On top of everything I do, I work at the local library 15 hours a week. I assist patrons, catalog, fix books, etc. It is a great job and it would be hard to ever give this up. I recently attended the ILA Spring conference for my region and I learned some great research tips that I am passing on to you. And yes, it relates to the children's clothing industry.
Most public libraries now have access to electronic databases. These databases include full-text (or abstracts) of articles in magazines, academic journals, newspapers and yes, books! This includes images, reference materials, and more. There are too many incredible databases available to list them here. The databases are operated by companies like Ebsco, Thomson-Gale, or Proquest. Usually you can access these databases directly at the library, but often you can get login information to access them over the net through your library's website. Information that was available on a limited basis or strictly available at university libraries is now easily available to just about everyone.
For those that are writing a business plan, you can get a lot of support material. Find a state of the industry report or company profiles of competitors. Read academic journal articles on a specific subject, like costume history. Research trends. I have had a lot of fun playing in the databases!
Here are a few brief descriptions of three databases and what info they contain:
General Business File ASAP - Company profiles, state of the industry for various professions, investment reports, newspapers, journals, magazines.
e-Library & InfoTrac - selected full-text articles and multi-media on various subjects. Useful for secondary students. Can search by keyword and subject. (I found some interesting things on here!)
Book Collection Non Fiction - Full text or abstracts of non-fiction books. Can search the books for a keyword or by subject. I found an e-book on children's costume history with pictures!
To search for information about the children's clothing industry use these keywords/subjects:
Later, I will give some better examples of some of the cool things I found. If you need some research tips, just ask. Or even better, head to your local library and see what's there!