The Biz: The Grapevine

Many of today’s children don’t spend much time in creative engagement or reading. They do spend a lot of time in front of the TV or playing video games. These activities are, unfortunately, displacing the more active and creative pursuits of yesteryear. While there is no turning back the clock on technology, retailers can give families a way to help develop their kids’ talents that don’t involve any screen time: the board game. With children, though, not just any game will do. That’s where Funnybone Toys really shines.

Every child is unique and wants to proclaim his or her individuality. With Groovy Signs, available in over one thousand looks as well as custom designs, retailers have a great way to invite shoppers to let each personality blossom. The 6” x 22” aluminum sign is the basic, but custom banners, water bottle labels, personalized decals, locker signs and dry erase boards are also available. Tween girls adore signs with quotes like “Camo Girl”, “Georgia Cutie” and “Miss Priss”. Feather boas in a range of colors including hot pink, kelly green, turquoise, yellow and purple come with each sign for added pow.

Sometimes a loved one is far away and a simple picture just isn’t reminder enough. Or maybe you just need to offer a more personalized gift for special occasions. Sure, there are standard recordable cards and books on the market that allow them to hear a familiar voice, but with no context. Now people can let the frame tell the story all on its own. Pictures truly are worth 1,000 words (assuming you can say that many in 10 seconds) with Chatterbox, a recordable picture frame that allows customers to record messages that can last forever, even when the picture changes.

Feather Baby
Michael Scott Studio

What does the airline industry have to do with fashion and medicine? All three fields utilize silicone. Silicone itself is heat-resistant and safe enough to be used in the human body. Its versatility extends far beyond medicine, though. Silicone, which aids in lightweight airplane design, also gives wings to fashion accessories that are comfortable yet durable. Riding the currents of easy-to-wear fashion is Rubbs. A Florida-based company, Rubbs focuses on providing fashionable silicone rubber accessories.

Little girls enjoy hours of pleasure pushing a doll in a baby carriage on the sidewalk, in the park and at home. Playing Mommy comes naturally to lots of young misses who dress up their dolls or favorite stuffed animals and proudly show them off. There is no better way to do this than with an heirloom-quality wicker doll carriage or a play pram with all the right accessories. Give your customers a taste of best-in-class with a classic carriage or cradle from Regal Doll Carriages.

Imagined monsters lurking under a child’s bed is an age-old fright. Some parents have used “monster spray” to rid the room of beasts, or tried to calm the child with other methods. What if you could offer your customers friendly monsters who could help their little ones rest easy? Monster Factory, a character toy brand based in Canada, creates soft plush monster friends. The Monster Factory motto: “Monsters are just like you and me.” Founded by Adam Dunn, Rhya Tamasauskas and Bliss Man, the Monster Factory began as a collaborative art project that saw the creation of the original six monster characters, known as the Heartbreakers.

Baby Bella Maya
Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S)

Scheduling is one of the most difficult parts of family life. It’s tough enough to schlep kids from dental appointments and soccer games to after-school programs and violin lessons — but it’s tougher when children aren’t aware of the time. Families have tried to teach children the value of being on time… with mixed results. Some children always have an eye on the clock, and others can’t seem to find their own watches, much less a clock on the wall. Wouldn’t it be great to have kids want to keep an eye on the time? With the attention-getting pieces from RUBR, families may have just found the answer to keeping kids on schedule.

You can’t go through most any home store without seeing wall transfer decals with inspirational quotes. Before you think, “Been there, done that,” mind your Ps and Qs with Alphabet Garden Designs. These fresh and customized designs create a hand-painted look that complements existing décor. Customers can pick the desired size and color of their design and each one is custom cut . They even offer two finishes: the matte finish is perfect for the indoor hand-painted effect and the glossy finish works wonderfully outdoors. Jenn West and Camilla Rose created the company to offer more versatility than other store-bought decals available.

So what makes a stuffed toy special? It’s not always easy to say; sometimes a kid just seems to have a certain chemistry with a toy, even when there’s seemingly little that sets it apart. Oh So Cuddly Stuff is a company that wants their toys to be those special ones in every child’s toy box. The company is fairly new –– toy designers Mark Davies and David Dalton founded it in 2011. They believe that the perfect stuffed toy begins with the softest, most huggable materials, and they pay close attention to details, including stitching and feature placement, so the look is handmade and high quality.