Feature Articles: The Green Scene

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.

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.

Wee Ones, LLC

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.

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.

Emily Press Labels
Sound Beginnings

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.

In a technology-driven world, child-driven play has become the exception rather than the norm. Parents searching for non-electronic toys have brought a resurgence to open-ended creativity and play. From Frobi blocks to Tinker Toys, the love of creating and building appeals to children of all ages. Answering that call for creative play, Miller Goodman creates wooden toys that are artistic and fun, with endless play possibilities. Design combined with the feel of wood and bright colors bring their PlayShapes and FaceMakers to the forefront of boutique toy stores and family homes around the world.

Who wants to bundle a baby in a blanket made of synthetic fabric that has been treated with chemicals? Certainly not your customers. Show them hand-woven, all natural fabric blankets from Shi Shu Baby and point out that these blankies are made solely from cotton and bamboo yarn. Cotton has a “strong hand,” meaning it is a durable fiber that drapes well (especially helpful when wrapping a little squirmer). Bamboo has many virtues in that it is very soft and breathable; the fiber regulates temperature and it is said to have antibacterial qualities. Bamboo is a self-sustaining plant, so using this fiber is kind both to the baby and the planet.