Once Upon a Time in Milan
Fred and I became parents for the first time in 2006, that was when we were introduced to a whole new world of all things baby! Like all diligent new parents, we did a lot of research on what we needed to buy for our first little princess. Unfortunately, we were quite disappointed with what we found, both in terms of design and function. These two important aspects could not seem to coexist in one product! We were living in Milan, Italy at the time, and with Fred being a product designer and I was working in the fashion industry, we literally breathed and lived “design” every day. Naturally, we dreamed of injecting more “design” input into the baby furniture industry by creating items that we think can meet our expectations on form and function, at same time revolutionize this sector.
The first item we wanted to work on was the piece of furniture that our daughter used the most – the baby bouncer. It was my lifesaver as I could put Yasmine in the bouncer on the floor next to me while I hung up laundry, prepared meals, even outside the bathroom door! But the more we used our bouncer, the more room for improvement we think it has.
What features does an ideal Bouncer need to have?
From our first-hand experience as final users, an ideal bouncer should have all or most of the below features:
- It should bounce gently even without our intervention (to keep baby entertained while giving our arm / foot a rest), but should have no electrical parts to generate the movement since they tend to breakdown easily and cannot hold too much weight.
- Particularly important is proper neck and back support for the little one, especially when the babies have not yet developed strength in their spines (usually before 6 months old).
- There should be multiple inclination positions on the seat’s backrest to accommodate baby’s different activities, be it playing or relaxing. Our daughter suffered a lot from colic and we found that a more comfortable position for her was to sit more inclined so her tummy could open up more, thus soothing her cramps.
- We would like our baby to enjoy her favorite chair for as long as possible, beyond the usual 6-9 months age and weight limit of most bouncers in the market. Preferably the bouncer would be sturdy enough to last her a few years and eventually can be passed on to a younger sibling.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!
After identifying our dream bouncer’s most important features, Fred started his work on the drawing board, literally! Initially he wanted to use bamboo as the frame material due to its pliable yet stable nature, but since we were in the north of Italy and were surrounded by expert engineers from various industries, he soon realized that aero-space grade aluminium is actually a better and more durable option. But we liked the idea of bamboo so much that we kept it as our bouncer’s name!
When we got the frame design sorted out, we turned our dining table into a little sewing workshop where I used my very rusty sewing skills (from my fashion school days) to make trial samples for the seat cover and back rest using my mother-in-law’s sewing machine from the 70’s! The entire design journey took us almost 1 year and in late 2009 we became proud parents, this time to our Bamboo Bouncer!
All Made with Love
Another year later, with our marketing budget being non-existent, some truly kind friends, Mimmo & Sabine and New Target Web, helped us to produce our very first product video on a shoestring with free models (our own baby Nisha and a few adorable kids of our friends)! Out of pure nostalgia, here is the video (watch out for our little Nisha with a green bunny dressed as a boy because we only had a couple of baby boy models):
A New Era
We celebrated Bombol's 10th birthday last year and we are so proud that our Bamboo Bouncer is still being appreciated by so many kids around the world. Through the years, we have gathered many constructive feedbacks from our customers on the bouncer. We have taken these comments seriously and worked on an updated version of the bouncer, Bamboo 3DKnit, which we launched earlier this year.
We are constantly doing our best to improve our existing products and our creative juice is always flowing to come up with exciting new ways to help modern parents to lighten their load. Stay tuned for more innovations and Stay Sparky!