From the March 1998 issue of Startups

Transforming children from cookie monsters into cooking monsters is easier than you think. Give your customers the opportunity to invite their children into the kitchen for some quality cooking time with Kids Cooking Kits.

The kits provide all the necessary ingredients to make three dozen shortbread cookies in a variety of fun shapes. Each kit comes with three or four cookie cutters (depending on the kit), cookie ingredients, an icing bag and candies to decorate the finished sweets. Simple directions are printed on the package. The Kids Cooking Kits are recommended for children ages 3 to teen; adult supervision is advised.

Four kits are available. The Cookie Zoo, Sea of Cookies and Arctic Cookie Adventure all include animal-shaped cookie cutters. The Holiday Cookie Collection includes cookie cutters shaped like a tin soldier, a gingerbread house and a shooting star.

Wholesale prices range from $5 to $6. Suggested retail prices are $10 to $12 for the Holiday Cookie Collection and $12 for the other kits. Minimum order: one case of 12 kits.

From Kids Cooking Kits, San Diego. To order, call (800) 718-1855.

Look, Ma, No Hands

Many parents have struggled to drive, shop or cook while feeding their baby, or attempted the Herculean task of trying to feed two or three babies at the same time. The Podee Hands-Free Baby Bottle can provide parents with a safe and easy alternative for those times when they need a helping hand.

The bottle's unique design allows infants to feed through a nipple attached to a tube in the bottle. It comes with a handy attachment strap that can be fastened to any safe place, such as a stroller, car seat or crib. By allowing the baby to feed in an upright position, the Podee Hands-Free bottle can even help prevent colic and ear infections. The bottle is reusable and adaptable for use as a traditional bottle or a toddler bottle. It also comes with a stainless steel brush to clean the tubes.

Wholesale price: $4.77 each. Suggested retail price: $7.95 to $12.95. Minimum order: 12 units.

From Podee Inc., San Diego. To order, call (619) 485-0560.

Something's Afoot

By Jessica Hale

Get in on the fitness-product craze by selling a new product that provides the benefits of exercise without the painful injuries associated with high-impact activities. Xolopers are exercise boots that, when strapped over regular athletic shoes, absorb the impact generated by exercise, releasing it to the muscles instead of the knees, ankles and lower back.

Customers can walk, run and even do aerobics wearing Xolopers because the specially designed rubber soles prevent slipping. The one-size-fits-all boots are equipped with a buckling system that adjusts to fit over athletic shoes.

Each pair of Xolopers comes with a set of Energy Return Tension (ERT) Bands. A full range of these snap-in bands can be purchased separately to customize the Xolopers for any fitness level. The soft-tension bands are great for beginning exercisers, while more advanced athletes will want medium, firm or extra-firm tension bands.

Wholesale prices: Xolopers, $72 per pair; ERT Bands, $14.40 per set. Suggested retail prices: Xolopers, $119.99 per pair; ERT Bands, $23.99 per set. Minimum order: 2 cases (10 pairs).

From JJCO Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba. To order, call (888) XOLOPER