Feature Articles: Features

Ask any kid what their favorite time of year is, and you will likely hear “summer!” The weather is good, school is out, there are friends to see and family fun to enjoy. Summer’s dress code is mostly casual, but it doesn’t hurt to have some stylish additions for a kid’s warm weather wardrobe. Get ready to take a tour of some of the brands making the coolest summer clothing and accessories for kids, including Flik Flops, Andy & Evan, BSkinz and Koko-Nut Kids. From flashy flip-flops and fashions for little gentlemen to fair trade Batik, the possibilities are as diverse and fun as the sights you’ll see on any summer road trip.

Bike riding forms a cornerstone in the memory, not only as a fun way to break free, but also as a rite of passage. Companies that capitalize on that desire understand that they are delivering more than just a bike or accessory; they are fulfilling part of a customer’s dream. KaZAM brings extra sturdy bikes to kids, while Yedoo keeps everyone in the family on wheels with their bikes and scooters. Nite Ize and Bike Brightz help kids kick it up a notch with decorative lights that illuminate the path to warm memories.

You just can’t escape it; tween culture is everywhere. Go to the mall or the library, turn on the television, or listen to the radio, and you’re likely to see or hear something that’s targeted at this demographic of savvy and enthusiastic youngsters. It is, of course, up to parents to decide what products are appropriate for their kids, but many moms and dads will find that tween culture isn’t all edge and attitude; it can have some positive, uplifting elements as well. We present some of those choices, including BLÜ, Emily by Tomas, Reina Mora and MAÁ Shoes.

Michael Scott Studio
All Baby & Child, Inc. (ABC Kids Expo)

The beauty of getting kids into gardening is that it combines outdoor play with education and fun. Health and wellness are nurtured with My First Garden — raised garden beds that are so easy to assemble, a kindergartner can do it. Don’t go without DOGO and their designer gardening products in 10 unique collections. Once the gardens are built and flourishing, Sassafras will provide fun activities amongst the flowers and Super Sprowtz will inspire kids to put their newly grown veggies to work. These are among a blossoming category of products that can grow some green in your coffers while nourishing healthy, balanced appetites.

Come holiday time, when those kids are nestled all snug in their bed, visions of picture-perfect pajamas are dancing in a parent’s head. The stylish and sustainable designers featured here focus on unique patterns you won’t find at mass merchants during this busy shopping season. Sweet Bamboo features unexpectedly soft and durable pajamas out of the popular plant. Nobody will get the bedtime blues with Bluebelle, featuring matching mother and daughter pajamas. New Jammies offers a twist on 100% organic cotton –– soft pjs covered with fun prints for every personality. Maxomorra maxes out with fun fall patterns like mushrooms and leaves. These clever printed pajamas will effortlessly round out your holiday gift display and bring joy to the world one fox or lobster pattern at a time.

The ABC Kids Expo returns to Las Vegas October 15-18 and that has made a lot of people smile. I know that I always have a good time at ABC, and am looking forward to some laughs together with my explorations for new juvenile products. Before the show begins, I wanted to find out what makes some of the exhibitors laugh, and how they plan to generate big smiles from buyers. I was particularly pleased to hear that most of the manufacturers I asked said that their children, spouses or family members are what makes them laugh the most. I agree!

Bibi & Mimi
Emily Press Labels

The first Hello Kitty item was a plastic coin purse based on a Japanese design created in 1974. The kitty in question was a female white bobtail cat sporting a red bow around her neck. Hello Kitty came to the United States in 1976 where she took the country by storm. Although the initial market for the design was pre-teen girls, the popularity of the icon grew and now includes adults as well. The design appears on all kinds of products ranging from school supplies to fashion accessories and even high-end products. Hello Kitty is internationally famous with a multi-category litter of licensed products sporting her face and body.

A stroller is one of the biggest purchases new parents will make, and with all the choices available, deciding which model to buy can be overwhelming. When shopping for a stroller, one decides which features are important. Planning to run or walk trails with the baby? Choose a sport model with sturdy wheels and a streamlined frame. Ride public transportation frequently? A light stroller that can be folded and lifted easily is the ticket. Many parents also opt for “travel systems” rather than just strollers alone. Today we focus on products from Britax, Buggygear, 3 Sprouts and JP Lizzy.

It seems like it’s harder to find companies who are still manufacturing their goods in the U.S.A. So many companies have made the decision to take their manufacturing overseas. While they realize less expense, it comes at a cost for those in the United States. There still are companies that are committed to manufacturing in the U.S.A. The Matching Dots, Paty, Inc., Papersalt and Sugarbug’s Closet are four companies that are proud to be manufacturing their product lines in the U.S.A.

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