By Stephanie Hanlon - Thursday, February 27th 2014
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.
There’s nothing like a celebrity endorsement to bring a company more attention and business. Problem is, these endorsements can be difficult to obtain, not to mention expensive. Luckily for children’s clothing company Busy Bees, they got a super star endorsement for absolutely free. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow mentioned them in her blog, saying that their clothing was the kind that her children “love to wear.” This shout-out was among the many reasons that Busy Bee is enjoying so much popularity right now, and with top-quality products and lots of good feedback, they’re likely to stay on top of their game.
Often, when a company does good deeds or creates life-enhancing products, they benefit by getting increased media attention and positive word of mouth. It’s Business 101; when customers feel good about their experience with a company, they’re likely to buy from that company again and to recommend it to others. It also helps if your products are interesting and unique. Seeds of Happiness and Peace Passion Positivity are two companies that are getting plenty of good buzz right now.
Graphically clean and high on hipness, the newest offerings from typebaby are tee-shirts practically begging to be bought to gladden the hearts of those shopping for little ones. Transportation Tees sport cool designs of construction, driving and flying machines, each presented in an ultra-contemporary silhouette design. typebaby, which designs and manufactures garments in the “big shoulders” city of Chicago, came to life early in 2013, the brainchild of new mom and graphic studio owner, Lidia Varesco Racoma. She feels that creative shoppers can use merchandise from her collection to express the type of personality they see in their offspring.
Spring is just around the corner (it just doesn’t feel like it in some places!), and soon the air will be full of birds’ songs and croaking frogs. Green shoots bring back new hopes for a fresh start, and one great way to kick off the season is with earth-friendly pieces. Fred’s World, a Scandinavian company that produces attention-grabbing, comfy children’s wear, is poised for another blockbuster year. Part of the company’s attraction has been its very strict dedication to creating clothes that are wearable, adorable, and gentle on the planet.
Few things evoke images of softness and warmth like cuddly bunnies, so it’s easy to understand why Kasia Pysiak went with the moniker Zaikamoya (“my bunny” in Russian). Pysiak’s initial line was all about softness and style. Zaikamoya’s Fall/Winter 2013 collection was launched at Playtime New York to rave reviews. “I hear a lot of ‘I wish it was in my size’,” says Pysiak. Pieces in the collection are spun from organic cotton and revel in a neutral palette. It fits “bunnies” ages 0 to 4, but Pysiak is already eyeing up expansion.
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.
In February, we celebrate love on Valentine’s Day and our country’s leadership on Presidents’ Day. For retailers, it’s a season for fun gifts and personal presents that show affection in all degrees, from puppy love to lifelong commitment. Make the season a reason to find new gifts for your store. Here I present one handful of finds that I love…
Donning the right clothes sets a child’s day, as the fit and fabric determine comfort and movement. They also serve as the canvas for family memories: tiny flowers on a neutral background may call to mind little angels picking wildflowers. Companies that understand the intimate connection between clothing and memories have a particularly important link to customers. The Portuguese company Anjo Kids has the creation of memories in mind with its luxury collection of children’s clothing.
This February, with celebrations of Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day, thoughts turn to personal achievements, leadership and, most of all, the loves and motivating passions of our lives. Passion, leadership and love for the children’s industry can all be found at KIDShow Las Vegas, at Bally’s on February 17-19, 2014. A sampling of KIDShow exhibitors shared with me about their own personal passions and what motivates them to be a leader in the children’s business: No Slippy Hair Clippy, CIRCUS 212, Le Top/Rabbitmoon, Coral & Reef, and Wee Ones.
Family Magazine has announced that Dapper Snappers Original Toddler Belts has won a 2014 Family Choice Award. Dapper Snappers is a toddler belt that only goes around the back three belt loops of the child’s pants, shorts or skirt. It consists of high quality suspender elastic and durable snaps. The “Family Choice Awards” recognize the best in children’s and parenting products. Now in it’s 19th year, the “Family Choice Award” is one of the most coveted, family friendly consumer award programs in the nation.