What Trade War? This Popular Chinese Kids’ Brand Is Coming to the US

ABC Kids is broadening its horizons. After more than 35 years as one of China’s leading childrenswear resources, the brand — which has roughly 2,000 stores throughout its home country, offering both clothing and shoes — is taking its first steps toward international expansion with a move into the American market.

Under the guidance of Los Angeles-based design consultancy 2am Inc., which has worked with such brands as Fila, Anta and Li-Ning, ABC will begin wholesaling its colorful footwear collection in the U.S. for the spring ’20 season, targeting higher-end department stores and specialty boutiques.

“Our strategy is to grow ABC Kids into an international brand, and the U.S. market is our first stop,” said 2am CEO Koko Zhang, noting that the company will also explore opportunities in Canada, South America and, eventually, Europe.

Known for its streetwear-inspired designs, bold graphics and innovative use of technology, the brand believes it offers a fresh point of view for the new market.

ABC Kids Sneakers
Colorful sneakers from ABC Kids with Velcro strap.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

“Kids’ shoes in the U.S. all look very similar. We think ABC’s individuality and unique products will appeal strongly to American kids,” Zhang said, describing one sneaker series that showcases quirky science fiction themes and unusual color combinations.

Priced from $35 to $60 and available in infant, toddler and big-kid sizes, ABC’s collection features a mix of sporty sandals and sneakers ranging from classic lace-up looks to trendy chunky styles. It also includes a small capsule of shoes inspired by Hasbro’s “Transformers” toy brand.

“The ‘Transformers’ styles have been very successful in China, so we hope to offer more of these licensed products in the future,” Zhang said.

To build awareness among American consumers, ABC plans to make an aggressive marketing blitz. A U.S. website is set to launch this year, and the brand is reaching out to top fashion and lifestyle influencers across multiple platforms, including Instagram and YouTube. Print and electronic media placements are also in the works.

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