The Biz: Feature Articles

Usborne Publishing has been in the business of popular, serious fun since 1973, and has lovingly nurtured its vast array of enjoyable, educational books. Usborne is known for its charming, hands-on “Fairies” book series that encourages play and learning as well as its beloved “Farmyard Tales” collection. Its newest addition, the “Books with Wind-up Toys” series, sweeps away the protestations of even the most stubborn young reader: these books have toys! Not only does each colorful tome come with a wind-up toy, but each toy can be used inside of the book as the story progresses, keeping little hands busy and eager minds occupied.

Parents of young children manage an on-the-move schedule, taking their children to daycare, school, music lessons, sporting events, play dates and other activities. To accommodate the busy family’s needs, manufacturers are designing innovative products that make traveling with young children safe, convenient and comfortable. Smart products from timi & leslie , Travel-Tot, KidCo, and Cybex are perfect for families going places.

Most Americans have felt the bumps and bruises from the rocky economic road of recent times. In an effort to stimulate job growth in the United States, many consumers are purchasing and getting reacquainted with American-made goods. They’re beginning to understand that the investment they make in domestic products pays off with durability, aesthetic value, and consistent quality. They’re also rediscovering the pioneering American spirit that is evident in the creative and inspired designs of items crafted in the U.S.A., such as these from IMAGINE GreenWear, LuvStuff, Nano Baby, and 32 Degrees

pediped footwear
Teeny Tiny Optics

Fans of Dr. Seuss take heart! Seven stories by the writer, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, will be published by Random House in September 2011. The tales will be combined in a book titled The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories and, according to a Random House executive, are in a league with the author’s other works that include the highly acclaimed and much adored The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Among the stories in the new book are Gustav the Goldfish, an early, rhymed version of A Fish Out of Water and The Strange Shirt Spot, which is similar to the bathtub-ring scene in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.

Somewhere in the way-back machine there’s a song that tells us to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative.” Today, The Giggle Guide® spotlights four manufacturers whose ever-so-marketable children’s products inspire optimism by encouraging good habits and positive self expression: Compendium, Inc., Shains, Journal Buddies, and Iscream. From colorful thank-you cards and message stickers to customizable jewelry and journals, these companies offer a multitude of upbeat avenues for kids to express themselves and spread good cheer!

When interviewing business owners, it’s rare that I meet someone who doesn’t want to grow their business into a national brand. To those who aspire for this status, growth is key. A company can grow one of two ways: by getting new people to buy its products or getting current customers to buy more. Ideally, a company will attempt to achieve both of these objectives. Choosing to grow by extending your customer base is always a viable strategy regardless of what you sell. If you seek national brand status for your business it is achievable. Deciding which path to take as you seek to obtain this objective will depend on your preferences and available resources.

Pedoodles
See Kai Run

Connected, trendy, style-conscious — these are just a few of the adjectives that describe tweens these days. They’re after style that’s eye-catching but not outlandish, and accessories that let them express their individuality while still fitting in with their peers. Kids in the tween years can be fickle and hard to please, so retailers will want to check out these on-trend products that are popular in the tween scene: Cool, colorful, changeable watches by Popochos, Minifix apparel and accessories adorned with licensed characters, comfy training bras with coordinating hipsters by Sally Miller, and stylish iPhone cases from Glam.

Like moths to a flame, tweens and teens go crazy for “flashy” gear that attracts attention to itself and the wearer. Dazzle your young customers, and brighten up sales, with rockin’ products that let kids pile on the glitz and glam! Bejeweled earbuds by chicBuds; illuminated building sets from Laser Pegs; twinkling Laser Laces; and modern music accessories from Zumreed all provide a hefty dose of sparkle, light, and style. Kids love products with attitude to spare, so these are bound to attract their attention. Here’s how to light up your store’s life, literally!

High Five,” by Editorial Director David Gaunt, counts-down his personal observations, suggestions and shout-outs about the children’s business. In this installment…

· Face First. Hold the Phone!
· Yellow Umbrella Kids is a Bright Idea!
· Early Bird Catches the Client
· RSVP ASAP to Attend Trade Events
· “Shark Tank” Sinks Those Not Ready to Swim

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