Hair Accessory Line Gives Back

The Woobie Wear couture hair accessory brand is on a mission to provide ill children with beauty, those with disabilities with rewarding jobs and worthy charities with extra support.

Founder and designer Lisa Blackman was inspired by the birth of her baby girl -affectionately nicknamed “Woobie,” and by 2006 had launched the company. The product line includes headbands, hats and vibrantly colored flower clips for babies, toddlers and tweens; there’s even a mother-daughter line. Signature Woobie Wear hats are crocheted by hand from an exclusive, one-of-a-kind pattern.

Recently, Woobie Wear added a full line of versatile Magnetic Strands that can be worn as a necklace, bracelet, anklet or headband, feather clip-in hair extensions, fedoras for boys and girls, winter head wraps and over-the-knee socks.

Woobie Wear strives to bring a little fun and beauty to kids that are struggling to overcome huge obstacles and terrible diseases. While products are becoming a staple in local hospitals, the company recently donated hats to Shizuoka Children’s Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. Part of the product line is produced and packaged in partnership with St. Coletta’s of Illinois Foundation, which provides support and funding for special needs individuals so they can take an active part in their communities. Lisa and Woobie Wear donate proceeds to several charities that help families fighting pediatric cancer and raise money for their bi-annual charity event at Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL.

-Janet Muniz

Cool Things for Cool Kids

“Remember, creative kids grow up to be … creative kids.”

Made in the USA. Prefresh is a locally made brand of kid’s tees and accessories. The company is dedicated to supporting local manufacturing, so products are “custom-built” in Portland, OR.

“Kids are rad. You will never be quite as awesome as they are, no matter how hard you try. The best you can do is give them the tools and get out of the way. We are so inspired by their ability to be just who they are, do what they want; and tap into that deep well of creativity that we all try so hard to get back to, that we created Prefresh to just be an awesome brand for kids. Nothing more. No deeper truths, no back story of triumph-over-adversity, just cool for the sake of being cool.”
-the designer parents behind Prefresh

T-shirts, one-pieces, totes and more. See the line at In Play Showroom, Los Angeles, CA.

-Janet Muniz


New Apparel Brand for Boys

Stylish, sensible, fun – and just for boys.

San Francisco, CA-based  iNTAKT Clothing is a new apparel brand for boys launching with a Spring/Summer 2012 collection. Affordable and stylish, the line of skate-, surf- and street pop-inspired tees, shirts, hoodies, shorts and long pants are made for the everyday lives of boys ages 12 months to seven years. Detailed stitching, soft touch, cool designs and bold graphics. Subtle finishes and quality fabrications stand out; a simple pair of terry shorts are cooler with a rough cut bottom, a woven shirt features unique detailed front pocket and a blue-striped polo is modernized with an art-inspired splatter print. Available in January.

-Janet Muniz

Gwen Stefani Launches New Line

Cute overload – Harajuku Mini for Target débuts this weekend.

Gwen Stefani‘s vibrant, new collection of apparel and accessories for infants, toddlers and tweens is inspired by the playful style found in Japan’s trendy Harajuku district. The collection is Target’s newest design collaboration and Gwen’s most extensive children’s and baby collection to date. Gwen, a long time designer and fan of Japanese street-style (she even has an entourage of back-up dancers she calls her “Harajuku Girls”), pairs bright colors, prints and patterns with cheeky animals and characters. From edgy jackets, dresses and one-pieces to perky headbands, punky shoes and backpacks, there are more than 80 pieces in the line. Look for it in stores starting November 13.

-Janet Muniz

Predictions for Holiday Shopping 2011

The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8% during this month and December to $465.6 billion.

Armed with savvy shopping skills and a renewed focus on value, consumers this holiday season are shopping at a variety of locations and channels as they scope out ways to get the best bang for their buck. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch®, holiday shoppers say they plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year.

Nearly six in 10 holiday shoppers say they plan to take advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves and their families during the holiday season.

When it comes to retail growth this holiday season, slow and steady wins the race – and the same is true for shoppers who are meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar. Knowing their customers are more focused than ever on value, retailers will entice shoppers with promotions that go beyond discounts, whether they’re promoting free gifts with purchase, an extended warranty or stellar customer service.”

-NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay

In addition, online retailers have plenty to be joyous about this holiday season as new research shows companies are adjusting their holiday plans based on expected growth and strong demand from holiday shoppers. Continue reading

Kapital K Boys Clothing

Cool, hip, stylish, off-beat and edgy – the Kapital K way.

“We are a true collection-based brand that provides functional mix & match clothing for boys. Every piece, color and category in each collection is a result of extensive research and has a reason for being there. We are driven by hip styling, cool graphics and what is current, while keeping a boy’s sensibility in mind.”

– designer Spencer Sujjaporamest, a Parsons grad and children’s industry veteran

Kapital K is a boy’s clothing collection that focuses on mix & match, fashion-forward styles at an affordable price point. Inspired by the cool styles seen in today’s men’s fashion and keeping an active boy’s taste in mind, Kapital K collections are available in sizes 12 months to size 8 with wholesale price points ranging from $9 for accessories to $41 for outerwear. An attention to detail sets this collection apart, including fur-trimmed hoods, color blocking and striped double pockets.

Inspired by rock n’ roll, car racing and sports, the fall/winter ’11 collection features t-shirts, button-downs, vests, pants, jackets, hats and scarves. Standouts include the suspender/bow tie shirt, color blocked shiny nylon vest, knit herringbone hooded vest and Mohawk trapper hat.

For the upcoming spring/summer ’12 collection, Kapital K features bold, eye-catching graphics of surfing, monster trucks, varsity sports and rock n’ roll; sharks, boxing gloves, and headsets are combined with soft, lightweight fabric for a casual-cool boys look.

Now sold in fine retailers and department stores, including Barney’s and Fred Segal’s Ron Robinson.

Pily Q Girls

Women’s swim and resort company Pily Q launches Pily Q Girls, débuting this November.

Pily Q Girls is a kids line of resort and swimwear for girls who love to dress like momma. Just like the women’s collection, Pily Q Girls uses all of the same soft European fabrics and details and also features the same sassy adult styles as cover-ups in as age-appropriate versions. Sizes run from newborn to 16 years.

The Pily Q swim and resort women’s line is uniquely created with lush fabrics from Barcelona, Spain. The design team selects quality material to ensure not only the utmost comfort, but a supportive and flattering fit. The San Diego-based company is known for  having “a bottom for everyone” –with swimwear offering rear coverage in three choices: teeny, full and modest.

Pily Q Girls will be available at Barney’s New York and children’s boutiques nationwide and ranging in price from $40 – $86.

Little Ruler and Knuckleheads Team Up

Two seven-year-old companies agree on a sublicensing partnership to grow the brands in both line size and worldwide distribution. Anticipate lots of new designs, colors and garments for Little Ruler’s licensed brands.

Little Ruler licenses children’s clothing for some of the most popular brands in the world of skateboarding, like Independent Truck Co., Santa Cruz, Creature and Nor Cal Clothing. Knuckleheads produces a unique line of edgy, skate and music-inspired clothing. The two companies are collaborating on a début line currently booking for a Spring 2012 delivery.

“Knuckleheads’ creative team will take Little Ruler’s licensed brands to the next level by creating a more complete apparel line that includes wovens, printables, headwear and accessories.”

-Maureen Kendall, Little Ruler CEO & owner

Made in the USA. Maureen and Jeff Kendall were inspired to create Little Ruler as a response to the limited choices in clothing for babies and kids that represented the skate/surf  lifestyle. A traditional family business, Knuckleheads is manufacturing most of the Little Ruler line in the United States without sacrificing cost, quality or ship windows.

“The Little Ruler and Knuckleheads brands complement each other. This is a perfect union and we are very excited to design with these iconic skateboard brands. The fit couldn’t be better!”

-Melissa Nash, Knuckleheads CEO & owner

In a market where cool boys clothing is notoriously limited, Knuckleheads creates a line that moms and kids love, and dads envy, catering to parents looking for something different for their boys.

“The synergy of Little Ruler and Knuckleheads works well, while at the same time targeting a slightly different market segment. With Santa Cruz celebrating its 40th anniversary and Independent celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2013, these brands appeal to the older generation of skate dads who want their kids wearing the same brands they wore back in the day.”

-Paul Merrell, licensing manager, NHS

Dressing Up for Halloween

This Halloween, the trendiest costumes are coming back from the dead. Literally.

According to NRF‘s 2011 Top Costumes survey conducted by BIGresearch, more than 2.6 million men, women and children plan to dress as zombies this Halloween. Due to the popularity of the characters in recent books, television shows and video games, zombie costumes jumped from number 22 in 2010 to number nine on children’s top costume list.

The survey finds Americans are expected to spend $2.5 billion on Halloween costumes this year, forking over $1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.2 billion on adult costumes -and $310 million on pet costumes. The average person is spending $72.31 on Halloween candy, costumes and décor, bringing total spending to $6.86 billion -the most in the survey’s nine-year history.

“Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore, as adults are just as likely to get in on the fun with clever, unique costumes. With Halloween falling on a Monday, restaurants and retailers will benefit as many Americans celebrate all weekend long.”

– Matthew Shay, NRF president/CEO

Top 10 Children’s Costumes. Even though Halloween is at the end of the month, over 46 million children are already planning their specific costume. As in previous years, traditional costumes still rank as consumer favorites:

  1. Princess
  2. Witch
  3. Spiderman
  4. Pirate
  5. Pumpkin
  6. Fairy
  7. Action/Superhero
  8. Batman & Vampire tie
  9. Zombies & Disney Princess tie
  10. Star Wars Characters

Man’s best friend is also getting into the Halloween spirit this year. Pet owners love to dress their pets like pumpkins, devils and hot dogs. Bees, fancy bows and ghosts are popular, too.

-NRF’s 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, is designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the Halloween season. The poll of 9,374 consumers was conducted from September 6-14, 2011.

“I Want to Wear My Western Chief Kids Gear!”

Autumn brings rainy days and cooler weather, so kids need boots, umbrellas and slippers in the closet.

Western Chief Kids, the industry-leading designer of children’s rain gear brought to you by the Washington Shoe Company, offers a wide range of colors, patterns and styles in rain boots, umbrellas and raincoats. From special edition rain gear featuring Hello Kitty, Thomas the Tank Engine, Batman and Superman to iconic favorites such as the ladybug, frog and firefighter, Western Chief Kids offers something to please even the pickiest youngster. Most patterns are available in umbrellas, rain boots and raincoats to create a complete matching outfit on rainy days, too.

For babies and toddlers, autumn months bring cold weather; Washington Shoe Company’s brand, Staheekum, keeps their tiny feet warm with soft, cuddly sheepskin slippers, available in sizes to fit infants from 0-18 months.