What a conundrum.

On top of that, I had to learn so many things as a solo trader, what an eye opener.  What is Instagram?  Facebook advertising?  SEO... huh? What is an analytic?  Why do I need a publicist?, I can't afford that!  What do you mean people want free product and get paid to post their kids in it?  What is Pinterest?  What do you mean we have been pinned? (https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/52284045657286518/?amp_client_id=CLIENT_ID(_)&mweb_unauth_id=%7B%7Bdefault.session%7D%7D&from_amp_pin_page=true) Will it hurt?  Do I need a band aid??

Our second collection, I toned it down quite a bit.  I used a more pastel palette of colours, hues that were more "gender specific" (yes, I cringe - I don't like that term, my sons favourite color is pink!) that is what industry experts, retailers, and sales reps suggested for the Moodie brand to succeed.  So I listened.

Guess what?  It was our WORST selling season.  That was interesting and terrifying, here was all this stock that I thought people wanted, but they weren't our people.  This was a very pivotal point in the Moodie business, the make or break I guess you could say.  It almost wiped us out.  I financially had one more shot (cash flow was real low at this point) to get it right, one more season to make it count.

So, go big or go home!  Be loud and proud!  We went back to our brights and embraced the brand for what we stood for - being the Australian kids first choice of pjs.  It hasn't been the easiest road, but we have the most loyal customers (the best customers I believe).  People who love Moodie and will pay a little extra for the bright colours and high quality that the BIG retailers don't bother with.  Moodie has hand me down quality, our garments last more than a season and I am proud of that.  I am so very grateful for our customers who appreciate that as well and cheer us on every step of the way.

Seven years on I can honestly say, wow! what an adventure!  My brain has never been so switched on and fully blended at the same time!  I have never been so humbled and grateful to so many beautiful strangers I have met along the way. I haven't slept a full night almost 9 years, but that's part of the process hey?  Moodie is my third baby and I love him and am mad at him daily, but wouldn't give him up for all the world.

Much Love,

Jody

 

 


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