There is nothing sweeter than celebrating a baby, and consumers turn to retailers for the hottest trends and information on safe products — from a soothing bath toy to sleep apparel. Click here for free product information.
Skincare products are part of the bedtime routine and help baby relax. MADE OF offers products which are organic and contain natural ingredients. “They are made without GMOs, SLS, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, dyes, pesticides, BPA or chlorine,” said Igor Bekker, board member for MADE OF.
He noted a top-seller in the baby bath and lotion category is the fragrance free Foaming Organic Baby Shampoo & Body Wash. He recommended anything in the baby skincare that has a chamomile or lavender scent is ideal for calming and said the lavender scented shampoo and wash is well-suited for bedtime.
Retailers can also recommend appropriate sleep apparel. “Safety is our top priority, therefore we have put in a lot of time and effort to create products that prevent unsafe sleep situations,” said Karen Barski, a certified infant care specialist and a registered nurse with Woombie. “We have developed products that prevent blanket unraveling to keep the crib safe. Anything with velcro will eventually wear out and unravel, creating a dangerous sleep situation.” She stressed the importance of using a swaddle sack that won’t unravel at night, “due to weak materials such as velcro.”
Fabric that will not cause overheating is also important. “Please, choose a swaddle with an appropriate thermal overall grade (TOG) that will not overheat the baby,” she said. Sleepwear made with cotton or bamboo do help to keep babies cooler and may be layered if necessary. Barski emphasized vented sleepwear and swaddles are ideal and a baby may be “dressed ‘up’ or ‘down’ underneath, depending on the climate.”
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Plush is a popular gift category for Baby, and Ellen Fruchtman, spokesperson for Mud Pie, noted “plush with a plus” is popular. “The plus is that little something extra that pushes it past ordinary. For example, our new Light-Up Plush toys create a calming LED-lit starry sky with soothing lullaby music,” she said.
Fruchtman relayed that a contemporary feel is trending and Mud Pie’s Woodland Pals is an example of this modern touch. In addition, muted shades of linen, knit textiles and sparkle are popular and Mud Pie incorporates these design elements into its Ballerina Dolls.
“Plush with a purpose” is popular, Barski said, like its Feel Better Buddy that offers aromatherapy and storage in the belly area. This product offers a zippered belly that can be used to store pajamas for a sleepover, or a place to hold special items for mom or baby.
Stephanie Hawn, director of product management with DEMDACO, noted another trend: “Today’s parents are looking for elements that are unique, special and have meaning for their little ones.” She shared plush is more than adorable and helps to celebrate little moments. Hawn emphasized trends also include products that are used beyond infancy; ones that may be used into toddler years or beyond.
DOUGLAS stressed the importance of safety regarding plush products. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all soft objects be kept out of the crib for at least 12 months,” said Doug Adolphson, vice president of sales at DOUGLAS. “You can help ease baby to sleep with a carefully placed plush friend outside the crib, and our Starlight Musicals are a great option.”
Adolphson stressed parents can coordinate with other products, so bedtime friends can turn into playtime friends during the day.
Pinks and blues are still the go-to colors for specific genders according to Adolphson. “The popularity of non-gender specific design has grown,” he added. “Grays, yellows, tans, and mint greens are just a few colors that have become very popular and can cross the gender divide.” He mentioned charcoal as another emerging color for gender neutral options and is featured on its Baby Panda Collection.
At Mud Pie, neutral tones — think gray and oatmeal — are essential and gender neutral, yet pinks and blues are still the best-selling colors, according to Fruchtman. Woombie’s Barski noted similar trends with colors but with a mint green color mixed in with the grays and creams.
Hawn agreed: “Neutrals such as gray and white are king.” She noted pops of color can be tailored to create personality and accent colors may still include pinks and blues, but in softer, more subtle tones. Other notable color trends include green, orange and yellow.
Ready-to-give baby gifts are popular according to Fruchtman, and Mud Pie has introduced a new collection of boxed sets to help shoppers with ready-to-give gift purchases. Fruchtman also emphasized that gift-giving for grandparents has gained more momentum in the industry.
Barski added gifts with a cause is also favored. While Adolphson noted unicorns, sloths and llamas are popular gifts in plush.
“Education is everything! Never be afraid to reach out to your vendors for product training material such as videos, postcards, safety information and even Point of Purchase (POP) signs for display or ideas on how to merchandise,” said Barski. She also suggested retailers separate sizes so shoppers can easily locate a baby’s age or size. “POPS really do help to create better brand recognition,” she emphasized.
Whenever possible, Adolphson recommends matching or coordinating collections together in a display for maximum impact. “Plush and bedtime apparel is a perfect combination focusing on soft, cuddly and bedtime,” he noted.
Fruchtman suggested retailers merchandise by color palette, theme or category and to incorporate a variety of sizes, shapes and price points for customers to consider within a display.