Carlota barnabe has been marketed for three years. Sónia Sancho and Inês Ataíde have just launched the Spring Summer 2019 collection, with a fashion range from 6 months to 14-year-old.
How did Carlota barnabe start?
Carlota barnabe was born in 2013 offering accessories, the main product was our muslin doudous, which came in 10 different colours. We, Sónia Sancho and Inês Ataíde, met in 2008 in a Visual Merchandising program, from then on, we became friends and kept in touch.
We both worked for third parties, Sonia in the finance department of a multinational and Inês as graphic designer in a communications and events agency.
During our several get togethers it was common to talk about how unfulfilled we were on our current jobs. It was during this time that we thought of and created the Carlota barnabe brand.
After a first stage, we were still unsure what direction to take the brand, other than that we wanted to develop children’s products. We started to work with 100% cotton muslin and it was the growing love for the fabric that made us “jump” into the next step.
We were so absorbed in the way the fabric worked that we even thought of doing garments with it. At the time we were not familiar with any brand that offered them, after some in-depth research, we found just some brands with a few pieces. But still short of today’s big trend where all most recognized brands launch their own muslin pieces.
As our partnership grew naturally, we decided to take the risk, believe in our work and in the possibility to create a brand with very unique characteristics that could stand out in such a competitive market.
We got to know our country’s textile industry and we developed our project around the existing Portuguese know-how. We are very proud to produce in Portugal! Our fabric sticks out from the rest of the market, as it is the true fabric of the old Portuguese diapers – and we insist to keep it that way.
This past March we marked our three-year anniversary in the kids fashion market. That said, we are launching our seventh collection this month and we have almost finished drawing our ninth collection for Spring/Summer 2020. It has been a very hard but rewarding path, we have grown as a brand and as professionals. We’ve learned a lot about the market, even if sometimes the hard way.
Our “team” is composed solely by the two of us. We are the ones that carry out all the tasks from design, campaign, communications, business, management, and all product photoshoots are made by us! We only have an accountant, and that it is because it’s mandatory by law.
SHOP AT LX FACTORY
We have long wanted to open a store in Lisbon, but we had to wait for the right opportunity to open in the right place. It was worth the wait, and finally in October 2018 we opened in Lx Factory, which was our dream from start.
We thought that we should try to benefit from the growing tourism in Lisbon, given that our main public is international. And of course, because direct public selling is more profitable than retail selling. Up to now this challenge has turned out to be very positive.
How important is online for your business?
Online has always our first bet; we opened our online store along with the launch of the brand. As our market is mostly international, it is online that we make higher profits as there aren’t great additional charges.
As mentioned, direct selling to the public, is a lot more profitable for brands than retail selling. It is clear that retail is important, especially when we need to reach minimum production quantities, without which we can’t produce in most factories. But it is actually in selling directly to the public where we profit the most.
We’ve always excelled online, despite our small size, with our main markets being France, South Korea and the United States.
What do you ambition for the brand?
To continue working with 100% cotton muslin, because that is where we distinguish ourselves as a brand. But we would also like to explore new fabrics and increase the diversity of our garments.
We would also love to enter in some partnerships with other national brands, especially in the accessories category.
To continue working and thriving in the internationalization of the brand, especially in the Asian, Middle Eastern and United States markets.
For the first time in three years, we feel the Portuguese interest in Carlota barnabe is picking up, which makes us very happy and brings us to new challenges.