The Biz: The Grapevine

Some pregnant women obsess over chocolate and pickles, but not Johanna Franks. When she was pregnant, her cravings were more about cloth. After leaving her interior design job to stay home with her two children, she was itching for something creative to cling to. Instead of letting her diaper days get her down, Johanna found inspiration in her children. Their ceaseless curiosity and effervescent nature gave her the gumption to create Love Frankie. She took her love of kids and her love of color, mixed it with vintage fabric finds and great Scandinavian design, and founded a line of kids clothing your customers will love.

Specialization leads to mastery, as evidenced by the designs at Wolf & Rita. The Portuguese company, founded by sisters Sonia and Claudia Rocha, was originally launched in 2013 to provide children with the finest in quality shirts. The influence of tradition cannot be overlooked: after all, the company is based in Guimarães, a UNESCO heritage site recognized for its importance to the country’s national history. The strength and perseverance of the culture are woven into the fabric of the designs.

Spring break and summer vacations can be extra sweet with Archimede. This Belgian brand is recognized as a swimwear and beachwear specialist for children 3 months to 12 years old. Archimede is most known for the Buoyancy Swimsuit — a foam-based swimsuit that allows children to float while also allowing for enough movement for them to really learn to swim. This suit is safe, but also versatile, because the foam parts can be removed as kids get more secure in the water. In addition to the Buoyancy Suit, Archimede has launched several other innovative products for children, ranging from water shoes to sunglasses.

RuffleButts / RuggedButts

“We have seen our products literally liberate kiddos of all ages,” said David Stebbins of Kickboard USA, which brings families the Micro Scooters developed by Swiss inventor Wim Ouboter. As a distributor of all great things wheeled, Michigan-based Kickboard USA has moved from success to success with its team of scooter-lovers. Micro scooters are unique among wheeled transportation devices. Not only do the scooters and bikes sport a modern edge, but they are designed with safety in mind. “Our unique ‘lean to steer’ technology is not only what makes our 3-wheelers safe, it’s what makes them fun, providing a feeling of surfing the sidewalk,” explained Stebbins.

It’s little wonder how HABA has been able to grow over the years: the company brings only the finest in furniture, games, and toys to children all over the world. Since all of its own toys that are developed in Germany are created from beech and maple, the company demands that only the finest in sustainable products ever grace its shelves. This is where great toys like Götz dolls, Lilliputiens plush toys, and Spielstabil play sets as come in. The company also distributes popular Danish toys from Moover, which creates heirloom-quality pieces that engage children and help them learn while having fun.

Nothing says diversity more clearly than clothing that combines textiles and cultures from all over the world. The Spring/Summer 2014 Collection from Mixed Up Clothing is inspired by bold street art murals from Los Angeles, regional festivities of Mexico and the vibrant jewelry of Kenya among other areas of the globe. Clothes with brightly colored embellishments, embroidery and laser-cut trims will pique your customers’ wanderlust for fashion and travel. Girls will shine in the square neck peasant top with a vibrant zig-zag multicolored pattern that can top palazzo pants.

Emily Press Labels

Though it may feel like winter has been in full swing forever, it’s just beginning in the fashion world. As your customers search for holiday finery, offer them beautiful basics with a little glitz and glamor. Be glad the former founder and CEO of The Children’s Place got back in the sartorial saddle and created Ruum. Ezra Dabah guides gorgeous fabrics into pieces that easily mix and match, but also sport a luxe look. Ruum has borrowed from adult trends and adapted them for exclusive youthful attire.

When two good friends visited Peru, more than Manchu Pichu awe struck them. Susan Pritchett and Florence Wetterwald stumbled onto entire villages of expert knitters and returned home to found Blabla Kids, a company selling all manner of knitted objects for children. The hand-knit cotton Lion Dream Ring can hang over a bed or anywhere in a kid’s room. For customers seeking dolls, point out that these knit charmers are soft and lovable for tots to teens. Knit dolls come as horses, monkeys, girls, boys, bunnies, owls and a host of other characters.

“Time to get clothes out for tomorrow!” It seems like an innocuous phrase, but in homes across the world, it’s really the call to battle. Dawn Farver understands this type of combat only too well: the Indiana mother of four is a veteran of many closet conflicts and has extended a helping hand to desperate families. She founded Girls Looking Cute with a strong desire to promote children’s budding style choices while still allowing for parental guidance. GLC delivers the dream: a life-sized (48” or 56”), laminated wooden doll that is ready for the child to dress in her (or his) own clothes.