The Biz

American toymakers and clothing designers may appreciate tradition, but they also love innovation. They can integrate the best of old and new to produce products that are unique and functional. 3 Marthas, Two Bros Bows, Papersalt, and The Beaufort Bonnet Company are all very different enterprises. A clothing company reaching its silver anniversary, a business that makes a rugged outdoor sport safe and fun, a publisher that helps to inspire family values, and a designer who recreates novelties from the past. Each one embodies the American spirit in its own way and makes us proud.

For some girls, collecting hair clips is practically a hobby. While fancy hair clips are fun to buy, they can run a few dollars more than many moms and dads are comfortable with paying. Florida mom Nabetsi Torres and her friends found this to be true, and they wanted to do something about it. In 2010, Nabetsi founded Three Bears Hair Bows, a company that sells reasonably-priced hair bows that are as cute as anything you’ll find in stores.

Lolli Living is a textile company specializing in nursery gear. It offers parents the best of both worlds when it comes to nursery decoration; it allows them to choose complimentary pieces from various collections in order to create their own look. All the collections are designed to layer so there’s no worry of striking out when choosing a combination. Customers can go subtle and staid or artsy and exotic. Either way, it’s bound to look great and put-together.

Bibi & Mimi
Cachcach

How many milestones do babies reach in the first twelve months? How cute is their baby belly when they walk, talk, eat, roll over, or laugh? Sticky Bellies, a memory-making line of re-positionable stickers, helps parents mark each month with their child photographed in a one-piece or shirt designating their age in months. Sticky Bellies really does begin at the beginning though, with stickers in weekly increments for expecting moms.

Michele Keeler is a triple threat in the design world, creating clothing, shoes, and items for the home. This is quite the impressive resumé for someone who became a professional designer by “accident.” It was 1996 and Michele was a single mom of two young children. Like many moms, especially those living on a single income, she faced the challenge of keeping her little ones in clothing that looked good and fit them well. Luckily, she had sewing skills and a good eye for fashion, so making clothing for her kids wasn’t just a task to endure, but a pursuit that made her happy.

Bottle feeding has been an issue throughout the ages: as early as 2000 BC, concerned parents were using a range of designs to deliver nutrition safely and effectively to infants and toddlers. Modern bottles are a far cry from their predecessors. A sincere desire to provide safe feeding solutions to parents has resulted in the creation of non-toxic products. Even the nipples have evolved from simple spouts to durable silicone nipples, designed to prevent gas and colic issues. Here are some top brands that provide parents with feeding solutions: Silikids, Bouche Baby, Cherub Baby, and Steri-Bottle.

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

In the world of children’s product designers there are many momprenuers and dadprenuers, but “aunt-reprenuers” are not unheard of. It’s not surprising; being around children on a regular basis, providing for their needs and hearing their hopes and dreams is enough to inspire anyone, especially if that someone happens to be a creative, talented soul. This was definitely the experience for Spanish designer Gemma Mases, the founder of children’s clothing company 1+ In The Family.

The rise in allergies has had a dramatic impact on the landscape of families and fun time. Gone are the days when classroom cupcakes were the norm and children painted with whatever was handy. Glob founder Ashley Phelps understands sensitivities. As an artist, she suffered through skin irritation from paints, but just bore the trouble as part of her trade. However, life was about to get better: a friend who was developing a house paint from plants inspired her to investigate new, safe ways to color her world. She started Glob, and has been helping families with her non-toxic, environmentally-positive products ever since.

Few milestones are as important to parents as a child’s first steps. What’s on their little fearless feet during this time is crucial for development and safety. As studies continue to show the importance of keeping tykes toddling in soft shoes or socks, some can be too tight or too slippery. These four companies can keep little feet rocking without compromising security or fashion: Zuzii, Bubysums, Snowflakes and Sunflowers and Vs. Stuff.

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