How Some Sales Reps Roar in a Recession

While stats are showing the recession in the U.S. tapered off some time ago, most companies would be hard-put to identify the current economic season as a boom-time. After all, consumers are still tightening their belts. However, there have been some bright spots in the current economy, largely thanks to small and medium sized businesses. How can these companies be thriving in such a harsh environment?

One secret to stellar business growth is that no man is an island: company partnerships are vital. It’s all about who you know and how you get your message out there, which is a long-standing reason that so many independent manufacturers foster relationships with experienced sales representative associations. These associations can help brands open more retail doors than otherwise possible. Three sales rep firms that are thriving, Carolina Baby, The Coffs, and Annette & Associates, demonstrate how they help other companies flourish.

Carolina Baby: Winning Hearts and Minds

When it comes to business, the folks at Carolina Baby know exactly what can put one over the top: strong relationships. As many companies neglect fostering quality retail relationships after the sale, Carolina Baby cultivates theirs. Marlo and Jim Poole started the people-friendly company in 2007 and have been adding to their bottom line ever since.

The Pooles utilize their years of experience in the retail business to guide others on the road to higher profits. The secret to their success in this distressed economy? Co-founder Marlo Poole notes that, “It means the world to us that our buyers know we care, not just about their success and their business but about them as people, families, and business owners.” And while building relationships is certainly a large part of Carolina Baby’s success, their all-star line-up of time-tested, quality products doesn’t hurt either.

Carolina Baby enables independent manufacturers to gain eyeball time with the finest retailers in the business. Their attention-getting showrooms sport winning brands, including: Itzy Ritzy, Urban Smalls, Ju-Ju-Be, Baby K’Tan, Oh Plah and many more. Other brands of interest include Ah Goo Baby, purveyors of the Plush Pad; Cybex, the last word in transportation and accessories for small children; and the Four Peas collection of children’s bags.

Carolina Baby also vaults newer brands like Baby JaR, which specializes in charming animal-printed bibs and luxurious toddler-sized blankets, into the retail spotlight. The Pooles know that accessories are always “in” and have assisted companies like Four Peas, another hot shot in the line-up, with their unique approach to children’s bags.

Expand your retail business by seeing all the brands represented by Carolina Baby at

The Coffs: Family Ties and Fabulous Finds

Keeping it all in the family, the Coffs have more than just a great family relationship –– they have a great business one too. The Coffs are a part of Fashion Center Dallas, and an active member of the business community. Based in Dallas at the Texas World Trade Center, the Coffs represent manufacturers in a wide variety of fields, from children’s activewear to tween accessories and gifts.

Their client brands flock to their exclusive showrooms in order to gain audience with retailers-in-the-know. The Coffs are the voice of experience in representing independents, with over 40 years in the business. They are also expanding their range with the addition of a brand-new showroom in Atlanta, Georgia. Their recent Atlanta Apparel show in October indicates there’s no slowing down in the near future because regardless of the economy, quality always sells.

They represent well over 40 product lines, with some of the hottest names in children’s fashion, like Cukees and Hope Jeans. They’ve also helped clients like Heart2Heart Couture, which specializes in adorable boutique children’s fashions, and Bling Strands, the company that provides sparkly and jazzy hair accessories for every need. They’ve provided the springboard for retailers to sprinkle a little fairy dust on their shelves too, with great products like Glitter Wands, gifts for those hard-to-shop-for tweens.

Tie your brand to a star, or find the next hot collection, at

Annette & Associates: Growing by Leaps and Bounds

Twirls & Twigs
Fashion-forward kids grow up into discerning adults, and both have had a hand in the success of Annette & Associates. Annette & Associates has been expanding due to their focus on the energy surging in the children’s clothing market and their ability to attract serious retailers. They highlight baby, toddler, and young children’s clothing and accessories. The Texas-based manufacturers’ representatives are used to the hottest in trends (as well as the hot weather), so retail clients know that the showrooms will be chock-full of quality, blockbuster items.

Annette & Associates has a proven track record of helping the finest vendors in children’s fashions, with brands like Guess Kids (sporting everything from super-cute denim jackets to floral patterned skirts) and Wild Mango (rockin’ beach duds and soft surfer jerseys) leading the list. They’ve facilitated the success of companies like 2011 Earnie-award-winning Twirls and Twigs, which specializes in eco-savvy separates in recycled cotton and other sustainable fabrics.

Eclectic and unique, Annette & Associates also plays up all corners of the market by highlighting edgy companies like Llum, which dazzles with its fashion-forward frocks and separates. Eco-friendly Green Baby struts its stuff in A&A showrooms, appealing to the fashion-conscious and pennywise with its Reversi-t’s: 100% organic cotton t-shirts that can be worn in four ways. Rocker parents can thank A&A for getting the word out about Rowdy Sprout attire, which markets cuddly cotton tees, loungewear, and dresses sporting band logos from the The Who and Ozzy Osborne.

For more information about brands and buys, contact Annette & Associates at 217-637-4446.

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Carolina Baby Company

Thank You Giggle Guide!

Thanks so much to our friends at The Giggle Guide for the mention! You are a priceless tool to everyone in the industry and we’re proud to be a part of your article. Congratulations, as well, to the Coffs and Annette & Associates for continued growth and success!

Marlo Poole
Carolina Baby Company

Marlo Poole
Carolina Baby Company