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Small Business Legal Clinic

Baby Wit, LLC - Client Profile

October 30, 2019

  • Rosalee Rester of Baby Wit, LLC

There are many paths to growing a small business and Rosalee Rester, owner of Baby Wit, LLC has explored quite a few. Baby Wit “creates quirky, eclectic T-shirts that show the world your baby has serious style” (https://www.babywit.com/about/) The company began in 2003 after Rosalee had her first child. When visiting Canada she had wandered into a transfer store called “Bang On” and had them put bands onto some baby shirts for friends. When she returned to the states, she saw an opportunity for a business, phoned them and asked permission to resell them online on baby clothing. 

It wasn’t too long before she became aware that Bang On did not actually have the license to sell these transfers to be printed onto baby clothing. Rosalee went out and licensed independently from bands including Sonic Youth, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Bragg, DOA, Alice Donut, Antony & The Johnsons. She also licensed art from zine artists including Steven Weissman, Bill Griffith, Kieron Dwyer & Trina Robbins, Cole Gerst and more. During this time, she changed her business model to include sales of other vendors.

The business evolved to include humorous shirts & political statements as well. Over time, the market became flooded with cool baby clothes and she stepped away from the business and shifted her focus to creating. She made women’s clothes, art, learned how to sew and broadened her experience as a business owner.

Eventually, it became obvious that it was time to come back to Baby Wit. The brand was still known, and there were other opportunities to grow the business. Rosalee renewed focus on niche marketing, targeted specific customers, and created her own unique, custom clothing. The SBLC first helped Baby Wit in 2014, and has since assisted with a licensing agreement, intellectual property research, business structure issues, and even researched patent questions after another party accused Baby Wit of violating their patent. With the help of our students, overseen by the SBLC’s patent professor Joe Makuch, they were able to clarify the legal standard on work preexisting a patent. When presented with this information, the other party gave up.

Now, Baby Wit is focused on the future. Within the next five years, Rosalee hopes to print a women’s line locally, and will also be making matching clothes for babies and their moms. With a renewed focus on marketing, the Baby Wit brand is growing. When asked to give advice to new business owners, Rosalee said that being successful sometimes takes “timing and luck” but that perseverance in the face of challenges pays off. Her favorite part about owning a business is the creative process and having the ability to experiment, fail and learn. The SBLC is grateful to have worked with Rosalee & Baby Wit over the years, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.