Kakadu Tiny Tots is essentially an Australian owned aboriginal children’s boutique that supplies unique clothing and gifts that have a strong regional Australian heritage to customers throughout Australia & overseas. All of the clothing designs are uniquely handcrafted in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and are sold online and stocked nationally in boutiques.
The business has been featured on Channel Ten’s ‘The Shark Tank’ and is currently a nominee for the Ethnic Business Awards.
“Kakadu Tiny Tots was started as I saw a major gap in the market in terms of Aboriginal Baby & Childswear – there was really no one out there doing it right. Additionally, a major factor was the opportunity to showcase aboriginal people and show our creativity, especially highlighting our region of Kakadu,” said founder Kylie-Lee Bradford.
The artists include Bradford as well as her mother, who is also a traditional owner of Kakadu National Park, and Dale Austin whose designs adorn the jumpsuits and rompers.
Crawl before you walk
It was a hesitant start for the business as they wanted to gauge the community’s reaction to their concept and products before forging ahead with production. Bradford said they initially tested the waters using social media and a strong marketing campaign.
“This was resounding confirmed we initially began to create our hand-painted shoes and began selling these; we had tremendous interest from this and really couldn’t keep up! We then began to contact prospective retailers and stockist and found the response on the whole very positive, we then began to introduce our first clothing design and have been updated and releasing new ranges and products ever since!”
Not all about product but people
As many small businesses find, customers are attracted not only to their products but to the people and vision behind them. This was certainly the case for Kakadu Tiny Tots who although entering a competitive market but able to attract people looking for their unique wares.
“We found to get some great traction early helped to create some demand and as we progressed we found many had been looking for a company such as ours to do business with.”
Their designs and craftsmanship have really helped them get out in front of their competitors and reflect their connection to Kakadu.
“Our designs 100% originate from the bush in the Northern Territory, we work with Dale and he draws on canvas his latest ideas and designs and we work through together what would work in today’s market. We feel this unique craftsmanship to be rare and each piece of clothing shares Dale’s story and his tribe details adding to value of our products.”
The business has also created an ambassador relationship with Nova Peris OAM is an Australian politician and Territorian, which reflects their strong connection to the community.
Bradford has been working full-time on the business for the last year and most of her time and energy goes into engaging customers and building her client base.
She said that she has been working to do this in many ways including markets and exhibitions. These venues really help to expose the brand to as many people as possible.
“In the early days we did even the smallest local market as we view all exposure as good exposure.”
“We also created a great, easy to use website which was very important to be as professional as possible. To stimulate growth, we regularly add free gifts into our website orders and send many samples away to potential, future retailers.”
Chasing big dreams for Tiny Tots
Not one to shy from a challenge, Bradford has huge hopes for the business moving forward.
“We’re looking for that big Australia Company to take on our products for the right reason and develop a long lasting relationship with that company and branch out more into exporting our range.”
But even as things grow Bradford says that Kakadu Tiny Tots will remain connected to her heritage.
“As we grow we are determined to not forget where we came from, I grew up in remote NT and return regularly. We hope to be in a position one day to give back substantially to this region.”