Royal baby fever is spreading fast.
As Kate Middleton's July due date approaches, the sidewalks outside the London hospital where she'll be delivering are inundated with reporters. Meanwhile, U.K. retailers are stocking up on memorabilia including commemorative spoons, tea towels and tableware.
Given the influx of royal-themed weddings in the U.S. in 2011, the royal baby has the potential to mean big business in America, too. So it's no surprise that some savvy business owners are tapping into the heir-to-the-throne mania on both sides of the pond.
Who: Lauren Levy, 33, president and co-founder of New York-based Magnificent Baby, an online infant clothing company known for its easy-to-use magnetic fasteners. The five-year-old company has annual revenues of more than $1 million.
What: An Heir Is Born, a collection of royal baby-inspired blankets, bibs, caps, footies and gowns featuring patterns of crowns, golden rattles and royal carriages -- all in the red, white and blue colors of the British flag. Prices range from $12.50-$34.95.
Why: "I'm obsessed with the royals," says Levy. "I was one of the people who got up in the middle of the night to watch the wedding. When Will and Kate announced they were pregnant, I was also expecting. I was on the lookout for royal-baby products for my kid, and I figured other people would be, too."
How: After learning of the royal pregnancy in December, Levy sprang into action to have a collection ready for a major trade show in January. "I worked closely with our designer in Europe to come up with designs for the collection that would play well in America," Levy says. They pulled it together in just four days.
Magnificent Baby made it a limited edition of 10,000 units "because we didn't want to carry too much inventory," Levy says, "and now the collection is almost sold out on our website." It also sold An Heir Is Born wholesale to major retailers, where customers can still purchase the line.
Where: The collection hits Neiman Marcus, Buy Buy Baby, Destination Maternity, Diapers.com and Amazon.com on July 10.
Result: Since the royal-baby line was featured on NBC's Today show in June, Levy says Magnificent Baby has been getting orders non-stop -- "all day, every day" -- for all its products. "At tradeshows, I've had so many other layette companies come up to me and say, 'We wanted to do that, but couldn't figure out how to do it so quickly.' I'm happy we were able to do it in such a short amount of time and capitalize on the fact that bigger companies couldn't."
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