May 01, 2006 9:30 PM  By

Swell Baby

When Rhoda Bueno was pregnant with her now-two-year-old son, Jake, she wondered how shopping for baby gifts and accessories could become an easier task for new mothers.

So in January, Bueno launched the Swell Baby Website. In creating Swell Baby, Bueno envisioned an easy one-stop shopping destination for mothers. Swell Baby offers dozens of designer-label baby items, along with a customer loyalty program called Brownie Points.

The Website’s brands include Tea Collection, Jellycat, Sozo, Jeeto, Baby Jak, Paulina Quintana, Appaman, Marese, Storksak, and Petit Bateau. “We sell baby essentials for newborns up to five-year-olds,” says Bueno. In addition to apparel, Swell Baby sells toys, diaper bags, nursery accessories, books, building blocks, compact discs, and puzzles.

Bueno says the average order is about $70. “People spend a lot on baby items and gifts, and our business comes from all over the country. We’re still trying to get our feet wet, but the feedback from customers has been great.”

Web address: Product category: children’s apparel and gifts Launched: January 2006 Target customers: parents and people looking to buy unique baby gifts Competitors: Babystyle, Phone: 650-358-3940

Best Manufacturing Group

Jersey City, NJ-based Best Manufacturing Group, a uniform company founded in 1914, launched a Website in March to supplement its print catalog.

Best serves the hospitality, textile rental, healthcare and image-apparel markets. The site features Best’s designer hospitality apparel collection, presented in partnership with Hartmarx, which has exclusive rights to market selected products under a number of brands such as H&W, XMI, Claiborne, and Palm Beach.

The collection aims to bring name-brand tailored apparel to hotel employees and guests. Separate components in knit tops, men’s shirts, and ladies blouses are available in six styles and more than a dozen colors such as cornflower, pumpkin, and cobalt.

Don Anderson, senior vice president of sales, is excited about the site. “When Best Manufacturing set out to produce our new designer-label apparel collection, the challenge was to create a clean, polished, tailored look to match the design, management style, vision, and guest appeal of the hospitality clients we work with,” he says. The site, he contends, “gives the hospitality industry an alternative — a high-fashion style retail designer collection at a mass level.”

Web address: Product category: uniforms Launched: March 2006 Target customer: hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality industries Competitors: Cintas, American Uniform Sales Phone: 800-843-3233