Lifestyle brand to expand into coordinating nursery and gift items this summer.
JCPenney has a strong history in developing private brands, particularly when it comes to kids and babies. Mom wants her little ones to look stylish and put together, without spending a fortune. Enter… Okie Dokie.
As one of the Company’s most popular private brands for our smallest customers, Okie Dokie has undergone a major design refresh. The fun, new collection features playful patterns, modern looks, chic details and easy-to-style outfits that are as spirited as a child’s imagination. Plus, the brand will be expanding into giftables, so Mom can outfit the nursery with coordinating crib sheets, bed skirts, blankets and accessories this summer – all featuring the same fresh, on-trend aesthetic as the new playwear.
In fact, the team is so confident in this playful update that we’ve dedicated one private brand, Okie Dokie, to outfitting babies and toddlers. Sizes range from newborn to 5T and can be found in all JCPenney stores and at JCPenney.com.
We sat down with Elizabeth Melley, vice president children’s product development and design at JCPenney, to discuss the inspiration and style behind this popular private brand.
What was the motivation behind the Okie Dokie brand refresh?
EM: We’re always looking for ways to keep our heritage brands new, fresh and competitive. When it came to Okie Dokie, we took the opportunity to dig deep and understand what was working and what wasn’t. We looked at our current assortment to determine our white space and understand, “What’s our opportunity?” We ended up coming up with a whole new identity that really pushes the brand forward.
Why did you decide to make Okie Dokie the only JCPenney private brand for babies and toddlers?
EM: Our whole quest is to make shopping easy for Mom, but we had a lot of different options for her when she came into a JCPenney store. There were different color stories, materials and brand ideas. We were making it too hard for Mom with too many brand stories and options, so we embraced simplicity. Okie Dokie is truly a lifestyle brand and we knew it could do a lot more.
What are some of the new, key features of this brand?
EM: Previously, Okie Dokie was known for its collection of mix-and-match knit pieces. We still have an updated assortment of knit playwear, but now are able to complete her outfitting needs with comfy stretch denim; a fun, sporty active assortment, trendy woven pieces, dresses, special completer pieces and fun accessories. This is all merchandised to show the complete outfit to make it easy for mom. Customers will still find the same versatility we had before, but it’s much less literal. Everything for our spring launch has been reinvented, with a bigger focus on a modern aesthetic, highlighting the importance of black and white. We also put an emphasis on humor. Now, the pieces go together, but it’s not exactly the same print head to toe. We’ve also been able to put details back into the products with this refresh, such as stretch into our denim. Reinventing this brand has allowed us to give Mom even more for her budget, and that’s is a big win.
How did catering to today’s modern mom play a part in the updated design of Okie Dokie?
EM: The new assortment is very outfit-driven and features an Instagram-worthy aesthetic, with a wink to Mom. T-shirts have cute sayings like,“Hold my juice box!”, “This is going on my mom’s blog” and “Daddy did my hair.” We have a super talented team that is meticulous in adding fun, playful details throughout the assortment such as hoodies with monster scales down the back plus a matching backpack, t-shirts with adorable 3D art that can interact with the child and girl’s tees with cool monsters and dinosaurs. We’ve also introduced accessory pieces like crowns and matching scepters, and monster tails and masks.
How will this refreshed brand look in JCPenney stores?
EM: We focused on making the shopping environment feel more like a children’s boutique. It’s still in the kids department with the same fixtures but we’ve added an overall black and white scheme and more mannequins. This has created a more sophisticated, boutique feel to the overall presentation. We’ve also pulled in shoes with our displays and tied in accessories – impulsive items that she didn’t come in for, once she sees it, thinks, “I have to have that!” All of these updates help Mom to see Okie Dokie as a true lifestyle brand. We also have a brand-new logo, so it all has a very fresh feel.
What differentiates Okie Dokie from your competition?
EM: Hands down, we offer the best value and design aesthetic. Babies and toddlers play hard and outgrow their clothes so quickly. It’s important that Mom can find affordable playwear that is still on-trend and age-appropriate. Okie Dokie offers fun, spirited pieces and with our elevated quality, it can handle some pretty active playdates.
What’s coming up next for Okie Dokie?
EM: This summer, we’re expanding our Okie Dokie gift assortment. We’ll have everything Mom needs to create a sweet, modern nursery including crib sheets, bed ruffles, mobiles, lovey blankets and stuffed animals. Some of the pieces will even match back to the clothes making for a super cute, effortless gift.
Okie Dokie was first established at JCPenney in 1985, and has remained one of the Company’s most popular brands for kids.