Becoming a father is a life changing experience, but for some it can also be a light bulb moment that ignites new ideas for a business. Dads Who Diaper was born that way, and so were many other amazing products, including this week’s “Fatherhood Feature” the fantastic diaper bags from Dad Gear.
Dad Gear sells stylish, highly functional, organized backpacks, messenger bags and more, perfected for dads on the go with their kids. As part of the “Dad-vention” series - a nod to fathers who were inspired to start a business or create a product or service after becoming a dad - on the podcast we talked design, motivation, and fatherhood.
Read more for the Dads Who Diaper interview with the creators of Dad Gear.
How did Dad Gear get started?
It all started in late 2003 over a plate of nachos. We, were commiserating together over our corporate jobs when the conversation migrated to our new-found passion…our babies. We both had just entered the new world of fatherhood and were keenly focused on all the “gear” we acquired to care for our children – strollers, car seats, cribs, and of course…the diaper bag. We both were frustrated in our quest to find a diaper bag that inspired us. Neither of us wanted to carry mom’s flowery diaper bag, but our search for something masculine and functional was futile. So, as dads are known to do, we decided to fix the problem and set out to design some “dad gear.” So we faked up some credentials and went to a baby products trade show under the disguise of starting a dad-centric retail store and went to look at goods to “stock” our store. As we talked with the sales people and looked at what the market had for dads, we were convinced we needed to start the brand. Since that day, we’ve been helping dads have their own style a bag at a time for the last decade.
Why do you think so many companies have ignored dads when it comes to parenting products?
Mothers have always been seen as the primary caregiver when it comes to raising children and, in many ways, they still are considered by most to be the “primary parent.” The vast majority of products, therefore, are designed to please moms not dads. I think companies see moms as their main customer base and focus their product offerings toward them. However to evolution’s credit, dads are getting more credit in the parenting department.
How has the involvement of dads changed when it comes to parenting, since you started Dad Gear?
Well, we think that dads have been getting more involved for some time now which is why we started DadGear in the first place. I would say that, from our perspective, that trend has continued to grow over the past decade since we founded DadGear. We are seeing and hearing about more stay-at-home dads as traditional roles reverse themselves in some homes. Also the volume of “bumbling” idiot dads portrayed in the media is decreasing. In another 10 years the stereotype ought to be completely gone… hopefully.
How did the market react when you introduced your first diaper bag for dads?
We had mixed reactions initially. Some were amazed that we made a better diaper bag right off the bat. They were thrilled that we had redefined what a diaper bag could be and how it could function. Another segment, however, still looked at dads as “second-class citizens” when it came to parenting. We would hear comments like “oh, it’s a daddy diaper bag. How cute.” Overall, though, we had a tremendous response from many once they realized we were actually selling diaper bags. One of our main design elements was that we didn’t want any of our bags to actually look like a diaper bag. We felt that even a black, traditional, diaper bag was still not a bag we wanted to carry. So we designed our bags to be something that we, and dads like us, would be proud to carry.
What should every dad look for when it comes to getting a diaper bag?
Functionality, durability and style. Their diaper bag should not just be a big black hole where stuff disappears forever. A diaper bag should have exactly what you need and work with you to better care for your child. You should also look for a diaper bag that has high-quality construction. Diaper bags take a beating and you want a bag that is made to take the abuse and won’t fall apart at the seams. Finally, but not at all least important, is style. Sure, as loving and caring fathers, we WILL carry a feminine, frilly diaper bag, but we shouldn’t have to and more importantly we DON’T WANT to. And now that dad diaper bags are available, dads can, and should, choose a diaper bag of their own that represents their style - a style they can be proud of.
What makes DadGear Special?
We are dads designing products for dads. We lived through the same problems that we eventually solved. This is not some get-rich-quick scheme, this is 2 dads being passionate about solving a problem for other dads and working hard every day toward achieving that goal. We are always improving our products and we listen to our customers. Also we support the US economy as all of our bags are made in the US right in our home state of Colorado. We are proud to support Colorado and work hard to procure all goods as locally as possible. Finally we make high quality products. Again we could make our bags cheaper, but we want people to get bags that last. That is important to us and we make it a core part of our mission.
Any handy tips on things every dad should keep in his diaper bag?
Wipes - a must for every outing. Don’t run out.A change of clothes - you never know when you will need it, but you WILL need it. You will be happy that you have one.Make sure you have enough diapers. That’s a no-brainer but if you run out you will be seriously bummed.Snacks and fluids - whether it’s milk, a special formula, water or juice, having the right beverage and snacks you know your child will eat can make the difference between avoiding an issue or a complete melt-down.
What is the most popular DadGear Diaper bag?
Right now, our backpacks are edging out the others as the most-frequently purchased. Although, now that fall is upon us, we are seeing more and more Diaper Vest and Cargo Jacket sales.
What’s next for DadGear?
We have a cool idea that we’ve had on the back burner for about 6 years, We hope launch it by early 2015! I wish we could tell, but if we told you, this would be the last podcast.
What would you say to any dad thinking about turning his passion for parenting into a business?
First and foremost, tell lots of people about your idea. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it helps. Secondly, understand the dynamics of retail pricing and price points. Finally, make sure you don’t need any sleep. Having newborns and staring a business at the same time requires robot like work ethic. Lucky both of us are second generation cyborgs, so that worked out just fine for us.
This interview is part of our ongoing series with leaders from companies involved in parenting products or issues. No goods or services were exchanged. Who would you like to hear from? Leave a suggestion in the comments below.
See more of our other interviews here.
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