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(NECN: Peter Howe, Everett, Mass.) - Say “Kim Kardashian,” and you very well may think: Flashy, sometimes a little trashy. From a family not hung up on staying – or getting – conventionally married.
But do you want this sex-tape celebrity dressing your babies?
Kim and sister Kourtney Kardashian have just launched a line of baby and toddler clothing called Kardashian Kids, which went on sale at Babies R Us starting this past weekend, mostly in the $15 to $30 price range.
During a round of satellite-TV interviews with media outlets Monday, NECN asked the sisters for three or four words to describe what they’re trying to offer.
“Stylish, affordable, comfortable,” said Kim.
“And chic,” added Kourtney.
NECN also asked if it was all tricky to translate a brand that evokes sexy, glamorous, occasionally a little bit outrageous to little kids’ clothes?
“It really wasn’t,” Kourtney Kardashian said. “We did a leopard print, which we usually do in our women's collection. Coming out in the summer, we did like a mini biker jacket. We did a color-block dress, which is similar to some of the items that we would do with our women's fashion. But I think for the most part, it's really sweet ... but still high fashion.”
“We do have our wild pieces that are glitzy and glam that I think are totally on point with the brand that you were mentioning earlier,” added Kim Kardashian. “Little fun ruffled tutus with you know sequins and stuff like that. I think when you see it, you will know that it is a line that we designed but you'll see a lot of our newfound mom influence as well.”
Kim is the mother of North, who turns 1 in June, and Kourtney has Penelope, who turns 2 in July, and son Mason, 5.
Kristin J. Lieb, an assistant professor at Emerson College, an expert on celebrity marketing, said that while the Kardashians are “a brand that’s known for sex and controversy,” she seems how this deal would work for Babies R Us and for the Kardashian sisters.
The fundamental rule of successful celebrity endorsement and product promotion is the item or service being endorsed needs to connect logically with someone’s fame.
For Babies R Us, Lieb said, “The Kardashians might be able to make us a little edgier, might be able to recruit younger mothers into the brand, hipper mothers into the brand … This clothing line gives her the opportunity to sort of hit reset yet again through being a mother and having this business. Kim has already successfully transitioned from being someone who went from being best known for being a Playboy model and a sex-tape participant into being sort of a beloved part of a beloved family on television. People watch the Kardashians for all sorts of complicated reasons, but many people love these people and feel like they're family.”
At the Babies R Us at the Mystic View shopping plaza in Everett, it was easy to find Kardashian fans.
“Would I put him in Kardashian Kids? Absolutely! I love the Kardashians. They're beautiful sisters,” said Brendan Sullivan of Winthrop, toting his toddler, Jace.
Asked whether some of their bad-girl antics would reflect negatively on a small-children’s clothing line, Sullivan said, “They just do that for TV. I follow them all on Twitter. They're all funny, they're all crazy -- they're some nice people.”
A woman named Daphnee from Revere, Mass., who has a one-year old daughter, said her only complaint was the price.
“I love the Kardashians. If they would bring the price down a little bit, it would make a little bit more sense … I think it's a little overpriced, just to say the name ‘Kardashian.’”
One suggestion this may be more about media attention and branding than a serious attempt at making serious money: At the Everett store, Kardashian Kids clothing occupied just two small four-armed racks in the entire cavernous store, barely six square feet of store shopping space.
“If you’re a brand that's best known for being able to make money on everything,” Lieb said, “then you can't stray too far away from your brand and do a bad brand extension -- right??” And she speculated that the Kardashians may attract more than one type of motivated shopper.
“They may be buying the clothing because they want to absorb a little bit of the celebrity through the clothing,” Lieb said, “but they may also be buying it because they watch the Kardashians to laugh at them. So they may be buying a lot of these things as gag gifts as they and their friends have children.”
With videographer Nik Saragosa