The Biz: Feature Articles

The Made in USA label has always meant durability, local design and processing. Now it can also indicate stylish, modern and organic designs unique enough to be featured in your store. Beautiful beasts come out of Brooklyn with Snuggly Ugly dolls and décor that add flair to nurseries. Clever child nicknames gave birth to nini & pumpkin and their moon cocoon wearable duvet. Young ladies get the royal treatment with the Ecoprincess line of makeup and bath products by Organic Beauty Now. Take note of Tree by Kerri Lee for a handmade movement in music that will replace plastic music boxes forever.

Recently, I was at a department store (that will remain nameless) on the hunt for — what else? — shoes to wear to trade shows. Half the place was crazy with shoppers buzzing around the end-of-season sandal sale. Sales help swarmed all around that area but in the full-price section where I was, it was deserted. No shoppers. And no sales people. Finally, I flagged a guy down, but he immediately announced that his handheld scanner didn’t work so he couldn’t help me. When I asked him to give me a hand with finding someone else, his response was to glance around listlessly and shrug before wandering off. Seriously? A shrug?

In the past 5 years since the founding of Little Crown Interiors, co-owners and designers Naomi Alon and Gerri Panebianco have created 100 unique, one-of-a-kind nurseries, children’s rooms and playrooms. The duo’s latest project is an adorable, traditional boy’s nursery in the historic, oceanfront enclave of Long Beach, California. Taking cues from the gorgeous 100-year-old craftsman home, as well as their extensive design experience over the course of 100 projects, Little Crown Interiors created baby Mackinley’s nursery with a historically inspired color palette and an understated music theme.

Michael Scott Studio
Satsuma Designs

If parents could give their kids a boost in language skills at a very early age, would they try it? That’s the mission behind Creative Baby and its extended line of educational products that offers baby steps in exposing tots to phonics, foreign languages, geography and nature. Their award-winning foam i-Mats –– where pictures “talk” to youngsters when touched with a Voice Pen™ –– expand with two new play mats, Alphabet i-Mat ($29.99 MSRP) and Under The Sea i-Mat ($29.99). ABC Kids Expo (Sept. 6-10, Las Vegas) attendees can try out each of these pieces at Booth #3625.

Trendsetting tweens are getting more difficult to predict, so coming up with collections that vary in style, size and season is crucial to creating loyal customers in both parents and kids. The back-to-school period is closing in, and you want to offer the cool clothes kids go nuts for. Tweens will stand out in urban and international brands like Cars Jeans, Frankie & Liberty, Vingino and Jake Fischer. With full outfits, including shoes, hats and other accessories, a tween’s back-to-school look will practically create itself.

It’s time for another crop of products proudly made in the U.S.A. Innovation has long been the benchmark of American products. Many American companies have designed products that put them ahead of the times, ensuring that their goods will impress prospective customers and securing their place in the business world. This fact is no less true for companies that produce products made for babies and children. Logan and Lenora, bZipt, theMINIclassy and Sweet Cottontail are all bringing something fresh and new to the world of children’s products.

robinwrendesigns
Feather Baby

One of the most important sections of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) is 15 (b) [15 U.S.C. §2064]. It requires manufacturers, distributors, importers and retailers of a consumer product that contains a defect, which could create a substantial product hazard or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, to immediately report the relevant information to the Commission. Through the years, including the twenty year period when I was Director of Compliance and Enforcement, the reporting obligation has proven to contribute enormously to public safety.

At every stage, finding the right furniture, bedding, and accessories is important, not just for aesthetic purposes but to create a sense of security and happiness. Children will end up spending lots of time in their bedroom (even more for those who get grounded frequently!) so décor and atmosphere count for a lot. Help your customers create the bedroom of their dreams with stylish furniture and décor from Lil Dreamer, Pine Creek Bedding, Muniré Furniture, and 3 Sprouts.

Take a pinch of magic, wish hard and get transported to a far away land where children stay young forever. That is the spirit behind a book that is a sure-fire fave designed to win the hearts of kids, especially girls aged six to ten. The Never Girls: A Pinch of Magic is the seventh entry and newest in the blockbuster series by writer Kiki Thorpe who has already rocked the pre-teen world with the earlier Never Girls books including The Space Between, A Dandelion Wish and The Space Beyond. Thorpe sets the stage for wishing, dreaming and, most of all, reading — an activity parents are beyond thrilled to have their daughters pursue.

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