Feature Articles: The Green Scene

Once the children outgrow sippy cups, they’re ready to launch into the world of “grown-up” drinking glasses…. or are they? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children graduate to regular grown-up cups around the age of 12 to 15 months, and that they should stop using sippy cups completely by the age of 3. While this is good advice theoretically, not all kids find the transition easy in practice. The innovative minds at JJ Rabbit would argue that an intermediate cup might be a good idea for kids adapting to adult cups, and they have introduced the Cuppy to fill that need.

Trends come and go, but nostalgia is always in fashion: people like to remember the “good old days”. manny & simon develops products and clothing that cater to that sweet spot where happy memories and the perfect product meet. The company was named for the owners’ grandfathers — a reminder that grandparents have an enduring impact on grandchildren throughout their lives. manny & simon focuses on creating environmentally responsible products that enchant children but are sturdy enough to be passed down as family heirlooms.

“We are always working on re-creating kids’ fashion with a clever, modern twist,” explains Christian Simard, co-founder of Electrik Kidz. The Canadian company has an eye on creating fun designs that charm parents and enthrall children. But it also sees itself as more than a trendy style setter: Electrik Kidz takes its stewardship of the future seriously. All garments are made in Quebec with an emphasis on organic fabrics, so parents can be assured that only snuggly fabric is resting on their child’s skin.

The setting and presentation for a meal is as important as what is being eaten. This is the philosophy of Modern-twist, a San Francisco Bay area company that has pioneered the use of pure food-grade, hand silk-screened silicone for many items. One of the newest offerings is the mark-mat, a non-creasing, non-ripping placemat that brings art into kids’ dining. Mats encourage doodling and can be wiped clean in a jiffy with a damp cloth, saving paper, trees and parents’ sanity. This same, eco-conscious company also offers the bucket-bib. The soft silicone is comfy against a baby’s tender skin and cleans like a dream.

Whispers of fall are already in the air, with the pressing heat of June and July beginning to give way to August. But while the seasons may be on the verge of change, one thing remains the same: the strong commitment of eco-conscious companies to the stewardship of the planet. Origany, the company that specializes in “Clothing Made Organic by Nature”, is already looking forward to cooler times. Origany is known for the splash it made by partnering with Ovie Mughelli of the Atlanta Falcons to create the Eco-Athlete collection. Now, it’s taking on the slide from summer to fall with the same passion.

Teething is a phase that’s often as difficult for the parents as it is for the baby. The child can experience discomfort, drooling, crankiness, fever and other inconvenient symptoms that can wreak havoc with their temperament and sleep schedule. Momma Goose is a company that believes in the power of nature to help babies through the teething period. They offer a line of Baltic amber bracelets and necklaces that are meant to provide drug-free relief for some of the common problems associated with teething. The resin in Baltic amber contains succinic acid, which has been proven to relieve pain and calm the central nervous system.

It takes a parent of steel to face a mountain of plastic kids’ dishware and address the environmental and health risks from PVC, BPA and melamine in plastics. Pretty Govindji began to educate herself on pesticides and chemicals and the role they play in the food supply chain. The bottom line: What she served her children’s food on was just as important as the food itself. Govindji enlisted her friend and fellow mom, Tess Brennan, and together they made it their mission to create versatile kids’ dishware products made of high-quality, food-grade stainless steel — Kangovou.

Other than the child’s name, nursery decorating might be the most important part of a baby’s early identity. Retailers looking for a new profit possibility might consider carrying paints in addition to crib bedding and coordinating accessories. Dirt has never looked so clean and chic with the natural pigment of Green Planet Paints. Sweet ones will slumber peacefully with medical grade mattresses and pads by Moonlight Slumber. Creative and chic, Carousel Designs has over 100 options for a natural nursery. Stokke stocks some of the most versatile furniture on the market, including beds, dressers and diaper changing tables that convert as children grow.

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.