Baby steps

Some clients want to rattle cages; The First Years just wants to sell rattles. To that end the retailer is mulling a trio of agencies to polish its image.

In the running for the company’s public relations account are Cone, Boston; Mullen in Wenham, Mass.; and Child’s Play Communications, a specialty shop in New York, said The First Years’ Darlene Hollywood. The Avon, Mass., company has no agency working on the assignment at present. Hollywood said she expects a winner to be selected by month’s end.

The First Years has worked with Boston’s Velocity Advertising on various projects, but the agency is not involved in the pitch for the latest effort, which won’t involve paid media advertising.

The First Years markets products for infants and toddlers, including bottles, bibs and crib toys. Items sell under the company’s own name and the licensed Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and Sesame Street labels.

The First Years competes with Dorel, Playtex and Evenflo. Sales last year were flat at $132 million.