Kissy Kissy Celebrates Sweet Sixteen

QT-QT by Kissy Kissy


Tatiana and Company celebrates the 16th anniversary of its Kissy Kissy brand by thanking the consumers and retail partners who have contributed to the company’s success. Built on the softness and durability of Peruvian Pima cotton, the brand is a go-to for parents and gift-givers who want beautiful, high-quality baby clothes and accessories. In addition to building a loyal consumer following, the brand has been a pioneer in introducing Peruvian manufacturing capabilities and its unmatched Pima cotton to the rest of the world.

“When we started, people weren’t even sure where Peru is. Now, whether they can pinpoint it on a map or not, everyone is familiar with the extraordinary garments produced in in my home country — and I’m happy to note that Kissy Kissy has been a large part of building that reputation,” says founder and owner Roxana Castillo. “From the first Peruvian Pima cotton baby outfit I touched, I knew moms would love the quality as much as I did. And 16 years later, I’m honored that so many parents have entrusted their little ones to Kissy Kissy.”

Kissy Kissy has not needed 16 years to earn the “sweet” descriptive. It’s enjoyed a “sweet spot” from day one. As the owner, Roxana Castillo is humble and grateful. She usually shuns the spotlight, and is quick to recognize the contributions and talents of the brand’s team, just as the matriarch of a strong family-like company does. We are honored to have Roxana share with us some personal reflections about her experiences in the children’s business.

When was Kissy Kissy born and what was its inspiration?

Like many other brands in our industry, Kissy Kissy was inspired by a new baby in the family. When my stepdaughter had our first grandchild, I gave her a few garments made from Peruvian Pima cotton. She was so in love with the feel and the quality, she suggested we bring some in to sell. We started with a store in New Jersey, and one year later we developed the Kissy Kissy collection because we saw a need for Peruvian Pima cotton pieces that were designed to suit tastes in the U.S., with coordinating accessories so gift-givers could have a meaningful selection.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting?

The biggest challenge then was finding factories to produce the goods. Unlike today, there was no one to help you. We had to hunt and search for companies to work with. These days, there are all sorts of resources in place to help new companies with production in Peru. The analogy I use is that we were out in the wilderness with machetes creating a path, and our efforts paved the way for companies who have come later.

What were the three biggest keys to your success?

Well, our Peruvian Pima cotton is the best in the market, and moms recognize the quality, durability and softness immediately. That has been a big factor in the brand’s success. Our signature Kissy Kissy look is another. Kissy Kissy is very sweet and age appropriate for those moms who want to cherish those first days and enjoy the baby stage. Finally, our retailer partners play a huge part in the brand’s success. We couldn’t do it without them. They are our direct contact with the consumer — displaying the product, working with moms and gift-givers, and providing us with invaluable feedback.

Describe a typical new product development cycle for the brand?

We review the feedback we’ve received from buyers and our reps, and we analyze our sales from recent seasons. We develop our prints in a variety of different ways, including designing some from scratch, as well as commissioning artwork from an array of designers that we then tweak to give them the signature Kissy Kissy look. We have certain themes and bodies that are perennial best sellers so we’re careful to include updates on those beloved items and looks, and we always fold in new ideas to move the line forward. The key for us is to maintain a consistent aesthetic while simultaneously infusing the line with newness.

What trends are you seeing in the children’s industry?

We’re seeing all the big designer houses entering the baby market. And there’s been an increase in take-down/mini-me looks on the market. On the consumer side, shoppers are much more educated and demanding more value out of every purchase.

Do “green” or eco-friendly concerns influence your business decisions? If so, how?

In terms of product, we do offer organic options each season but that is not the bulk of our business. When it comes to our business practices, we ensure that every point along our supply chain adheres to local laws regarding the environment.

How do you market your brand?

Word of mouth has been the best marketing for our brand over the last 16 years. Kissy Kissy moms are enthusiastic about the product and eager to share it with their friends and family. And we value and appreciate their testimonials because we know that tips from one mom to another hit closer to home than an ad from us ever could. To harness and encourage this mom-to-mom interaction, Kissy Kissy has recently launched into social media. On Facebook and our other social channels, we’re able to stay top of mind with our fans on a daily basis and introduce them to new styles and prints. More importantly, we’ve created a place where they can interact with one another, share pictures of their babies in Kissy Kissy and revel in the joy of having a new baby at home.

In addition to social media, we work closely with mom bloggers who are able to introduce their fans to Kissy Kissy through product reviews. Finally, we attend multiple trade shows worldwide, and we advertise in trade publications like Earsnshaw’s magazine to introduce the brand to new stores.

Also, our retail partners are able to reorder our product 24 hours a day via our password-protected wholesale site.

What is the biggest challenge your business faces today?

The biggest challenge is that the secret is out about Peruvian expertise and Pima cotton. When we started, we were one of the first U.S. baby lines to use Peruvian Pima cotton, and the only one to offer a full layette offering with accessories. Now, many brands are flocking to Peru, which creates certain pricing and sourcing challenges. Thankfully, we have long-running, close relationships in Peru. Also, today consumers are very price conscious, but we handle that by offering the best value in the market.

How has your company changed over the past 16 years? How has it remained the same?

Kissy Kissy started as a small collection and now we have a vast array of product spanning many collections offering everyday essentials, special occasion wear, christening outfits, organic options, preemie sizes, Velour and knit layering pieces, and accessories. With that expansion, we’ve been able to maintain the vision and focus we launched with, which was to provide high-quality, soft and durable fashions for baby with a sweet aesthetic moms and gift-givers love.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

The thing I’m most proud of is that Kissy Kissy is able to employ so many in Peru and the United States. Our sewers and embroiderers are able to support their families on the wages they earn working with our brand and that’s very gratifying. We’re also very proud to be in more than 2,000 doors worldwide. That number is a testament to what the Kissy Kissy team is able to accomplish every season: high-quality, beautiful product that lasts and delights.

What are some changes that have had a positive impact for your business in the last year?

Each season we always have loads of new artwork and themes. In 2013, we pushed the designs in a few new directions, including animal prints, sophisticated color blocking, abstract geometrics and oversized images. We also continued to focus on social media, which gives us a direct connection to our fans. It’s a great new avenue for consumer customer service, and it helps to boost our visibility and to create and support our brand advocates.

How do you stay inspired? What most influences your business decisions?

My team at Kissy Kissy inspires me. I know that without any one part of the company, we wouldn’t exist. We have a wonderful dedicated team — and that includes our sales reps and our retail partners. Our little customers are a great inspiration too. It’s so great to see them in Kissy Kissy. It gives us perspective on our day-to-day operations and makes us smile.

What advice can you share for someone entering the children’s market?

It’s not an easy business. So I would just suggest that new entrepreneurs make sure they understand the realities of designing, sourcing, producing, marketing and selling a line. You have to love it, and you have to be willing to give it your all. I can’t imagine launching a collection today. The market is very different than when Kissy Kissy launched.

About Kissy Kissy…

Kissy Kissy’s vast assortment — which spans preemie through size 4T — captures every aspect of baby’s life from sweet looks in the Kissy Kissy line, and bolder statements from Kissy Kissy’s Qt-Qt, to keepsake-quality christening apparel in Besos by Kissy Kissy and embroidered and smocked garments from Kissy Kissy Premier.

For Spring ‘14, Kissy Kissy courts the crib-and-bib set with hearts, including the inflatables aloft in Qt-Qt Heart Balloon, pastel delights in Sweet Hearts and the delicious candy heart boxes in Kissy Sweets. For more girly options, flowers flatter throughout the line starting with the pink buds in Baby Hearts & Roses and the garden in full bloom in Summer Splendor.

The spring collection engages the boys with a nautical nod with vintage sailing apparatus in Maritime, Schooners’ lighthouse lookout, and boats galore in Navigator. And what little boy isn’t attracted to things in motion? The brand introduces highways full of busy vehicles in Traffic Jam, stop-and-go fun in Punch Buggy, and fast times in Qt-Qt Racer.

Unisex options focus on the things all babies love most like the alphabet building blocks in Playtime, the bath time pals in Rubber Ducky, and the fuzzy friends in Qt-Qt Teddy Bears. For brother/sister photo ops, the Regal Baby grouping acknowledges our affection for the royal baby, Organic Teddy provides an eco-friendly spin, and Twin Bunnies is the perfect pairing for multiples.

From soft pastels to bold primaries, the collection offers a range of flattering pinks and blues with accents of red, yellow, green and lavender. The line is comprised of newborn necessities like converter gowns, footies, rompers, one-pieces, hats, bibs, booties, and blankets as well as fashion bodies including flutter-sleeve dresses, swing tops and bloomer sets, shortalls, bubbles, and shorts sets. The collection retails from $9 for hats to $60 for hand-embroidered pieces, and it ranges from $90 to $260 for special occasion items.

The brand is a five-time Earnie Award winner for excellence in infant clothing design. Find Kissy Kissy on social media on Facebook (, Twitter ( and Pinterest ( For more information, visit

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