The Biz

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.

Today’s viral marketing makes it easier for a product to take off and gain popularity seemingly overnight. Of course, some of these products end up being a flash in the pan, but others stand the test of time and become well-loved classics. To get there, it usually means having a combination of a high-quality, innovative product, smart marketing, and excellent customer service. The following companies are innovators with possibly the next “must-haves”: HICKIES, Buddha Board, EarZings and 4moms.

Nothing says diversity more clearly than clothing that combines textiles and cultures from all over the world. The Spring/Summer 2014 Collection from Mixed Up Clothing is inspired by bold street art murals from Los Angeles, regional festivities of Mexico and the vibrant jewelry of Kenya among other areas of the globe. Clothes with brightly colored embellishments, embroidery and laser-cut trims will pique your customers’ wanderlust for fashion and travel. Girls will shine in the square neck peasant top with a vibrant zig-zag multicolored pattern that can top palazzo pants.

Baby Bella Maya
Playtime New York

Though it may feel like winter has been in full swing forever, it’s just beginning in the fashion world. As your customers search for holiday finery, offer them beautiful basics with a little glitz and glamor. Be glad the former founder and CEO of The Children’s Place got back in the sartorial saddle and created Ruum. Ezra Dabah guides gorgeous fabrics into pieces that easily mix and match, but also sport a luxe look. Ruum has borrowed from adult trends and adapted them for exclusive youthful attire.

When two good friends visited Peru, more than Manchu Pichu awe struck them. Susan Pritchett and Florence Wetterwald stumbled onto entire villages of expert knitters and returned home to found Blabla Kids, a company selling all manner of knitted objects for children. The hand-knit cotton Lion Dream Ring can hang over a bed or anywhere in a kid’s room. For customers seeking dolls, point out that these knit charmers are soft and lovable for tots to teens. Knit dolls come as horses, monkeys, girls, boys, bunnies, owls and a host of other characters.

“Time to get clothes out for tomorrow!” It seems like an innocuous phrase, but in homes across the world, it’s really the call to battle. Dawn Farver understands this type of combat only too well: the Indiana mother of four is a veteran of many closet conflicts and has extended a helping hand to desperate families. She founded Girls Looking Cute with a strong desire to promote children’s budding style choices while still allowing for parental guidance. GLC delivers the dream: a life-sized (48” or 56”), laminated wooden doll that is ready for the child to dress in her (or his) own clothes.

CPSIA Ready
RuffleButts / RuggedButts

American companies seeking to rapidly grow their business have taken aim at extending their brands to markets outside the United States. If foreign markets are on your radar, you should apply for trademark protection in each of the countries where you want your brand to be sold. Below are some thoughts on filing trademark applications in foreign countries, either individually (original trademark applications), or by use of a centralized filing system that piggybacks your U.S. trademark application or registration to foreign countries (Madrid Protocol extensions).

As conventional wisdom has shifted to empower women to work out before, during and after pregnancy, the need for maternity fitness wear is budding. For Two Fitness is the premier maternity fitness apparel brand and boasts celebrities and athletes among its converts. Looking and feeling good while staying on top of health and fitness can be as difficult as seeing your toes at 9 months. Mamas-to-be can feel chic and comfortable in the range of Maternity Tanks, Short-Sleeve Maternity Tees and Long-Sleeve Maternity Tees that artfully combine style and function.

The One World Doll Project has targeted one of the biggest trends to hit the children’s industry: multicultural dolls and products that reflect real family values. The Prettie Girls! are all about celebrating the wonder and inspiration of every nation. Five, 11.5” dolls offer a multicultural and positive message that parents around the world can appreciate. The Prettie Girls’ appeal to young girls is obvious: they are fresh, fashionable, and truly different with a hip, positive attitude. These dolls have a genuine pull on the increasing number of families that not only want to promote an understanding of other cultures, but also instill this value in their own children.

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