Naperville, Ill., native Allison Childs noticed that her infant daughter had a taken a liking to pulling off her own socks and booties, resulting in a plethora of missing baby apparel. After Childs was laid off from her job, her resourcefulness kicked in, and she decided to come up with a product to stop babies from pulling their socks off. Her company Vivi G’z makes all its products in the U.S. and has recently partnered with Soles4Souls, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “wearing out poverty” for children. As her loyal customer base grows, Childs is looking to expand her company into a full line of high-quality baby apparel.
Allison Childs’ story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
When my oldest daughter was born and started developing those fabulous fine motor skills, I noticed that she would be delighted when she was able to remove her socks and booties. Without fail, I would spend oodles of time looking for her missing socks and booties and pulling her pan legs back down to her ankles. So, as any new mom would do, I found a solution, and that’s how Vivi G’z was born. Vivi G’z signature product is a patent-pending baby bootie, that was designed to solve problems with baby and toddler footwear: keeping socks and/or booties on their feet, keeping the pants down around the ankles, and providing a footwear option that the child cannot remove themselves. Vivi G’z prides itself on designing and manufacturing in the U.S.A.
The situation that helped me make the decision to start Vivi G’z, was when I was laid off in 2016 from my former employer. There is the saying, “necessity is the mother of all invention.” Well, there was a need to replace my income to support my family. This journey has not been without much stress and tears shed, and multiple part-time jobs. But when you have a passion to create and develop a product and business, nothing will stop you.
My definition of success is accomplishing the goals I put in place for Vivi G’z. I also define success by our ability to learn from the failures and to move forward with new knowledge and learnings of what did and didn’t work, and how to overcome hurdles and still move forward to become successful. I have also learned that success is acknowledging the small milestones as well, as those move Vivi G’z in the direction we envisioned for the company, as well as help us see the progress that we have made.
Our biggest success to date is the positive response Vivi G’z received at the Children’s Club Trade Show in New York city in February 2018. The Vivi G’z launch product, the patent-pending baby bootie, was very well received. As a woman entrepreneur, we view every step and milestone as a success. This includes the testimonials we have received from our customers, letting us know that our product is doing exactly what it was intended for. This also includes our repeat customers coming back because our product does solve a problem parents have been facing for years (keeping socks and booties in place, as well as pants down around the ankles), and we’re slowly growing this band into a full apparel line.
“When you have a passion to create and develop a product and business, nothing will stop you.”
– Allison Childs, Founder of Vivi G’z
The goals that we have put in place for Vivi G’z, include growing the company, and having our products be carried in high-end brick-and-mortar boutiques across the country. Our launch product, the patent-pending bootie, is already getting a great response. We have just started on our process of working with boutiques and have recently partnered with some strategic boutiques around the country. We are also working on additional products to continue to grow our brand, which include additional accessories for infants and toddlers as well as developing our apparel line. We are excited to bring products that will not only address problems that parents have faced, but to also offer a new line of goods that is fun, simple and yet sophisticated. We are excited about these additional products going forward.
Our biggest challenge with Vivi G’z is gaining brand awareness. We are working hard to bring our story to life and translate that through our social media outlets. We want to share the story of our launch product, our patent-pending baby bootie that was designed to address the headaches that parents face with infant and toddler footwear. We are working hard to gain a following and build the brand around Vivi G’z. We are also extremely passionate about our company and brand, and extremely proud of the fact that we are designed and manufactured in the U.S.A. We are also partnered with Soles4Souls as a portion of profits will be given to them.
My role models are my parents. My dad was an executive in sales and marketing throughout his career. He prided himself on being truthful and trustworthy individual. My mom is my other role model. She is an artist in her own right and ran the fashion department at Harper College. My mom always had an eye that was slightly different from everyone else. I learned from her how to see beauty and create beauty through design. My parents are two of the most supportive people I have ever known. They have been behind me 100% since I decided to start Vivi G’z. In fact, if it wasn’t for my mom urging me on, I don’t know if I would have had the strength to do it. Vivi G’z would not be where we are not without their support, partnership guidance and love.