Choosing a Travelmate http://ow.ly/HII7O
Choosing a Stroller http://ow.ly/HIHXm
In Case you missed it. http://ow.ly/HIHNZ
It never ceases to amaze me the amount of stuff you need to bring when traveling with kids. It doesn’t matter how long or how short the trip is either. There is a laundry list of items to bring from sleep gear to toys, clothes to food, and everything in between. I just get overwhelmed with everything. By the time we would pack everything for our two kids and my wife and I, we had no room for anything else, or a way to carry it all. Did I mention that we have three dogs? If we were driving they usually came with us. That means even more stuff and less space. Every time we traveled with our kids I always thought to myself “there has to be a better way.” Anything to simplify traveling and the amount of stuff needed were always welcomed. That is actually the thought that launched Go-Go Babyz. We were traveling when our son was six months old and my wife had that thought and came up with the idea that eventually became the Travelmate.
With the holidays upon us, so is the busy travel season. Families are packing up all their baby gear getting ready to travel a couple hours away or across the globe. I am sure many of them are pulling their hair thinking “there has to be a better way!”
Fortunately, there is. I am sure if you are reading this you know that our main focus in product development is to make life easier for parents on the go. Most of our products are designed to simplify traveling with kids. If you are traveling through the airport this holiday season our Travelmate Family of products are designed to turn your car seat into a compact stroller; no need to pack that bulky, cumbersome stroller anymore. Do you travel with a diaper bag and a baby carrier? No need to anymore with our Sidekick; it’s a diaper bag and baby carrier in one.
I know there are plenty of great products out there that help make traveling with kids easier but there are two companies that we really love that have created some great products to make your life easier. Bags are on every list of items to bring on a trip. The right bag makes all the difference. Multifunction bags are a favorite of mine. Why have a different bag for everything? Baby Sherpa makes a great diaper backpack that has room for a lot of the essentials you need for your baby and yourself. It looks good, feels good and holds what you need. It is four bags in to provide a one-stop storage solution for everything from food and diapers to medicine and gear for the most active of families.
My latest find is the EquiptBaby Bag. It’s a stylish bag that comes with a changing pad and collapsible bassinet. What a concept! I know there are some great travel cribs and other sleep gear out there but they can only get so small. The EquiptBbay bassinet folds up small enough to fit inside the bag. Its’ the ultimate diaper bag for babies and families on the move! Perfect for day to day use, an overnight or an extended stay. EquiptBaby has everything in one centralized location so you can grab it and go!
I always love to hear about innovative products that make your life easier. Do you have any great finds that you just can’t leave the house without?
Happy Holiday Travels!
– Kevin Williams
VP & Dad
Mini Travelmate Car Seta Stroller – Alone
If you studied business in college or work for a company that develops products I am sure you are familiar with the product life cycle stages. All products have a lifespan and go through the general stages of its cycle. The first is development. This is a involved process that typically uses a lot of resources and returns no revenue as there is not a product to sell yet. Then you move into the introduction stage as the product becomes available on the market and progresses on through the remaining stages.
In my experience the development stage does not and should not stop once the product is introduced to the market. Products evolve and are modified and improved during its life cycle. Often times when you develop a product you enter the introduction stage with a minimum viable product (MVP). This is a product that offers the minimum features and functionality that is deemed acceptable to the market. This helps shorten the time to market so the product can begin generating revenue. Once the MVP is released the development continues so the next run or model can offer more to the end user.
Another reason the development needs to continue is because once a product hit the mass market and consumers start to use and abuse the product issues might be discovered that were not found during initial testing. Take the Mini Travelmate for instance. The idea behind the Mini Travelmate was to provide a more compact and economical version of the original Travelmate. To accomplish this, the large plastic plate was eliminated from the Mini and replaced with two smaller cross plates. This reduces the weight of the product and minimizes the amount of raw materials needed for production resulting in a lighter and more cost effective product. The other major changed was we eliminated using the polyurethane razor wheels and replaced them with less expensive rubber wheels.
The design modifications’ net result is a lighter more compact and less expensive version of the Travelmate that delivers the same convenience and maneuverability. However, now that the product has been on the market for almost a year we have had to make some changes. After the Mini Travelmate was on the market for a while and sales began to increase we were getting some customer complaints that the wheels were not rolling very well. Another issue was that some customers complained of a strong odor when they opened the box. We eventually pinpointed the odor to the wheels as well. So, the development of the mini has continued on through the life cycle stages and we have stopped using the rubbers wheels and went back to the good old orange razor wheels. The net result of the changes? A lighter, fully assembled, less expensive version of the Travelmate that rolls smooth and doesn’t smell. And, most importantly, happy customers.
The other lesson here is to speak up. Don’t be afraid to call a company directly (preferably before you post a horrible review) and share your opinion and experience. Some companies actually listen. At least we do at Go-Go Babyz so if you have a question, concern, or complaint make sure to contact our customer service department.
VP & Dad
Here is another post based on some FAQ’s we get at Go-Go Babyz. A common questions is “does the Travelmate Car Seat Luggage Strap have wheels?” I will answers this and work in some other common questions in to this post. The answer to the question is no. The Travelmate Car Seat Luggage Strap is simply, well, a strap. The strap is used to attach your toddler car seat to your carryon luggage which provides the wheels to transport your child in their car seat through the airport. Basically, you use the strap to convert your car seat and carryon into an airport stroller. In that answer I answered another common question; “does the Travelmate Car Seat Luggage Strap come with a seat?” Again the answer is no. You provide the car seat and carryon and we provide the strap to connect the three together.
“Oh. So it’s just a strap”, you say. Well, yes. That is why it is only $19.99. It’s an easy, economical solution to get your kids and their car seats through the airport. It’s a great product for someone who usually travels with a carryon bag and those who do not travel often enough to want to spring for one of the other Travemate products.
Whenever you create a product that requires other items to function you invite the possibility for operational issues. One common issue we hear about is the stability and or balance. The most common cause of this is the carryon and how it is packed. There are so many different type and size carryons that it is hard to create the perfect formula for optimal performance. It is not an exact science but there is a great rule of thumb: the more balanced your carryon is by itself the more stability and balance you will have with the Travelmate Car Seat Luggage Strap. For example, if your bag is only half full it may not be able to provide the stability you need optimal performance and stability. At the same time, if the bag is fully packed but the items are not packed well, say the heavy items are on the top, you will have stability issues because the bag itself is top heavy.
The best strategy to ensure proper performance is to make sure the bag is 75-100% full and the items are packed with the heaviest items on the bottom. You need to remember that the carryon must be able to support the extra weight of a car seat and a child so if there isn’t enough in the bag the bag will begin to squish when you tighten the strap resulting in an unstable stroller. So, if your carryon is sturdy and balanced you should not have an issue once you attached your car seat to the bag with the strap.
VP & Dad