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Newer Kids on the Block

Created for functionality but crafted with an artist’s heart, these Pinterest-worthy products should be on your buying radar.

TRVL

TRVL Signature Accessories

TRVL Signature Accessories

Irene Herold loves fun acronyms. So much so that she used one to name her company: TRVL. TRVL produces just what the letters look like: travel accessories that are lightweight, functional, durable, and– since this is a mom-owned company–wipeable and machine-washable.

Herold first launched TRVL with adult products and in October 2019, she rolled out a children’s line with yet another clever acronym, with a nod to airport protocol: TSA, which stands for TRVL Signature Accessories. The TSA collection offers backpacks, bottle bags, lunch bags, duffle bags, and accessory bags in the signature “Roadie” shape—an all-purpose pouch that comes in three sizes.

Prior to TRVL, Herold had a long career in private label, developing a variety of products for large, national brands. Armed with market research and her own mama instincts, she felt there was plenty of space for her stylish and durable concept with environmentally friendly materials. “As a mother of two, I knew the products I relied on when my girls were young and I saw design attributes that I felt were missing,” Herold explains.

As part of her local-meets-international business model, the exclusive and sophisticated prints are created in-house and color-matched while the materials are sourced globally. So, customers won’t see TRVL’s patterns anywhere else–and that’s certainly one excellent way to stand out in the market. Another is practicality and the fact that TRVL’s products are designed for caregivers on-the-go. 

TRVL has has its own showroom in Atlanta and a presence at the Dallas market, which has partly led to the approximate 200
accounts for the acronym-loving company. Herold plans to exhibit at I Love Playtime/Kid’s Hub in 2024 to continue to grow her business. “We value creating long-term relationships with our stores, and we really do consider them in our design decisions. We love being able to grow with you!”

Lewis

Lewis sleepwear for boys and girls

Named after a quirky, lovable town in Maine called Lewiston, Lewis the childrenswear company was born in 2016. High school friends Liz Libré and Lizzy Ott were pregnant at the same time and were on the hunt for their baby gear; they wanted crib sheets that were child-like but not childish. With Liz being an illustrator and Lizzy an interior architect, they had their design talent in place. They started Lewis with a small collection of crib sheets, added coordinating nursery products and then slowly expanded into sleep and play—all while taking listening to their customers’ feedback.

To achieve the child-like designs they wanted, they simply looked at the world the way that kids do. “Kids open our eyes in a beautiful way, and we try to harness that in our prints. Just take a walk down the street with a 3 year old and they will stop to see all the little creatures along the way–a blue jay, a clover patch, even a squished lantern fly,” they explain. “To help push this kid-like lens even more, our prints always start with ink and brush, allowing for imperfect line-work, emphasizing the wonder of the imagery even more.”

Thus far, more than 50 boutiques nationwide have embraced the playful freshness of the Lewis collection. Some of their current prints include alligators, radishes and oysters—not your typical baby or toddler designs by any stretch of the imagination. While they are working on the commercial success of their business, Liz and Lizzy also believe in giving back and sharing their success with some of the most vulnerable populations. To that end, Lewis partners with the non-profit Room to Grow, which supports families born into low-income circumstances from pregnancy through age three. The organization provides in-person emotional support to parents and children as well as many of the physical necessities.

When it comes to personal and professional mantras, this dynamic, artistic duo have a couple of simple ones: “Keep showing up, keep doing the work” and “Go into business with someone you trust implicitly.” Indeed, Liz and Lizzy have chosen to trust each other and their unique vision to bring Lewis to fruition and fully into the childrenswear industry.

Twee

Castle, sushi, alphabet, and planet sidewalk chalk from Twee

Castle, sushi, alphabet, and planet sidewalk chalk from Twee

When a company has cake in the office on a weekly basis, you just know it’s a cool place to work. Evolved out of a project from her son’s preschool art class in 2017, Margaux DelCollo developed a line of handmade, eco-friendly art tools for kids, designed to help to increase grip strength and fine motor skills while encouraging creative play and imaginative making. She named her venture Twee.

DelCollo would consider herself an unlikely CEO; she has a B.A. from The New School for social research as well as two master’s degrees in museum studies. She has served as a director of education at various history museums in her home city of Philadelphia. However, she soon went full-speed into the business world with the launch of Twee, becoming a 2020 Tory Burch Foundation Fellow and graduating from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Twee has been featured on the Today Show and Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP as well as in Elle, Real Simple, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and The Wall Street Journal. She certainly seems to be following her favorite piece of business advice: The most expensive thing you have is your brand’s integrity—don’t dull it.”

Twee’s offerings are anything but dull. “When you are using something by Twee, you’re holding a tiny piece of art. Each piece is unique and individual because of the artists who make it. I want TWEE to be all it can be, which means continuing to release beautiful handmade art tools that spark imagination and creativity,” DelCollo says, adding that the company’s commitment to safety is equally, if not more important. “Everything we make is safe, eco-friendly and non-toxic.”

While asking DelCollo to choose some of her product favorites is like asking a parent which child they love more, she says that the Veggie Paint Sets, Mason’s Planets Handmade Sidewalk Chalk and the customizable TWEE made for YOU Custom Gift Box are at the top of her list.

Never one to rest on her laurels, DelCollo plans to roll out more charming items in the coming seasons and continue exhibiting at trade shows. She credits her friend and fellow boutique vendor Jaime Windau of Love Bubby with that stellar business advice. Twee exhibited at the January 2023 and August 2023 I Love Playtime/Kid’s Hub shows. “The store owners and buyers that we met there were fantastic! Meeting with new store owners and connecting with other vendors was the biggest highlight,” she enthuses.

With the powerful adage that’s her personal mission statement, “A calm sea never made a skilled sailor,”  DeCollo is poised to weather any storms and make her mark on the industry.

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