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  • 1 Post By Seth

Thread: Waaa! Waaa!

  1. #1
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    Waaa! Waaa!

    Have you thought about making diaper bags? There's a real need for a well made and designed bag for all the little kiddy stuff?

    Seth

  2. #2
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    We have, actually - Melany who used to work for us and sometimes still does had a baby when she was working here and told us we needed to make a diaper bag.

    I think it was shelved for a while because other designs took precedence.

    You tell us - what kind of diaper bag should we make? What would make it special and set it apart from the rest?
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  3. #3
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    Darcy,

    Having a little one and seeing lots of friends and other parents and living in the land of high tech outdoor gear, I see two general approaches to diaper bags - 1. the "official" diaper bag and the retro-fitted backpack/fanny pack.

    Basically what make a diaper bag official is that its sold that way (by name) and that it includes a changing pad. The bags themselves are usually very light duty fannypacks and backpacks with a large volume but real lack of suspension for their apparent size, unsealed seams and light duty fabrics and construction. The fanny pack straps are 1.5-2" webbing, only, but the bag ends up sticking off ones butt by 10" when full. The packpacks have not integral strength and very under-built straps.

    Lots of folks get the diaper bag as a gift and take the changing pad in throw it in their decent Gregory or Mountainsmith backpack, for example.

    I see two ways to approach the development of such bags. 1. how one holds/carries it and 2. what it contains.

    HOW ONE HOLDS/CARRIES IT

    New parent's (and veteran's) trips with waa waa vary from quick outings to the doctor to overnighters. But most trips are quick outings or day trips (off to see grandma or a day of shopping or other outings). Backpacks are usually bulky and often overkill for short trips. They also have the disadvantage of needing to be carried in one way - on the back (walking around with two shoulde straps in hand is pretty awkward). Fannypacks are not favorites of lots of folks and particularly unstylish. Shoulder bags are good around town but don't always leave enough freely mobile hands. I suggest thinking about a crossover bag between a fannypack and a shoulder bag, One that looks good in town, but can be strapped out of the way on the butt for long walks and day trips. The shoulder straps should be sturdy but not stick out when being used as a fanny pack. The fanny pack straps should be built to carry up to 10-12 pounds and bag itself shouldn't look like a lower back tumor.

    The bag's profile should not be too thick as lots of bags end up under plane seats and strollers. It should definately not have bears and alphabet blocks on any of the fabric.

    Make sure that it doesn't interfere with the popular baby carriers (Baby Bjorn and Snuggli, etc). Also check out rideoncarriers.com and mayawrap.com for alternate that are way cool (I think we own about eight carriers for our one baby. My wife has gone a little nuts.)

    WHAT'S INSIDE

    Well, diapers and a changing pad (our Kelty one has an attached pocket with all these outside, unclosed pocket. The bigger zipper pocket is ok for the plsatic wipe holder and two #2 diapers, but the exterior ones are about as dumb as the upper right pocket on my Levis). Throw in wipes, ointments and some very basic medical/health stuff - creams, sunblock and baby tylenol. Now let's talk about food. For the young ones, formula (think of all the room we'd save if every baby was breast fed!). When boob mom is not there, expressed milk that needs to stay cooled a bit. Food for parents - 1/2 liter Nalgene is perfect and few Luna bars (beef jerky for me).

    Also throw in a few cloth diapers for burps and spits. And, very important, plastic grocery bags for tying up them stinkies.

    Clothing. A change for all seasons - at least one whole outfit that always sits in the bag for what, in our house, we call...diaper explosions. Probably a small blanket too.

    Toys. Age dependent I'd say two or three little ones. Many one board book or soft book. A chewy crinkly funny looking bird-like thing with an orange beak and gingham legs with numbly feet. You get the idea.

    This bag also becomes the defacto purse for mom (dad still is cool and carries his wallet on his butt). So, a wallet for mom, keys, mobile phone (of course) and in your niche, a PDA. Maybe a few other little essentials. These things always head south in the bag so I suggest a place for "parent" things. I don't think your clients are the "carry a beauty salon" types, but maybe a little room for a compact.

    Fortunately all these things are small, but in total are kind of bulky without out a ton of weight.

    WRAPPING IT UP

    So, the challenge is to make a bag that's comfortable, can carry stuff for either a quick outing or daytrip and doesn't look stupid. I don't think that the billions and billions of pockets solution isn't in order, but I've never seen one that had a flap and places for the parent things. I've also not seen a bag with an area for keeping bottles cool. I also think there might be a solution for a place for unused and used plastic bags (but don't worry as much about the used ones as parents find the nearest trash can - expect when hiking.)

    Hope that helps.

    Seth
    "If it don't fit, get an, uhhh, SUV"

    I'd be happy to brainstorm or help with testing/prototyping. I'm an industrial designer by training (but now a museum exhibit designer) and tough customer!
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    Last edited by Seth; 10-11-2003 at 06:44 AM.

  4. #4
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    Wow - quite a bill to fill. I appreciate all the thought you've put into this. My most recent thoughts for a diaper/parent bag are actually along the lines of our "Freudian Slip" product: basically a specialized insert that would slip into either of our daypacks of even some of our competitor's daypacks. It might have a warm/cool compartment and a place to keep bottle upright and maybe a wipe-dispenser pocket and maybe a wet/dry pouch too.
    The advantage of this modular approach is that it could function on its own too. And you don't have something almost useless when Jr is headed off to college.
    Of course I'd go over the fine points of your suggestions before proceeding further.
    The problem we ran up against when we considered this before was that we read repeatedly on new-parent forums that the best bag was the Land's End bag and that it's big drawback was its price of US$50. We concluded that if that was an unpopular price then whatever we came up with would not float.
    Do you have a price-point idea?
    Last edited by Darcy; 10-16-2003 at 03:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    I agree with every point that is made above!

    I think that the $50USD price point is probably about right. In the various bag options we've tried (going on to child number 5 in a few weeks) we've repeatedly returned to the plain ole knapsack (usually a MEC one -- www.mec.ca product 4012-301
    MEC Deluxe Bookbag DayPack) and just made do with the downsides.

    I think that the verical style messanger bag is a likely candidate for this. We're currently using this bag (MEC Travel All Shoulder Bag 4009-377) with a two year old -- holds mom's/dad's gear (cell phone, wallet, sunglasses, etc.) and changing pad, 2 size 4 diapers, pampers mini-wipe dispenser, couple of plastic bags, jeans, tshirt, onsie and a small number of other miscellaneous things.

    It would be nice to have enough room to store a bottle of milk and a regular half litre water bottle and keep them cold. It would also be nice to have a semi-integrated changing pad (we're using one from a much froofier looking diaper bag that had a lovely 1" wide shoulder strap :\

    Maybe it could be built as a slip in for the large cafe bag -- putting the price up there, but I think it would be worth it. As long as the shoulder strap is long enough to put it diagonally across my shoulder and have the bag land against my hip -- where it won't interfere with either a back or frontpack style carrier.

  6. #6
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    Tom,

    I've mulled over the slip-in idea for a couple of days. I like it in general, but I would definately make it work on its own too for quick outings (much like your brain-cell that I've owned a few of). This has the potential of having the flexibiity that I've suggested. I'm thinking a cap of $45ish is probably in there for a unit that's "convertible" like I've described, but I certainly have no experience creating prices for a diverse national marketplace (and we pay too much for just about everything in Boulder, so I'm probably not a good gauge). If it were slip-in only then the price point should be lower. Perhaps the changing pad is modular within the slip-in bag.

    If it looks good on it's own and also functions well within another bag that would be something unique to the marketplace.

    One question, though. While price point is certainly a big factor at the national "Amazon.com" level, do you find that your customers are significantly concerned? I would have guessed that you customers are more quality conscience than price conscience. Of course, to a point.

    Another, idea. Include an emergency info pocket with a clear window. How many folks don't carry around medical info, contacts, baby name, etc? It also is great for parents to let their sitters or nannies have this important information at hand (it does no good on the refrigerator while the sitters taking the kids to the park!)

    Here's a freebie name for it, the "Switch Babe".

    Good luck.

    Seth


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