Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kids Today

September 9, 2008
Circulation: 54,900

Live from the ABC Kids Expo
September 9, 2008

We're halfway through the ABC Kids Expo and it's been a whirlwind week. Saturday we got a sneak peek at new products; Sunday JPMA awarded its 2008 Innovation Awards and we've seen a plethora of neat products. All of the winners were exceptional, but the one that really stood out was 10-year-old Tharon Trujillo (the youngest JPMA award winner ever) for his safety gate from Cardinal Gates.

Though we still have two days to go, I thought I'd share with you some of the trends and products we've seen. We'll have a complete wrap up in our October issue, but so far we're seeing butterflies and monkeys in abundance as well as a vintage design trend emerging.

One thing I've mentioned before that we're seeing even more of is vendors branching out and offering one-stop shopping lines. Bedding vendors are offering everything from coordinating gifts, wall decor and rugs to lighting, car seat covers and more. I think the vendors really are trying to offer everything a retailer might need to woo their customers.

I'd love to be able to say I've seen everything at the show, but I haven't. There are three of us from Kids Today covering the show--me, Gerri Hunt and Tanya Merritte. Our game plan was to divide and conquer, so we each have designated sections we're covering.

Here are just a few of the things I've seen so far that stand out in my mind:

Bloom's new table and chair set, Otto

Creations' Surrey metal crib--it comes in nickel and vanilla (I love the nickel finish)

Bassettbaby's Baybridge collection--the Driftwood finish is perhaps one of the freshest I've seen in awhile

The Bumble Collection's new Honey couture diaper bags--Jenny pulled out all the stops on these bags

Halo's new prints, especially its organic separates, are very sweet

Stokke--finally came out with a pink Tripp Trapp (yeah!)

Delta's Jessica McClintock Cradle Me--it comes in black and off-white finishes, really beautiful

The Rug Market's new graphic print rugs--my fave is the dragon fly in white and turquoise

Baby's Dream's Cube collection--the crib converts to TWO full size beds and you've got to see the changing table/dresser/desk unit

Kids Line--I have a soft spot for bedding and they have so many new, great looking collections

Bananafish's Pixie collection blew me away

Green Frog Art's "exhibit" of its new wall decor is like walking through a local art gallery

As for news tidbits--I learned that Kaloo is now making all of its furniture in Canada rather than China; Fisher Price has another complete line developed exclusively for independent retailers; Netto is planning on expanding into toddler furniture and a bunk bed in 2009; Crown Craft has the license for Major League Baseball for toddler bedding; LaJobi is moving away from drop side cribs; and more companies are adding organic or eco-friendly products.

What did you see at the show that knocked YOUR socks off?

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