The Biz: Feature Articles

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.

The first Hello Kitty item was a plastic coin purse based on a Japanese design created in 1974. The kitty in question was a female white bobtail cat sporting a red bow around her neck. Hello Kitty came to the United States in 1976 where she took the country by storm. Although the initial market for the design was pre-teen girls, the popularity of the icon grew and now includes adults as well. The design appears on all kinds of products ranging from school supplies to fashion accessories and even high-end products. Hello Kitty is internationally famous with a multi-category litter of licensed products sporting her face and body.

No Slippy Hair Clippy CEO and co-founder, Annie Salyer, is a leader in the girls’ hair accessories market, with her eyes focused on global expansion. But the energetic exec still has a strong sense of what made the company tops with customers. Salyer recently answered a few questions about No Slippy’s brand recognition in the marketplace, plus she gave The Giggle Guide® a preview of some of the newest, exciting designs.

Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S)
JP Lizzy

A stroller is one of the biggest purchases new parents will make, and with all the choices available, deciding which model to buy can be overwhelming. When shopping for a stroller, one decides which features are important. Planning to run or walk trails with the baby? Choose a sport model with sturdy wheels and a streamlined frame. Ride public transportation frequently? A light stroller that can be folded and lifted easily is the ticket. Many parents also opt for “travel systems” rather than just strollers alone. Today we focus on products from Britax, Buggygear, 3 Sprouts and JP Lizzy.

When it’s time for that first school report of the year, it might seem strange to guide kids to a real live book. After all, with the proliferation of iPads and Internet search engines, something simple like an almanac might seem like a light rail to Luddite town. The World Almanac for Kids 2014 has changed a bit from the tomes of your youth. Gone are the text-heavy tellings of the year that was and the year to come, the new World Almanac is colorful, engaging and interesting. As holidays approach, encourage gifts without cords by stocking this and other educational volumes to expand our future generation’s minds.

It seems like it’s harder to find companies who are still manufacturing their goods in the U.S.A. So many companies have made the decision to take their manufacturing overseas. While they realize less expense, it comes at a cost for those in the United States. There still are companies that are committed to manufacturing in the U.S.A. The Matching Dots, Paty, Inc., Papersalt and Sugarbug’s Closet are four companies that are proud to be manufacturing their product lines in the U.S.A.

Child to Cherish

Trends come and go, but nostalgia is always in fashion: people like to remember the “good old days”. manny & simon develops products and clothing that cater to that sweet spot where happy memories and the perfect product meet. The company was named for the owners’ grandfathers — a reminder that grandparents have an enduring impact on grandchildren throughout their lives. manny & simon focuses on creating environmentally responsible products that enchant children but are sturdy enough to be passed down as family heirlooms.

Trade shows present many opportunities beyond sales meetings. They are an occasion to see new products, spot trends and network. While it is natural to line up your sales team in a phalanx when a competitor strolls by your booth, there may be benefits in meeting other vendors, speaking with them about their successes, and being open to synergistic prospects not possible for your company to achieve on its own. Like licensing, co-branding will expand your product line and can introduce your brand to a new segment of retailers and their customers…

“We are always working on re-creating kids’ fashion with a clever, modern twist,” explains Christian Simard, co-founder of Electrik Kidz. The Canadian company has an eye on creating fun designs that charm parents and enthrall children. But it also sees itself as more than a trendy style setter: Electrik Kidz takes its stewardship of the future seriously. All garments are made in Quebec with an emphasis on organic fabrics, so parents can be assured that only snuggly fabric is resting on their child’s skin.