As a University of Florida graduate, Jade Sklaver, founder of StyleChild, majored in Public Relations and pursued many fashion related internships while still in school. After completing rotations at Barney’s New York, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, and major fashion PR firms, she had no doubt that was the path she was headed down. Working at a few major labels after graduating, Sklaver found herself being hired by Norma Kamali as her right hand person in design and production. The opening on the team proved to be an invaluable opportunity and would ultimately shape her future. Sklaver gained experience working with factories, fabrics, and design in addition to learning product development and production. After another corporate fashion position, and marriage, Sklaver made her way to South Florida and had her daughter, Liv Jaymes. Liv became the inspiration for what came next: StyleChild.
While pregnant with Liv and yearning for a passion project, Sklaver started building the foundation for what is now StyleChild, a kids shoe company specializing in functional and stylish shoes at affordable prices. The business started with reselling cute and trendy “no label” sneakers and as popularity grew, Sklaver knew she needed a brand of her own to stand behind. After a major life change, Jade decided to take a leap of faith and commit to work directly with the factory to design, manufacture, and produce sneakers under her own label StyleChild. Since then StyleChild has grown into over 25 exclusive styles, retails in stores all across the country and in Canada, and has a highly trafficked website. Most recently, Jade and her small team opened a by-appointment (virtual and in-person) showroom and warehouse in Boca Raton, Florida which has given her customers a personalized shopping experience – especially important during the pandemic. Dedicated to being the best mother and entrepreneur, Jade feels passionate that others can have that same work-life balance, and do something they love. She recently launched a Kicks Starter affiliate program that allows other mothers to start their own business selling the StyleChild label in specific markets.
Tell us what do you do in your own words?
I DO IT ALL! StyleChild is both a children’s sneaker brand, and an online children’s website. We do everything in house from start to finish for our own exclusive line, with the exception of physically producing the sneakers. On our website we carry not only our brand, but a few other clothing and accessory brands we love that help complete the look!
What opportunities has the pandemic’s confinement created in your business?
With our brand launching its exclusive line right before the pandemic hit, we had to pivot our focus from wholesale to direct-to-consumer. With that came the idea of launching our Kick Starters program. With everyone at home and many people looking for an alternative source of income, or something to focus on, we launched this program for women to sell our line directly from their homes-without having to stock a single thing! Our program pays out commission on all orders placed via their personal affiliate link and ships out directly from our Boca Raton HQ. Through social media, social circles, and community out reach the women have built their own StyleChild following under their curated platforms. The team is in constant communication with each other which has created a great likeminded community. Through sales bonuses, various goals and other incentives, it has become a fun and exciting way for these women to have their own small business!
With our company growing along with our inventory- there was an urgent need to find more space. Being the middle of the pandemic I wanted a way for people be able to come in and shop in a safe way. StyleChild HQ is in a warehouse space that we turned in to a by-appointment shopping showroom in the front, with an office and shipping in the back. Children can come in to get fit and try on any of our styles. We worked hard to make the showroom vibrant, fun and kid friendly. There is not a child who comes in to shop for shoes who doesn’t ask if they can stay!
How are your children’s footwear different from any other brand?
Our sneakers are designed with style and ease in mind. As a mother to a 3 year old, I know the struggle it takes to get a pair of sneakers on and get out the door- and it is real! (Especially when they want to do everything themselves!) With that in mind, I made sure all of our sneakers could be easily and quickly put on and taken off by little hands. While many of our sneakers are designed with laces, you’ll notice they all have a side zipper for easy access, and the laces become part of the aesthetic. Whether it be with zippers, velcro, or elastic laces, it is imperative to us that we continue this concept throughout our line. Along with the accessibility of our sneakers, all of our styles are designed to be fun, fashion forward, and give children confidence in every step they take! Give a kid the right pair of kicks and they can conquer the world!
How did you start from scratch? What motivated you, what inspired you?
While pregnant with Liv and yearning for a passion project, I started building the foundation for what is now StyleChild. The business started by reselling cute and trendy “no label” sneakers and as popularity grew, I knew I needed a brand of my own to stand behind. Fast forward 2 years and going through a divorce at a young age, I wanted to do something on my own and be my own boss. I was determined to prove to myself that I could build something despite the constant advice to “get a real job.” Nothing motivates me more than proving I can do something that I am told I cant. I took a leap of faith and put all my money into building StyleChild as a brand. I committed to working directly with factories to design, manufacture, and produce sneakers under the StyleChild label. Since then StyleChild has grown into over 30 exclusive styles, retails in stores all across the country and in Canada, and has a highly trafficked website. Now as a growing business, what truly continues to motivate me is my daughter Liv, and seeing how proud she is when she comes into the showroom. I am motivated every single day to teach my daughter independence, determination and confidence as a female in the world today.
Are there any ideas you wish you had time to act on but haven’t yet? Do you think it will become possible in the future?
We had previously held a fundraiser for the Lucky Fin Project, an organization for children with limb differences. Our easily accessible sneakers allows these children to wear fashionable shoes they can put on and take off themselves. This is something I truly want to be able to dive deeper into. Seeing the excitement on the kids faces who felt independent in being able to put on their kicks themselves was extremely rewarding.
What is the best seller at this point?
Jaymes and the Avery. We CANNOT keep enough stocked! The Jaymes is an amazing classic white leather sneaker with a rainbow ombre star and back. The Avery is a true showstopper with a leopard silver glitter toe, tie dye ground and gold star and laces. You cannot get more fun than this! Moms always tell us they get stopped on the street to ask about their kids kicks! FUN FACT: ALL of our sneakers are named after children of friends, family, or kickstarters!
What’s your favorite social network – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? Why? Instagram-
To date we have put zero dollars into advertising and marketing. We have built this brand completely organically via instagram and social outreach. We are currently getting into other media platforms such as TikTok as well. When used the right way these platforms are extremely beneficial, and crucial in the success and development of new brands.
What skills do you need as a CEO and president of a big company?
As a CEO I am very self aware of my strengths and weaknesses, which I think is imperative to running a successful company. You do not need to know all the answers, but you do need to know who and what to ask to get them. Allowing others to help, advise, and mentor has been imperative in my success.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
Building the company entirely out of my house and in my garage for the first 2 years, to opening up my own space in 2020 was definitely the most exciting!
The most rewarding however, Is watching my 3 year old daughter Liv who LOVES coming to the office, helping me work and learn about StyleChild. (She really wants jobs to do when she comes in!) Seeing that I am instilling independence, drive, and showing her that she too can do whatever she puts her mind to is truly my greatest accomplishment.
Tell me about what you’re working on now..
Well some of it is top secret at the moment, but spoiler alert… We are currently working with a new high end company based out of NYC to assist in design and production of our upcoming lines. We have revamped the entire lines fit, insoles, outsoles and took our designs to the next level. We are very excited about this new venture and can’t wait to share what’s in the works.
Can you share some marketing tips on how to launch a business?
Start within your own circle! Word of mouth is such a strong and underestimated means of marketing and outreach!
What are you future goals?
Our future goals for StyleChild is to be a nationwide brand as the go-to for fun, fashionable, and functional children’s sneakers. We want to expand both our Kicks Starters program and our wholesale reach in the near future and well.
What would you advice our followers who have want to start their own brand?
DO IT! The worst you can do is fail the best you can do is succeed, but you will learn from both! Start with your idea and go from there, you will notice your plans and ideas will evolve, grow, and change as to what is working and what doesn’t- go with it.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
When deciding if I should go all in with this business or get a more “traditional” job like most were advising, my dad said to me “if you truly feel that this is something that can be successful then take the risk. You can talk about it all day, but you won’t know until you try.”
Share two advice for female entrepreneurs.
Be ok standing alone and trust your gut. Even if you feel no one believes in what you are doing, remember, most people don’t want to see you succeed, so in the end it only matters if you want to.
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