So the JPMA show's coming up next month in Orlando, the last one, since the trade organization ceded the show business to the much bigger Las Vegas rival, the ABC Kids Expo.
But even if they're crying on the inside, the JPMA's still putting on their pageant smile, as this announcement about the "new Modern Child Exhibit" is meant to show. "This special section," we're told, "is designed to showcase the growing trends in innovation and well-designed products that embody modern aesthetics and high functionality within the juvenile industry."
In actuality, it just showcases how slow the organization has been in responding to the requests of a whole generation of new, successful members, who've been lobbying their lobbyists for a Modern section for at least as long as I've known what JPMA stands for.
And the list of participating companies, which "have been chosen by a Modern Child Committee" ends up showcasing the out-of-touch organization's interest in squeezing a few more bucks out of their exhibitor/members more than any real interest or insight into "modern" products, design, or parenting.
First, I assume that companies are paying extra to be featured in the Modern Child Exhibit. Like any trade show, the JPMA charges exhibitors for absolutely everything, from chairs to carpet, to display vitrines to entry in award competitions. There are companies whose designs could only be called modern if you consider only their manufacture date.
And I assume if a company didn't pay, it's because the JPMA had to use the Modern Child Exhibit idea to lure them back at all. The list of companies who aren't included is so long and glaring, they might as well call it "Last Moderns In JPMA Turn Out The Lights."
Here are the Committee's alleged criteria, with no disclosure of payola:
• original, creative and authentic product designAnd here's who's in [* = why?; ** = who?]:
• new and innovative use of materials
• products that address and solve challenges
• a record of consistent and continuous new product creations
• a focus on contemporary design
3 Sprouts **
Baby Star *
Brook’s Pond *
My Royal Heinie
Skip Hop, Inc.
Storksak USA *
Who's not in, but should be [* = because they're not even going to JPMA; ** = no explanation at all, unless maybe someone saw the JPMA's hand out and naively slapped'em five; *** = no explanation at all, unless maybe someone wanted category exclusivity]:
Phil & Ted's ** [P&T distributor Bengt Lager is the past pres. of JPMA. My guess is they just don't care about the faux modern exhibit.]
Uppa Baby ***
Victoria Staten *
Nest Baby [ which Nest? Ooba and Nest aren't going; neither is Nest high chair maker Mozzee. I think we need to declare a hiatus on Nest-related names for baby start-ups.]
Am I missing anyone? Here are the 2007 attendees directory so far. Post your take below. And don't be shy with any insider info. Email addresses used for posting are never revealed publicly. For even more anonymity, just drop me a line.