May 16, 2007

How About "Pennsylvania Dutch"? Mia Moda Terra Gets The Thingamababy Workout

thingamababy_miamoda.jpg
image: thingamababy

Wow. Over on Thingamababy, AJ does a comprehensive review of the Mia Moda Terra stroller, the four-wheel model from the new "Euro-Style" stroller company I mentioned here a little while ago. In the intervening weeks, Mia Moda won the Innovation Award at the JPMA for their tiny-folding Cielo--oh, and AJ's investigative reporting uncovered a giant stroller counterfeiting ring based in China somewhere.

Seriously, Thingamababy's review is really well-done and well-illustrated. Even if you're not in the market for a goodlooking, affordable Eurostroller from Pennsylvania, AJ's loaded up enough gadgety goodness to keep you entertained.

Meanwhile, let me focus on two things which have nothing at all to do with the stroller's qualities or performance:

1] I had wondered how actually Euro Mia Moda's "Euro-designs" were.
I'd assumed that a small Pennsylvania-based start-up brand whose Google results turned up only a couple of individuals' names, which launched with a full range of stroller models, was gaining speed-to-market by leveraging design and engineering work done in China. That's what Uppababy has done, and Baby Planet, and Joovy, and several other companies who showed flashy new product at ABC Kids Expo last year. [Read the ABC, Actually By China post for more info on this trend.]

Now I'm not blind to the possible negative connotations some people might have of "designed in China," but let's get real: everything is already made in China, including Bugaboos, and it seems really old-fashioned, misguided, and even retrograde to be thinking of China as solely a source of cheap labor. If they can make the chips in Mac I'm typing on in China, they can build a freakin' stroller just fine.

Anyway, in the course of his review, AJ spoke with a Mia Moda rep, who said that, in fact, that "the company has designers based in London and Munich." Which is just vauge enough that we can both think we're right, so Yeah, Euro-design, and Yeah, Chinese rapid-prototyping-and engineering.

starvision_jogger.jpg
Starvision Ltd. lightweight jogger

1a] Chinese Stroller Bootlegging??
Now here's the real scoop: when AJ asked about the identical-looking model featured on a Taiwanese factory website, the PR replied that it "is actually 'a known Chinese bootlegging company of sorts,' and that Mia Moda is 'currently taking legal action against them for this.'" [ed note: emphasis added.] To which I say, "AWESOME! TELL ME MORE!"

I want to know more about this global stroller bootlegging network. There was a story from the early days of Bugaboo where the founders had to basically steal back the molds for their patented parts from some sketchy factory who was, I guess, either holding them hostage as part of negotiations, or was planning on blowing out production and flooding the market with slightly altered but essentially identical clones of the designs that someone had spent years perfecting.

the damon family with their bugabooWhatever the story is with the Mia Moda "bootlegs," I would love to buy drinks for any stroller industry veteran who cares to share some stories from the trenches. Anonymity for you and your brand is assured; I wonder if there's a movie idea here? I see Matt Damon as the idealistic, young assassin-turned-stroller executive. The Bugaboo Ultimatum: it's Syriana-meets-The Pacifier.

Anyway, tell your people to call my people. Moving on,

2] "Brady-Style": Tom, Tom, Tom, not Marcia, Marcia, Marcia
My reference to "Brady-style," was not actually to the wholesome, Brady Bunchian Americanness of Mia Moda's strollers--which we now know are as hot and Eurasian as Michelle Yeoh, duh!--but to their use of the same daddy model with two different women--and two different babies--on their website. See, because for a few weeks, there were rumors that NFL QB Tom Brady had gotten his two girlfriends pregnant within nine months, and rather than call the situation Irish Twins, a DT reader suggested calling them "Brady Twins," but then Gisele turned out not to be nearly as pregnant as some had said [not yet, anyway, there's still time, Tom!], and so we had to back to calling them Federline Twins, except that no one wants to think about that whole mess anymore, and--anyway, my bad.

Thingamababy Review: Mia Moda's Terra Stroller [thingamababy]
Starvision Limited, a subsidiary company of WinLex Company, Ltd. [globalsources.com]

Previously: Mia Moda Strollers Kickin' It Euro-Style? Or Brady-Style?
This is how we roll: In Chinese Strollers

2 Comments

I wanna like it, and I do like the size of the wheels (though I hate those hard tires), but it just looks Euro-Graco to me -- bulky and chunky. And the light-colored chassis? Bleah.

[hm? isn't the light-colored chassis the bootleg? -ed.]

Beware!!! Stroller arrived broken and unrepairable! I emailed company (supposed 1 year warranty), and was totally ignored!! This company cannot be trusted! How can you deny a single mother who works hard to buy nice things for her child only to be ripped off by a greedy company?

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