Award: National Retail Federation's Retailer of the Year, 1999

Oilily originated in Alkmaar, Netherlands, in 1963 and was founded by Marieke and Willem Olsthoorn after the arrival of their twins. The Ol-sthoorns wanted exciting clothing that contained vivid colors and interesting prints and textures for their children, but they found very few options on the market. Following this design concept, Marieke developed fabrics and designs for children's clothing containing elements that capture the emotions of children.

The name Oilily, a variation of Olly's, the parent company name, was created through a children's contest sponsored by Olly's. The guiding principle behind Oilily is to see through the eyes of a child, to offer clothes that are fun and full of energy. Typical Oilily designs incorporate stripes, checks, florals, and bright colors in mix and match pieces. The small in-house design staff creates many of the unique prints; however, the majority are custom made by outside contractors.

Oilily engages in limited advertising campaigns; instead, they reach their customers through the Oilily fan club, magazine, and website. The fan club has been integral to the success of the children's line, allowing children to voice their ideas on what they would like to see in the collection. Eighty thousand members worldwide receive newsletters, stickers, and cards on their birthdays. The club also sponsors contests to award merchandise.

The outstanding success of the infants' and children's wear collections prompted the 1988 launch of a women's wear line under the creative di rection of Dutch designer Nico Berhey. The women's wear line was first carried in Arnhem, Holland, and then later added to all stores, including those in the United States. Oilily has grown tremendously, branching out into other product lines such as Jeans for Babies, Oilily for Girls (Juniors), Tirke Dungha, shoes, ski apparel, backpacks, stationary, accessories, watches for women and children, perfume and cosmetics for kids, bath products, and optical frames. These products can be found in exclusive Oilily stores in forty countries plus numerous specialty stores across the United States, Europe, Asia, India, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Oilily has revolutionized the children's clothing industry, providing fun, imaginative clothing children are excited to wear. Unlike many companies, Oilily maintains control over design and quality-control regulations by manufacturing in-house through a European licensee, Zamasport. Oilily's decision to manufacture in-house allows them to concentrate on customer satisfaction. The Oilily customer expects quality to equal price, and color and texture to equal fun and energy. Website: http://www.oilily-world.com

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