The Biz: The Grapevine

Many parents know the feeling: You take your little girl to a party in a cute and frilly dress, only to find that she and her friends are more interested in crawling around on the floor pretending to be dinosaurs than they are in sitting demurely for photo ops. Kids will be kids, and get-togethers are meant to be fun after all, so it makes sense to choose some clothing pieces that kids can wear to events, but that can also stand up to normal wear and tear. Truffles Ruffles is a children’s clothing company that offers a variety of pretty, feminine dresses, pants, sets and accessories for little girls.

“Why should a mom be deprived of fashionable outfits for her child based on their gender?,” opined Noreen Kidwai, founder of Noreen Kidwai (NK), a company that provides customers with luxe, stylish pieces for boys under two. Kidwai spent time trying to find the boys’ counterparts for all the great designs and variety available for girls. Coming up empty was frustrating — and Kidwai found that many others were expressing the same feelings. It was then she realized that she could use her own strong sense of style and marry it with top-of-the-line textiles to create clothing that many other families would also want.

Saving water is an important step in conserving our earth’s resources but many find it difficult to do. Low-flow shower heads are one of the most common ways to avoid wasting household water. ConservCo, a Nevada-based plumbing distributor, has taken on the challenge of creating products that save water without diminishing the convenience of everyday life. Their Rubber Duckie & Friends line of shower heads for kids allows youngsters to enjoy bath time even more, while helping keep water usage to a minimum. The shower heads are available in five characters: the classic duck, a rhino, a frog, a hippo and a dolphin.

Playtime New York

“Almost every parent has experienced a drooler at one point or another and dealt with traditional bibs,” said Lauren Anderson, the mompreneur behind the UnderBib. “When my first baby started drooling, I looked everywhere for something to protect her skin without covering her outfits or irritating her neck. I realized there wasn’t anything out there that solved my problem.” Like other hands-on moms, Anderson rolled up her sleeves and developed the UnderBib, a tot-sized covering that slips under clothing to protect baby’s delicate skin.

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.

Republic of Pigtails, LLC

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.

“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.