London’s Award‐Winning Children’s Lifestyle Store

Across the pond, Olive Loves Alfie is known as “the most inspiring children’s independent in the country.”

Hand-picked style. London-based Olive Loves Alfie was established in 2006, offering childrenswear, housewares, women’s wear, toys and games, quickly becoming THE destination family lifestyle store not only for discerning parents, but also for designers seeking the “Olive Loves Alfie” seal of approval.

Without exception, all of the products at Olive Loves Alfie must qualify by their quality and design to have hand-me-down potential, or to become modern heirlooms.

Olive Says. Here are some of the things you will find at the store, in London and online: Contemporary and iconic children’s books including a selection from Charley Harper; children’s clothing from Bakker Made With Love, Bonnie Baby, Dandy Star, Ej Sikke Lej, Katvig, Kidscase, Louie Louis, Marimekko, Monkee Genes, Mini Numph and Mini Rodini; creative kits, games and toys from Button Bag, Djeco, Mibo and Sparrow Kids; heirlooms from an inspired portfolio of collaborations with artists and illustrators. In addition, the company launched design consultancy Olive Says in 2010.

From London to Tokyo. Founder Ashlyn Gibson has parlayed her rich background in fashion into a whirlwind of adventure, traveling the world in search of design inspiration, which has all come together with Olive and Alfie. In 2011 alone, style icon was honored with a Best Independent Fashion Retailer runner up award at the Junior Design Awards and was shortlisted in the Best Children’s Shop category for the Telegraph Shop Awards.

Recently, Ashlyn launched a contemporary paint collection at Bubble London. Soya‐based Olive Loves Alfie Colour is an extension of the store’s visionary style and concept, designed to bridge the gap between child and adult spaces in the home. Produced in collaboration with The Nursery Paint Company, the colors are blended using a secret recipe to ensure the paint is free from harmful toxins and chemicals. At the trade show, which took place in January, Ashlyn and her team created an installation for the entrance.

  • Children’s Retail Today publishes new posts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you want to get the word out about your innovative, imaginative and inspiring products for children, contact me today!

The New Must-Have Bike Gizmo

The longer, warmer days of spring herald in bike season, and every hot-rodder is going to want this.

For kids who love to pedal, the hottest way to personalize their wheels is the Kool Rider, a clip-on accessory that mimics the sound of a speeding motorbike. The card and clothespin trick of old has morphed into a very sophisticated blend of performance polymers from DuPont. The results are irresistible -the flappers hit the bicycle spokes, producing a sound similar to those made by motorbikes. According to the company, the clamp force and spring action remain intact no matter the weather or season.

It’s so easy to put on and sounds great.

-Randy,  San Diego CA

Kool Rider co-founders Howard McClurd and Troy Spencer have been friends since they were five-year-old boys. “We offer kids everywhere this clip-on accessory that’s a cinch to put on and truly durable. We tested the Kool Rider on one bike for 250 miles and it barely had a scratch!”

All my friends have it and we have our own bike club.

 -Daniel, Dallas TX

For a bigger sound, clip on two. Ideal for girls as well as boys ages six and older, this clever add-on makes a two-wheeler go from ho-hum to at vroom with the authentic sounds of a motorbike. Each Kool Rider box includes one quick clip-on unit, plus kids receive the extra-customization option of  long-lasting, colorful stickers, which are included. Simple to use -just clip the single unit on each wheel. To maximize that “Big Motor Sound,” simply clip on two!

Made in the USA. The New Jersey-based company utilizes developmentally disabled adults to assemble the units and packaging before shipping to retailers. Howard and Troy say that by working with DuPont, the unique and special select blend of high performance polymers produces a pleasing, accurate sound and tone. A smaller Little Kool Rider for beginner-type bikes is in the works for later this year.

Bought my son a Kool Rider and I can’t get him off his bike!

-Emily, Jacksonville FL

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The Plush Animal Kingdom of Aurora World

Visit almost any gift shop at a zoo or a hospital, a toy, Hallmark store or Claire’s …

… even a florist, a candy or stationery store worldwide – and you’ve probably ogled over the cute plush toys from Aurora World, Inc. Founded in 1981, the Korean company with headquarters also in the U.S., the UK and Hong Kong is a leader in the toy and gift industry, offering luxuriously soft, lifelike and adorable plush toys for kids of all ages –a far cry from my own little stuffed doggie named Trevor I still have from my childhood!

Signature by Aurora® This brand new line of plush animals is handcrafted with personal attention to detail. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Wildlife, jungle and exotics like fox and lemurs –even bald eagles and owls- are boxed individually and include a hand-stitched, illustrated booklet outlining the animal’s distinctive characteristics.

Aurora has elegantly captured the spirit, grace and vitality of real wildlife with one of the most beautiful lines we’ve ever created. Each piece is hand cut, sewn and shaded to make it so exquisite. These particular details bring each of the Signature characters to life.

-Michael Kessler, senior vice president of sales and marketing

Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy Aurora World and Hasbro, Inc. have teamed up on a new line of plush dolls based on the iconic Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy of old, bringing these beloved characters to life for a new generation of children.

YooHoo & Friends™ Aurora’s international plush toy phenomenon has sold more than 14 million worldwide, and the company recently added eight new WannaBes and an assortment based on the colors of the rainbow. Due to popular demand, Aurora added a pink gorilla and camel to the YooHoo & Friends line, too.

Lush Two-Toned Fabric. This year, Aurora adds shimmer and shine to new lines Sweet & Softer, Wishful Bear, Silly Monkey and Jewel Pets- a line of squeezably soft stuffed animals. The short pile plush appears reflective and bright from one angle and soft and smooth from another.

Three brand new plush gift lines are geared toward new parents and their children:

The western-themed Lil’ Howdys, an interactive collection of Crinkle Friends and Quizzies, a collection of bears, bunnies and puppies. Michael Kessler says, “These accessories are the perfect complement for the crib and nursery.”

  • My childhood toy dog, TrevorChildren’s Retail Today publishes new posts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you want to get the word out about your innovative, imaginative and inspiring products for children, contact me today!