Feature Articles: Road To Success

Modular products appeal to a broad audience because they continuously offer a challenge. Kids come back to them time and time again, getting engaged in fresh ways with each new play experience. This is part of the reason that Knock-Knock Co.’s head honcho Jen Bilik immediately saw the enormous potential in Max Knecht’s hand-sewn cuddly wonder, the Clump-o-Lump. Max Knecht has had an eye on creating fun, functional products ever since he was 13, but it wasn’t until a fateful meeting with Jen Bilik that his lovable prototype toy became a star.

For basics that go the extra mile, necessories (necessary accessories) from Bella Tunno top the list of must-haves, but it wasn’t always this way. In 2005, founder Michelle Tunno Buelow was a new mom, frustrated because she wanted items she couldn’t find — necessities with panache. With a small goal and a big heart, Tunno Buelow began by selling home-made burp cloths out of her house. Word spread, her brand found wings and other items including Bella Bibs, Binker Pacifier Clips and Diaper Ditties were added. Today, Bella Tunno proudly offers merchants over 400 product styles and options.

Sales are the lifeblood of every company, and few events help rack up strong sales and positive PR like a trade event. It takes a lot of time to plan, coordinate, and set up a booth at a show, however, none of which immediately adds to an exhibitor’s bottom line. Wouldn’t it be great to have an experienced trade show freelancer that understands your company and its products well enough to take the hassle out of trade show exhibitions? Brands big and small turn to Andrea Williams, a trade show expert with years of experience providing the power, panache, personality and persuasive marketing skills that attract attention and sales on trade show floors.

Woombie (KB Designs, LLC)
Republic of Pigtails, LLC

Diaper industry giant Huggies has announced the winners of the 2011 Huggies MomInspired Grant program. The program provides $15,000 in seed money and business resources to inventors of original products that make caring for a baby easier and more enjoyable. Moms have long been a source for ingenuity and creativity in the baby industry, and the Huggies Grant program is acknowledging and fostering this great resource. We applaud Huggies for their support of the entrepreneurial spirit! Let’s take a look at some of the 2011 winners: Bobee, Magnificent Baby, Kristi G, and Psi Bands.

Today’s economy makes it challenging for businesses to survive. Of the companies that are able to survive, many are faced with tough choices to keep their businesses in the black. It is a sign of true success for companies or retailers to expand and grow. A promising example of a company that has been able to do just that is KooKoo Bear Baby & Kids in Atlanta. Recently voted one of the top 10 kid’s retailers in the U.S. by Kids Today magazine, KooKoo Bear Baby & Kids is an online e-tailer, mail order catalog, and retail store marketer of designer kids’ rooms and exceptional baby gifts.

For decades, mompreneurs have been a creative force behind product innovations in the children’s market. Not content to make do with what the retail world offers, moms often come up with ideas to solve common childcare problems. The Giggle Guide® editors heard about a mompreneur that we’re pretty sure has no equal, and yet is relatable to the “everymom.” Robyn Pellei is the mother of 10 children, ages newborn to 12, the most recent born last December. This former nurse is now a home school educator and teaches all of her children at home. And in her spare time, she is the CEO of ViveVita.

Teeny Tiny Optics
Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S)

When Cause Haun first became a mom, she was dismayed in her search for flexible, stylish shoes for her one-year-old son, Kai. While traveling with her husband Gang Chen in China, Cause spotted urban, flexible children’s’ shoes. These were the type of footwear she had been unsuccessful finding in the States. She purchased several pairs of the shoes to bring back with her, and sold them at consignment shops. The response was incredible; the stores quickly sold out and the owners wanted more. In November 2004, See Kai Run was born in small steps, with a $10,000 investment and a hope for giant strides to come.

Would you be ready to “swim with the sharks” to help your business? The contestants of ABC’s “Shark Tank” pitch their business deals and dreams to a few of the most well-known wheeler-dealer investors, otherwise known as “the sharks.” Four savvy children’s product inventors, who made their pitch on “Shark Tank,” impressed the investors enough that they had multiple offers to consider. Ride-On Carry-On, Mod Mom Furniture, Coverplay and Soy-Yer Dough are now backed with capital to make significant strides in the marketplace.

Central Vermont, home to Maple Landmark Woodcraft, has a long and proud history of crafting wooden products. Over two hundred years ago, most Vermont towns had several individuals who made functional items from wood. Mike Rainville, the founder of Maple Landmark, is proudly part of this continuing tradition. Since the business began, customers have responded with enthusiasm to the cars and trucks; games including checkers, chess and dominos; train whistles; fairy wands; and scores of other finely crafted items and “Made by Me” construction kits that encourage kids to build creatively.