Nina CEO Debuts New Kids’ Venture

Ezra Dabah is returning to his roots.

The Nina Footwear CEO, who founded The Children’s Place, has launched a new kids’ retail concept called Ruum.

The chain, which celebrated its grand opening last week, debuted with 21 brick-and-mortar locations as well as an e-commerce site. The stores were formerly under the banner of American Eagle Outfitters’ 77kids brand, which Dabah acquired last August. All 77kids merchandise was liquidated earlier this year and the stores, mostly located in malls, were converted.

Ruum’s focus is on fashionable, mix-and-match clothing and accessories for babies, children and tweens, with retail prices ranging from $10 for leggings to $50 for dresses. The offering also includes a selection of casual and dressy footwear, with boots and ballet flats for girls, and sneakers and boat shoes for boys. (Ruum will operate separate from Nina, although the two businesses will share some staff.)

“I am thrilled to be back in the kids’ business,” Dabah said. “[Ruum] offers a fresh new approach to kids’ wear, making kids look and feel good. We are driven to grow Ruum into a major brand.”

To engage and entertain its young customers, Ruum’s locations feature fun elements including photo booths and interactive kiosks. The stores also will host special events for children, such as origami and Plasticine modelling workshops. “[We] wanted the stores to be an exciting and stimulating environment for kids,” said Sara Louise Petty, Ruum’s VP of trend, color and concept.

“The interiors are bright and playful with kiosks where children can engage, explore, see how they would look in various outfits with a digital look builder, play at being a rock star — and more,” she added.

To promote its launch, Ruum has kicked off a month-long sweepstakes with daily winners and a grand prize of a $200 gift card. Other promotions will include special deals for online and in-store purchases, such as Instant Win savings cards and bonus points on Ruum’s loyalty program.

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