The Biz: Feature Articles

You just can’t escape it; tween culture is everywhere. Go to the mall or the library, turn on the television, or listen to the radio, and you’re likely to see or hear something that’s targeted at this demographic of savvy and enthusiastic youngsters. It is, of course, up to parents to decide what products are appropriate for their kids, but many moms and dads will find that tween culture isn’t all edge and attitude; it can have some positive, uplifting elements as well. We present some of those choices, including BLÜ, Emily by Tomas, Reina Mora and MAÁ Shoes.

The beauty of getting kids into gardening is that it combines outdoor play with education and fun. Health and wellness are nurtured with My First Garden — raised garden beds that are so easy to assemble, a kindergartner can do it. Don’t go without DOGO and their designer gardening products in 10 unique collections. Once the gardens are built and flourishing, Sassafras will provide fun activities amongst the flowers and Super Sprowtz will inspire kids to put their newly grown veggies to work. These are among a blossoming category of products that can grow some green in your coffers while nourishing healthy, balanced appetites.

What does it mean to a child to be bi-racial? Chances are many shoppers know a youngster who fits this bill and will welcome a useful as well as entertaining way to explain what “mixed” really means. Author Garcelle Beauvais, who was born in Haiti and came to the U.S. when she was seven, now lives in Los Angeles with her mixed-race twin sons who inspired her work. Originally, Beauvais enjoyed a robust TV career, including the role of First Lady in the blockbuster hit White House Down. After her on-air success, she turned her attention to writing since she perceived an unmet need. I Am Mixed celebrates the fusion of cultures in mixed-race kids.

Emily Press Labels

Come holiday time, when those kids are nestled all snug in their bed, visions of picture-perfect pajamas are dancing in a parent’s head. The stylish and sustainable designers featured here focus on unique patterns you won’t find at mass merchants during this busy shopping season. Sweet Bamboo features unexpectedly soft and durable pajamas out of the popular plant. Nobody will get the bedtime blues with Bluebelle, featuring matching mother and daughter pajamas. New Jammies offers a twist on 100% organic cotton –– soft pjs covered with fun prints for every personality. Maxomorra maxes out with fun fall patterns like mushrooms and leaves. These clever printed pajamas will effortlessly round out your holiday gift display and bring joy to the world one fox or lobster pattern at a time.

Tatiana and Company celebrates the 16th anniversary of its Kissy Kissy brand by thanking the consumers and retail partners who have contributed to the company’s success. Built on the softness and durability of Peruvian Pima cotton, the brand is a go-to for parents and gift-givers who want beautiful, high-quality baby clothes and accessories. In addition to building a loyal consumer following, the brand has been a pioneer in introducing Peruvian manufacturing capabilities and its unmatched Pima cotton to the rest of the world. We are honored to have founder and owner Roxana Castillo share with us some personal reflections about her experiences in the children’s business.

It’s challenging enough to make it as an artist or business owner in the developed world, where resources for success are plentiful; those living in developing countries may not even realize that they have the potential to make a livable wage doing what they do, and may not know where to begin to reach a larger audience. Recognizing this fact, some companies in the U.S. have made an effort to reach out to artists around the globe, to help them become established in their craft and ensure that they’re paid fairly for their work. Kahiniwalla is one of the companies taking part in this revolution.

Woombie (KB Designs, LLC)
Satsuma Designs

The ABC Kids Expo returns to Las Vegas October 15-18 and that has made a lot of people smile. I know that I always have a good time at ABC, and am looking forward to some laughs together with my explorations for new juvenile products. Before the show begins, I wanted to find out what makes some of the exhibitors laugh, and how they plan to generate big smiles from buyers. I was particularly pleased to hear that most of the manufacturers I asked said that their children, spouses or family members are what makes them laugh the most. I agree!

In a recent article about Vera Wang, it was noted that everyone at the company adopts “the look”, which is monochromatic and slightly unisex. Stop into the Ralph Lauren offices, and you’ll immediately notice how much everyone there looks like an ad for the clothing giant. In fashion, you really can’t help but look the part. But ideally the uniformity in wardrobe reflects the employees’ deeper understanding of the brand and willingness to soak up every aspect of the corporate culture. What’s your corporate culture?

Once the children outgrow sippy cups, they’re ready to launch into the world of “grown-up” drinking glasses…. or are they? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children graduate to regular grown-up cups around the age of 12 to 15 months, and that they should stop using sippy cups completely by the age of 3. While this is good advice theoretically, not all kids find the transition easy in practice. The innovative minds at JJ Rabbit would argue that an intermediate cup might be a good idea for kids adapting to adult cups, and they have introduced the Cuppy to fill that need.