May 11, 2006

With A Booth Sporting Several Pieces Of Flair, It's Boon Time at JPMA

boon_booth.jpg

The little frog has grown into a great big prince of a baby gear company. the parent-company Boon showed up at JPMA last year with a single product, the Frog Pod, which scooped up the Innovation Award. This year, they're back with half a dozen new products--and a massive, shiny, water-filled booth. And one thing's for sure, the bathroom was definitely too small to contain all of Boon designer Rebecca Finell's ambitious ideas.

First things first, though: the booth. I've gotta guess that Finell's previous experience working for an exhibition design firm and co-founder/CEO Ryan Fernandez' career at Intel helped develop a fine appreciation of boothitecture, because the place was gigantic and slick. They're clearly also demonstrating rule #1 or 2 of a startup: don't undercapitalize. I hope that kind of brand presence and momentum helps open retail shelf and floor space for their products.

Boon's not finished with your bathroom, by the way. They recently launched Flo, a simple clip-on stapler-looking gadget that turns a bathtub faucet into a gentle, arcing waterfall. This makes shampooing easier--if there's one thing the kid hates, it's rinsing her hair--and it also has a bubble bath dispenser. Smart, and cheap, at $14.99.

boon_flair_high_chair.jpgBut the big buzz was around Flair, a sweet-looking molded plastic high chair, which is just visible in the corner of the booth above. The chair itself, molded plastic the color of Baskin Robbins' daquiri ice ice cream, has a curvy seamless seat (with removable pad, tray, leg brace, and five-point harness) that resembles the classic 60's modernist designs of Finland's Yrj Kukkapuro [and no, I did not make that up].

But the Flair also has a pneumatic base that raises and lowers like a barber chair, and there are hidden, lockable casters underneath it so you can roll it around. It's a compelling blend of modernism and traditional high chair design, hopefully just enough to help some more timid folk overcome any lingering modernophobia.

Somehow, according to the press kit, they're getting one version into stores for only $199, though there's also an "elite model" which'll retail for a more understandable $399. Considering the Nest high chair, which the Flair seems designed against, sells for $575, that's still pretty impressive. I'll post some better pictures when they're available.

Boon also displayed a couple of other interesting products, but I'll put them in another post since they're not even remotely visible in the picture above. Stay tuned.

Boon [booninc.com]

7 Comments

I just saw the Boon frog and potty seat at Target the other day. They're doing something right.

i know, target is where we bought our frog pod. BUT it keeps falling off the wall when we put the toys in. yes, we followed the instructions and waited extra time before attaching the frog + scoop. any help out there? [i really don't want to drill into the wall]

Contact the manufacturer for another set of adhesive pads and give it another try. If you get the wall surface REALLY clean with the cleaning pads that they provide it should stick. Ours has been up for about 6 months now (on ceramic tile), but I really cleaned the heck out of the wall first with rubbing alcohol.

Same problem with the Frog, cool product but needs a little help

I can *just barely* see the new high chair in the photo. Is there any chance you have a better photo showing the whole thing?

High chair with a base like that will cause parents to trip, which in turn will cause company to pull these off the market. That's my prediction, anyway, based on some second-hand experience. Either that or the base will be too small & it won't stand up - can't really have it both ways. Too bad - it looks nice.

The Nest has one-up on the base, as its base is wider and flatter, and less of a tripping hazard. But they have one-upped the Nest by providing a footrest, which is the most serious drawback of the Nest (apart from the price).

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