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Hello fans! We recently moved our blog location to http://blog.letop-usa.com/! Want to receive a 20% discount on our new Le Top Fall 2012 clothes? It’s only 3 easy steps!

1)   Check out our NEW BLOG here: http://blog.letop-usa.com/

2)   At the top of the blog, click the Le Top logo on the top left corner

3)    Find a new collection or style you like from our new Fall 2012 collection at http://www.letop-usa.com/

4)   Go to the Le Top Facebook page and post on our wall what your favorite new style or collection is!

We will direct message you back on Facebook with an exclusive 20% discount code to shop on our website.

Enjoy and hope you are having a great summer!

Warmest,

The Le Top family

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Halloween roundup! Here at Le Top we love dress up and seeing all of the cute costumes children and their parents dress up in!  Send us your photos of your kiddos (or even with parents) in their spookiest and cutest costumes by this Friday, November 5, 2010 and WIN A FREE LE TOP OUTFIT of your choice!  Submit images to service@letop-usa.com or post on our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/le-top/117553138255670

The winner will be announced on Friday, November 5th!

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We interviewed our first ever online premier retailer this week for our “Online Store Spotlight” – CrabApple.Kids.com.  Husband and wife team, James and Anna Incledon, Jr., tell us about their favorite Halloween costumes as kids, common questions from internet mommy and daddy shoppers and leather biker jackets for kids!  Read more to discover about CrabAppleKids.com.

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1.      What is one special or fun fact about your e-store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
James:  Our children are the primary models for our website.

2.      How did you get into the online retail business? What inspired you? What sets you apart as a successful online children’s shop?
Anna:  We love shopping and our two daughters are always dressed to perfection!  People constantly compliment them on their attire.  Then, in preparing for the birth our son, we found it was difficult to find clothes that we liked for him.  It was at this point that we decided to enter the retail business–we could dress our children in the best of the best while making a business out of what we already love to do. 

What sets us apart from others?  We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service.  Most companies today claim to offer great customer service, but we don’t feel the bulk of them truly understand what that means. For example, it is often difficult to find a customer service number or email address for an online business to even begin the process.  Or when you do finally email them, they don’t reply back.  If a customer has a question, concern or just doesn’t like placing an online order, we are here.  If we can’t help them immediately, we will get back to them in a timely manner.

Aside from great customer service, from a product point-of-view, we offer wonderful matching family and twin outfits and boy’s clothing.  The family and twin outfits are ideal if you have twins or multiple children of differing ages and want to dress them in outfits that have a similar look and feel, while not being completely identical. This way both mom and the children are happy!  We also specialize in designer boy’s clothing because we understand how hard it is to find boy’s clothes that aren’t limited to t-shirts (but we do have some of those too!).

We also pride ourselves on having a great collection brand-name Christening clothes. 

3.      Where did the name Crab Apple Kids come from?
James:  After dreaming up 397 names (yes, we actually have a list of every one we didn’t use), some of which just didn’t test well, and some of which were already taken, finding a unique name was a lot more challenging and time-consuming than we expected.  We actually placed some of our first orders under the “no name” company! 

Our ultimate inspiration came when we were doing some remodeling and looking through paint color names.  A small change to the name and Crab Apple Kids was born.

James and Anna's son, Parker (wearing Le Top Spring 2010 Hip Hop Grasshopper), inspired them to open Crab Apple Kids

4.      Back to school is here – what have been the most popular baby and child fall “must-have” items?
James:  Our most popular item has been the Harley-Davidson Biker Jacket.  But the new must-have is truly our Weboo Shoes.  We haven’t seen anything else like them in the market place.  They are the very definition of cool, hip and fun!  We also carry some unique birthday and baby shower gifts such as cereal bowls shaped like tires and eating utensils shaped like tools, tractors and airplanes.  Our WubbaNub and Billy-Bob pacifiers have also been a big hit.  And of course, we love our Le Top—Lots O’ Fish was a hot style for us.

5.      Do you do anything special for Halloween at your e-store? What is your favorite memory of a costume you wore as a child?
Anna:  We love Halloween, or for that matter, any holiday.  Our family often makes the newspapers and newsletters because of our excessive holiday spirit.  We have some great outfits that not only will make your Halloween Season festive, but can be worn beyond Halloween.  My favorite costume when was young?  A Hippy – I loved all the bright colors, big hair and peace sign jewelry.  My husband’s… the two-person Chinese dragon (he still can’t find anyone to be the butt).

6.      What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall and how to pick the “right” outfit online?
Anna:  Children like to feel comfortable, no matter what age.  Whether they are one or eight years old – comfort is the key to a successful purchase.  Crab Apple Kids’ pride ourselves in the latest fashions with comfort in mind.  Our rule of thumb is if our children won’t wear it, then neither will our customer’s kids.  One of our favorite new items are jeggings–leggings that look like blue jeans.

7.      What questions do most mommies or daddies ask when buying for their baby online?
James:  Most questions are focused around comfort, size and matching sibling outfits.  There is no point in looking great if they are not comfortable.  Because we all know, an uncomfortable child is not a happy one.

8.      There are so many websites now that sell children’s clothing – If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to break into children’s online retail, what would it be?
James:  Don’t!  Seriously, it is a much more competitive business than we ever anticipated.  It requires a lot of start-up capital and patience.  Children’s clothing is not your typical drop ship business.  In most cases, you are ordering one season in advance of the next.  So you have to make a guesstimate of what you think your customers are going to buy, to avoid having too much or too little inventory.  And then when it finally does arrive, you need pay for it, warehouse it, photograph it, and write copy for it. And then, hopefully, ship it!  Online or not, at the end-of-the-day, both businesses require the same amount of work.

9.      What is the funniest request you have received from an online parent customer?
Anna: 
I can’t specifically think of one that is funny, but I can definitely think of one that is fun.  We recently had a bride call and request two of our Harley-Davidson Biker Jackets.  She shared with us that she was having a wedding with a 50s theme and that her nephews were going to be walking down the aisle in jeans, white t-shirts and our Harley-Davidson Biker Jackets.  How fun is that! 

10.      Why do you love Le Top? What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Anna:  We love Le Top because of the great designs, comfort and value.  The collection we like the best from the Fall/Holiday 2010 line is the Haute Dog Collection.  It’s bright and fun…and what child doesn’t like puppies or dogs! 


Crab Apple Kids
http://www.crabapplekids.com/
847.551.1212
877.327.7533 toll free

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This little Le Top piggy went to market to interview one of our favorite premier store retailers for this Friday’s “Store Spotlight” – Tiny Toes.  Boutique mother, Tina Lewis and daughter, Karen Jacobs, tell us about working as a mother and daughter duo business, what Karen packed away in her lunch (and what melted), and what’s hot from the Le Top Fall 2010 collection.

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LE TOP
FACEBOOK PAGE
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1.     Where did the name Tiny Toes come from?
Karen: A mother and grandmother’s “mild” obsession with my sons little toes. 🙂

2.     How long have you been working as mother and daughter duo in the business? How would you describe the benefits of “keeping the business in the family”?
Karen: We started the store together just over 4 years ago and are still going strong.  We love helping new moms select all the gear and goodies for their new arrivals–particularly when they come shopping with their moms.  We each bring something different to the table, whether it is a different perspective on what moms versus grandmoms like to buy or our skills in merchandising versus marketing. 

3.     What is one special or fun fact about your store that a typical customer wouldn’t know?
Karen: Our fixture system came from IKEA, so by the time we opened our doors we had assembled a collection of over 200 Allen wrenches.  We still have them should you ever find yourself in need of one.

4.     What sets you apart as a successful children’s store?
Karen: We really make an effort to get to know our customers. We work hard to remember things like grandchildren’s sizes, who loves which brands, what outfits have already been purchased by other family members and more.  We have wonderful customers and we really enjoy going the extra mile to make their shopping experience special and fun.

5.     Describe the neighborhood of Bel Air, Maryland where your store is located.
Karen: Bel Air is a sleeper suburb of Baltimore. We’re a bit in the country, but with great access to both Baltimore and Philadelphia. Our store is located on a historic main street with lots of other independent shops.  The area is continuing to grow and expand and we have been very fortunate to be part of this growth.

6.     Back to school is here – do you remember what you wanted to wear on your first day of school or a childhood memory of your first day at school? Can you share a picture of how your mother dressed you when you were a child?
Karen: Per my mom–a yellow polly flinders dress–I hope the photos have all gone missing 🙂

7.      Tell us about the school lunches your mom or dad made for you when you were a kid? What would someone find inside your brown paper bag?
Karen: One time in kindergarten we were given ice cream for a special treat.  I couldn’t finish mine, so I packed it back up in my lunchbox and brought it home for later. You can only imagine the mess mom found when she opened that lunch box.

8.     What tip would you give to a parent dressing a child for fall? Any hot trends?
Karen:
We love separates for back-to-school time. September can still be hot, so we love to find short sleeve tees, tops and dresses that will work for a great “fall” back to school photo but that can be layered later on and worn throughout the fall and winter season.  And we’re always on the look out for lines that bridge the gap between comfort (number one priority for the pre-school set) and fashion.

9.     If you had one piece of advice for someone trying to break into children’s retail, what would it be?
Karen: Ask tons of questions-of your sales reps, other store owners, other businesses in your area.  It’s amazing what you can learn from others experience.  Once you are open ask those questions of your customers–they continue to be our best source of information on what will work in our store.

10.     What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Karen:
We have a photo board in our store where customers post pictures of their children in Tiny Toe’s outfits.  We love seeing the children who we dressed for coming home (from the hospital) now come in shopping for pre-school outfits. Having a small part in creating special memories for those families is one of our favorite parts of the job.

11.     What collection or piece from Le Top or Le Top Baby line do you love from the Fall/Holiday 2010 collection?
Karen: The Pocket Full of Posies dress with tights and coordinating cardigan.

Le Top Pocket Full of Posies ensemble

Tiny Toes
4 North Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
410.420.6727
http://www.shoptinytoes.com

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