New site: Kiddlins!

Kiddlins is a brand new site dedicated to bringing you the best in children's boutique wear.

Shirlene, the owner, and I recently talked about Kiddlins. (okay we didn't "talk" in person but emailed each other ;)

JM: What made you start Kiddlins?

Shirlene: When I started selling my boutique creations on eBay 4 years ago, the competition was considerably less than it is today. In the last 2 years, more and more designers have been joining the ranks, and the vast majority of auctions for custom boutique are going unsold... even unnoticed.

I have seen several attempts by designers to reach out through advertising co-operatives, trunk shows, periodical articles, and other methods to attract customers. Some efforts are continuing with success, but many have kind of "evaporated." And so far, there still seems to be a much greater "supply" than there is "demand."

I also believe there is a demographic of online buyers who is cautious of an auction format. The online market seems to be growing, but I'm not sure that the eBay market is growing proportionally.

I have debated many ideas for a solution and one key point stands out: eBay designers NEED to reach outside the eBay community for customers. This is the main principle I am working on with my new web site Kiddlins.com.

While Kiddlins will still showcase eBay designers, it will also reach out to other online sites to locate interesting, fun, unusual, and attractive items for children. When some dotcom's buyers visit my site, they'll be introduced to so much more, and the same for eBay shoppers. With this "You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" mentality, I am hoping to bring increased awareness and sales to sellers of children's clothing, accessories, gifts, and decor both on and off eBay.

Kiddlins is a little different. It is not a web store...it's more like a web magazine. Individual items will be featured with a picture, description and full links to the seller. The blog format of the site lets me keep each item indefinitely in the archives as a kind of "Gallery," keeping the links to the seller accessible to prospective customers.

Another feature of Kiddlins will be the advertising spots. These spots can be purchased by designers and online stores to increase their web presence. We have tried to make the ads as affordable as possible with various sizes and areas. Some spots are purchased for a given amount of time while others will be CPM's. CPM means Cost per Impression. In other words, these spots are purchased by 1,000's of views... a VERY inexpensive form of advertising while my site is still new! These will be the most prominent spots and on the majority of pages.

JM: Can anyone submit something to feature?

Shirlen: Yes! I want to maintain the appearance of my web site, so I will be a bit choosey, but anyone can submit something to be considered through my "Contact" page. A link to the item is sufficient. UIf I need anything else, I will contact the sender.

The one thing that keeps me from featuring some auctions is the pictures. The picture does not need to be overly large, but it should be clear and without excessive "busy-ness" in the background. I also do not want borders, watermarks, or added text or effects to the images, so sometimes I ask the seller for other images.

What kinds of items can we expect to find on Kiddlins?

Shirlene: I plan to feature primarily handmade items, but also other items that are not readily available in B&M stores. Shoes for example... there are not many "handmade" or decorated shoes for children, so I will often include some brands that you might not be able to purchase locally.

I try to keep a wide variety of things showcased. There are categories for Girls, Boys, Babies, Accessories, Shoes, Gifts, and Decor. Some things will fit into more than one category, so I can assign multiple categories as seems fit. The categories are convenient for shoppers who wish to save time surveying my site.

There will always be 14 items featured on the home page. As items "scroll off" they go into the "Archives." I will feature approximately 1-4 items a day, so most items will be able to remain on the home page almost a week. If I see that some auctions have ended, I may move them to the Archives earlier to make room for more current items.

In the future I hope to add some articles and possibly a newsletter. For now, the RSS feed is available to keep up on new items featured.

Be sure to visit Kiddlins!

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