The Biz: The Grapevine

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.

Everyone has some snuggly memory tucked away: curling up with grandpa in a flannel shirt while roasting marshmallows by the campfire, or getting tucked in by mom, who always made sure the floppy rabbit was nestled in tight. It all comes down to what people want their children to remember from their childhood. Aren’t the smallest details the most important? Who didn’t have a well-loved stuffed toy? Or that favorite shirt that was soft and cuddly? And, customers don’t have to choose between clothes or toys: companies like Milo & Lilirose are supplying both to assure great memories for years to come.

Children adore bright colors and clothes with a presence; parents want their children to dress appropriately for the occasion. The best approach? A combination of the two styles that results in what everyone wants –– a fusion of sophisticated designs with a bit of edge, but with comfortable, wearable fabrics. Companies that cater to this particular children’s fashion niche are well-rewarded with repeat customers who have a clear, balanced understanding of what looks best on their children and what delights their child’s emerging sense of personal style statements. One company, Maisonnette, is a go-to resource for cute couture with a fashionable flair.

Satsuma Designs
Teeny Tiny Optics

While fashion trends come and go, what is always in fashion is comfort: clothes need to be adorable but wearable –– this is where Cheryl Grossman’s Boker & Laila shines. What does Cheryl Grossman have that you want? How about loads of 100% cotton, tagless pajamas and bodysuits in designs that make parents rave and kids comfortable and cozy! Grossman started the company to fill in the niche for ultra-comfortable sleepwear after failing to find night clothes that wouldn’t scratch. Boker & Laila pjs are constructed from pure cotton and are brushed on the inside to ensure the cushiony softness needed for little ones to drift off to dreamland.

Chances are if you’ve seen a Dora the Explorer backpack or Shrek lunchbox floating around, it’s brought to you by the folks at Calego International. With each episode or movie, kids are clamoring for more merchandise plastered with their favorite character from the hottest cartoon or TV show. Calego carries in-demand licenses including Glee, Hot Wheels, Sesame Street, Caillou and Hello Kitty. Heard of a certain buxom doll named Barbie? Yeah, they have that too! Known mostly for the in-demand backpacks that make a splash in schools everywhere, their clever corporate motto is: “We’ve got it in the bag.”

Parents of toddlers know this generation is more tech-savvy than any other. Most kids can work a flat screen and program an iPod before they learn to tie their shoes. For these techie tots, Beary Happi is the perfect hybrid of toy and smartphone app. A lovable teddy bear friend that plays on little one’s fascination with touch screens and the cuddliness of plush, Beary Happi is the perfect interactive companion. All parents have to do is put their iPhone or iPod touch inside a HappiTaps cover, download the free app, and voilà: the 21st century Teddy. Hopefully it also offers a few minutes of peace and quiet.

Wiggy Studio / Angel Toes

In this Disposable Age of plastics and trends, Morgan Cycle brings to you classic ride-on toys designed and crafted to last as long as the sweet memories. Bicycle engineer Sylvester Yen, who has two decades of experience designing and manufacturing children’s bicycles, founded Morgan Cycle. While the industry raced to produce cheaper products, Sylvester dreamed of offering the most beautiful, safe and finely crafted ride-on vehicles. The very first Morgan tricycle was inspired by the original 1936 Van Doren design that captured the hearts of generations of Americans and was founded on the concept of “simple solidity.”

The Limeapple mission is simple: offer exceptional girls’ clothing for healthy living and fun. In line with their designs that radiate happiness and the joy of life, this Canadian-based company’s philosophy aims to support the highest ethical standards and fair practices. Limeapple strives for a world where style, comfort, health, wellness, and fairness are priorities. Limeapple has three clothing lines, all created for the modern girl: Limeapple Sport, Girl & Co. and Royal Couture all provide girls with stylish yet comfortable clothing designed to fit active lifestyles.

Who says that learning to communicate well has to be an exercise in tedium? The folks at Fundex Games have figured out a great way to help everyone, from students on up, to practice their communication skills in an exciting new game. Billed as “The Game of Construction by Instruction”, InStructures goes well beyond architecture: it actually has enjoyable learning down to a science.The developer of such popular games as Jarts and Gnip Gnop, Fundex has been bringing quality fun to families for over 25 years.