The Biz: The Grapevine

How many milestones do babies reach in the first twelve months? How cute is their baby belly when they walk, talk, eat, roll over, or laugh? Sticky Bellies, a memory-making line of re-positionable stickers, helps parents mark each month with their child photographed in a one-piece or shirt designating their age in months. Sticky Bellies really does begin at the beginning though, with stickers in weekly increments for expecting moms.

In the world of children’s product designers there are many momprenuers and dadprenuers, but “aunt-reprenuers” are not unheard of. It’s not surprising; being around children on a regular basis, providing for their needs and hearing their hopes and dreams is enough to inspire anyone, especially if that someone happens to be a creative, talented soul. This was definitely the experience for Spanish designer Gemma Mases, the founder of children’s clothing company 1+ In The Family.

The rise in allergies has had a dramatic impact on the landscape of families and fun time. Gone are the days when classroom cupcakes were the norm and children painted with whatever was handy. Glob founder Ashley Phelps understands sensitivities. As an artist, she suffered through skin irritation from paints, but just bore the trouble as part of her trade. However, life was about to get better: a friend who was developing a house paint from plants inspired her to investigate new, safe ways to color her world. She started Glob, and has been helping families with her non-toxic, environmentally-positive products ever since.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

It’s time to PLAE! This unique shoe company is at the forefront of design and function, offering customizable shoes that look great and promote healthy foot development. One look at this fancy footwear will make most kids beg to have a pair, and will have grown-ups wishing that they’d had shoes this cool when they were young. What’s so special about PLAE shoes? They look great for many reasons, but it’s all about the tabs. All Velcro shoes have fastening tabs, but PLAE takes it up a notch. Customers can purchase additional fastening tabs in a mind-boggling variety of colors and prints, so that they can create a whole new look for their shoes whenever the mood strikes.