Ever wonder where all those fun, innovative, ingenious parenting and baby products come from?
The Parent Co. team recently returned from the JPMA (Juvenile Product Manufacturing Association) Baby Show in Anaheim, CA. All the major brands in the baby-parenting space were represented, showing off their most innovative products to media and retailers. A slew of new, rising brands were also on display, looking to make their mark on the booming industry.
Nearly every company we engaged with was born out of personal need by parent entrepreneurs. Here’s my list of 10 companies to keep an eye on. I think they’ve got something special going on:
This San Diego-based stroller company is an alchemist in the stroller market, incorporating the active and luxury lifestyles their home city is known for directly into their products. With so many stroller brands to choose from, the features become less important to consumer choice than feeling a personal connection to the brand.
Bumbleride steps up to the plate with an adventurous attitude and plenty of eco-friendly, feel-good vibes. Committed to functional performance, their line of strollers aim to deliver the ride of your life.
Mini Board – Skateboard-style toddler board that attaches to the back of the stroller. Rad!
At first glance, the mifold grab-and-go car booster seat doesn’t look like it could pass a standard car seat safety test. Yet with advanced engineering, this iPad-sized booster is redefining the industry by being 10 times smaller (10” x 5”) and just as safe, complying with the most universally accepted global booster car seat regulations for child restraint systems.
How does it work? Traditional boosters lift a child up to be in the position of an adult. The mifold does the exact opposite. Instead of lifting the child up, it holds the seatbelt down. Genius.
Throw the mifold in your four-year-old’s backpack next to a stack of books and some snacks, and she has everyday car travel protection anywhere she goes, with or without you. Think playdate pickups, soccer carpools, airport rentals, etc.
mifold won “Best in Show” and the “Parent’s Pick Award” at JPMA’s Innovation Awards.
As a dad with his first kid (now six months old) covering the show, I felt inspired after meeting an entrepreneurial family both transforming and educating the breastpump and nursing industry.
Four sisters (each sporting their brand’s seamless SuperMom all-in-one-bra…or so they told me), manage the business side of things, while their brothers, operate the manufacturing operation. This family team utilizes decades of personal experience and empathy for mothers in their approach to design and customer service.
As a consumer, it’s vital to feel good about a brand when purchasing intimate products. The team at Simple Wishes works hard to support women during their breastfeeding journey, giving them confidence in their ability to provide for their families and themselves.
New Product: SuperMom All-in-One Bra – A maternity, nursing, and hands-free pumping bra.
Many companies in the parenting space focus their marketing efforts on mothers, who are the primary peer-to-peer recommenders of retail stores, gear, apparel, and food/drink categories. Don Hudson, from Seahorses PDX, has a different perspective.
He believes the parenting space is missing an opportunity to advertise and sell specifically to the dad market. I caught up with Don and learned about his commitment to create a community and shopping experience where all dads not only feel welcome, but also find cool, practical stuff they need.
Don’s shop, Seahorses PDX, is brick-and-mortar retail, but also offers a popular, hand-curated selection of products available online. He’s co-authored a new book, “Dadly Dollars”, and will host the 2nd Annual Dadiator Games in June.
Interesting Dad Product: One of the best-sellers at Seahorses PDX is Yoee Baby, an interactive developmental baby toy designed to connect you and your baby from day one. Check it out here: www.yoeebaby.com
Transitioning a four- to six-month-old from being sweetly swaddled in their bassinet to less cozy crib sleeping can be exhausting, for you and them. As you work through the sleep regression, you’re also faced with a battery of dos and don’ts around crib safety.
For example, what’s the deal with the crib bumper? They look nice, but AAP highly recommends against them for SIDS protection. Enter Kiddiwink.
Designed by a scientist mom, the Kiddiwink all-in-one crib bedding solution is a standard bed sheet with an attached, breathable muslin bumper. It is safer, simpler, and more functional than any other bumper alternatives. It keeps arms, legs, loveys, and pacifiers inside the crib and prevents wedging between the crib and mattress. Also, they’re super cute.
Fun Fact: This new-to-market brand just launched at JPMA and is currently taking pre-orders.
I’ve been trying to raise my first child with the relaxed and comfortable attitude of a dad who’s on his third. Let’s just say it’s easier in theory than in practice. I still worry about all sorts of things.
When my daughter’s pacifier ends up on the ground, I quickly analyze the environment for cleanliness. Are we indoors our out? Are we in public or at home? Is there any visible residue on the nipple of the pacifier? Is she currently screaming and in need of a pacifier? Did I pack an extra?
JPMA Innovation Award category winner, Doddle & Co., takes the stress out of this game, allowing me to adopt more of that relaxed dad-on-his-third-kid attitude. Disrupting the pacifier market with their patented “Pop”, this cleaner, silicone pacifier nipple pops back into its own self-protective bubble when it drops. Every time. I tested it.
Shout out: Mothers and Founders of Doddle & Co., Nicki and Janna, get a high-five from the team at Parent Co. Affordable. Effective. Stylish. Way to go!
Did you know disposable diapers account for eight billion pounds of non-biodegradable waste each year? A single child will use over 8,000 disposables before they’re potty trained. Wow.
My family uses disposables. We had the cloth diaper conversation, but it just seemed inconvenient, impractical, and really messy. We made an all-or-nothing decision about what I thought was an all-or-nothing choice.
At JPMA, I met Kelsey and Joreen from Bambino Mio, who expressed to me that parents interested in cloth need not go all-in. There’s a middle ground that leads to a financial and environmental ROI by using even just one cloth diaper each day.
Kelsey and Joreen wanted me to give it a try, so I went home with a cute panda bear cloth diaper. Incorporating this diaper into my daughter’s life has been a simple shift in mindset. Completely unsolicited, I have to say it’s a breeze to put on, comfortable for my baby, cute as can be, and easy to clean. Two thumbs up.
Hit the Beach: Bambino Mio also has a popular line of hard-to-resist baby swimwear. Check ‘em out.
After reading the inspirational barefoot running book, “Born to Run”, I trained for and ran a marathon in a pair of those silly looking Five-Finger barefoot shoes. I’d raced marathons in traditional runners as well and can say that, while barefoot running is not for everybody, they do offer a true sense of heightened body awareness and connection to the earth with just the right amount of protection.
This toddler shoe brand takes that body awareness and earth connection in a similar direction. JPMA Innovation Award nominee, Attipas (Atti meaning “My Precious Friend” and Pas meaning “Step”) is redefining the toddler shoe market with their clever, sock-style, slip-on shoe.
In collaboration with The Cognitive Behavioral Development Center, Attipas applied biomechanical knowledge of brain development to create a shoe that evenly distributes foot pressure, allowing toddlers to feel the sole of the shoe and move their toes freely.
Bonus: Choose from dozens of really fun designs. All are lightweight, breathable, and non-slip.
With dozens of diaper bag companies on the market, how does one brand stand out among the rest? At JPMA, JuJuBe proved it has the secret sauce.
No, they’re not made from the JuJuBe fruit, which when consumed, is believed to effectively prevent cancer and heart disease. But you definitely feel good doing business with a company that contributes a portion of your purchase to Breast Cancer research and awareness centers.
Yes, the bags are really nice, hit the right price point, and have unexpected features like Crumb Drains (little holes at the bottom of the pockets, so crumbs fall out). But I am especially impressed with this brand for nurturing a space for parents to connect and learn from each other in a self-moderated, self-run online community. Get involved via the JuJuBe Community tab on their website.
Doin’ it right: CEO Joe Croft, coming from the action sports industry, is enthusiastic and approachable. He and his team turned a traditional trade show booth into the place to be, serving up great music, concert lighting, and spontaneous rounds of Family Feud for passers-by.
Chances are you’ve used (or will use) dozens of products by Baby Buddy over the course of your child’s life. Over the last decade, this company has been leading the way for children’s oral hygiene.
What I love most about Baby Buddy, however, is their commitment to encouraging healthy habits for kids. Their original children’s book, “Sugar Bugs”, is the perfect introduction for kids to understand the importance of taking care of their teeth. It’s whimsical, graphically pleasing, charmingly irreverent, and it de-mystifies the spectre of going to the dentist.
Personal note: The line of oral care products aimed directly at teething babies has been a personal life-saver, not to mention the best hearing protection I’ve ever purchased.