The Biz: The Grapevine

While one of the most amazing experiences, dealing with body changes while pregnant, and long after, is almost as daunting as caring for a little one. Give women the gift of luxury this year with Cantaloop, shaping and functional garments that help make women in any stage of motherhood feel comfortable and stylish. Forget tight compression garments or ill-fitting nursing gear; Cantaloop focuses on the whole process, with lingerie to support a woman in any stage of the motherhood journey.

New technologies are making it easier for parents and caregivers to keep tabs on baby’s safety and development from the womb to the nursery and beyond, and iBaby is one of the companies leading the charge. iBaby is a company that creates baby-care applications to be used in conjunction with Apple products and has recently released some new baby monitoring devices that many parents will love.

“A collection, like life, is a journey. You can’t see the end when you set out,” explains Natasha Lee Thomas, founder and designer at Frankie & Ava. “Each season I try to reach a little higher, to achieve more. It isn’t easy, it takes hard work and does not happen overnight. But Frankie & Ava and I are in this great adventure together.” Thomas wanted to create a collection of children’s clothing that was fashionable and functional. The result of blending her British heritage and understanding of bi-coastal cool is Frankie & Ava, so named after the designer’s two children. The company is known for its subtle, classy approach to children’s clothing.

All Baby & Child, Inc. (ABC Kids Expo)

Hartford was the brain child of Yves Chareton and born in New York City in 1979. Chareton had a vision to recreate the 40s and 50s vintage shirts he found in the flea markets in Porte de Clignancourt in Paris in the late 60s. It was not long before the Hartford name became synonymous with quality fabrics, rich colors and above all authenticity. Hartford grew to create a complete menswear line, then in 2000 expanded again to include a vintage-inspired beachwear collection, a women’s clothing line, and finally a children’s clothing collection. The common thread is that all the lines share the enduring philosophy upon which the Hartford label was built.

A baby’s nursery is in many ways their first introduction to the world. Parents want that introduction to be peaceful and charming, and of course it doesn’t hurt if it’s as coordinated as the ads in the parenting magazines. San Franciscan Nidhi Chanani says Everyday Love, her line of original illustrations and prints, celebrates the simple pleasures of everyday life and love. But her illustrations are far from simple. There’s a sweet dreamy quality to each of her over 600 original pieces. With her vast collection of illustrations, greeting cards and prints, each design signifies life’s treasured moments that are both heartwarming and joyful. They do more than just decorate a room: they tell a story.

“Itty bitty” brings to mind the tiny little feet of newborns and the sweet smiles from satisfied toddlers. It probably doesn’t bring to mind the grandness of an established company, but it should. Pavilion Gift Company is exactly that: dedicated to bringing evocative treasures to families and friends. Its Itty Bitty & Pretty (for girls) and Itty Bitty & Handsome (for boys) collections are studies in comfort and old-fashioned sweetness. From the coordinating bibs to the boxers and wearable blankets, Itty Bitty is targeted at grabbing attention and tugging at the heart.

Feather Baby
Itzy Ritzy

Based in Miami, Florida, Safari Ltd. has been a leading manufacturer and distributer of innovative, educational toys, specializing in authentic hand-painted replicas since 1982. Beginning with a mission that they would not just sell plastic animals that looked good, they were determined to educate children about the fragile ecosystems and the inhabitants that live there. To accomplish this they provide educational data in five languages and name identification on the undersides of the figures. Their commitment to education is what sets them apart from other replica brands.

If you haven’t been there, you certainly know someone who has: you leapt from a taxi with kids and luggage in tow only to be searched by strangers at security checkpoints. You then spent several aggravating hours on the plane trying to keep the kids happy and when you touched down, you made a beeline for the rental desk. Of course, you made arrangements with the rental agency for the kids’ car seats — but when the rental agent informed you that the seats weren’t there, you had only a few options: rush around like crazy trying to find an alternative… or start walking. Or, if you are like Grainne Kelly, inventor of the BubbleBum inflatable safety seat, you could just whip out your car seats and be on your way.

It’s a noisy world and headlines are full of problems caused by loud sounds on young ears. To help protect the very young, Dots on Tots introduces cute hats for little ones that reduce external sound by fifty percent. All hats from this company are made of organic materials to be super-soft on tender skin. The Flappy-Tappy Ear Protection Hat keeps little heads warm and sound at bay with two layers of certified organic cotton on the ear flaps as well as an inner layer of fleece cotton that forms a pocket for the insert, made of four layers of organic hemp that has a fuzzy texture on one side to absorb noise.