Tutti Bella, an Established Online Children's Boutique, Benefits from a Global Base of Shoppers, Flexibility and New Technologies Like Twitter as Traditional Retail Slumps

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The retail sector may be having a bad year, but online stores aren't feeling as much of a shock, at least not California-based Tutti Bella, an online children's boutique. Tutti Bella owner Kim Ciliberto says a global customer base and the use of creative communication tools like Twitter are helping to drive sales for her store, which offers fashion forward designer clothing for babies, kids and tweens.

Tweet Deals from Tutti Bella @TuttiBellaKids

The U.S. retail sector may be taking a hit in this economy, but Kim Ciliberto, owner of online children's clothing boutique Tutti Bella, says the benefits of not being a bricks and mortar store are even more pronounced than ever before.

"I wouldn't say business is thriving this year, but because we serve a global audience, we are still able to focus on providing a unique and varied selection of children's clothing to our customers without feeling the pinch quite as much as a store that relies on one community or region," says Ciliberto.

Tutti Bella, which offers fashions for babies to tweens from more than 100 brands, has amassed a loyal following of customers who appreciate the quality and variety of a unique inventory of boutique, designer, and popular clothing items.

"We find that the many of our shoppers are fashion conscious first and budget conscious second. Because we are accessible to a global audience through the internet, we don't rely so much on any one economy to keep us going. People still want their kids to look good, and fashion is one of those things that can lift your spirits when other things in your life are bringing you down," Ciliberto says.

From the store's California warehouse, a small staff handles everything from inventory control to shipping and customer service, as well as website updates and marketing, like posts to Twitter. Ciliberto herself serves as head buyer and makes regular trips to L.A.'s fashion showrooms, as well as New York and European markets to find the latest trends and must-haves.

"If you have ever tried to shop with a toddler or two in tow, or if you are frustrated by the limited offerings you find in your local department stores or children's boutiques, you understand immediately the benefits of online retail for children's fashion," Ciliberto says.

In addition to making the latest designer baby clothes and kids fashions available to a worldwide audience, Tutti Bella also features budget-friendly deals, including the store's popular "Deal of the Day" which is one deeply discounted item, (40-75% off original price), that is usually limited in quantity and lasts just one day. The Deal of the Day may be past season merchandise, early current season items, or special purchases through vendors.

Ciliberto recently registered for a Twitter account to offer "Tweet Deals from Tutti Bella @TuttiBellaKids," as well as updates on new arrivals, sale alerts, and other daily news.

"As an internet business, we stay on top of the online trends, and with the popularity of Twitter, it makes sense for us to jump on that bandwagon and extend our email notification program to the Twitter platform," Ciliberto says.

Just a couple weeks into a "Twitter Test," and Ciliberto is convinced the medium works for her purposes.

"We're just getting started with Twitter, but so far it's worked great. Our Tweet Deals are becoming as popular as our email alerts, and our list of followers is growing daily," she says.

What has helped the online boutique thrive the most is the "Tutti Bella Style," which the owner describes as a combination of California breezy and big city chic.

Special occasions also drive business, and for the upcoming graduation, wedding, and reunion season, party dresses from Luna Luna Copenhagen, Flowers by Zoe, Isabel Garreton, and Saurette will fly off the warehouse shelves. Eco-minded moms are able to purchase organic cotton and bamboo clothing from Positively Organic and Kicky Pants, and with Father's Day coming up, the boutique is stocked up on its masculine yet fashionable diaper bags for men.

Another thing that has helped this nine year old online boutique thrive is a commitment to its medium.

"We have had many requests from customers who ask when we're going to have a 'real' store. At this point, we have no plans for a brick and mortar storefront. By being an online retailer, we have access to a global customer base and loyal shoppers from throughout the U.S. Our inventory reflects that too, and we have literally thousands of items online. Customers in some parts of the country often don't have local access to the latest fashions as early as shoppers on the coasts, but when they shop online at Tutti Bella, they find the latest trends and hottest styles. Because we don't sell anything we don't have in stock and ready to ship, we also can provide fast delivery," Ciliberto says.

To serve today's bargain savvy shoppers, Tutti Bella has adjusted to economic realities by offering additional promotions and incentives.

"Our goal is to always treat our internet customers as well as we would treat them if they were walking in a door and standing in front of us. So far, that philosophy has paid off, so we'll keep doing what we do. By adding new technologies like Twitter to communicate with our market, we are recognizing the challenges of this time period and doing what we can to weather this economic ride," she says.

For more information on Tutti Bella, visit http://www.tuttibella.com . To monitor the store's "Tweet Deals" and other news follow them at @TuttiBellaKids.

Note to Editors: Kim Ciliberto is an excellent resource for information on online retailing and trends in children's fashion. A complete media kit is available at http://www.tuttibella.com. For more information, merchandise photos or samples, contact Kim(at)tuttibella.com or her publicist, Connie Holubar: connie(at)outreachpr.com.


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