smallable-cecile- roederer-interview

Who doesn’t know Smallable? This online concept store facilitates the lives of parents while offering the best brands of fashion, furniture, toys, and decorations all in one place. Their selection is impressively wide and chic, with the best of over 450 brands from all around the world.

Launched in 2008, Smallable started first as online kids’ department store for 0-16 years old, then for the whole family, and now has opened it’s first real concept store in Paris.

We have talked to Smallable CEO Cécile Roederer about her entrepreneurial adventure, selection of brands and products, trends and more. Enjoy!

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We have witnessed Smallable’s creation and evolution. Nowadays it’s a reference children’s online shop. How have you got it? Which has been the most important handicap in this process?

Smallable was created in 2008, during a time in which selective e-shops for children, fashion, and design started appearing… The web was perceived by everyone as the new El Dorado, as everyone thought everything would be easier. The market would be global and the costs to open a boutique would be lower. However, we have seen that reality is much different. Today’s online commerce is an undeniable reality and its potential is tremendous but it is difficult to succeed, as you have to devote a colossal energy, and have to be strong. I believe that Smallable is where it is right now because since the beginning we have been very creative, selective and willing to create a true universe of brands and at the same time stay very “cost control and customer oriented”.

You are one of the pioneers in the field of online kids’ fashion shops where products can’t be tried or touched, how have you turned this disadvantage into your strength?

Not being able to touch the product will always be a disadvantage. We try to minimize it through the quality of our pictures, our customer service, and our general way of executing. On the other hand, the access to a rare supply, exclusive wherever you are and in just a few clicks, is a real strength that counterbalances this disadvantage.

What are the requirements to get success in e-commerce?

One of the requirements to get success in e-commerce is to be aware of the competitive environment, if you already have well-established players, which may be difficult. Do not underestimate you financial needs. Find a niche in which you will able to express yourself and be profitable without too much competition. It is very important to stay close to your clients and because you cannot physically see them it is more difficult to have them come back. It is necessary to take the pulse and to have their views on their expectation to continue to satisfy them. And finally really know how to surround yourself, but that is the goal of any entrepreneur.

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Smallable Paris Boutique

We have realized that you have launched new collections and not only for kids. Are you considering this new way as a possible expansion? Where is Smallable going to?

We wish to further develop what we offer while sticking to our position. We have therefore looked for design brands including ones that do not only specifically have children’s collections but whose products could suit our universe. Interestingly, we have realized that moms buy certain pieces for themselves too. Our objective is not to divert from the child’s universe, but to widen it to the family, with our new signature: “Smallable, the family concept store”. This signature corresponds from now on better to what we offer and to our types of selective products.

Your product range is really huge but all of them share a great design. How many people are included in the Smallable team? How do you choose the products for Smallable each season?

We are about 40 people. With regard to our products, we have a very creative selection, meaning the brands that win us over do so with their function and their aesthetics. Most importantly, we do not forget that even if parents like a product, it is the child that will use it, wear it, play with it, and like it or not. Our brands have very strong identities, which seems to me to be the similarity between well-known brands like Stella McCartney and confidential brands like The Animal Observatory, Louis Louise…

How would you describe the “Smallable Kid”? (values, education, style…)
What will kids’ wardrobe include this season? According to you, which are those spring garments that every trendy kid must have?

The «Smallable Kid» is in his element and is a cool kid. He is well dressed, never overdressed and wears things according to his age. His or her parents don’t look for luxury and flashy items but instead they look for beautiful cuts, beautiful materials, creative printing and a style in which their child currently finds himself or herself. This season there is a Mexican influence in our collection found in adults. For the girls, it will be difficult to miss the overalls and sleepers.

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+ info: Smallable