Fifty2, The MPB Project: Target – Circo

Fifty2 - Target - Circo - front“Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project,” will present a carefully curated look at the best Private Brands in the U.S. across all retail channels. The weekly series looks at each great Private Fifty2 The MPB Project LogoBrand with insight, analysis and original photography. In early 2014, these will be published as my first book along with several new chapters that focus on strategy, packaging and design learnings from the included brands.

I am looking for retailer-owned private labels that are BRANDS – brands that bring their positioning and business purpose to life through great design, purpose, expertise, confidence, emotion, lifestyle and innovation.

To submit a brand for consideration please email

In 1992, Minneapolis based retailer Target announced the arrival of a new Private Brand of clothing for infants and toddlers, featuring bright colors, color blocking and prints with pizzazz. Named “Circo,” Italian for circus, it’s available exclusively at Target.

At the time, the now infamous Ron Johnson, then merchandising manager of the Children’s Division for Target, spoke of the brand. “Circo captures the spirit of what it’s like to be a child. Childhood is a time of freedom, imagination, wonder and inspiration – and parents want to nurture this spirit in their kids.  Dressing infant and toddler boys and girls in fun, bright comfortable playwear is a way to do this.  Kids love bright colors.”

By the spring of 2009, the retailer was beginning a significant rethink of their Private Brand portfolio and Circo gained importance. During the Target fourth quarter 2008 earnings release conference call, Kathryn A. Tesija – Executive Vice President Merchandising said,

“This spring we’ll re-launch two of our own brands [Circo & Target Home] to more clearly communicate their value to our guests. We’ve consolidated more than eight owned brands across multiple divisions to create a stronger presence for Circo, our exclusive brand for kids across all merchandise categories. This consolidation allows us to tell our guests a more complete brand story as they shop throughout the store.”

The brand then evolved from its original focus on children’s and toddler clothing to adopt a more engaging lifestyle positioning that now includes everything for kids & baby. It’s fun, colorful, well-designed packaging and products includes everything from toys to apparel to bedding–that both parents and kids love.

Over the last few years, Parenting magazine has featured Circo items including hooded towels, girls’ dresses and swimwear on its pages and in 2012, Circo wood toys won a “Good Design Award” from The Chicago Athenaeum.

At their very best, private brands overcome price tiers and merchandising categories to become a trusted part of our life – for thousands of moms across America, Circo has earned that place in their hearts and homes.

Brand: Circo
Brand Focus:
Kid stuff
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2011 USA Retail Sales:
2011 Stores: 1,763

To submit a brand for consideration please email


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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.