Debbi Schulman established Planet Motherhood in Brooklyn in 1988, launching the company after being unable to find fashionable, correctly fitting and affordable maternity clothing during her own pregnancies. Now a multi-generational business, the company is run by both Schulman and her daughter Ariella Weitzman, and has continued to grow YOY with the help of daily events on Zulily and a continued commitment to online sales growth.
The company has developed brands that are sold online at various department stores, big box retailers and boutiques: Planetmotherhood, DebbiO, Mom & Co. and its newest Zulily-exclusive plus-size product line for women — Elliott & Vine. For 2019 thus far, sales for Elliott & Vine products are already tracking up nearly 600% over last year.
As one would surmise, Mother’s Day is a big deal for sales at a maternity apparel brand. But preparing for these sales is actually a year-round effort (much like parenthood).
“Every day for us is Mother’s Day, whether she’s planning to have a baby or whether she’s a mother herself,” said Schulman in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We try to dress her and make her feel wonderful about what she can wear. We’ve driven lots of sales through Elliott & Vine and Mom & Co. too, and we do it in advance. It’s not just Mother’s Day. We have sales events running from January on, promoting outfits for a picnic, a barbecue or a Mother’s Day brunch. We’re constantly evolving new and exciting styles for shoppers. We try to offer an inclusive brand for every size and every occasion.”
While the company’s current focus is on online sales and wholesaling through partner retailers, Planet Motherhood used to operate an exclusively brick-and-mortar business. But as the market’s dynamics changed, the retailer had to follow suit, particularly via partnerships with more e-Commerce savvy brands such as Zulily, which debuted in 2010. As a result, the company has gained access to a much broader range of consumers.
“When we partnered with Zulily, we were able to achieve a new goal by reaching and engaging a specific target audience, and also by tracking the trends and developing new products with their real-time sales analytics,” said Weitzman in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “They can reach millions of customers across the globe with a single email every single day, so I think it went hand-in-hand in building our business with them by offering up fresh, new exciting styles that they were able to blast to their customers. The fact that they’re able to do Facebook Live campaigns and ads, and help us with our Pinterest boards and Instagram account, really married the relationship between their marketing/social teams and ours.”
Additionally, the Zulily partnership has enabled Planet Motherhood to utilize Zulily’s 3PL service – Triple Z – to store their inventory in Zulily fulfilment centers and have it drop-shipped to customers for free
“The fact that this cost went away for us enables us to focus our efforts on creating a great line, with new fresh products, and really analyzing the trends, as opposed to wasting our time processing these individual drop-ship orders,” Weitzman said.