Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Product Focus #1–The Buggysnuggle footmuff

We thought it would be helpful to write a series of product “close ups” to explain how our products work and why they are worth every penny!

COWBSsmLate in 2009 Jo & I spent a day in London doing “shop research” and visiting lots of big nursery shops to check out the latest pushchair designs and colours. One thing that became apparent was that quite a few buggies had changed how their harnesses worked and either didn’t unclip at all or were very tricky to un-do between the shoulder and the waist.

Our original Buggysnuggle had been a best selling nursery product for 12 years, but this discovery was still quite alarming, as the way our original Buggysnuggle design (and every other footmuff) worked was that you needed to unclip and thread the straps through the slits. But if the straps didn’t unclip, you wouldn’t be able to thread the straps, which would mean the Buggysnuggle would not fit these buggies. The whole strap threading palava was also a bit of a long winded affair and usually took a good 5 minutes. So we thought how great it would be if we could make the fitting quicker and easier for every buggy.

I therefore spent the winter of 2009/10 re-designing the Buggysnuggle and solving the strap threading problem. We made at least 20 different versions in the process and once we were happy with the finished re-design, we spent a lot of cash getting the design registered! (Registered Community Design No: 001690074-0001)

The advantages of the new Buggysnuggle design are:

BS1C_INSIDE_FRONT_SLITS_FORSTRAPSIt literally takes 30 seconds to fit into the pushchair, compared with 5 minutes before – this is one of our customers favourite things! The shoulder to waist straps pull through the vertical slots without having to be unclipped.

BS1C_OUTSIDE_BACK_HOOKOVER_FLAP_CLOSEUP

There is a flap at the back as well as corner ties, so you can hook the back over the seat or use the ties or even both, depending on what type of buggy you have.

The Buggysnuggle now has 2 zips which meet at the bottom. This means you can:

  1. Remove the top completely and use the back as a liner in warmer weather and the front as an impromtu blanket.
  2. Un-do both sides for extra ventilation in hot shops.
  3. Un-do from the centre bottom to allow muddy feet or older children’s feet to stick out!
  4. Useful zip pulls make the zip easy to grab.

POMPOMNAVY000107-1smThe front flap hasn’t changed but is another great feature. When your child falls asleep you can tuck the flap in around their face to keep them extra cosy.

The Buggysnuggle is one of the longest footmuffs available: 100cm long and 46cm wide, it fits until at least 3 years of age. In fact as I never tire of telling customers, I have used Buggysnuggles for all 3 of my sons (who were tall for their age) until they outgrew their pushchairs (almost 4 years old) and once Dan got into his Buggysnuggle when he was 7! (though that was a bit of a tight fit!)

 

BuggySnug_new_instuctionsDIA2010I also did a calculation: if you use your Buggysnuggle 5 days a week for 3 years, that would be 780 days, which means the “cost-per-use” is as little as 5p! We also hear from many customers who have used the same Buggysnuggle for 2 or 3 children making it even cheaper! That seems to me to make the Buggysnuggle footmuff a very reasonable product that you shouldn’t be without! 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Heritage of the Buggysnuggle brand

I was up at the warehouse this week and we had a look through some very old, damp boxes at the back of “Hub B”, our overflow warehouse. What a laugh we had – you should see some of the reject samples we found: Garish, shiny waterproofs; weird fake leather; some dreadful tartan efforts – honestly it did make us wonder what possessed us?!

We also came across the very first sample, the original Buggysnuggle, stitched by my fair hands way back in 1997! No zip, very tiny harness slits and an interesting bobbly red fleece fabric, but nevertheless still the same shape and size – thoroughly researched, developed and cut by me! (and sadly often copied entirely by other lazy companies ever since).IMG_9538

We also found our very first advert which we placed with Junior magazine in November 1998 – a cute photo of Jo’s daughter in the red Buggysnuggle sample. In those days we used to send out swatches of whatever fabrics we had got hold of! The retail price was £20.00 which we soon realised, was not enough if we wanted a viable business! So by the time our next advert came out in March 1999 the price had increased to £35.00! (I’d worked out by then I needed to cost in the time it took to make one! Ha ha!)FIRST-ADVERT

Then in a dusty old box we found loads of photos including these two – one taken at the very first trade show we did with Buggysnuggle in 1998, and another of our first “photo shoot” – basically an afternoon at Blenheim Palace with our kids in tow, modelling their Buggysnuggles! Dan is now 14 and Ruby 13 years old – how time flies when you’re having fun! FIRST-SHOW-98FIRST-PHOTO-SHOOT