The Biz: The Grapevine

a-door-nimals are a versatile creation from the minds and hearts of two grandmas. An a-door-nimal is a baby-friendly stuffed animal holding a high-quality dry erase board heart. The animals were originally created to be used as birth announcements to decorate hospital room doors. a-door-nimals can be hung on the outside of the door with a message that includes baby name, birth date, weight, and any other info parents want to share. Because the writing surface is a dry erase board, parents can easily change the message. Moms can write, “shhh… napping” or “privacy please, nursing baby.”

Boho chic has long been in vogue for adults, but it’s making its way into the children’s world with parents who like to share their style with their offspring. Capitalize on this burgeoning trend with Mademoiselle à Soho. Raised by a Romanian actress mother and a director father, Alexana’s flair for the dramatic is apparent throughout her collection of unique clothing for infants and older children. Her bohemian clothing is the perfectly playful blend of practical and trendy. While her items are sold separately, you’ll want to feature some of them just as she does on her site: as complete outfits she refers to simply as Looks.

On a scale of one to ten, I would award a twelve-plus to Knotties, something new in baby sleepers. This little gem from Lala’s Pequeños was designed with the idea of snugly bundling little legs and toes and, as a bonus, making it possible for baby-tenders to change diapers quickly without having to mess around with snaps or ties. The changer can simply tie the ends in a knot so tiny toes stay under wraps. The force behind the company is a dynamic mother of two who, together with her family and business partners, owns a 1500 acre rain forest in Costa Rica. To make and keep ecological awareness top-of-mind, a percent of proceeds from Lala’s Pequeños goes to help the Rainmaker Conservation Project.

Attitude Pie
Wee Ones, LLC

Anyone who has ever traveled with children dreads the inevitable “Are we there yet?” and longs for a way for the kids to be occupied during the journey. Retailers can answer this yearning with great travel games for kids from Smart/Tangoes USA, a company that produces puzzles which amuse kids (and their adult companions as well.) Tangoes is based on the ancient Chinese Tangram puzzle that not only entertains but also helps develop problem solving skills and creative thinking. Perfect for out and about, Travel Tangoes is available in animal, people or object versions and fits neatly in a backpack or purse.

Shoppers who want the last word in a bicycle now have a way to avail themselves of a totally customized fashion bike that will be unlike anyone else’s. To design a bike at Villy Customs, a customer can click on the “design your bicycle” link on the homepage and select the perfect frame from the Villy Brougham, Villy Deluxe, Villy Woman’s Brougham or Villy Onassis (two styles for men and two for women). Then the fun really begins! Founder and entrepreneur Fleetwood Hicks has capitalized on the growing trend for customization, well aware that almost everyone wants to stand out.

Chispum believes that our story can be told anywhere, even on the walls. In fact, they not only believe that the “no drawing on the walls rule” should be lifted, but that drawing on the walls is necessary. Chispum has always believed and defended creative freedom and supports breaking boundaries, coloring outside the lines, doodling, and moving storybooks to the wall. Chispum’s vinyl decals offer an easy and fun way to transform dull walls and enliven family décor with whimsy, words, wisdom and wit.

Child to Cherish

Get ready for some good, clean fun! Your customers will laugh with delight at these sweet-looking towel creations from Towel Treat. Each is created with a fluffy hand towel or washcloth folded and displayed to look like a tempting sweet. These unique gifts are perfect as bridal, baby shower or birthday favors. Plus, they’re calorie-free! The newest additions to this whimsical line are rolled up plushy kids’ blankets of 100% polyester, packaged as cuddly animal pals.

Coloring books, crayons and markers are great fun for kids of all ages and allow them to express artistic creativity. However, when all the pages are colored, there is no magic wand a parent can wave to reset the book back to its original state, so the child can begin all over again. Glenn Rudin, founder of Always Been Creative, Inc. is well aware that times are tough financially, and he feels that parents and creative individuals will appreciate a toy that stimulates creativity, but can be used over and over again. Glenn is the inventor of blankZ, a new series of stuffed toys that are a blank canvas for kids to color, with included watercolor markers.

Trying to stuff a wriggling baby into outer garments is something of a challenge. If you are in a car, you have to loosen the car seat strap which is not at all safe; if you are carrying the tot, it can be incredibly awkward; and on top of these nuisances, half the time the child gets overheated during the process. Enter Hoodebaby, a simple way to keep a little one warm. Slip the hood over the head and wrap the child in the blanket. If the tot is in a stroller or car seat, just use the blanket as a coverup.