two things before I get to this, the most eye-popping ABC [Actually By China] strollers:
1) I really regret ordering my Moo MiniCards before I dropped this photo into the daddytypes flickr photo collection, and
2) An obligatory bow to the awesomeness of Metrodad: At the moment, this post from December is the top Google search result for "'bling bling' + stroller."
Now, down to biznazz. The Baby Bling Design Company introduced its first model, the Metamorphosis, at ABC Kids Expo. Really, in my mind, nothing conveys the impact of China-based stroller development on our economy, or even our culture. Would such a breakthrough as the Baby Bling ever ever be possible--and at a price within the reach of millions of American families--if it weren't for the Chinese R&D investment in this stroller platform? I mean, could the tuner market exist without Hondas and Mitsubishi Eclipses to trick out in the first place? Of course not.
The Baby Bling jogger is--or will be, anyway--available in eight interchangeable fabrics, including a couple of plaids; some slightly pschedelic patters that are not dissimilar from the endpapers found in certain higher end diaries; a really simple Hawaiian shirt print; a festive, blue-based cocktail of a print called "Caribbean Peacock"; leopard skin; and, as shown, black with orange flames.
The rhinestones are optional. The electronics package--including the under-carriage lights embedded in the frame, the speakers, and, obviously, the DVD player and mounting bracket, along with a wiring harness, cover, and battery pack--is in final prototype stage, and will be sold separately. Joggers and cross-trainers will want to note the extra weight of the electronics package and factor that into their workouts.
Pimps, meanwhile, will want to note the real possibility of chromes and lighted rims.
While we wait for word from Baby Bling Design HQ about unimportant details like price, availability, and celebrity giftings, I'll ask the big question on all our minds: now that China's onboard, are there any utopian visions from the Halfbakery we can't realize?
Previously: This Is How We Roll: In Chinese Strollers
Related: Pimp my stroller, strollers to match the 'Pimp My Ride' H2 [halfbakery.com]
10/1 update: Baby Bling CEO Michael Sallus responds and expands on the genesis of the pimped-out stroller concept below. It's a point I was trying to make with this whole post, but for clarification, Sallus points out that while the BB stroller chassis is a Chinese design, the rest of the stroller, including all the fabric and accessories, are made in California. Given the hotrodding tradition extending back to Von Dutch, Big Daddy Kane, and others, this is as it should be.
From Michael Sallus, President, Baby Bling Design Co:
Baby Bling Design Co. was created over a year and a half ago When I started looking at strollers and joggers as a whole. They all looked alike. "Boring" I also noticed that you very rarely saw dad's pushing their kids around in them. I was one of them. Not that I love my kids any less, but that all the strollers were uncomfortable for me, and also as I mentioned on Thursday there is some kind of attention grabber a man likes to have. That is when I started to create the unique fabric combinations and Bling. Last year while attending the ABC kids expo, I took a Valco Stroller and redesigned the fabrics on it. I put chrome wheels, lighting a DVD player and a speaker system on it. It was he hit of the show. at that show I was approached by two of the designers from Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and asked to design one to deliver on the show. In October of 2005 I flew back to Youngstown, OHIO and delivered a one of a kind stroller to the Novak family. After the show I contacted Valco to see if I could create a special edition series of jogger for them and they didn't want anything to do with me. after they found out that I had put one on TV, all they could say was how wonderful that Valco was featured on TV, not why or how it came to be that it was featured on TV.
That is when I decided to create my own jogger from the ground up. I wanted the jogger to be comfortable for tall adults like myself, I am 6' 5". The handle bar is adjustable to accommodate a tall person or a petite person. I wanted the fabrics to be fun for both adults and kids. I wanted amenities to be available for the units and I also wanted to make it large enough so the child would grow into it and not out of it in a couple of years. People are always looking for a place to change their babies diaper, so I designed the seating section to lay complexly flat to make it easier to change the baby. The seat and hood also are reversible, allowing the parent to see the child facing backwards. Our hood is a very important component. It is probably the only one on the market that will extend almost completely to the Childs feet protecting them from the suns rays.
A unique item I have done to our line is that Each Jogger has its own (CIN#). We call it our Chassis ID Number. Very similar to the Auto industry ( VIN#) Every owner of our chassis will have the capability of registering their chassis with us, so we can update them on any new fabric combinations or accessories available for the joggers, it also has an 800 number init so if it is lost or stolen, we can be contacted and will pay for the shipping of the jogger back to its rightful owner. similar to a Lojack system for vehicles.
I realized that everything was going to China, and figured out that If I could keep as much of the production her in the US and pay a little more that I would have a hit on my hands.
I contracted only the chassis to be produced in China, but kept my sewing portion of all the fabrics here in the California. Not only is it easier, but If I want to make changes at any time I can do it without waiting for production in China and the huge cost of shipping the samples here. Our jogger is all inter-changeable, meaning that you can change out the fabric portions of the joggers at any time. we give you eight color combinations to choose from, and you can buy the fabric upgrade packages whenever you would like to have a change of style.
There are going to be a number of accessories available for the joggers. You can buy a lighting kit (LED) for the chassis, speakers and amplifier for the hood to plug you MP3 or your I-Pod into. ( each hood has speaker pockets sewn in to them for the speakers to be installed into). There will be a electronics package available which comes with a small (12V 7hr lifespan) that fits into a pocket on the seat,and a wiring harness to plug up to 4 items into.
That package comes with a clamp on gooseneck and platform that can be attached to any chassis to hold a portable DVD player. The package also comes with a cell phone holder and PDA holder that clamps onto your handle bar. Sworovski crystal package by request only. we may be even adding wheel upgrade packages. Most importantly we have designed an accessory bag set that you can buy that has wheel bags to store your wheels after removing them from the chassis, and a master zipper bag to store your jogger in after it is folded to send through the airlines or cruise lines. This way the fabrics won't get damaged form the grease and grime.
The Flame jogger at the ABC kids show was the extreme. I know that most people will be buying the joggers by themselves, but if by chance anyone wants to accessorize their units they can do it with any on of the items listed above.
I hope this makes a little more sense.