Born in Melbourne, Hipkin makes finding that unique kids fashion piece, outfit or entire wardrobe, easy and enjoyable. The site is the brainchild of childhood friends Katie and Bec and hipkin’s ethos centers on finding super-cool, functional street wear for boys and girls. Tag along for a little behind the scenes experience on what it takes to run Hipkin, and what got it all started...
Can you tell us a little bit about how Hipkin started? What is your inspiration, and how did you come up with the name?
The idea for Hipkin came about when my first daughter was about 18 months old. With an English husband, our family frequently traveled overseas, mainly to Europe, and I started to find and collect simple, stylish kids’ clothes that I just hadn’t seen in Australia. My best friend, Sarah Gilsenen, who is a denim designer for Rolla’s, found lots of amazing miniature denim and vintage from her travels to Sweden and the US, and brought them back for my girls (Milla 5, Yvie 2). My sister Nicky Whelan, an actress based in LA, was also regularly posting her nieces gorgeous organic clothing and vintage denim.
Back in Melbourne I was constantly asked by parents at the park, Library and my local coffee shop where I got my kids’ clothing. I found mothers often complaining about the lack of quality denim, in particular for boys. With my love for fashion, (having studied fashion design in London, working, most notably, with Paul Smith), 2 young girls as my muses and denim being a staple in our household, I realized there was a gap in the market.
Getting back in touch with high school friend Bec, whose family are big travelers also, saw Hipkin come to life. Having 2 young boys, (Harper 3, Jack 9 months) a very keen interest in boys’ fashion, and a background in finance, Bec was the perfect business partner. Together we felt inspired to share these great global brands and finds with Australian parents. Our ethos is to source and hand-pick the best children’s brands from around the globe, making them easily accessible for Australian customers.
The name wasn’t an easy task. Like our brands and our philosophy, we wanted the name to be simple and appealing to a broad audience, and while we knew it had to relate to children we didn’t want anything fluffy or babyish. Essentially it took a lot of experimentation, months of writing down words and waiting for the right combination.
‘Hip’ and ‘Kin’ were both words which kept popping up and when the two eventually came together we knew we had it; a name that succinctly and instantly denoted all the things we were about; family and cool clothes, and with a slightly elfin ring to it, which perfectly suited the many Scandinavian brands we stock.
I love how you handpick your favorite labels from around the world, what do you look for when picking unique labels for Hipkin?
When searching for brands, we look for ranges that are simple, fuss- free, different and clean-cut. We also strive for the right combination of an adult streetwear sensibility with an element of fun and functionality, remembering after all that it’s for kids. We love denim, (good quality and vintage), and are big on gender-neutral; black for boys and girls. No fluffy baby pinks and blues at Hipkin!.
Hipkin is a true boutique range; we see our market as parents who are fashion-conscious yet still want kids to be kids, and it’s our job to source the best labels from around the world and create the best edit so they don’t have to do the hard work.
Your style section on your website is so great and full of inspirations, if you could pick a favorite outfit for a boy and a girl from the selection of Hipkin what would it be?
This is tough! we really do love all our brands and clothes. For a boy a simple pair of I dig denim jeans with a Fred Perry stripe tee is always a winner, and my girls love a Tuss skirt with a Cheap Monday skull tee and Vintage denim Jacket. For baby, you can’t go past a Mini Rodini onsie with Cheap Monday baby jeans.
What is the best thing about owning your own children's wear shop?
Incorporating work into our home life and working towards that elusive balance. Being mums with young kids, we need to be flexible with our time, so after we’ve done the school run and gotten the kids fed and off to be, quite often we’re working from 7pm till midnight. Having access to beautiful kids’ clothes and getting to share our finds with our loyal customers is so fulfilling. Also we pride ourselves on our unique hand delivery service to local parents, same day – Mums love this!
You are the first store to carry my favorite Scandinavian denim label, I Dig Denim in Australia, what made you want to focus on high quality denim wear?
When creating Hipkin we surveyed a lot of our friends with kids and found good quality denim, especially for boys was very hard to come by. We found i dig denim on a Scandinavian website and fell in love with the brand, with its unique cuts and styles in different weathered washes. When we received our first order we couldn’t believe how amazing the quality was. Like an adult pair of designer jeans in miniature sizes, not a single detail was missing, yet the styles are so simple and refreshing.
If could could sum up Hipkin in 3 words, what would they be?
Cool, Fresh, Simple.
What can we expect from Hipkin in the near future, any dreams, plans or new labels arriving?
Hipkin, having launched only this year, is excited to have some fantastic new labels coming on board very soon; Acne Miniature from Sweden – new in Australia, super high quality and stylish denim and sweats, BOBO CHOSES from Spain – stunning collections that are simple, stylish yet quirky & fun, NUNUNU from Israel – very cool and new to Australia with lots of black, stars, skulls and geometric shapes, POPUPSHOP from Denmark – organic high quality basics that are classic and timeless. We are also thrilled to be getting Minnetonka – from the USA, original moccasin suede boots and shoes, images from the fringed boots on the Hipkin tumblr have been reblogged thousands of times. We know these shoes will be a bit a hit!
What we are looking forward to more than anything is Hipkin becoming the chosen destination for the best children’s streetwear from around the world, and continuing to provide inspiration for cool, busy parents everywhere.
A big thanks to Katie and Bec for sitting down and answer some questions for us. It is great to see more online shops opening up making it so easy to find some international, unique brands for the little hipsters out there.
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