The Biz: The Grapevine

In houses the world over, little ones are eating dinner, then getting tucked in. And it’s a sure bet most of those little rooms have a night light, the cure for monsters under the bed and aliens in the closet. For parents who don’t want to serve dinner on plastic divided plates, or ruin the décor with the ubiquitous frosted white night lights, add a little spice with Time Concept, Inc. Incorporated in 2006 and affiliated with Spice Co. Ltd., one of the leading design and distribution companies in the Japanese Gift Industry, Time Concept, Inc. carries modern dining and nursery décor.

When a brand can boast about its 25 years of quality made-in-the-U.S.A. products, you’d think it might rest on its laurels. But not 3 Marthas. The company has been known for its beautiful appliqués that delight modern mothers while retaining the personal and classical touch of hand-made items. As the holidays approach and everyone is anxious to spoil baby (and mom) with the latest and greatest, you can’t go wrong stocking 3 Marthas in any combination.

Our breastfeeding rates could be better,” explained Vivian Muehlen, CEO of Mamma-Kin LLC. Muehlen, the creator of the best-selling KoalaKin hands-free nursing pouch, has a deep understanding of the challenges facing mothers today. She also is a strong advocate for breastfeeding. “I’m a mom who worked in corporate America for over 20 years. I never had any dreams about becoming an entrepreneur, but I was incredibly determined to breastfeed both my sons,” she said. Muehlen’s KoalaKin nursing pouch is a boon to the busy mother, especially if she has more than one child.

JP Lizzy

For some families, bathing a baby can be a calm, relaxing, bonding experience; for others it can be a little less pleasant. The fact is that not all babies enjoy being bathed. While most babies and parents eventually adapt to bathing routines just fine, it’s always nice to have products that can make the whole experience easier, safer and more fun for everyone involved. Blooming Bath is an invention that combines attractiveness and function in a way that may very well transform bath time for babies and caregivers.

Due to changing family dynamics and busy schedules, many children grow up eating their meals on the run or in front of the TV or computer, so less emphasis is placed on the face-to-face interaction that used to be part and parcel of family mealtimes. Does this mean that we’re destined to devolve back to our cave dweller eating habits? Not necessarily. Staci Erickson is one of the parents leading the back-to-manners revolution. Her product, Golly Gee-Pers Table Manners Cards, helps communicate the basics of table manners in a way that kids will understand and enjoy.

Anyone who does business within the children’s market understands this important fact: mom is really the focus of the industry. Adorable clothes, educational toys, accessories, and kid-friendly products wouldn’t find homes if moms (and those that love them) didn’t get an eyeful. Making mom comfortable is tops on the list of industry agendas: after all, mom is not only the target market, but she’s usually the heart of the home. SoYoung, the creator of top-of-the-line handbags, diaper bags and lunch bags, understands a mother’s needs: she wants comfortable, functional products that deliver on quality and utility. She also wants something fun and fashionable.

No Slippy Hair Clippy, Inc.

There are hundreds of “educational” products on the market targeted towards a child’s brain development, but how can one be sure that they actually engage children while enhancing learning? Plus, many learning products target soft skills like teamwork or inter-personal abilities, not the challenging STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) material. Funnybone Toys, known for its emphasis on brain-building fun, has now been lauded for two of its educational products. Disruptus™ specifically addresses innovation — based on ideas, objects, and the unpredictable roll of the dice. Arrazzles™ involves the manipulation of geometric configurations

Board games rarely get as much exposure as they did in the days before electronic entertainment became the default, but there are still some great board games being created and marketed, and kids can still find pleasure in playing these fun, mentally-stimulating games. One of the selling points of board games is that they’re usually fairly easy to play and are appropriate across a wide range of ages, so they bring the generations together and encourage healthy competition. Zazzy Pals is the creator of a new multi-use pet-themed game set called Canine Cardz.

The search for the perfect baby shoes usually begins with the “aaaaww” factor. Are the shoes colorful? Are they soft? Do they sport characters that babies might like? Of course, parents are looking for more than cuteness in a baby shoe; many are also concerned with quality and craftsmanship, especially if the child will be wearing the shoes while learning to walk. Eco-conscious shoppers may also have questions about whether the materials used are sustainable and safe. Companies like Silk Road Bazaar are stepping up to create baby shoes that meet all these criteria.