A brand that began as a thank you quickly evolved into one that encourages kids to follow their dreams.
For Bihn Nguyen, launching a children's brand was a long, trying journey—a quest, in fact. It began in 2006, when Nguyen's 2-year-old niece was diagnosed with cancer. To repay the amazing doctors and nurses at Seattle Children's Hospital for their work on his niece and other ailing children, the graphic artist put his talent to use by designing, screen-printing and donating T-shirts to the hospital. "My main goal was to use my creativity to give back," he recalls. This gesture was the seed that started Questkids, and the brand has blossomed since.
In May 2010, Nguyen and his team took first place in a Microsoft video contest, winning a cash prize that helped launch his first collection that same year. Questkids was also chosen out of 15,000 businesses to attend a Macy's workshop in New York, where Nguyen met key players in the retail industry and was schooled on what it takes to get his products into the mass retailer's stores.
To Nguyen, Questkids is more than just an apparel brand or a list of accomplishments. "It's a lifestyle that we're trying to build," he explains. The brand, known for its street wear, caters to kids with hip, edgy fashion tastes, and Questkids even hosts local snowboarding meets and programs for the Seattle Skateboarding Youth Club. "We try to sponsor events to encourage every kid to be himself and follow his life and his journey," Nguyen says.
This fall, Nguyen is focusing on baseball, with flannel button-ups and graphic T-shirts depicting four fictional ball teams. The brand's striped hoodies—which have performed well in seasons past, with 80 percent sell-through—will return, as well as crew neck sweatshirts. With plans to go global and hopes to expand the size range up to size 9, Questkids has a long and promising road ahead. "It's limitless," Nguyen says. "Questkids is going to become a staple in the kids' industry. We're going to make a lot of noise not just with our products, but with our whole culture." —Mary Avant