In 1987, I was a stay at home mom of 2 wonderful boys. They were very close in age, and were together constantly - they almost seemed like twins. They didn't seem to need anyone else, and they certainly didn't need me to play with them! So when they were 8 and 9, I decided to go back to work. I started a children's wear importing business, specializing in high-end French and Italian brands. I was lucky - the business was successful from the get-go!
At that time, most medium to high end children's clothing brands were manufactured in their country of origin - American brands were made in the US, French brands were made in France, Italian brands were made in Italy, and of course, Canadian brands were made in Canada. Canadian and American brands were in the lower to medium price and quality bracket, and the European brands were higher end - expensive and exclusive.
When the Canadian dollar started to fall against the European currencies (before the European Union even existed!), sales of European imports became more difficult. High quality baby sleepwear at a more accessible price was the way to go, and this meant that the product would need to be made in Canada. In those days, both the US and Canada had a thriving clothing manufacturing industry, and the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had just come into effect, meaning that the timing was right for the launching of a new brand with the design and quality of a European brand, but closer in price to the North American brands. I knew what the high end retailers and their customers required - now all I had to do was start a manufacturing business and give them what they wanted!
Our first collection was made up of 12 garments - 6 girl footies and 6 boy footies - and the customers loved it! And so, in 1995, Coccoli was born.
This is one of our first ads.