Feature Articles: The Green Scene

Sometimes kids need help putting a voice to their emotions, and other times they need to give their feelings a face. There are no cuter (or sadder) faces than those of Lilikin & Friends. Whether a child is happy, sad, or just plain confused, these little play pals will understand and stay by their side until those frowns are turned upside down. Lilikin , Mollycoddle, and Eleven are soft, poseable plush toys made with certified organic cotton fabrics, and are perfect for a new toy holiday display. The fun with Lilikin & Friends doesn’t stop at the animal itself. Each one has a Twitter page, Facebook profile, and email address for the interactive generation.

Zeenie Dollz are the newest trend in eco-friendly toys and in the doll world! The modern and stylish design for these dolls might be enough to make them fly off the shelves, but Zeenie Dollz take it one step further by emphasizing the importance of taking care of our planet. These dolls are certain to be a hit this holiday season. “Saving the planet… that’s our style!” is the battle cry for this line of sassy and creative dolls. The dolls are all made from 100% sustainable materials while the story behind them teaches and encourages kids to take responsibility for the health of our Mother Earth.

While many manufacturers generate waste, here is one that heads in the opposite direction, keeping zillions of pieces of paper out of our landfills. Notebagz transforms this detritus into edgy handbags, cosmetic cases and other accessories. The style alone is enough to recommend Notebagz, even if they didn’t make right-on-the-money bags of all kinds made entirely out of recycled publications, magazines and posters. American-made Notebagz lean on nostalgic icons and vintage books as well as images from television, movie and music artists. All bags feature snappy designs whether shoppers’ tastes run to music, magazine covers, peace signs, travel posters or other icons of times gone by.

Playtime New York
RuffleButts / RuggedButts

PlanToys is an innovative collection of educational green toys that are bright, affordable, and as safe for little ones as they are for the planet. This line is full of new and traditional toys, from long-time favorite pull toys to one-of-a-kind dollhouse designs. Each toy is designed to inspire children’s imaginations, engaging them in educational play that will provide physical and intellectual stimulation and development. The educational value of PlanToys has been recognized with the prestigious Parents’ Choice and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio awards.

As retailers, it’s hard to ignore the green revolution. More young families are demanding natural, organic or sulfate-free products. Nowhere has “clean and green” been more in demand than in cleaning products. New parents need the strongest stuff on the market to clean up the messes, but want those products to be safe and gentle as well. It isn’t easy for retailers to wade through the growing waters of products marked “natural” or “organic,” so we’ve helped out a bit and feature a few favorite brands: BuggyLOVE, Better Life, Dapple and Fresh Wave.

Icky Baby has been creating “Fashionable Solutions to Life’s Icky Situations” for 10 years and has recently introduced a new line of Icky Eco Disposables, a collection of simple products that are sure to make life with sticky, messy babies and toddlers much easier. Icky Baby understands that messes are a part of everyday life with kids and that parents often don’t have the energy to meticulously spot clean every item of clothing and accessory. Icky products have modern style and are disposable, a rare combination in the current children’s market. Taking it one step further, the disposable items are also biodegradable, making them eco-friendly.

Woombie (KB Designs, LLC)
ABC Spring Educational Conference & Trade Show

Kidz On Safari is a North American-based company designed to bring the African Safari experience to the Western world. Kidz On Safari realizes that very few North American children have the opportunity to go on an African safari. They want to give these children a chance to vicariously enjoy such an adventure, and interact with their favorite animals in the comfort and safety of their own home. Their casual eco-friendly clothing, plush toys, educational DVDs and music CDs provide an immersive global experience that opens children’s eyes to the diverse wildlife and experience of an African safari.

Many parents care about packing a healthy lunch for their kids, but don’t think about what they’re packing it in. News on the dangers of plastic keeps piling up. Health risks associated with vinyl and aluminum further fuel anxiety. The fuss, furor and lack of eco-friendly containers on the market inspired Sandra Ann Harris to found ECOlunchbox, and provide a lunch-packing approach that is free of plastic, lead, BPA, PVC and vinyl. The company’s solution was to manufacture nifty stainless steel food containers packed in handmade cotton lunch bags.

Organic cotton has gained popularity in recent years –– particularly in infant fashions –– because of its gentleness on both the skin and the planet. The market for organic cotton and other environmentally friendly clothing is full of both established and emerging companies. It pays to do a little research and find out which ones have the most cutting-edge styles, the most creative designs, and state-of-the-art “green” manufacturing practices. Here are a few worthy of retail consideration: Pickle Peas, mini mioche, Itsus Eco and Bungalow BeBe.

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