Indigo opens ‘shop-in-a-shop’ for small kids businesses

The retailer has focused on serving consumer needs by identifying on-trend brands, and it's bringing that to another of its core offerings.

Indigo plans to give national scale to its own “support small businesses” effort, looking for the next big brands that will be of interest to some of its smaller customers.

Mini Marché will be a “store within a store” dedicated to small and local brands that would fit with the retailer’s kids and baby assortments.

To identify the brands it’ll be stocking and showcasing, Indigo is making a public call for applications. Priority will be given to brands that are owned and managed by Canadians, BIPOC, women and/or LGBTQ people, as well as to those that are environmentally friendly or some way purpose-driven.

Applications will be accepted until mid-February, with a pitching process beginning in March. Final candidates will be selected in early spring in time to be on store shelves as part of the Fall selection.

In addition to fitting with Indigo’s well-received efforts to be more purpose-driven in both its marketing and the brands it carries, Mini Marché is also bringing the retailer’s focus on finding on-trend brands to its kids assortment. The retailer has expanded its assortment beyond books in recent years, and it has prioritized finding out how to best meet consumer needs and trends. Exclusivity and finding unique brands have also been priorities, be it through partnerships with the likes of Casper or launching Oui, its own private label home brand.

“We are committed to inspiring creativity, sparking imagination and encouraging learning with our thoughtfully curated assortment,” says Gail Banack, VP of the Indigo’s kids division. “We know there are so many amazing brands out there with products our customers will love. We are looking forward to learning more about each of their unique stories and offering them a platform to shine.”

Indigo is also no stranger to trying new retail methods to identify those next big brands. In 2019, it launched Thoughtfull, a platform that was meant to be a stand-alone ecommerce site to help consumers find the best gift ideas, but also feed insights back into the organization to identify new needs consumers wanted to serve, considerations that were going into purchase decisions and on-trend brands and product categories.

Despite its expansion, the retailer has also been careful to not stray too far to what it is best known for. According to its most recent financial results, what Indigo considers to be its core product offerings – books, kid’s entertainment and wellness – have been among the best performers during the pandemic, reflected by Mini Marché’s focus on kids and this year’s holiday campaign.