COURTESY PEREGRINE KIDSWEAR
This February, Peregrine Kidswear is coming up on its two-year anniversary of making gender neutral children’s pajamas for the masses. Owner Kristie Case discovered the need when she was running her other business, the toy and clothing boutique for babies and little ones called Teeny Bee (est. 2013).
“I go to the (wholesale) market about four times a year, and every single season I’m hoping for something that works for boys and girls both,” Case says. “Every season there’s, like, one thing, and then it sells out, and the next season, it’s like, ‘Noooo, it’s not here again!’ I was perpetually searching for the gender neutral—and sort of gender ambivalent where both boys and girls will like it.”
So Case started her own line, teaming up with her close friend Austin West, who had prior connections to a factory in China through his own entrepreneurial ventures. He handles many of the operations (he lived in China for years, speaks Chinese, and knows people at the factory personally) and helps make Case’s creative vision come to life. They named the clothing line Peregrine Kidswear first and foremost after Peregrine White, West’s ancestor who was the first baby born when the Mayflower came to America. Its shared name with the peregrine falcon, also a symbol of adventure and spirit, is a happy coincidence.
Case hand draws all of her designs, and at least in the beginning, what she found was her love for black and white. It made for a cohesive collection with its colors, and black had a practicality she liked. When she created a paper airplanes print that both her daughters (now 5 and 8) and her nephew (now 4 with a brother who recently turned 1) and followed it up with white star pattern on black pajamas that received equal praise, she knew she found the sweet spot.
Most of her collection is still in black and white, but now she adds some color designs every season as well. The fall/early winter season consisted of a black and white buffalo check, a floral print, a night sky pattern her daughters love pointing out the different constellations on, and two color designs, one with avocados and one with all of the comic book superlatives you could want. Her next products are set to launch late spring.
Thanks to the bamboo fabric Case uses, Peregrine Kidswear is in season no matter when you get it. During a road trip to Seattle in 2011, Case had stumbled across bamboo baby clothes for the first time in a little boutique, and she was blown away by how soft it was. If you talk to her even now, you can hear the enthusiasm in her voice as she describes how stretchy and light the material was and how happy her daughter was to wear it.
As she researched the fabric more during her ideation phase of Peregrine, she learned about how it used less resources than cotton and that it was thermal regulating—a win-win for both her customers and a blossoming business. For the first collection in 2017, she had hopes to sell her stock in six months, but if it took a year, she figured at least the clothes would still be in season. She didn’t have to worry, though—it sold out in six weeks.
“The real truth is people have more in common than what sets them apart, so the idea that the choices are pink ruffles or blue trucks always seemed kind of foreign to me. I wanted to be in the middle area where most people live, adults and children both. If you could tap into that, it could speak to a lot of people,” Case says.
Now Peregrine Kidswear is in 100 stores across the country and online, but you can get it in person at Teeny Bee.