Bell rings for retail spree

Everything children need for the new term is available under one roof, writesVictoria Ip

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2012, 11:06am

It's that time again, when parents are scrambling to stock up on clothing, gear and furniture to see their children through another school year. Help is at hand at Horizon Plaza, where several stores specialise in everything from children's desks and accessories to shoes and sheets.

Lucy McLennan, marketing manager of Bumps to Babes, advises parents to pick up a raincoat and umbrella for rainy days and field trips.

The store stocks a range of coats, waterproof jackets and umbrellas from brands such as Australia's Penny Scallan Design.

McLennan says simple is the way to go when outfitting kindergarteners. "Choose school clothes in easy-to-wash fabrics, in a range of colours that you know your child likes, and double up on staple items such as shorts, skirts or trousers in a second colour," she says. "And don't forget to label your children's school clothes."

Besides clothing, shoes are an integral part of any school outfit. "The last thing your child needs to worry about is uncomfortable school shoes because they will be wearing them for up to eight hours a day," McLennan says. "It's important to get feet measured and buy school shoes that have been properly fitted.

"If swimming is on the curriculum, be prepared for the new school term with swimwear, goggles and a fun swim bag that is easily recognisable for your child."

Bumps to Babes features swimwear, ultraviolet-protective shirts, Zoggs goggles, swim bags and wetsuits from Aqua Sport.

The family superstore also stocks children's furniture such as the Booster Bug cushion from Hong Kong brand The Bugs Company, which can be placed under a child's hips to improve their posture while doing homework.

"Comfort is essential for studying, so if your child is finding it hard to concentrate or is not quite at the right height for the study desk, then try using a Booster Bug," McLennan says.

"It puts your child at the right height, with the table allowing them to concentrate on the task at hand."

Nerd Kids for Living specialises in ergonomic desk sets with adjustable heights for children. The shop carries German brand Moll, Taiwanese brand Artso and Japanese brand Okamura.

"Ergonomic means the furniture can be adjusted to fit the individual, like it is custom-made for him or her," explains store owner Joan Szeto.

The ergonomic desk sets can be adjusted to fit preschoolers so that their feet can touch the floor. "It's important to have both feet touch the ground as it [allows the] lower spine to touch firmly against the back of the chair," Szeto says.

Indigo Kids also offers a wide range of back-to-school furniture for children, such as the Zoo storage bin. "Ideal for holding books or stationery, this versatile storage bin adds colourful zoo personality to any room. [It is also] made of sturdy canvas and folds down flat when clean-up time is done," says Sally Leung, sales director of retail for Indigo Living, who adds that ivory is the hottest colour for children's bedrooms.

Indigo Kids' Noah furniture collection includes a desk and chair, bookcase and storage. "It is designed with rounded corners and edges to help avoid painful knocks, while all drawers have stoppers to add that extra touch of safety," Leung says.

Other items include beanbags for children to lounge on while taking a break from studying, and wall clocks to help them learn to manage time.

For environmentally-conscious parents, Kokoon Beds and Bedding for Kids stocks children's furniture made of pine sourced from sustainable forests in northern Europe.

The beds are safe and sturdy with no sharp edges, says store representative Moira Roberts.

"Our new modular and flexible shelving unit, which matches our modular children's beds and furniture, can start with a basic box unit and you can expand by adding drawers, cupboard doors and desk as your kids grow up."