Feature Articles: Features

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.

Teeny Tiny Optics
ABC Spring Educational Conference & Trade Show

The tween niche can be a challenge to effectively target. Businesses need to be catering to adult, parental notions of style and utility, while developing an understanding of the evolving nature of the child. Designers have to be sensitive to the growing child’s changing moods as well as parents’ desire to preserve the essence of pure childhood –– no easy task. Companies like Dragonwing Girlgear, Purple Pixies, Max & Bean, and Matooka Kids Couture are forming a vanguard of tween fashions that acknowledges the edgy, while still promoting all that is good about children.

There are many things parents can do to ensure their older child feels secure and prepared in the face of becoming an older brother or sister. Resources abound to help teach young children about the pregnancy and birth process, to help them relate to the newborn, and to normalize common feelings of envy, wonder, and nervousness that can accompany welcoming a new sibling. Here are a few t-shirt and book ideas to help children transition to becoming big brothers or sisters: Just Tees Please, Tee With Sugar, Jabberwocky Books and I See Me! Inc.

Finish the final touches on your holiday plan and start facing your future with clothing lines that will spruce up your spring and summer 2014 store. For your classic clientele, introduce Max & Dora, a luxury collection that features a mix of contemporary cotton and linen with vintage trim. A costume designer makes dress up fun and practical with Ele Story, featuring ornate silhouettes with the perfect pleat and ruffles that rule. Spring means spring break and no vacation would be complete without bathing suits. Muddy Feet Boutique has made tracks in unique swim and resort wear that will set you apart from the rest. Spring also means parties and formals, so don’t leave the tweens out of the mix. STELLA M’LIA features fashion-forward but age-appropriate dresses perfect for any event.

Bumkins
Playtime New York

Get ready for NY NOW, the Market for Home & Lifestyle, which runs Saturday, August 17, through Wednesday, August 21, 2013, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Passenger Ship Terminal Pier 94. Overall, NY NOW, (formerly the New York International Gift Fair), will encompass 100,000 products in 400+ product categories. The event anticipates that 35,000 attendees from all 50 states and more than 80 countries will attend. Our preview of discoveries includes mimish, Wash with Water, Funkins, and Kira.

Bonnet, beanie, fedora or cap, wide brim, no brim, with buttons or flaps; no matter the kind, pattern or color, hats are tops in style. From knit hats that frame newborn faces with personality and whimsy, to bright, colorful cotton sun hats adorned with flowers and ribbons, to fedoras that let big and little kids step out in style, hats are always in fashion. With so many heads big and small that need protection, the business of hats is brimming with great companies like The Blueberry Hill, The Daisy Baby, Hand & Heart, Inc. and Short Hat Company that make it easy for everyone to put a hat on it.

The Playtime NY show, which runs from August 3rd to the 5th at a new venue on Wall Street, is an exhibition powerhouse. Playtime NY already has 130 exhibitors geared up to make it one of the best shows ever. This season’s theme is “Playtime Superstars”, and features a panel discussion on social media chaired by Earnshaw’s publisher, Noelle Heffernan, editor-in-chief, Audrey Kingo, and Carla Zanoni, Director of Social Media and Engagement at DNAinfo.com. Show attendees should keep an eye out for on-trend companies that are ahead of the curve, like Boutan Kids, Jammies Prêt-à-Porter, poopsies, and Chat Mechant.

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