I just got back from 4 days in Louisville for the All Baby and Child Expo! This is the annual trade show for the juvenile product industry. Once a year, anybody who makes, sells, or reports on baby products (all 8,000 of us) descends upon a major convention center for 4 days. Sellers try to convince us that their products are the NextBigThing. Buyers try to pretend that we don’t care unless they give us a steep discount. And everyone tries to pretend that they’re there only to work and not to drink free margaritas at the Industry Reception with KC and the Sunshine Band. This year’s show was in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a refreshing change from the past 5 years, when the event was held in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is……..fine. For about 2 days. Then it begins to slowly suck your soul and your will to live. Which makes it hard to compare nursing bras and admire organic swaddling blankets.
So, we walked and walked and we talked and talked and we tried to learn all there was to know about new products. We want to find you the NextBigThing. At least 6 months before Target finds it. (Target and I have a real love/hate thing going on). We definitely noticed some trends. One thing we saw a lot of was reusable training pants. Most of the diaper companies we work with are coming out with a new training pant this season. Some are cooler than others. We’re most excited about the Flip Trainer coming from BumGenius. The design is…….well…..genius: cute colors, sturdy construction, lots of size and absorbency flexibility. Which we were excited to see. Since we pre-ordered a whole ton of them before we even saw them. We should be getting them before the end of the year. BumGenius also has a new All In One diaper coming out, called the Freetime. Totally revolutionary design in an All In One. I think it’s gonna be even awesomer than their current pocket diaper! Which is pretty awesome. Also, new prints and colors for all their products. We’ll keep you posted!
Another trend we saw a lot of was Angry Birds. On toys, on swaddle blankets, on bags. Everybody knows babies LOVE angry birds, right? I thought that the design trend this year was Owls. But I guess Owls aren’t ANGRY enough. We won’t be ordering any Angry Birds products. But we weren’t too proud to snag up all the free Angry Birds samples we could get, for our kids. We still did see a lot of Owls. And robots. Owls and robots are the new princesses and pirates. And that’s a trend I can get on board with. Watch our store in the next couple months for owls and robots on clothing, baby carriers, wet bags, and more. Can’t wait!
A big new category this year was birthing gowns. These are beautiful nighties you can wear to the hospital when you give birth. They have pretty bows and easy access for breastfeeding. And snaps for dealing with IVs and the occasional “back-door” exam. Tell me your thoughts on these gowns. I think they seem like a really expensive one-time use item that’s just gonna get blood all over it. But I can see the appeal of having something special and pretty for the most amazing day of your life.
Finally, a big trend I saw this year was FEAR. I saw all these products preying on the fears of new parents. There was a heavy, metallic belt for moms to wear over their pregnant bellies to protect their fetus from radiation. Not nuclear-power-plant-radiation, but sending-your-husband-a-text-message radiation. They had a larger than life picture of a mom using a cell phone RIGHT NEXT TO HER PREGNANT BELLY. Terrifying, right? We also saw a bumper for pregnant bellies. A big padded belt to protect your pregnant belly from………..banging into things, I guess. First of all, unless you’re a kick-boxer, how much trauma does your pregnant belly take? Also, how many of you actually want to add MORE padding to your pregnant silhouette? We saw a sort of medic-alert badge for pregnant moms. Something you can wear to let medical professionals know that you’re pregnant if you’re unconscious for some reason. Not really a terrible product, but the marketing showed a woman jogging and wearing her magic-pregnant-badge. Implying that, if you’re active during pregnancy, you’re gonna somehow end up unconscious, and the medics will do something terrible to your unborn baby. And you might not be wearing your belly bumper…….. Another entry in the category of reasonable-product-with-terrifying-marketing was a rescue sack for lowering babies out of burning or evacuated buildings. I can see the rationale for this product. The unnerving thing was that the exhibit for the product featured a larger-than-life graphic of a baby being thrown out the window of a burning building. I assume that it was photoshopped. I’m gonna just have to believe that……….
All in all, it was a fantastic show. We had so much fun meeting new people and seeing old friends. There are so many amazing new products out there that we can’t wait to share with you. We saw and ordered new items that we are REALLY excited about! In the next weeks, we’ll be announcing entire new lines of high-quality nursing bras, cold weather baby gear, newborn clothing, diapers, training pants, nursing pillows, toys, car seat covers, art supplies, diaper bags, and more!
We promise to tell you all the details as the products arrive. But, we don’t want anyone to steal ALL our ideas. 🙂