The Biz: The Grapevine

Many popular brands provide unique products that meet customer needs in grand style. In today’s shrinking world, that means an emphasis on understanding a multi-cultural audience. But that focus should not mean a generic approach to product creation. For example, Gryphon Design Collective has its fingers on the world’s pulse and understands the demands of a global marketplace — with insight into satisfying the needs of individuals. Not only does Gryphon bring in talent from dozens of countries, but it also gives back through literacy initiatives and promoting community issues.

Sisters Krystal Kirkpatrick and Suzanne Knutson started their company, Bunnies By The Bay, as therapy after two tragic fishing accidents claimed the lives of their father, brother, uncle, cousin, and 11 other fishermen. Suffering almost unbearable grief, they took the advice of their grandmother to keep their hands busy and began sewing bunnies that were inspired by a childhood story. Bunnies By The Bay’s focus is on creating delightfully endearing gifts for little ones embarking on their first year of life. Through engaging art and playful wit, Bunnies By The Bay offers detailed designs and lush materials in timeless products that promise parents and grandparents a cherished heirloom in the years to come.

Who among us doesn’t remember killing some time between learning in school by flicking a paper “ball” into the “goalpost” made by someone’s hands? This pastime was simple and fun… and it can still be played today! Only once again our kids have become too sophisticated for our old-school ways, so it’s up to buyers to catch up and catch on to FIKI SPORTS games. This enhanced version of tabletop football features a leather game piece shaped like the desired ball or puck, a replica playing surface and “scoring apparatus” (a.k.a. way better than someone’s hands).

J. Austin Ryan Designs
Teeny Tiny Optics

“I’ve seen that shirt three times today!” You may have had that thought when you were out and about, surprised to see that so many were wearing the same shirt. It’s human nature to want to fit in, but also be ahead of the fashion curve. Children’s clothing retailers that keep an evolving mix of trendy and classic garments know that they need both to appeal to customers. Classics are easy to spot, but the new and trendy are sometimes tougher That’s why it’s beneficial to partner with companies like Angelika London, which not only combines the classics with artistic trends, but also helps buyers stay ahead of the newest fashion wave.

Little Green Trike Shoe Company (formerly Squeakers) is all about bringing new and innovative ideas to the world of children’s shoes. The Utah-based business offers a line of fun and adorable shoes for kids from birth through elementary-school age. What’s special about this company and what unique products can they offer retailers? Little Green Trike’s Squeaky Feet shoes are specially made to help toddlers develop the appropriate heel-to-toe gait that leads to healthy walking. Squeaky Feet feature a removable squeaker that sounds when kids place their feet in the correct way as they walk.

While child development experts and instructors agree that hands-on crafting projects are beneficial to kids’ creative evolution, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the best project for each child. Variety in projects is important. However, just working through a craft one time is not always best. Any craft project that really engages the child should to be able to allow for multiple versions of the craft, along with some opportunity for the child to add special touches. To this end, Eye Can Art is delivering the best in quality crafting projects that not only delight kids, but hit on all the important facets of really great products.

JP Lizzy
Satsuma Designs

In a world of toys where everything makes noise and requires every type of battery, there’s something refreshing about going old school. Goodwood Deconstruction Blocks are designed by Aroundsquare for creative play for play’s sake. Aroundsquare sees play as a range of activities from manual to mental, from tangible to imaginary, from closed to open, from individual to group, from competitive to cooperative, and from silent all the way to rowdy. In short, there is no right or wrong way to play with Goodwood Deconstruction Blocks, making them the right choice for families, and for your store.

What do you get when you mix a clean sidewalk, kids and lots of colored chalk? Fun, creativity, and giggles galore are all good answers. Kids can express their inner Picasso on their driveways, sidewalks and more with sidewalk chalk, but one mom on a mission found a way to add even more fun. When Mel Carota’s daughter was 18 months old, she fell in love with chalk. Mel wanted to give her more than just chalk sticks to create with, so this innovative parent figured out how to make chalk in different shapes and colors. You won’t find boring chalk sticks in Mel’s Etsy shop; the fun shapes are all handmade with attention to detail.

The middle school and high school years are busy, exciting, and stressful. Children are beginning to come into their own; they develop their own personal styles and become increasingly individualistic. Even if you don’t usually stock craft projects in your store, you will want to consider the power of Book Blingz. Many schools require students to cover their textbooks to help preserve the integrity of the book and cut costs (clean, covered books last longer and save tax dollars). Book Blingz provides everything a tween or teen needs to construct a personalized book cover in a variety of styles and colors.

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