Category Archives: Premier Baby Stores
In the news this past week, Kate Middleton’s pregnancy was revealed. While her birth is future blog post fodder, Forbes predicts it could spike sales of maternity wear and baby products. Based on fashion trends stemming from the Duchess, Forbes isn’t off the mark.
As the magazine points out, the “Kate Middleton Effect” has pervaded high-end fashion since she married Prince William. Essentially, if Middleton is spotted wearing a particular look from a brand, buyers will seek it out, regardless of price. Her choices have further reinvigorated stalling brands. As Forbes points out, her couture doubled profits for Reiss ($6.7 million to $13.2 million from 2010 to ’11), and increased Alexander McQueen’s sales by 27 percent over the same time period.
On the other hand, and many baby blog and pop culture readers will likely agree with this, Middleton and Prince William’s spawn isn’t just another People magazine cover. While sales and interest of celebrity babies have declined in recent years, with the recent Kardashian birth being a particular nadir, Middleton and Prince William’s child has potential to be the future Queen of England, should they have a daughter, as the succession rules have since changed.
Nevertheless, boy or girl, their child will likely be given a significant amount attention by the international media. As we have seen before, stars’ children, such as the Jolie-Pitt brood and Suri Cruise, influence brands and products carried at higher-end retailers. Along with baby blogs and celebrity bump spottings, baby product retailers, as Forbes emphasized, curate their own selection of celebrity-influenced products and brands. If a pop culture blog geared toward babies spots it, the retailer is likely to offer it.
How much of an influence do you think Middleton and Prince William’s child will have on baby retailers? Should we, next year, expect to see certain high-end brands flying off shelves?
The holiday season, essentially, starts right after Halloween ends, with Christmas gifts concurrent with turkeys and cans of cranberry sauce. If you’re a new parent or a friend of new parents, you’ll likely be expected to select a gift for a baby or young child, and if you haven’t got a clue about what to get, consider the following suggestions:
A holiday diaper cake is essentially a two-fold gift. On the outside are holiday-themed presents for the infant: a stuffed animal, red and green blankets, and clothes with a similar color scheme. Underneath the holiday trappings are a gift, and a necessity, nearly all parents can appreciate – a large supply of diapers.
An activity playmat is a multi-dimensional play and stimulation station. Infant stimulation has been the rage with educational baby toys, and activity mats of all types offer a textured surface, bright colors, and various items to touch, grab, and hear.
Blankets and throws are always a must. Chenille blankets are particularly soft and luxurious.
Stuffed animals and dolls, especially when a movie and television theme is not involved, are perfect for creative play. Softer toys are a must for infants and toddlers, and the vast options for dolls and stuffed animals increases all of the games and exploration a child can do. For such toys, however, make sure the item purchased is relevant to a child’s developmental level. Stimulation toys may be too simple for a toddler, who, in turn, may be too perplexed by a doll that comes with multiple outfits that’s more appropriate for a 5 year old.
Holiday clothing allows a young child to look special for a day. Although parents, and friends giving gifts, are advised to stick with the basics like onesies and T-shirts, a special outfit here and there is always a nice and fun gift.
- Great Baby Gifts for Christmas (babybloginformation.com)
- 100 Unconventional Infant Presents – Be Creative When Shopping for 2012 Baby Christmas Gifts (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Is your friend a mother-to-be? Make sure her baby shower is unforgettable with these gifts (personalcreations.com)
As many parents and parents-to-be are aware, baby stores proliferated on the internet over the last decade, selling specialized products, such as diaper cakes and baby shower gifts, affordable options, and more high-end items. No matter how you look at it, the internet has something out there for every parent. But, this past week, Canada’s Globe and Mail called attention to high-end baby boutiques, stating that such products are essentially a lifestyle statement.
The Globe and Mail points to multiple factors fueling the search and display of high-priced baby items. First, unlike 30 years ago, most first-time parents are older, expect to have fewer children over all, and are more likely to spend on the first child. Spending, in this case, isn’t initially about creating a lavish lifestyle, or a façade of one. Instead, such parents want to give their children every advantage.
Aside from the parents themselves, the newspaper points out, the internet presents greater opportunities to research baby products, thus creating a search for the “best,” “safest,” and “most equipped” stroller, car seat, or furniture. The excessive publicizing of celebrity babies during the last decade fuels the need, and even high-end boutiques have their own curated celebrity products based upon what’s picked for Suri Cruise, the Jolie-Pitt twins, or any well-known star’s offspring.
High-end boutiques selections, the Globe and Mail points out, additionally have a trickle-down effect. As a result, mid-priced or big-box retailers, such as Sears and Babies R Us, end up carrying a selection of $1,000 strollers and $400 car seats to meet the needs of demanding customers that, otherwise, would turn to the internet.
Demand for high-end baby products, on the other hand, is more than a trend – it’s turned into a lifestyle for parents with more to spend and greater expectations for their children. Are the higher price tags worth it? According to a boutique owner quoted in the Globe and Mail, “[W]e’re preying on their guilty conscience. The whole industry does it.”
- Baby Shopping on the Upper East Side: 5 Stores for Baby Gear, Furniture and Nursing Supplies (mommypoppins.com)
- Fun, Practical Baby Shower Gift Ideas (berries.com)
- What to Expect When Expecting (malayoganycblog.wordpress.com)
Standards for baby products have drastically changed over the past year. Drop side cribs were given the first revisions – or, more appropriately, were eliminated from the shelves of brick-and-mortar and ecommerce retailers. Now, because of growing concerns regarding SIDS and sleeping hazards, crib bumpers are the next target. Two weeks ago, Maryland proposed a ban on them, and Chicago made the sale of this baby bed product illegal in 2011.
So, to adapt to the changing conditions of the baby products market, what’s a retailer to do? Dada Baby Boutique is adapting by introducing a line of bumper-less crib bedding. The ecommerce store’s product selection now reflects brand’s changing options. Dwell Studio, Caden Lane, Olena Boyko, Persnickety, Little Acorn, and Olli & Lime all offer bumper-free bedding sets; with this component gone, all such lines include a combination of sheets, a crib skirt, and other accoutrements that are not placed inside the baby’s sleeping area.
However, many brands offered through Dada Baby still include crib bumpers. What’s a parent to do? Instead of settling for a few select brands, parents, through the ecommerce store, can opt for custom bedding from New Arrivals, Maddie Boo, and Little Giraffe. All sheets, regardless of brand, come in attractive colors and patterns and are made out of high-quality materials.
As Dada Baby Boutique points out in its press release, manufacturers selling crib bumpers in states with bans face fines.
But, with the exception of this handful of areas, why do crib bumpers continue to remain on shelves? For years, these cushioning liners were thought to protect against injuries, such as a child banging its head against the wooden sides of a crib. Recent research shows, however, that the soft material can restrict air ventilation, if a child’s face is pressed into it, and additionally poses limb entrapment, strangulation, and head injury hazards.
When it seemed like the internet is already saturated with countless baby retailers, The Globe and Mail mentions the big box stores are all fighting for a piece of the market. While such news seems late (Amazon and Walmart haven’t yet realized how popular baby products are?), the piece indicates that those already established online will soon have some competition.
With the situation called a “retail war,” larger establishments, such as Target, Sears, Amazon, and Walmart are just now tapping into the wealth of internet parenting culture, from mommy blogs to baby stores. Amazon.ca just launched a baby store, while Target, according to the Globe and Mail, is giving greater emphasis toward such products. These two, plus others, are additionally observing online baby trends, including corresponding with bloggers or taking note of popular products.
But, in terms of drawing business, will parents suddenly gravitate toward big box retailers? Such large, all-encompassing stores, at least from the statements in the Globe and Mail piece, seem oblivious and behind the times. And, a shopping experience online might be akin to walking around one of those large stores; you scour aisles looking for just a simple item – say, organic diapers – and end up going around the entire establishment and wasting time in your pursuit.
The internet has become a necessary platform for modern-day parents, from forums to knowledgeable bloggers to specialty retailers. And, in the present, such specialty retailers already dominate their niche markets. A specialty, such as diaper cakes, for instance, develops brand association and reliability and creates an image.
With a great range of already-established retailers, from high-end baby boutiques to stores for renting baby clothes, the internet has turned into a place for specialty baby products, mompreneurs, and connections between parents who might not always have time to leave the house. So, with this culture established, do big box retailers now investing in baby products have a chance, or are they simply out of the loop?
Celebrity-created or endorsed product lines are often vanity projects, even when it comes to babies. That’s not always the case, however, and Jessica Alba is a recent example of a star with a genuine vision. Not out to build her brand with handbags, clothing, or fragrances, Alba, who has been absent from films for the past few years, debuted Honest.com, a website for eco-friendly diapers, last week. Profiled by the New York Daily News, the Machete actress described her intentions and motivations for her first entrepreneurial endeavor.
Honest.com, the website for Alba’s The Honest Co., offers a line of nontoxic, environmentally friendly diapers, biodegradable wipes, and organic bath and skin care products. Unlike many eco baby products, which frequently are colored beige or green, The Honest Co.’s adds patterns.
Alba explained that, after receiving a rash from a baby-safe detergent, she researched the chemicals in it, only to find that many were, in fact, not organic. Further finding out that flame retardants are added to breast pillows, she sought out truly green baby products, which were difficult to come across. She said:
“It was exhausting. I had a baby, I was working. I didn’t have time to go everywhere. And I get it. Everything has a green leaf on it or brown or beige. I’m like, just because it’s eco why does it have to be brown, beige, or have a green leaf on it?”
The actress developed the brand of eco-diapers in response, determined to offer truly environmentally-friendly baby products that are both affordable and attractive. At the moment, the diapers and other baby products appear to only be available for purchase online.
Finding eco-friendly baby products is a difficult task, but more options can be found on the internet. DadaBabyBoutique.com has a large selection of green baby toys, supplies, and diaper bags, and Rattlecake’s eco diaper cakes are perfect as baby shower gifts.
What’s better than accepting hand-me-down baby clothes? Renting them. New parents find out, if they don’t know already, that babies go through clothing quickly. T-shirts and onesies that fit just a few weeks ago become too big in the near future. While a baby shower or receiving hand-me-downs can be helpful for getting infant-size clothing, the parents often end up purchasing new onesies, pants, and shirts every few weeks.
Plumgear, a new site for renting baby clothes, wants to change that. Reported by Consumer Reports, Plumgear was set up by Caroline O’Connor, a new mother who found that hand-me-downs and baby shower gifts provided limited options for new parents. Much like Netflix, Plumgear is a subscription service for parents to rent outfits for their baby. Once the child outgrows the clothing in a few weeks, they send it back to Plumgear for the next size up.
The website offers sizes 0-3 months through 2T, and clothing is purchased wholesale from quality brands like Rabbit Moon, Petit Bateau, Angel Dear, Soy Baby, Le Top, and Mini Muffin. Parents, when using the service, can order clothing in packs of five, 10, or 15, and a typical order includes tops, pants, and onesies; for a girl, a dress, leggings, and tights may also be added.
The cost of subscription covers the return of clothing, and all garments are laundered with fragrance-free Seven Generation detergent. If clothing ends up getting stained or damaged, the parents are not charged, and the garment is donated.
If you’re a parent tired of purchasing new baby clothing every few weeks, would renting the basics appeal to you? Clothing won’t sit around your home used and outgrown after several weeks, you only need to pay the subscription fee, and all garments are wearable, unlike questionable hand-me-downs. If you’re looking to save money with a new baby, would you opt to rent baby clothing, or purchase it secondhand and accept hand-me-downs?
Who knew that the way a child faces you affects their development? According to a recent piece in The Daily Mail, just facing your child forward and away from the mother makes the baby “suffer” and become an anxious adult. The same rule applies to parents using strollers.
According to Professor Catherine Fowler, parents who have a child face forward are “cruel and selfish”:
“Imagine if you were strapped to someone’s chest with your legs and arms flailing, heading with no control into a busy shopping center – it would be terrifying. Outward-facing baby carriers and prams give babies a bombardment of stimulus, creating a very stressful situation. In not considering our baby’s perspective, we are inadvertently quite cruel to children.”
At the same time, others decree that a baby facing its mother too much gets bored and needs to see the world. Seems like whatever a parent does, it’s wrong.
On one extreme is the Swedish woman in Massachusetts who left a baby in a stroller outside of a restaurant for 10 minutes and is currently being investigated. Yet, the woman claims that this practice is common in her home country.
The other is the trend of babywearing. A child, in a sling, is carried close to and facing his mother. According to a piece about babywearing from The Lufkin News, the child bonds better with its mothers and, as a result, cries less and is more restful. The mother, as well, has her hands free and is able to do daily tasks while carrying her child.
No matter if you agree with these experts or think their results are just more for parents to worry about, several options for carrying a child are available. Dada Baby Boutique, for instance, offers baby carriers that range from slings to wraps, and products allow a parent to face a child backwards or forward.
While a onesie printed with Kate Moss’s quote “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is inappropriate for a child, do Angry Birds baby products fall into the same realm? Not exactly. In an effort to expand its brand, the developers behind game Angry Birds are introducing a line of blankets and clothing after the success of their toys.
One of the top apps for Apple mobile products, Angry Birds is played by 40 million users monthly. In the game developer’s foray into toys, 7 million items have been sold so far. As the licensing and merchandising division is the fastest growing section of the company, rolling out Angry Birds baby products seemed to be the next step for expansion.
SwaddleDesigns, the first company to introduce the large swaddling baby blanket, is making the baby products, which are now available for preorder. But, does such a violent and Alfred Hitchcock-esque concept behind the game translate to baby products? According to creative director Lynette Damir in a press release from SwaddleDesigns, it does:
“As parents, one aspect of Angry Birds we appreciate is how protective the birds are and how much they love their offspring. It’s one of the characters’ endearing qualities that resonates with parents everywhere, and a key reason we believe Angry Birds fans will be enthusiastic about our new line of Angry Bird baby products. We’re excited and honored to be Rovio’s partner to bring these fun, playful and loveable characters to SwaddleDesigns product line.”
Current retailers of Angry Birds toys will carry the baby products, and the brand is expanding to newer vendors.
While novelty baby products and less-typical baby clothes are nothing new, would you purchase an Angry Birds blanket or onesie for your baby? Or, are such items designed solely for fans of the game?
Recently, Mother Nature Network (MNN.com) published a letter from a woman about putting together a green baby shower. Many of Morieka Johnson’s suggestions mirror those we have suggested for being economical with baby products and extend to all aspects of a shower:
• Send out digital invitations instead of paper
• Avoid games
• Be practical with decorations
• Hold a potluck and have all guests bring a meal to chip in
• Have all invited parents bring used, lightly-worn baby products, such as clothing and sheets, but be careful with larger items, such as strollers, car seats, and cribs.
While these suggestions make a baby shower green and economical, Johnson didn’t touch on one growing field of baby products: green, or eco-friendly, items. Going green is no longer a luxury, and this is reflected in the availability and styles of baby products, from diaper cakes to toys and clothing. Although Johnson makes some good points for putting together a baby shower, consider our suggestions:
• Going green does not mean that decorations or presents need to be understated. If you are planning the party and want to provide a great baby gift, consider eco-friendly diaper cakes, such as these from Rattlecake. Eco-friendly diaper cakes come in gender-neutral styles and animal themes, are made out of Seventh Generation diapers, include Burt’s Bees baby products, and come with Dandelion baby toys, all of which are made out of organic cotton and corn fiber filling.
• Bring an eco-friendly and practical baby gift. Green baby clothing, toys, and sheets no longer have the same uniform off-white color they did when going green reached public consciousness 20 years ago. Now, green baby products come in several colors – many of which are bright and bold – and are affordably priced. Many baby boutiques carry green baby clothing, toys, sheets, and diaper bags, and Dada Baby Boutique has a particularly large selection of green baby products.