Being on-trend and in style are more than just adjectives decorating the “About Us” page: these words form the foundation of successful children’s businesses. Rapidly changing attitudes and tastes mean that companies need to be innovators. Which suits Florian Berger’s Donkey Products just fine, as the company is “always ahead of the curve – always on the hunt for the new and the different.” The German company is known for developing unique pieces that surprise and delight. As a family business, there is a strong focus on fostering the creativity in design that captures the imagination.
Shark Tank has been a Friday night viewing tradition of mine since its premier in August, 2009. Many children’s businesses have been on the program, so it is also a favorite for our industry. Recently, Betsy Johnson and her brother Berry Wanless pitched the “Sharks” to invest in their SwimZip brand of protective designer sunwear for a $60,000 investment and a percentage of equity ownership.
It’s a familiar tale with tip-toeing parents, a sleepy baby and a squeaky door. In 2007, Gail Calderon and Darlene Garcia came up with a solution born from necessity while combining their business acumen and sewing skills. The Original Cushy Closer Door Cushion answered the need to close doors without a sound, letting baby sleep. Without turning a doorknob or handle, Cushy Closer allows parents to enter or exit a room while keeping children from locking themselves in or out of their room.
“The response was amazing!” And that about sums it up for the The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Companies that exhibited at the January 2014 market were unanimous in declaring that it was a hit. With more than seven million square feet of space for exhibitors, AmericasMart Atlanta can afford bragging rights. Its new app launched to rave reviews, scoring in the top ten business apps, according to iTunes. In January alone, new buyer rates went up double digits, indicating an increasing wave of interest. Companies that made their mark at the event include Livie & Cole, Fizoos, Night Buddies and FoneFace.
Sometimes the best things in life are simple. Duux makes simplicity stylish with their line of baby technology. No dancing lights, bright pink monitors, or animal-shaped humidifiers. The Duux founders felt bad for their fellow friends who tried to fit traditional colored baby electronics into their modern, stylish interior. Perfect for the parents who aren’t ready to trade style for substance, Duux flat out tells you: Duux is not for babies.
Halo® Innovations, maker of the best selling Halo® SleepSack® wearable blanket and SleepSack® Swaddle, is expanding its line to include a new Muslin collection. Available spring, 2014, the new group of products will be made from 100% cotton Muslin in sweet, soft prints that will help lull baby to sleep.
What does it take to make that indecisive customer happy? Offer a comprehensive children’s collection that spans ages, genders and tastes. Honey Bunny brand products are a vast collection of affordable baby accessories that make grabbing and gifting super simple. They are all unique but complementary enough to mix and match. For the baby basics, Honey Bunny features rich flannel receiving blankets and contoured crib sheets. Thermal blankets littered with cute characters like giraffes, crocodiles and koalas will also be a hit.
Spring break and summer vacations can be extra sweet with Archimede. This Belgian brand is recognized as a swimwear and beachwear specialist for children 3 months to 12 years old. Archimede is most known for the Buoyancy Swimsuit — a foam-based swimsuit that allows children to float while also allowing for enough movement for them to really learn to swim. This suit is safe, but also versatile, because the foam parts can be removed as kids get more secure in the water. In addition to the Buoyancy Suit, Archimede has launched several other innovative products for children, ranging from water shoes to sunglasses.
It doesn’t take a professor to figure out that busy families can always use an extra hand. But it wouldn’t hurt to have a former professor with kids figure out a way to help out. “The first time I took my new baby into a public restroom and couldn’t find a convenient way to hang my diaper bag near the changing table, I knew I had to develop a hook that could help every parent and caregiver…” explained Lulabop founder, Mina Yoo. Yoo’s gift to families is the LulaBiner: a two-ended carabiner. It sports two functional hooks to allow for hands-off peace of mind.
Critical Exemption for Manufacturers with Sales Under $1 million and Production Less than 7,500 Units
REMINDER: If you are a registered small batch manufacturer with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for calendar year 2013 and you wish to continue in this status, you must register again for calendar year 2014. By registering, you get relief from certain third-party testing requirements. Registration must be submitted annually. On or about December 1st, 2013, the CPSC will release instructions on how to renew your registration.
Many parents have at least one memory of their child having a close call or injury. These moments stick with a parent and can make them cringe even decades after it happens. For inventor Jay Conohan, the experience of his son’s fall in the bath tub led to a spark of genius and eventually the creation of his product. Bath and Play is a playard specially designed for the tub. The structure fits directly in the tub itself, transforming it into a little stall where a kid can safely enjoy the bath. It features foam sides and a textured floor that allows children to stand, hold on and move around while in the bath.
Bike riding forms a cornerstone in the memory, not only as a fun way to break free, but also as a rite of passage. Companies that capitalize on that desire understand that they are delivering more than just a bike or accessory; they are fulfilling part of a customer’s dream. KaZAM brings extra sturdy bikes to kids, while Yedoo keeps everyone in the family on wheels with their bikes and scooters. Nite Ize and Bike Brightz help kids kick it up a notch with decorative lights that illuminate the path to warm memories.