The Biz: Feature Articles

Be honest, at some point “What’s in it for me?” has crossed your mind. Generally, this question is accompanied with negative, self-serving behavior. It carries with it derogatory connotations and if this was a conversation about generational behaviors, think Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials. Then the conversation would spin towards entitlement and the supposition that many people approach the world today with an “I am, therefore I should receive” mentality. But before I go too far into opening that Pandora’s box, I want to stop and see if I can convince some that maybe it’s not all bad to surmise “What’s in it for me?”

By now, all merchandisers who have an ear cocked to the public pulse show lots of green products. Sustainable fabric, environmentally-friendly packaging, and companies that truly embrace their workforce are good for everyone. Some green companies may have taken their path to differentiate themselves from others. They may find setting a positive example makes customers think more highly of them. Often, the company really likes making and selling goods that don’t harm anyone, either in the making or the end usage. The Giggle Guide® presents four companies with green profiles and offerings: Winter Water Factory, Bright-Brained Toys, trash-á-porter, and Dot&Co.

Happy Earth Day! Initially started to call attention to the necessity of protecting the environment and natural resources, Earth Day has evolved into a celebration that highlights the grandeur of nature and the various ways that we can all pull together to make the world a better place. Of course, many children’s companies have strong environmental policies they practice every day of the year. Companies like Prince Lionheart, Simple Nature, BooginHead and Tiny Tater Tees are bringing useful products to families while helping to build a better world.

J. Austin Ryan Designs
Michael Scott Studio

With the intense competition in the marketplace, many business owners have turned to manufacturing in other countries in order to save money. However, overseas manufacturing has led to recalls of products that were found unsafe, and has hurt the United States economy with the resulting job loss. Manufacturing products in America helps to rebuild our economy and provide jobs for American residents. Customers that buy American made products know that standards and codes are in place to help ensure products are safe. Elizabeth Cate, UnBOWlievable, Fat Rat Family and PunkinWrap are four companies that are committed to manufacturing their goods in America with great pride.

There’s something special about handmade baby gifts because they’re so often handed down for decades and there’s always a great story. Your store can contribute to multiple generations of joy and warmth with Bunch & Rosa quilts. These quilters live and work in North Carolina and use traditional quilting techniques with a twist: their designs are totally modern. Unlike the delicate quilts of yesteryear that could only be neatly folded on the edge of a bed, Bunch & Rosa quilts use hand-sewn binding, ensuring the quilt can be loved daily and still passed on.

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day has gone on to sell over 2 million copies since its initial publication in 1972. Now, even younger audiences can enjoy this Judith Viorst classic. Released as a board book for the 6 to 9-year old set, the new version contains the same text but focuses on images of Alexander.

Itzy Ritzy
Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S)

The first few months in a new baby’s life are a blur for everyone, but especially fuzzy for those poor parents whose kids don’t sleep. There are millions of baby sacks and swaddles out there, but learning to swaddle using a traditional wrap can be daunting and babies often wriggle free. The ergoCocoon range of swaddles from ergoPouch were designed to be both simple to use and difficult to escape from. Made from super stretchy fabrics, they allow a comfortable amount of natural movement for healthy hip development.

While American “tweendom” is the most familiar type, Europe recognizes the tween years as a distinct developmental phase as well, and it is home to companies that target that demographic. Many of these companies are similar to their American counterparts, but have some unique traits inherent to European fashion and culture. Some American retailers have noticed that European-made products are big sellers, so they keep an eye on designers from across the pond to learn who’s who and what’s trending. Barbour, Caracoteen, molo and Mini Vanilla are among the hot companies that deserve a closer look.

Johnny Joker is an assortment of products meant to help children develop their sense of self-esteem and to master important life skills. The materials include books, plushies and interactive games designed to reach kids in ways they understand and enjoy. Johnny Joker books address five categories: This is Me, My Body and Me, My Feelings, You and Me, and World Around Me. These categories cover self-care and hygiene, managing emotions, identifying preferences and talents, interacting with others and much more.

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