The Biz: Feature Articles

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.

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.

pediped footwear
Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S)

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.

When it comes to sharing from the heart, a hand-written note beats email every time. It establishes that the writer feels strongly enough about you to set aside time to put thoughts into words, etching them onto a blank page with endless possibilities. Stacey Valle and Gina Stock, co-founders of Buzzable, LLC, understand how deep the written word speaks to the heart. Their fillable Buzzable Baby Book is the perfect way to provide friends, families, and loved ones the chance to express themselves on that most important of occasions: the baby shower.

RuffleButts / RuggedButts
JP Lizzy

What do you call a one-piece that is made from super-soft cotton and comes in patterns that radiate both style and a sense of humor? If you are Little Green Radicals, these charmers are Babygrows, available in a host of patterns. The Bella design is a cheery red, pink, purple and brown stripe with Bella the bunny appliquéd on the front, and snug ribbed cuffs on both arms and legs to keep little ones warm. Skin care is the newest LGR passion with offerings including Sleep Balm and Nappy Balm, as well as Shampoo and Body Wash, Scalp Oil, and Massage Oil, each formulated for tender young skin.

Over thirty years ago, seven university students graduated and vowed to develop a company that would make a positive contribution to society. One graduate, Vitool Virapornsavan, was both an architect and the future founder of Plan Creations Co., Ltd. Since Plan Creations began, PlanToys has created innovative playthings for kids produced to meet the highest quality, safety and environmental standards. Today, the company employs over 1000 people, operates two subsidiary businesses, and is the first company in the world to manufacture toys from reclaimed rubber wood.

American toymakers and clothing designers may appreciate tradition, but they also love innovation. They can integrate the best of old and new to produce products that are unique and functional. 3 Marthas, Two Bros Bows, Papersalt, and The Beaufort Bonnet Company are all very different enterprises. A clothing company reaching its silver anniversary, a business that makes a rugged outdoor sport safe and fun, a publisher that helps to inspire family values, and a designer who recreates novelties from the past. Each one embodies the American spirit in its own way and makes us proud.

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