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A cool unique independant retail clothing store for CHILD - TWEENS - TEENS. Quality brands, the latest trends and age appropriate clothing. Boys and Girls styles - Ages 3 to 16 - Sizes 3 to 16
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    Blog Posts

    When it comes to fashion purchases, is quality always better than quantity?

    When it comes to fashion purchases, is quality always better than quantity?

    In this blog, I thought I'd take some time to share with you why I am committed to be a good quality apparel retailer.

    Often, I’m questioned in store about the cost of the brands and items I elect to stock. I won’t pretend my items and clothing isn’t a little more on the pricier side compared to some of the fast fashion larger retailers that with that comes a host of issues that question my morals and what we stand for here at Innocence and Attitude.

    I have always been committed to sourcing and selling great quality, well priced, fashionable clothes to tweens and youth that will last their active lifestyles (and God only knows what they get up to sometimes in their clothes). As a parent myself I’ve seen it all and what you my customers want are clothes that are not only fashionable but sturdy and can do it all. But to explain things a bit further, we really need to delve into the term fast fashion and why it’s a dirty and often gross word.

    What is this fast fashion you speak of? Tell me more...

    I’m glad you asked, so buckle in. Traditionally brands put out a new collection each season. Fast fashion retailers can churn out a new collection once a week if they wanted to. Why do they do it? To get us to spend more of our money with them and to keep you going back for more. Or, in other words, to drive us, consumers, to mindless consumption. Plus, we as humans have gotten so tied up in having a new outfit or look for that special occasion that we leap out to grab something shiny, fun and new! Hands up if you are guilty of it?

    So, why don't I like fast fashion?
    Because clothes shouldn't be so cheap that we can afford to throw out whatever was worn last week and replace it with something new for this week. Someone is paying the price of these cheap clothes, which worries me.

    I recently watched the documentary, The True Cost, which goes behind the scenes and shows us what life is like working on the floor in a textile factory in Bangladesh. It's ethically wrong. The big retailers are pushing the owners of these factories to make their clothes for less and less, and it's the workers who are slaving away at the machines for an insulting amount of money. All so we can buy clothes for under $5.

    Secondly, buying cheap clothes allows us to purchase lots of them. I recently came across a staggering statistic that in Australia, we Aussies purchase 27kg of clothes a year! OMG! But what bothered me even more, was that it's estimated that 23kg of our clothing ends up in landfills each year.

    Maybe you can understand why I'm not too fond of fast fashion.

    In my store, I select the brands. As a rule, I choose clothes that have been designed in Australia and are made from good quality, well wearing fabrics. I wish I could say that my clothes are also Australian made, but that's out of my control.

    Why don't cheap clothes last?

    When buying clothes from the under $5 category, you probably accept that they're not the best quality. To me, that's a no brainer. That said, there are times when you have to stretch your money out to each family member. I get it, and that's when buying the cheaper clothes at least gets everyone dressed.

    However, cheaper clothes usually don't last long. They're generally made from poor quality fabrics, and the stitching isn't as tight as the higher quality lines. My store's brands are smaller independent businesses, and their clothes are made in small batches. While you pay more, you generally get a better, longer-lasting garment.

    Cost per wear

    In the apparel retail industry, we encourage our customers to do an equation when deciding to purchase an item: Cost of garment divided by estimated wears.

    For example, I have the Arched Drifter Pant by Indie Kids priced at $59.95, made from 98% cotton, 2% elastane. Because these pants are well made with good quality fabric, I would expect these pants to withstand many washes and wears.

    So, let's say Tom is going to wear them for around 6 months, until he grows again:

    Cost $59.95 divided by 26 wears (weeks) = around $2.30 a wear

    Tom could choose a cheaper pair from a larger retailer for around $15, but will these pants withstand the rough and tumble of his everyday life for around six months? Before purchasing, I would check the stitching, the weight of the pants and if there is piling. If these pants are ruined after a few wears and need to be replaced, they aren't so cheap after all.

    How to identify good quality clothes?

    A great deal of my life is spent looking at apparel. I do know the difference between good quality and bad quality.

    Here are some tips on what to look for:

    • Manufacturers who make their apparel from good quality fabrics are normally very keen to share the makeup of the garment. Look for the specs on the garment. Brief details about the composition of the fabric (eg) when the label just states polyester, cotton, elastane this can be a warning flag for low-end fabrics.

    • Do the light test. When buying items like tees and shirts in a store, hold the garment up to the light. If the fabric lets a lot of light through, this reveals that it hasn't been woven or knitted densely, and this item probably won't hold its shape for too long.

    • Good quality jeans should be stiff and heavy at the start. Cheaper jeans may feel light and soft when first trying them on because they've been made with less quality denim. Good quality denim needs to be worn in because it has a higher thread count.

    • Check the stitching. Look for frequent stitching with no gaps. If the stitching is loose, common sense tells me this isn't going to wash that well.

    How to create a less is more wardrobe.

    There are so many advantages of choosing to buy quality over quantity. Overall, it could save you in the long run. As parents and carers, we should be trying to encourage our kids to live sustainably. I'm not sure how clothes ever became such a disposable consumable.

    The biggest tip I can give you is to buy items that will mix and match. I get it, the kids don't want to be wearing the same outfit to footy each week, but we can strategically choose a mix of clothes that they will be able to mix and changeup.

    A versatile winter wardrobe should include:

    Denim jeans
    Tracksuit pants
    Long-sleeve tee
    Warm and heavy jacket

    Share, swap and mix with others.
    Your kids will often outgrow their better-quality clothes before they've worn them out, which gives these garments the opportunity for another owner. These clothes could be passed down to other family members or friends.

    If you need help with getting the versatile winter wardrobe organised, make sure you reach out. I'd love to help you and together let’s look after the planet too, making decisions we know will make it that little bit brighter and better all round.

    The Face Behind The Business: Carrie Ann

    The Face Behind The Business: Carrie Ann

    Hey there! I thought I'd share the talk I delivered at the recent Navigating Small Business in a Modern Age event held at the Swan Hill Art Gallery in this month's blog. It was a fantastic night of networking and sharing the trials and tribulations of running a small business.

    My biggest takeaway from the event was how bright the future is for Swan Hill. There's so much happening in the town, and it's an exciting time for businesses and customers alike.

    As many of you are aware, I have expanded my business. As well as being a tween and teen speciality store, I am now offering sizes 3-7. Since expanding my range, I have met so many new customers, and I thought it was a great time to let you all know a bit more about myself, my journey, and how my business came to be. I'm also going to take you behind the scenes and share how I survived through the last two years.

    My name is Carrie Ann Robins, and I am the owner, creator, and sole operator of Innocence and Attitude. A hip kid clothing store specialising in sizes 8-14. It's a store like no other. I offer streetwear, special occasion wear, sleepwear, swimwear and accessories.

    Here’s a snapshot of my life

    How Innocence and Attitude began

    Every job I've ever had has taught me so much. But inside me, I've always yearned for something bigger, something that would challenge me and something of my very own. I wanted to do something I love. My dream started to make sense when my kids began to emerge into tweens and teen sizes, and I struggled to find good quality clothes for this age group. I came up with the idea to fill this void, so Innocence and Attitude became a reality in September 2017.

    With my dad as my absolute strength and inspiration, and my sister Jackie who had just returned from Queensland as a qualified beautician, it made sense that we should open up a shop and run our businesses out of the same premises. Having each other for support through the highs and lows was ideal.

    Jackie and I renovated the old butcher's shop at 92 Chapman Street, Swan Hill (North Shops), and this proved to be a fantastic place to test the concept of a unique store. Jackie and I also found ourselves amongst many other small businesses, and we became part of a very supportive community.

    The challenges I faced and the action I took

    While my business was growing quickly, I wasn't in the town's CBD, and therefore foot traffic was a little light. I had to look for ways to keep growing. I researched a lot and took several short courses, including one with Paul Dillon at Mallee Rising on building a website on Squarespace. This was when I discovered the power of social media and the opportunities to come with owning a website.

    I eventually moved my website to Shopify, and this is the best business decision I've made yet. Shopify is easy to use, and it integrates everything.

    The next chapter

    In 2019, Jackie and I relocated to Beveridge Street, Swan Hill, when a suitable store became available. OMG! Such a proud moment as I was able to bring my dreams to life. I had created a cool space for kids and their families in the centre of town. I had the room to be a stockist of more Australian brands. My visualisation for an inspirational and positive vibe, a graffiti wall for kids, came to life.

    The first six months in the new location, from September 2019 to February 2020, were excellent! It surpassed our expectations.

    Then along came the pandemic

    In March 2020, when the pandemic hit, I can tell you I panicked. As ScoMo was closing the country down, my mind was in a frenzy.

    There were too many unknowns. With thousands of dollars in stock and had just locked myself into a two-year lease, I had no choice but to ride it out.

    I was constantly navigating, re-evaluating, adapting and thinking outside the box. When I couldn't work in the business, I worked on the business harder than ever before.

    I stepped up the website to offer online sales. I provided free contactless local home delivery and click and collect. But the competition between retailers was fierce. We were all in the same boat, trying to survive.

    My loyal customers got me through. I will be forever grateful to them all.

    Getting through 2020 and 2021 has been tough on all of us. But I'm so glad that Innocence and Attitude made it through despite many challenges.

    As if life wasn’t already hard, I had to navigate living as a border resident in Murray Downs. Whatever rules and restrictions were happening in Sydney I had to implement them at home. Similarly, whatever the rules and restrictions were being enforced in Melbourne, I had to apply them in the shop. Just getting over the bridge to get to my shop was a stress and nightmare. Police check points, permits, identification, and getting pulled over because I had NSW number plates.

    But I made it! And I am extremely proud of myself for making it through.

    Where am I currently at in my business?

    Having endured many obstacles and hurdles, I am still in business! I have re-evaluated and invested in many things for Innocence and Attitude. 

    • Due to customer requests and demand, I have expanded into sizes 3-7. 
    • To reach a wider audience, I have invested in print and radio local advertising. 
    • I have employed a digital marketing agency to help grow my digital presence through social media and email marketing.

    I have accepted and embraced my new normal. 

    I am so grateful for the support I have received from family, friends, local business owners and the wider community. Above all, I am so proud to be part of the Swan Hill community.

    Carrie Ann❤️

    Dressing to impress... yourself!

    Dressing to impress... yourself!

    The last two years have taken a toll on us all. Each time I try to remember things that happened during 2020 and 2021, my mind goes to mush. I'm not sure I'll ever get the pre-pandemic me back.

    I know I am not alone. The world is a different place now. Recently I've noticed just how different as I've been unpacking the Autumn 2022 collection. The fashion industry has embraced our new normal, and I am excited by the push to be you and be proud.

    Celebrating being yourself is one of my personal core values and was a driving motivation behind opening Innocence and Attitude.

    All the fashion rules have gone out the door, and this season it's all about experimenting with clothes to find a style that makes you feel good. The official term can be described as 'dopamine dressing'.

    What is Dopamine dressing?

    Dopamine dressing is choosing clothes that give you joy.

    Now that lockdowns and restrictions are (hopefully) behind us, we're also ripping off the safety of dressing dull and drab and are emerging back in the world in bright colours that make us happy.

    Rather than dressing to impress others, or dress traditionally for certain occasions, or copying certain trends, we’re now dressing to make ourselves happy, just because we can. Which I find refreshing and empowering.

    Dopamine dressing includes the kids too.

    Our poor kids haven't had a fair go over the last two years, and they're gripping onto anything they can control. The fashion industry has opened the door, and kids are encouraged to choose the clothes that bring them joy.

    As parents and carers to the kids and teens of 2022, it's our job to stand back and let them unleash. You may not necessarily like or agree with their choices. But by standing back, you're allowing them to experience a new level of freedom. (Which I think is a dopamine trigger all on its own)

    Top Tip

    Unlike back 'in our day', this generation is surrounded by fashion inspiration on platforms like Tic Toc, Pinterest and Instagram. They are very likely to be across what they want. Encourage, embrace, and celebrate this with them.

    What’s trending right now?

    • Lots of coloured fabrics
    • A Californian inspired vibe
    • Vintage fabrics
    • Cord fabrics
    • Different tie dye fabrications - for eg. swirls (so cool )
    • Wide leg jeans (yes rips are still in, but you will still have the choice of no rips also)
    • Big and bold graphic prints which the kids love

    When it comes to fashion... Swan Hill kids, tweens and teens can keep up with the best.

    Swan Hill shoppers, you are lucky to have so many amazing quality brands like St Goliath Boys, Indie Kids and Bardot Junior right here in Beveridge Street Swan Hill.
    The process to being accepted as a stockist for many of these brands is rigorous. There are so many boxes to tick: We have to have a large enough population, logistically further enough away from other stores, and our store has to fit the vibe and expectation of the brands. And if that’s not enough, sometimes the minimum spend requirements for particular brands is quite substantial. This is why many of the high-end brands are only found in big chain stores or exclusive to the likes of Myer and online stores like The Iconic.

    It's my privilege that I can offer these high-quality brands to the Swan Hill shopping community.

    Please make sure you and your next-generation fashionista call into the store or browse the website to see all that’s on offer at Innocence and Attitude. I'm looking forward to catching up with you soon.

    Cazz xx

    Why I love small businesses

    Why I love small businesses
    We all know small businesses are the heart of every community. For so many reasons. Here is a little insight of the person behind the business, myself Carrie-Ann Robins. I think its nice to learn a bit about the people who created and run/own our small businesses. From an idea almost 5 years ago, from very humble beginnings to where it is now. Come along this journey. I hope you enjoy learning a little bit about myself and Innocence and Attitude kids clothing store.

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    HELLO 2022

    HELLO 2022
    Innocence and Attitude is a local family owned retail kids clothing store, run solely by Carrie-Ann Robins. A mum of two, that started the business purely because of the void in the market. Frustrated by the unavailability of quality and age appropriate clothing styles for kids in the 8 to 14 year age group. Tweens to teenages. And trying to find Australian brands was almost impossible. Four years on, and a stockist of many leading Australian brands. The business has grown and continues to grow, even during a Pandemic.  Offering a bricks and mortar store, and an ecommerce store. You have the best of both worlds.

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