Thursday, February 07, 2008

2 days and a few thousand booths later...

My partner and I spent the past weekend at New York International Gift Fair scoping out some last minute picks for our store opening in March. Two under-dressed, pregnant gals zooming up and down aisles and aisles of everything you can imagine.
I can not tell you how overwhelming that event is...and incredibly cool.
Unlike some of the trade shows we've attended in the past this one actually had some separate areas for handmade goods and goods made in the US.....if they could have made these sections within a larger division dedicated strictly to kids goods we'd have been in heaven, but as it was we still had to navigate all the different venue locations to hunt down everything we wanted to check out.
I think we managed the event quite well.

1- we found some terribly cool new products that we haven't seen around yet to put into our store that actually fit our requirements of sustainability and trade practices! This is insanely hard to do at these huge shows and can be extremely disappointing when you find cool things you like, but they don't meet any of those standards.
2- we were only bombarded with one rude tirade about labor practices when we asked a toy company about their manufacturing facilities. We can accept that "made in China" is not synonymous with "sweatshop"... which is why we'll ask how much the company is involved in the production of their products.
The gist was about how we wouldn't want to work there, but it's not like they had limbless infants producing their toys. The whole tone was really condesending and aggressive and weird for a sales person.
3- we got to put faces to people we've only known through e-mail up until now.

A few of our favorites that are no big secret since they are already pretty big on the scene:

Robeez new Tredz line- I actually picked up a pair of these for my son last summer at Marshall's and everyone that has admired them since, has lamented being unable to find them, even on the Robeez site. Apparently, I was in the right time and place. They were one pair from a 5 thousand pair run of prototypes. The official line just launched this week. These shoes are awesome! My son loves his and my big fat pregnant self loves that he can put them on by himself.

Erbavivia- This line of high end natural skin care products is incredible all around. If the gorgeous packaging doesn't get you past the price tag the companies eco-friendly business practices will. The products are actually made in the US. The packaging is recyclable and the company is working towards 100% no waste, carbon-neutral manufacturing.....and they donate some of their proceeds to charities. I don't mind paying top dollar for a product when they go the extra mile. Isn't it nice to know the price is justified by more than just product popularity?

Pixel Organics- I seriously hope that we have the budget to include this kick-ass line of bedding in our store in the near future. It's organic, it's made in the States, the graphics are drool-worthy, and it's a bit pricey. I guess, most designer crib sets are pricey to me, but I've never been able to justify upwards of $300 for crib bedding. I could do it for this line of bedding....if only I had the $$!!!
Oh! And they just launched a line of infant wear that is really adorable and organic....and pricey. Sigh...It's good to want, right?

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