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LIVE IN UNITY, GIVE BACK, ACCEPT DIVERSITY, BE AWARE, TRUTH, FORGIVE: They’re noble thoughts, each and every one, and worthy to be written across the sky in letters. They’re just as meritorious doodled on a kid’s notebook, displayed as bumper stickers on the family car, or even selectively tattooed on the breast of the person who embraces the concepts and cares enough to wear one permanently over the heart! The good people at Good Work(s) Make a Difference choose to render them in more-versatile media: beautifully inscribed leather bracelets to grace the wrist of man, woman, or child.

If I mention Groupon®, what comes to mind? For me, I think I’m getting a deep discount off of something. I just love a good deal! The idea of getting something at half price or better is tough to resist, even if I don’t necessarily need it. Groupon and the countless other daily deal sites are banking on the irresistible temptation of getting that “good deal.” Despite its relative newness in the marketplace, this category is evolving, with more specialized children’s products sites such as Zulily, BabySteals® and Totsy appearing. What does this mean for manufacturers who are contemplating a daily deal or are already selling through these sites?

Children's Club - New York, New York (7/31/11 - 8/2/11)

Children’s Club Director Stanley Kaye and the entire ENK team’s commitment to excellence again rocked the retail world via the exhibits at August’s Children’s Club Show in New York City. Drawing kudos from retailers and exhibitors alike, the ENK Children’s Club show has become a “must” event and continues to attract the attention of the global market. Its commitment to encouraging specialty sellers is underscored by the showing of these four on-trend exhibitors: Daily Threads, Igloo Island, Lemon Loves Lime’s Gnu Brand, and Joon.

Teeny Tiny Optics

Many American companies find that manufacturing in the U.S. helps them do a better job of maintaining quality control and reliable delivery. While big retailers can afford to keep buyers abroad or send executives across the Pacific to check on suppliers, this doesn’t make sense for smaller companies. Made in the U.S.A. brands provide goods buyers want, made to their precise specifications, and delivered on time. These brands are just a few good examples of American-made pride: Petites Frites, Noli, Noli, Funkie Baby, and Fleming Clothing.

Trade shows are great places to get revved up. Surrounded by new and familiar faces, fresh designs and a positive vibe, my creative juices always start racing. No, I’m not driving toward a disclosure about hidden design aspirations. Rather, my mind fills with business ideas and growth opportunities on behalf of the exhibiting companies. For the newbies who have just left the starting line, I can already envision ways they could expand on their concepts, protect their proprietary ideas and boost their visibility. And for the more established brands, I imagine a myriad of ways for them to shift into a higher gear.

New moms often face a unique challenge: how to breastfeed without creating a Janet-Jackson-at-the-Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction! Breastfeeding undergarments abound, but postnatal tops and dresses are in short supply. Veteran mom and former news producer Jamie Rubin experienced the “slump after the bump.” Not one to shy away from a challenge, she pulled out all stops to find the best in couture that would allow her to appear cool and classy while breastfeeding. She crafted her own clothes that were both utilitarian and stylish: Milkstars.

Phillips Nizer LLP
Michael Scott Studio

Lots of toys children want are all about electronic games or gadgets. While these are certainly fun, there’s also an interest for playthings less stimulating. Even several dolls and action figures tend to be geared for a worldly child — the child who has one foot in the adult world. Even as children are attracted to these things, more parents are asking if these are really the kinds of toys their youngsters should be having. More importantly, they are looking for a kinder, gentler toy. The Happy Nappers are an answer for soft, nostalgic fun.

Children need to have innovative outlets, and they need to have their own work (and play) appreciated to build confidence. There’s no better way to do this than through crafts. Recent studies have shown that crafts help relieve stress –– something that everyone can appreciate. Clayzee by Aliquantum-International, Creations by You, Sandtastik, and the Chenille Kraft Company all provide pleasurable, safe crafting materials that delight the senses while allowing children’s personalized artwork to be shared with an appreciative audience.

Baby Furniture Plus Association, an association of independent specialty stores in the juvenile industry celebrates their twenty five year anniversary this September. “Since 1986, Baby Furniture Plus Association has been devoted specifically to the needs and best interest of the juvenile merchants and the industry. Assisting its member stores in operating highly profitable businesses, and providing an exceptional level of customer service and valuable programs has not changed in twenty five years,” said Beth Jarabek, Executive Director of Baby Furniture Plus Association.

JP Lizzy

Parents will always remember their little one’s first day of school: picking out a favorite outfit, taking lots of pictures, and waving as their child sets off on new experiences. Few parents know what’s going on in their child’s head as they face the rather intimidating first day. Even though a child may beg every day to ride the big yellow school bus, actually looking up at it can be a daunting prospect. Even more nerve-wracking is going to a big building with new people, teachers, and authority figures. Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards by Serge Bloch helps to ease the fears of elementary school attendees.