The Biz: Feature Articles

For decades, eco-conscious parents have endeavored to set a good example for their children by reusing, recycling, and making healthier choices. When it comes to earth-friendly children’s goods, today’s parents have more options than ever before. Nowhere is this boom in green products more apparent than in the youth apparel industry. The growing number of customers who shop with an eye toward eco-friendly living naturally gravitate toward exceptional offerings like those from Dhana, 2 Red Hens, Twirls & Twigs, and AGUA by Trash-à-Porter.

U.S. consumers are purchasing green products in record numbers, no matter what their age, gender, economic condition or region, according to a 2010 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Tork® brand of SCA Tissue. Results indicated that approximately 67% of American adults have consciously chosen to maintain the same level of green product purchases, while 25% have increased the number of green buying purchases made. In addition, 62% of adults are more likely to visit businesses that focus on green products, no matter how far away they are or how much effort is required.

In recognition and celebration of this week’s Earth Day on April 22, Twirls & Twigs Creative Director/Founder Shawna Dalton talked with The Giggle Guide® about her passion for green living, children’s fashion, color, and the balance of nature, business, and her family. Dalton says, “I was one of those girls who always wanted to be a fashion designer. I studied design from age 16, when I drove to my first summer session at Otis/Parsons. It was love at first sketch for me. Design made my soul sing!” And she has been following the beat of a different drummer and singing the praises of her chosen career path ever since.

ABC Spring Educational Conference & Trade Show
Bows Arts

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

No Slippy Hair Clippy, Inc.
Cachcach

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.

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