The Biz: Feature Articles

Many families with children understand the struggles of raising a picky eater. Some younger kids may only be interested in one or two dishes, while others will only eat food of specific colors or shapes. In older children, pickiness tends to be more about resistance to change, leading to an unwillingness to try unfamiliar foods. Parents of a picky eater generally want to fix the situation, but find that forcing the issue with threats and punishments is no use; they either have to wait it out or inspire the child to make a change using fun, interactive methods. The latter option is the premise of Joanne Oppenheim’s The Prince’s Breakfast.

When customers look for kids’ clothing, style and fit are high on their lists. But the material used to make the garments is also important. Organic growing practices employ approaches and materials that lessen the impact on our environment. This translates into clothing that is totally natural and toxic-free to farmers, workers, the eco-system and consumers. Doodle Do, Sapling Child, Little Gabies and NOCH are companies that are setting a precedent with organic products that are soft, stylish and eco-friendly.

As the world of nature disappears faster than we appear to be doing enough to stop it, stories of this part of life teach important lessons. Squirt the Otter is a true story of an orphaned baby critter who was found, in all places, in a farmer’s field. Tracy, a zookeeper, together with her dog Muffin, befriended the baby otter and took her into their home, caring for her to enable her to grow into a healthy adult. This warm tale by Tracy L. Mikowsky, the actual Tracy of the story, shows how compassion and friendship transcend the species, giving concrete examples of the bond between humans and animals and the benefits to both of forming close, caring connections.

Teeny Tiny Optics
Caletha Crawford

Summer is here and it’s time to celebrate most of our American patriotic holidays. While there are solemn events to commemorate, the overall spirit is one of hope and happiness. The people who fought for freedom, built enterprises or became pioneers on this land didn’t just do it for themselves, but for the generations to come… the generation being born today. Companies like Kinsley Kouture, Liz and Roo, Baby Bits and Chibella are all examples of American entrepreneurship in action. So let’s light the sparklers, fire up the barbecue and get the party started!

Capitalizing on the importance of a child’s imagination, Box Play for Kids offers eco-friendly kids stickers to repurpose recyclables into fun, new toys. The company was inspired by owner Janette Harwell’s 2-year-old daughter and her love for stickers and a “penchant for playing with empty boxes.” Harwell continues, “I had an ‘aha’ moment that lead to the invention of Box Play for Kids.” Fortunately for Harwell’s daughter, both her parents are designers who have specialized in package design, branding and advertising for over 20 years.

With so many of today’s youth gravitating to electronics, the power of games that can be enjoyed face to face has never been more appreciated. Studies show that interconnectedness between people — an approach that cannot be reproduced in the online world — improves social skills and just plain makes people of all ages happy. Family game nights are seeing a resurgence in popularity and shoppers are on the lookout for clever, well-designed, high quality games. Get your customers on a roll with the latest and greatest games from Clued In Kids, Endless Games, Blue Orange Games, and Family Games America.

Yumbox
Itzy Ritzy

The year was 1980, and robots were emerging as the new trend. The first of a flood of robot-related movies and TV shows had begun to appear, and the possibility of building, programming and even living side by side with robots was seen as a fantastic dream that might just come true. At the time, California-based company OWI was only 2 years young but already seeking out ways to expand their line of inventory and widen their customer base. OWI was ahead of its time in introducing kids to alternative energy through various solar-powered building projects. Products of this kind are still among their best sellers today.

Cool and cute things come in all kinds of packages, some big and some small. Shoppers delight in merchandise that serves a need while offering a great look. The Giggle Guide® introduces the best of current coolness, including items from Beatrix, B-Sensible, okiedog, MK Global and Naaya by Moonlight. The newest offerings from Beatrix are micro-cuddlies — cute little squeeze toys that can go with kids wherever they want via a chain and clip. Backpacks provide plenty of space to hold everything a child needs for a day, and are available in many of the same designs as the micro-cuddlies.

One of the most surprising changes many new parents face is just how long it takes to leave the house. What used to be a quick ritual involving throwing on shoes and a jacket, grabbing your wallet and heading out becomes a juggling act featuring diapers, toys, blankets, wipes, snacks, and of course, the baby himself! Most moms agree that a good diaper bag is the first line of defense against frazzled mornings. Companies like Oemi Baby, Diapees & Wipees, JP Lizzy and Daddy & Co. offer diaper bags in a variety of styles and sizes, so that just about any mom or dad can find what they’re looking for.

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