Friday, June 13, 2008

CWDkids' Characters

Looking for our $300 Giveway?
Details are below in Thursday's post.

Staff Profile #2 - Philip (with CWDkids since the beginning)


With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, we thought it only appropriate to do our second staff profile on the father of CWDkids, Philip Klaus, Jr. Below is Philip’s perspective on the history of CWDkids.

From left to right: Nathalie, Oliva the King Charles Spaniel, Will, & Bennett
with Granddad Philip


In April 1987, I was heavily involved in both our family’s textile wholesale business and my small chain of children’s apparel retail stores when the textile business began to head in a very different direction. Our distributorship, Richmond Dry Goods, was about to lose two of its largest customers, Caroll Reed and J.C. Penney in the same year.

It was then that I faced a big decision on what direction to take the company. One call from Caroll Reed would prove to be the catalyst for diving into the catalog business. They called me to confirm that they were eliminating children’s apparel from their catalog and something, call it a gut feeling, made me respond with “Can I buy your mailing list?” They said yes, and with those six words the CWDkids catalog was born.

It was not an easy road. While I had a background in sales and my partner, Susan, had experience as a retail buyer for a major retail chain, there was much to be learned including how to photograph the merchandise, print and mail the catalog, predict response and fulfill orders.

That first mailing, I had the contingency plan for a flop, but I was not quite prepared for the influx of orders that began to arrive. In fact, after 2,500 orders were received, we had to shut off the phones and enlist the help of family and friends to help pick and pack the orders that had been placed. We learned a lot from that initial experience and 20 years later, I am proud to say that CWDkids is still going strong.

In those 20 years, my own family has grown as well. My son, Jim, who worked as a teenager in our Small People retail stores, is now President of CWDkids. And my daughter, Ashley is married and has three children of her own. All three grandkids have modeled for the catalog. My own experiences as a father and grandfather as well as those of our loyal staff have helped me stay on top of new trends in the kids market and have made CWDkids more successful than I ever imagined.

To those customers who have been shopping with us since the beginning, thank you for your loyalty. And I hope that those of you who have just begun your families will enjoy shopping with us for many years to come.

Philip’s Tidbits:
  1. I am an avid golfer. My favorite course that I have played has to be Grandfather Mountain Golf Club in Linville, NC. It is unbelievably beautiful and an incredibly challenging 18 hole layout.
  2. My favorite activity with my grandkids is our annual family beach week at Hilton Head. I wouldn't miss if for anything!
  3. For anyone just starting a business, the advice that I would give would be to follow your gut, have great people to work with and don't give up. The road is not easy... if it was there would be more people on it.

8 comments:

melissa3boys said...

I have always loved your clothes, but I want some more hip clothes now that my oldest son is 12 yrs. old. Look into Junk food t-shirts or Organic B.W.W.B..

Carolyn said...

There are so many things I love about shopping with you, however one function I wish you had on your website is to shop by size. Especially when things are on sale it's much easier to shop by size. My children are much taller than the average kids for their age so it's very frustrating to shop when you love a dress or outfit and you click on 10 before you find something in the size you need.

The second thing I noticed is shoes. Many times you have a great dress that will go up to size 16, however the shoes that you have to match stop at size 13 for example.

petrinah said...

I love your stuff. My one son is 8 and very skinny. He has a problem with pants and needs to wear slim. So, slim clothing would be great. Also, older boys clothing would be great. All of your boys clothing are so cute, but mostly for younger boys like my 5 year old. My daughter is 3 and your girl stuff is awesome for her.

jode' said...

I love your website. I am always looking for matching outfits for my children. It is hard because there is a 5 year difference between them, but I have found a couple on your site. I enjoy the option of getting matching mother and daughter dresses as well.

Rebecca said...

free shipping with a order of a certain amount or over would be a great incentive!
xxbeccaannxx@gmail.com

Nikaboli said...

I love CWD Kids. As the mom of twins I love the selection.

I think it would be fun to read about the families and kids that wear the clothes.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I was recently introduced to your website! I love the clothes. Very age appropriate w/o looking like "prostitots". Thank you!
Mary B
mborgman70@yahoo.com

Tammy Yoder said...

I love that you categorize your clothing by the upcoming holiday or "family looks". I haven't ordered from cwd kids yet but probably would if there was more free shipping or discount specials.