Monday, 29 March 2010

Harrogate Trade show 2010

Well I've spent the day walking the show, looking at product after product, and I first thought they all just merged into one, as I couldn't find any innovation, no new products, just the same as the last show/stand.

That was until I came across the new Baby Jogger City Select.

Priced roughly £450 for the stand alone stroller, and then if you want to you can buy a second seat unit, or a carrycot coversion kit, or a buggyboard, or adaptors to fit the Maxi Cosi Cabrio.

It's a very versatile stroller, allowing you to have any combination of seats/carrycots/carseats attatched in any position, so allowing you to have either 2 newborns, a newborn and toddler seated on the product, and with them facing either way.

The other great feature is the incorporation of the Baby Jogger fold, simply unclip the secondary lock, then lift up the chassis at it main pivot point and it folds. No messing about with clips and catches all over the product, just as easy as the original mini jogger.

It's bound to be a hit with all parents with more than one child or those that are planning more than one!

The product was constantly been expertly demonstrated by David, with a crowd of people watching, so I'd expect it to be in most independant retailers soon.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Trade shows

Well with Harrogate this weekend I'm in two minds if to attend?

Yes, Harrogate is the best UK show from my experience, but is it more of a social experience for everyone than an actual business one? I say this as the big Sunday night party is very well attended, everyone is always located nearby, and all new products from the big boys have been seen before last September in Koln.

So from someone in my position or past positions it's not a fair for launches, but maybe for the UK indi retailers it's a more important show, they get to choose and place their orders.

Which I suppose answers my own question, in a way. But then it could be a chance to have some social fun, find a few new contacts, and also blog a few things of products no end user has seen.

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Thought I'd try and test photo uploading on the blog with my phone before I decide if to go to the show this weekend.

So there is the test.

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Monday, 22 March 2010

Trunki Boostapak - pointless product

 Ok, I know its not a stroller, but its still a travel item, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on this ridiculous item, the Trunki Boostapak.

I'd seen this product before the weekend, and had dismissed it as a pointless item, but then the weekend it appeared on the BBC show 'Something for the weekend' in their gadget spot, and I have to say that really wound me up, as its no gadget, and its not a useful item either!

Firstly, lets look at the Unique Selling Point, its a car boost cushion, that is also a rucksack?

"BoostApak is the ideal solution, a spacious, hand-luggage approved rucksack which doubles as a booster seat, perfect for car-pooling and family holidays."

How many parents actually take the booster cushion out of the car? Its one of the most easy items to put in the boot, so there isn't any need to take it out of the car. How hard is it to move a booster cushion from vehicle to vehicle if you are wanting to use it in various cars? Very. So there is no problem to solve, and that is the point that makes this pointless in my opinion.

How many kids actually want to be carrying a rucksack, and if they do, I'm sure its with their favourite character on it if they of the younger age, or by their favourite sports brand or team if they're a bit older, not in something with day glow colours on it, or with ears, so again, fail! I remember been a kid myself, yes it wasn't all that long ago, and I remember the punishment that I used to give my rucksack or bag, it was a portable football, not a car seat, it got kicked, dropped, punished, so how much punishment will this get, and after such punishment will it still perform as a booster cushion? How much has this been tested I wonder?

I'm sorry if this seems like a rant, but I just don't like products that don't have a point, products that say they are there to solve a problem that doesn't exist, products that are over priced, and products which are not as good as items already on the market.

Booster cushions do a basic job, but are not what I would ever choose to use in a car as a parent, as there is no side impact protection, which is where my professional thoughts kick in on this product. As under the draft standard that is in work ECE R44.05 which hopefully soon will be enforced, side impact protection is a must, and will finally remove booster cushions from the market. So why is a company launching a product that will soon be obsolete? Surely they should be aware of up and coming standards as a company, but it seems not, as they wouldn't have invested in a product that is not aimed at new regulations, which then gets me thinking how much do they actually know and understand the car safety market? Would I want to use a product from a company that isn't an expert in car safety? No.

And I also know that my thoughts in relation to booster cushions are those shared by the biggest car seat producing companies, and why they are soon to stop producing these items under their brands due to the fact that they do not offer enough protection to the using child. But Trunki seem to not be thinking about this.

Maybe the section of the BBC show 'Something for the weekend' should be renamed as pointless gimmick items?

I just hope that the new Mission Commander that Trunki is looking to recruit has some experience in developing products that have a point, and that meet current and future standards and regulations.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Now on Twitter

Finally got myself a Twitter page too, with the hope to get a few blog readers and followers.

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New Britax Display in Mothercare

I've been meaning to post this for a number of weeks now, wrote it all and lost it a few times, so here we go again.

Anyway, there is a dedicated display area in Mothercare for the new stroller range they have launched.

First there is the B-Mobile, a 3 or 4 wheeled product, the 4 wheeler been the new addition. But I'm not totally sure what this product is aiming itself at in the market place, or who? As it isn't a bargain, it doesn't do anything new, and the only things I can see it trying to target is either the M&P Aria, or the Quinny Zapp or the Petite Star Zia. And if this is the case then it fails, as its too BIG!! Its awkward to fold compared to them and again too BIG when folded too!

Then there is the B-Smart, which is essentially a copy of the Vigour +, but don't go thinking it is the award winning Vigour +, its a totally new product, but with no new features, which if I had been spending the time and money on developing a replacement for the Vigour I'd have ensured that it was a move on, a step up the ladder, so that it had something new to offer to the market, or even was keeping up with the market. But no, its just a copy, and the reason for this, basically to try and avoid paying the license payment that Britax were paying on selling the Vigour product, as it wasn't their design. So I guess they'll be expecting the lawyer letter any day soon rather than an uplift in sales on this one.

Then there is a new product called the B-Dual, a Phil & Ted style tandem product, but there is a point of difference, in that both seat units can be used for newborn children unlike the P&T products. Essentially though this product is developed by the Australian arm of Britax, and based on the Strider single pushchair, that was seen briefly over here in Argos, and can now be purchased under the Brio brand. Its a very robust product, so yes that also means heavy, but I'd be confident in the quality of this one, as the Australian arm of Britax is very experienced in strollers unlike the European team. My only concern would be the swivel wheel locks that are positioned in a great place that will be the first thing to hit that door as Mum bashes into it to open it.

But one thing that I did notice when looking at these in Mothercare was that there was a slight difference in colour between the pushchairs and the infant carrier, which most would not spot, but its that kind of attention to detail that is not going to give them a premium brand image on wheels this year, and maybe the Italian fabric house that used to design and select the fabrics might not be the ideal people to use this year?