Behind the Booth with Daisy & Blu Founder, Sherry West

Behind the Booth with Daisy & Blu Founder, Sherry West

Saturday, February 28 2015

Daisy & Blu launched at Playground at MAGIC in February. The company’s founder and creative director, Sherry West, had been planning the business for years. The children’s brand’s Kickstarter campaign in 2014 helped them ramp up for this year’s debut.

West had attended MAGIC over the years as an educator and designer, so she knew how to maximize her time at the show. In addition to launching Daisy & Blu, she also spoke on two panels and utilized the resources at SOURCING at MAGIC.

West and her team implemented pre-conference marketing tactics which helped drive traffic to the booth. She says, “You don’t just wake up and say ‘I’m going to have an apparel business.’ It takes a long time. If you don’t plan properly, it can be disasterous.”

Experienced in Fashion

West was recruited right out of college to work at The Eagle’s Eye, which she says was the precursor to the Tory Burch brand. Within a year, she became their head designer, which required travel. West says that experience was critical in her understanding of global manufacturing.  She says:

I was able to see the inner workings of a variety of cultures and learned how to negotiate, as well. It is important to understand the capacities of different countries. For example, our company had to place some machines in India for manufacturing, but it was worth the investment because they had excellent workers, even if they lacked in technology or machinery.

Six years ago, West moved to Los Angeles to take a job as an academic chair for a college fashion program.  A year-and-a-half ago, she decided to pursue Daisy & Blu again. She states:

I began by setting up the business entity, covering our intellectual property issues, building the website, developing the business plan and marketing strategy while simultaneously developing and sourcing our products overseas. I  was looking for the right manufacturing partners who could execute my vision at the right price point. I knew how critical it was to have everything in line and well articulated for potential investors.

Challenges Are Good

When West originally worked on Daisy & Blu, she planned on having only hand-knit products. When she went to source everything nine years later, there were big challenges. West says:

Challenges are designed to help you see if this is what you really want to do! During my hiatus, the hand-knit industry was nearly eliminated, and if we went that route, it would cost at least twice as much as I had originally anticipated. I had to research and find factories that could create the look of hand-knit with machinery.

Since West is an expert in sweater knits, she could communicate well with the factories and discuss viable ways to replicate the hand-knit look and feel with new technology.  She was thrilled with the initial samples, and the turnaround was faster and the quality was better, too.

Nursery Rhymes Never Get Old

The idea for Daisy & Blu came when West made a special blanket for her newborn daughter. The blanket garnered so much attention that it nearly stole the limelight from her beautiful baby. West explains:

Daisy & Blu tells a story through nursery rhymes. These children’s poems comfort us and have connected adults and children for centuries. We started with The Cat and the Fiddle images of a cow jumping over the moon. We named the cow Daisy and called the moon Blu. Our message is that nursery rhymes are a great way to bring back quality family time. Our line encourages people to slow down and sing nursery rhymes.

While the brand connects generations of family members, West also feels that she is also helping retailers tell stories and connect with their customers. West’s philosophy is that childhood memories are powerful and everyone is connected to nursery rhymes, so the line has lasting and broad appeal.

Building Her Team

On putting together her dream team, West says:

Creativity is energizing. I love surrounding myself with people who have an entrepreneurial spirit. My team is passionate about our mission, and each person takes her own stake in the business. I have the best team possible, and we are giving back to the community, too. Everyone on the team has a favorite nursery rhyme and can personally relate to the power of storytelling.

West’s Advice for Working with Factories

  • Build relationships by keeping open communication channels.
  • Let the factory know that you’re a startup. Don’t waste your time with the factories that can only accept huge minimums.
  • Explain your vision and your growth strategy and work around their timeframes.
  • SOURCING at MAGIC is a great resource for startups. You can see a variety of overseas options all in one place. One of our current factories was found at MAGIC.

Next Steps

West says that Daisy & Blu will continue to build on the momentum from orders place at MAGIC. Samples from the next collection will be ready to sell in August 2015, and by then, they will have inventory on hand for immediate shipping.  

The business is taking off as West’s kids are growing up. West’s daughter, who is now 21 years old, also helps with the brand. West is over the moon about how Daisy & Blu has taken off!