By Stephanie Hanlon - Wednesday, September 17th 2014
The Made in USA label has always meant durability, local design and processing. Now it can also indicate stylish, modern and organic designs unique enough to be featured in your store. Beautiful beasts come out of Brooklyn with Snuggly Ugly dolls and décor that add flair to nurseries. Clever child nicknames gave birth to nini & pumpkin and their moon cocoon wearable duvet. Young ladies get the royal treatment with the Ecoprincess line of makeup and bath products by Organic Beauty Now. Take note of Tree by Kerri Lee for a handmade movement in music that will replace plastic music boxes forever.
When customers look for kids’ clothing, style and fit are high on their lists. But the material used to make the garments is also important. Organic growing practices employ approaches and materials that lessen the impact on our environment. This translates into clothing that is totally natural and toxic-free to farmers, workers, the eco-system and consumers. Doodle Do, Sapling Child, Little Gabies and NOCH are companies that are setting a precedent with organic products that are soft, stylish and eco-friendly.
When your customers go to a baby shower, they don’t want to just give a good gift, they want to give a GREAT gift; one that the expectant parents will use, love and remember well into the future. It helps to be informed about which baby gifts are hot and trending right now. Mini Maniacs, Odette Williams, Wry Baby and Jaxxwear offer products that are modern, functional, super-cute, and sure to delight.
What do you call a one-piece that is made from super-soft cotton and comes in patterns that radiate both style and a sense of humor? If you are Little Green Radicals, these charmers are Babygrows, available in a host of patterns. The Bella design is a cheery red, pink, purple and brown stripe with Bella the bunny appliquéd on the front, and snug ribbed cuffs on both arms and legs to keep little ones warm. Skin care is the newest LGR passion with offerings including Sleep Balm and Nappy Balm, as well as Shampoo and Body Wash, Scalp Oil, and Massage Oil, each formulated for tender young skin.
Over thirty years ago, seven university students graduated and vowed to develop a company that would make a positive contribution to society. One graduate, Vitool Virapornsavan, was both an architect and the future founder of Plan Creations Co., Ltd. Since Plan Creations began, PlanToys has created innovative playthings for kids produced to meet the highest quality, safety and environmental standards. Today, the company employs over 1000 people, operates two subsidiary businesses, and is the first company in the world to manufacture toys from reclaimed rubber wood.
Specialization leads to mastery, as evidenced by the designs at Wolf & Rita. The Portuguese company, founded by sisters Sonia and Claudia Rocha, was originally launched in 2013 to provide children with the finest in quality shirts. The influence of tradition cannot be overlooked: after all, the company is based in Guimarães, a UNESCO heritage site recognized for its importance to the country’s national history. The strength and perseverance of the culture are woven into the fabric of the designs.
Fair Trade is basically the practice of paying “fair” or “appropriate” prices for products developed in other countries. It focuses on honoring the work of the laborers. It is not simply a way of doing business — it’s a conscious choice made to reflect business and personal values. Fair Trade is not about a handout: Fair Trade products are high-quality merchandise created with attention to detail. If these goods sound like the kinds of products you would like to provide your customers, then WeAreDAR, Aloetree Kids, 1 of a Kind (Pebble) and Almirah are excellent choices.
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.
Ask any kid what their favorite time of year is, and you will likely hear “summer!” The weather is good, school is out, there are friends to see and family fun to enjoy. Summer’s dress code is mostly casual, but it doesn’t hurt to have some stylish additions for a kid’s warm weather wardrobe. Get ready to take a tour of some of the brands making the coolest summer clothing and accessories for kids, including Flik Flops, Andy & Evan, BSkinz and Koko-Nut Kids. From flashy flip-flops and fashions for little gentlemen to fair trade Batik, the possibilities are as diverse and fun as the sights you’ll see on any summer road trip.
It’s challenging enough to make it as an artist or business owner in the developed world, where resources for success are plentiful; those living in developing countries may not even realize that they have the potential to make a livable wage doing what they do, and may not know where to begin to reach a larger audience. Recognizing this fact, some companies in the U.S. have made an effort to reach out to artists around the globe, to help them become established in their craft and ensure that they’re paid fairly for their work. Kahiniwalla is one of the companies taking part in this revolution.
The search for the perfect baby shoes usually begins with the “aaaaww” factor. Are the shoes colorful? Are they soft? Do they sport characters that babies might like? Of course, parents are looking for more than cuteness in a baby shoe; many are also concerned with quality and craftsmanship, especially if the child will be wearing the shoes while learning to walk. Eco-conscious shoppers may also have questions about whether the materials used are sustainable and safe. Companies like Silk Road Bazaar are stepping up to create baby shoes that meet all these criteria.
Earth Divas supports artisans in developing countries and is dedicated to bringing to market fair trade, handmade, sustainable products that are of superior quality. Earth Divas was founded with a vision to create a business that would benefit the environment as well as the individuals who manufacture the products for sale in the United States. From the early days of selling retail via their website and shipping orders from their garage, Earth Divas has transitioned to a wholesale business and increased their focus on fair trade made products, joined the Fair Trade Federation and expanded their warehouse and fulfillment operation to match their ambition.