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In the $18 billion children’s apparel and accessories marketplace, Carter’s was the leading brand. But with private-label growth from brands such as Target and Wal-Mart, Carter’s needed to strengthen and leverage its brand and stand out in the sea of pastel sameness.


The Carter’s brand also suffered from inconsistent execution and a shopping experience that was far from easy for moms, so the challenge was also to create a new brand vision that would drive change inside Carter’s and help them shift from a wholesale mindset to delivering a powerful brand experience.


After extensive analysis across customer and wholesale segments, it was clear that Carter’s held a strong position of trust and quality with consumers, but had lost a history of innovation. To make sure Carter’s was getting credit for all its great products and features, Wolff Olins articulated the brand vision as ‘what really matters to moms.’ We established a fresh, new brand and a new visual and graphic style with emotional photography and iconic illustration.

To further reinforce Carter’s difference, we created a propriety language strategy that communicated product features and benefits with confidence and authority. As an integral part of the program, Wolff Olins rationalized 45,000 SKUs down to 30,000 and helped deliver the brand through packaging, in-store signage, the size/color system, point-of-sale
systems, and product and service innovations.


When Carter's new brand experience launched, wholesale partners applauded and so did moms. The new Carter’s retail experience rapidly impacted store sales and consumers reacted extremely positively to the changes. The new brand experience started to rollout in 2006 and almost immediately wholesale sales went up 3% and retail sales went up 10%. Carter’s is the largest branded marketer of apparel exclusively for babies and young children in the US achieving number one position in the market in 2008.