The Biz: Feature Articles

Baby carriers or slings have been around for thousands of years. They are an easy way to keep an infant close by while mom or dad go about the business of living. While this trend seems like it’s here to stay, there have been some serious safety concerns associated with baby slings and carriers. Many reputable companies have joined the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance to share their talents and become advocates for babywearing standards and safety. The Giggle Guide® applauds the Alliance’s goals and teamwork, and we plan to regularly update our readers on their activities and products. For our first installment we showcase Gypsy Mama, Beco and Moby.

Not unlike a hiker who discovers he is lost and begins to panic, some business owners have experienced similar distress when their business fails to perform at an expected level. The hiker hopefully remembers some basic survival tools to help him out of his situation. For example, S.T.O.P. (Sit-Think-Observe-Plan) is an acronym survivalists use to remember how to remain calm and keep a level head when trying to figure out how to get back to safety. Company managers of any business type can use this same acronym if they find themselves in an uncomfortable position and would like to get their business back to a safe place.

Rock on mothers-to-be! These women work, socialize and lead active lives so they want — and need –– to look sharp all the time. Now that pregnancy fashion is no longer an oxymoron and bellies are proudly displayed, moms-in-waiting embrace body skimming dresses and fabulous tops, leggings and skirts, just like their unpregnant selves. Many manufacturers go for the gold, offering maternity styles that are on trend and comfortable to wear; so be sure clothes that are hits for misses are among your offerings. Here’s a trio of brand suggestions: Isabella Oliver, Bellyssima and Baby On Board Apparel.

Republic of Pigtails, LLC

Even though the days are cooling off, all eyes are turned toward the latest and greatest summer fashions for 2012. Retailers and consumers are hungry for something different — especially for clothing that busts out of the safety zones that have marked recession fashion. The trends in the higher-end collections lean more toward eye-catching asymmetrical garb, luscious floral prints in bright hues, gorgeous pleats, and attention-getting ruffles. The Giggle Guide® shows next year’s sizzle from Eternal Creation, Scout Collection, and Joules.

Step into a Wall Street conference room and there she is — the hard-charging business exec running the satellite-linked meeting with baby spit-up on her shoulder. Swing by the school’s lush outdoor park and you can track him down — the brilliant investment banker who’s cheering on his twin girls at their soccer match while cornering the market on his PDA. Today’s parents are strapped for time and need to have the right tools at their fingertips. Highly-specialized solutions for the modern family are delivered by Working Family Solutions, Beanstalk Express, SmartyPants, and Do Not Disturb.

Recently I took stock of my wardrobe and determined that I really didn’t need anything new for fall. As a result, I’ve spent very little time in stores or on shopping sites. Not exactly music to retailers’ or designers’ ears, I’m sure. But don’t worry. Just because I haven’t been seeking out new products doesn’t mean they haven’t found me. Within the last week alone, I’ve fallen under the spell of two items I didn’t know I needed until I stumbled upon them and they spoke to me, begging me to bring them home. But these enchanted encounters didn’t happen in a store. Nor did they occur in an online shop.

Baby Banz Inc.

Reports of childhood bullying are in the headlines. Kids pick on others because they don’t act the same or have some distinguishing feature or attribute that singles them out as different. Children want to be like their contemporaries and, when someone isn’t, the temptation to bully often rises. Advocate against intolerance and give customers a way to do the same with Just Like You, a story that aims to explain what being “different” is about to young children. Stock this informative, easy to understand book and help everyone spread the word that we are each valuable in our own, particular way.

There’s an old fable that goes something like this: A father asked his sons to bring him a bundle of sticks and then challenged each in turn to break the bundle over their knees, which they found impossible. He then split the bundle and showed how each individual stick could easily be broken. “United you are strong; separated you are weak,” he said. I’ve noticed within the children’s business, some companies try to go it alone, and this results in those companies, along with the dreams of their owners, being easily broken.

Parents are taking advantage of every opportunity to boost their children’s skills and intelligence levels from the earliest age, and research studies support the idea that music gives children a competitive edge. Music aids in the development of a child’s brain, and may be an important factor in increasing mathematical abilities. However, just listening to music won’t give junior the edge –– he actually needs to learn songs and play instruments. Jamtown, Woodstock Chimes, Hohner Kids, and Schylling Toys know that music needs to be fun, so they draw on a wealth of differing experiences to bring children the great instruments they love to play.