For those in North America, the Playtime New York show is the one of the biggest events of the year where designers, toy-makers and retailers all come together to display their latest creations and network with others in the business. This year, Playtime New York took place August 1st-3rd at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. As always, Playtime featured well-established businesses as well as new arrivals from around the world. Finkelstein’s, Ultra Violet, tinycottons and Oli & Carol are among the notable companies that were in attendance at this season’s show.
As Digital Natives grow up with everything electronic, there’s a growing trend of going backward to a simpler time. As we see a resurgence in 80s fashion and throwback cartoons have become kitschy cool (how many handsome leading men weren’t even born when the heroes they play splashed across our TVs on Saturday mornings?), organizations like Jam’n Products are riding the wave. Fostering close relationships with historic vendors like Mattel, SpinMaster and more, Jam’n has cornered the market on old-school cool.
There’s nothing like the freedom and exhilaration a bike can bring, and while fashion isn’t everything, having a high-quality bike (or other wheeled ride-on) definitely adds to the biking experience, making it safer and more enjoyable. Morgan Cycle is one of our country’s premier makers of bikes, trikes and other wheeled toys. Founded 20 years ago by bicycle engineer Sylvester Yen, the company prides itself on its fine craftsmanship.
Many car lovers collect 1960s vehicle memorabilia, and even enjoy passing down their appreciation to their children with toy cars that sport this signature look. Candylab Toys captures the spirit of the ’60s with its line of classic collectible toy cars. What makes these cars unique is that they’re made of wood, a material growing in popularity due to its longevity and environmental sustainability.
Maple Landmark has been making eco-friendly, educational wooden toys, games and gifts since 1979 in Middlebury, Vermont. Many people know them for their NameTrains, but they craft a wide array of children’s products including heirloom wooden baby toys, toddler toys, board games and gifts. The Giggle Guide® recently caught up with Maple Landmark for a look behind the scenes of this topnotch brand:
When vintage clothing lovers have kids, many of them want to pass down their appreciation to the next generation. After all, who doesn’t love a baby or child in vintage clothing? The softer, more innocent styles suit the spirit of childhood, and these classic garments are usually very well made. Of course, authentic vintage children’s clothing can be difficult to find, so some enterprising clothing makers offer new clothing that’s inspired by vintage style and quality. Sticky Fudge is one of the most successful brands in that category.
The understanding of waste in our garments is growing, and customers are starting to ask about the origin of their wardrobe. Kallio started as a consciously-minded kidswear brand out of Brooklyn, NY. After working in the fashion industry, Karina Kallio saw firsthand how much waste there was. Roughly 85% of textile waste ends up in landfills, enough material to recreate the Rocky Mountains. Kallio offers a respite from that reality by repurposing men’s shirts into unexpected modern classics that are wearable and delightful. Kallio is all about local, including sourcing high-quality fabrics that are hand cut in their Brooklyn studio.
Playtime NY took place August 2-4, 2014 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Each year the show has a unique theme that influences the décor and ties the various displays together. This time the theme was Luna Park, in honor of the famed Coney Island theme park destination. As a nice break from work-related activities, all Playtime participants got their pictures taken in a fun photo-shoot featuring backgrounds by the graphic design firm Colorium. Among the smiling faces were representatives from Be Lucky Kids, Two and Two Kids, poème & poésie, and Luna & Stella.
Sado Inc. is a vintage inspired clothing line for girls 12 months to 10 years. It is a mix-and-match line full of unique fabrics, ruffles and trims. It has a natural feel that is still fun and girly. Sado Inc. just released a women’s line too, so now mothers and daughters can dress alike. Owner Samantha Miller speaks on Sado’s success: “I feel like moms have been looking for a casual clothing line that can be worn on a daily basis, but is different from what you find at big box stores. Sado Inc. is unique, comfortable, affordable and lovely on every level.”
No Slippy Hair Clippy®, the premier brand of children’s hair accessories, boasts impeccable quality and design. No Slippy Hair Clippy® is the very first no-slip hair clip in the world, which has ignited our creative spirit to design the most functional, adorable hair accessories for little girls.
New for Back to School, look for No-Slippy® Ouch-Free Mini Ponies! Each design comes on a soft terry pony that is perfect for fine, baby-toddler hair. They’re super comfortable, won’t break or damage hair, and certainly won’t hurt when taken out. What a concept!
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.