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Trends | Ali's A-List | giggle Blogs

Archive: Trends

April 21, 2011

giggle unveils the Bugaboo Donkey!

giggle unveils the Bugaboo Donkey

Thanks to all of our friends – and Bugaboo Donkey enthusiasts – for joining giggle Soho for our March 31st unveiling! Good times were had by all. (You can catch what you missed by checking out our Facebook page, where we’ll be uploading videos to share some of the evening’s highlights.)

And with all the news coverage on the Donkey about whether it’s an over-the-top or just right solution for the person looking for a premium, family option, I figured I should share why we at giggle are excited about the Donkey debut (and no, not dissimilar to most, it’s not because we love the name).

First, the Donkey is Bugaboo’s much-anticipated (and long awaited) two-kid solution. And in very Bugaboo style, it’s packed with innovation. The first stroller to ever “flex” between one and two kids as a single to a side-by-side double only when you need it, hats off to Bugaboo for continuing to change the stroller category.

Kelly Rutherford, Ali Wing

And while it’s clearly not for everyone given its premium price point, let me remind folks why Bugaboo has been able to reinvent (more than once) the US stroller market and continued to lead the premium stroller category for almost a decade now. Without a doubt they make stylish strollers. But it’s their best-of-class maneuverability and life-time quality that ensure their popularity well beyond their fashion.


So kudos to smart innovation, and for shaking the market up again Bugaboo. And for those of you that decide to wait for a single-to-two-child-solution at an easier-on-the-wallet price point, remember to thank Bugaboo a few years from now for making the market build a new mouse trap.

March 30, 2011

An A-List Interview: Aemout Dijkstra-Hellinga

This week, we’re excited to help launch a brand new stroller from Bugaboo: the widely anticipated Bugaboo Donkey. And this week’s A-List interview lets you meet the man behind this fabulous new double stroller, Aemout Dijkstra-Hellinga.

Aemout’s commitment to functional design, inherent sense of minimalism, and fascination with “street life” all match my personal passion. I can’t help but wonder what we might come up with if we could hit the streets of a foreign city together. Another thing we share is a love of walking in nature; I hope next time Aemout is in NYC, he’s up for a hike in the Catskills Mountains!

Ali Wing: What is your motto?
Aemout Dijkstra-Hellinga: Don’t do anything today that will harm tomorrow.

AW: What inspires you?
AD: Everyday life. People on the street. My own children. And of course products that are smart, exciting and no-nonsense.

AW: Who is your hero?
AD: My childhood hero was Thomas Muster, a very persistent and hard working tennis player. Nowadays, I don’t have a true hero but I admire people for their ideas or accomplishments, people like Eckart Wintzen (management guru), Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia), Salvador Dalí (famous Spanish painter) or Max Barenbrug (co-founder of Bugaboo)

AW: What are you currently reading?
AD: Currently I’m reading some books about leadership and team building to gain more knowledge for my new role as creative design director at Bugaboo. For pleasure, I just finished a book about the history of Logic and this week I’ll start with a book from the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, called “Kafka on the shore”.

AW: What’s your favorite city/location/destination?
AD: I love to cycle or walk in nature. Only 15 minutes away from my house is a beautiful area where we often go for hikes and enjoy one of the biggest nature area in the Netherlands. I also really like the relaxed atmosphere and nice weather in Los Angeles, when visiting our American office.

AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre?
AD: People say I have quite a strange musical interest. If you look at my music collection, you will find anything from classical music up to really hardcore house music. It all depends on the mood I’m in. I appreciate all good music, and there is a lot of it.

AW: What is the favorite baby gift you received?
AD: My own designed customized Delft Blue Bugaboo stroller. Besides that I really like the Bilibo, it’s a hollow, half ball on which a child can play.

AW: What is the baby product you can’t/couldn’t live without?
AD: You mean beside my Bugaboo Donkey? We try to minimize the amount of stuff we need for ourselves and our children. When going on biking holiday with the whole family for instance, we can almost take nothing with us. So with a little imagination and improvisation, we could do with almost anything.

And please complete the following:

…make(s) me laugh.
My daughter and son make(s) me laugh all the time.

My proudest moment in parenting was…
There are many moments I am so proud and amazed of what my daughter (2 years) and son (10 months) learn and can do: the first smile, the first time they call me daddy, the first steps, the first time they start up a game on my phone by themselves, the first time my daughter can adjust the height of the stroller handlebar. They all sound really cliché, but they are cliché for a reason.

March 8, 2011

Orange Alert

In their article “Orange Crush,” the Wall Street Journal has proclaimed orange “the color of the moment.” I have to admit, I’ve had an orange crush of my own for years now — which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever noticed the preponderance of orange in our stores and on our website.

Although it’s a trend among the grownup set — it was hot on the spring runways and Jennifer Hudson made a big splash for her vibrant orange Oscar dress — it’s been a hot color for babies and kids for a few years now. What’s not to love? It’s fun, vibrant, and completely gender neutral. So is this one instance where the kids are on the cutting edge and the adults are just now catching up?

March 4, 2011

Gadgets: Useful Vs. Over the Top

I like to think of myself as pretty into innovation.  And although I’m a long way from “bleeding edge,” I typically embrace technology pretty quickly. I don’t just mean in my personal life, but also in the products we choose for giggle’s smart, busy parents who rely on innovation to make multi-tasking easier.

A few of my favorite gadgets that we sell at giggle include:

  • The BabyCook, a 3-in-1 appliance that cooks, purees and reheats so you can easily whip up fresh baby food.
  • The Flip, an awesome little digital video camera that fits in your pocket and starts filming at the push of a button.
  • The Itzbeen Baby Timer, which helps sleep-deprived parents remember when their baby last ate, slept, and has his or her diaper changed.

But with more and more parenting products that require programming and plugging in, sometimes I find myself wondering if enough is enough.  Here are a few of the products that fall in the “Do we really need this?” camp:

  • The Ok to Wake! Alarm lets kids know whether they can get out of bed by flashing a “green for go” light, with a yellow light that lets them know it’s still too early. Maybe if your child’s room is windowless…
  • WhyCry Baby Crying Analyzer is designed to tell you what kind of sound your baby is making so that you know how best to respond (also known as “parenting”).
  • Knee Pads for Crawlers.  While not technological, this “innovation” still makes the list. We adults may not like to crawl, but for babies crawling is a key developmental stage – and their built for it!

Just like every other part of parenting, it’s all a matter of personal style. But you certainly don’t need all that extra “stuff.” Before you buy, ask yourself: does this actually make my job easier? Or is it just another gadget?

Read more…
February 23, 2011

Family Game Night: Back to the Classics

Now that my son’s in third grade – well past the baby stage – my husband and I recently decided to test out a family game night. We’ve been playing games as a family for years, but we’ve never had a dedicated game night. And now that our son’s at an age where his skills and abilities demand more challenging games, the games are a lot more fun for us!

I’m finding the things that are big hits around our house are the classics: those games that everyone remembers playing as a kid. Each one of these games is great not only for together time, but for learning. Plus, they’re just good, cheap family entertainment!

  • Dominoes is making a big comeback in our house. It’s the perfect complement to times-table exercises for a gradeschool-aged child.
  • Although it can run a little long sometimes, Monopoly is a great way to teach your child about money, especially if you let him or her play the banker.
  • Charades is all about silly fun, but it’s also proven to develop children’s creativity and communication skills.

Our favorite new game, BananaGrams, has only been around since 2006 but feels like a classic already. Essentially, it’s like a freeform version of Scrabble without the board or the points. The banana-shaped bag of tiles is perfect for bringing along with you, and it’s great for reinforcing those spelling lessons!

February 7, 2011

An A-List Interview: Monte Designs

So far, I’ve only been lucky enough to meet Ralph Montemurro as the face of Monte, one of my favorite companies for family-friendly furnishings. But after doing their interview, I definitely have to get to Canada and meet Ralph’s better half, Michelle, and the kids who inspire their wonderful designs.  I share their love of practical, durable, high-quality yet simple designs.  And I imagine that combining an evening of Montemurro charades with the dance parties that keep my husband and me in stitches at our house could be quite an event!

Ali Wing: What is your motto?
Ralph Montemurro: The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you’d have done unto you.”

AW: What inspires you?
RM: So many things… we are inspired by products that are extremely well-built, stand the test of time, and have attention to detail, yet still very simple.  Some examples of products are chairs made by Emeco, a Brooks leather bike seat, or a traditional espresso maker.

Beautiful architecture and well-designed everyday objects (like the items found in Phaidon’s Design Classics Books) are always an inspiration …they challenge us to make an average object better.
Also, since we are in the juvenile furniture industry, our 4 kids (ages 1 to 9) are always an inspiration because we’re designing with them in mind.

AW: What color are you loving right now?
RM: Grey, with a small hit of a bright color.

AW: What are you currently reading?
Ralph: I’m a magazine junkie…I subscribe to too many (from Wallpaper to Fortune)
Michelle: The Book of James and lots of parenting books!

AW: What is your favorite city/location/destination?
RM: NYC and anywhere in Italy (we both speak Italian, and love any opportunity to enjoy our roots), but we are also itching to return to Spain, as there are some great designers coming out of Spain right now.

AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre?
Ralph: Classic rock…there is always a Neil Young or Springsteen song a click away.  There are also some great bands coming out of Brooklyn right now, like Vampire Weekend.
Michelle: I’m subjected to whatever Ralph is listening to, and he likes it loud!

AW: What was your most favorite baby gift?
RM: Books…they are such a wonderful way to spend quality time with little ones while encouraging learning.

AW: What is your proudest parenting moment?
Ralph: Seeing their school report cards- they definitely take after Michelle in that department.
Michelle: When our kids make the right choices…from helping a sibling, to giving away his/her last cookie, to telling the truth…these are moments I cherish.

AW: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
RM: Definitely having children. But on a business level, it would have to be our decision to keep our products made here in our own factory …that decision has defined our standard for quality, helped define our brand, and affected our overall success.

And please complete the following:

…make(s) me laugh.
Playing charades with our kids…the objects they come up with are priceless.  Last week, our 5 year old just stood still for several minutes while we tried to guess what he was — he was trying to be a cheese stick!! We also love the humor on the show The Office.

November 30, 2010

Pint-Sized DIY Projects

Who doesn’t enjoy getting creative every now and then? Taking a cue from the grown-ups and their love of DIY projects, our little ones are getting in on DIY fever with “design-your-own” kits that are the kids’ products du jour.  Not only do they promote creativity, they’re a great way to help kids express themselves — plus they’re just lots of fun.
Here are just a few of my favorite projects that let kids DIY their hearts out:
Design your own tees: Draw a picture, send it off, then get your own piece of wearable art back in the mail.

Design your own backpack: A see-through window lets kids display their artwork wherever they go.

Design your own globe: Kids assemble it then color it in themselves with crayons, markers or colored pencils.

November 3, 2010

An A-List Interview: J Schatz

A baby bird - one of Schatz's inspirations from nature.

This week, we’re getting a glimpse into the world of Jim Schatz and the inspiration behind his company’s beautiful nightlights and banks. It turns out that Jim and I share our favorite destination spot in Maui, a place I love so much my husband and I got married there. (And we love humpback whale season, too!) Now I will forever look at my son’s blue Egg Lamp with a connection to Maui and the beautiful, calming blue waters that just may have been part of Jim’s inspiration.

A beautiful ocean sunset.

Ali Wing: What is your motto?
Jim Schatz:
Create moments of wonder everyday.  This is what you will find on our studio wall “We are here as a team to create moments of wonder through the creative and innovative use of the materials at hand.”
AW: What inspires you?
Laughter, my partner Tom & our dachshund Emma, family & friends, birds — especially the chickadees, ocean sunsets, nature hikes, light-dappled trees, flowers — especially woodland and tropical, chipmunks, free association, most WFMU dj’s, whales, and riding bike down my road in the morning as the sun burns off the night fog rising from the meadow.
AW: What color are you loving right now?
Cobalt blue, a color that is brilliantly reflected in the creek at my home each evening right before darkness descends.  The dark tidepool blue we use on our products has the same richness and intensity.
AW: What are you currently reading?
Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man, Thoreau’s Walden, Mark Twain’s Mississippi Writings and David Allen Sibley’s Guide to Trees.
AW: What is your favorite city/location/destination?
Maui, hands-down.  March is the perfect time to visit because it is the height of the humpback whale’s yearly return.  You can sit on the beach and watch the mom’s with their newborns — simply breathtaking and incredible.

The artist and his partner, Tom.

 AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre? 
Phillip Glass.  His composition for the album Uakti done with the Brazilian group of the same name is transcendent.
AW: What is your most favorite baby gift to give?
Of course it is the Star Egg Nightlight.  When my nephew Ben was a baby I was developing the nightlight so he was one of the first babies to grow up with it.  It quickly became a comforting part of his nightly bedtime routine.  First it was story time and then it was time to turn on the stars and go to sleep.
AW:  What is your fondest childhood memory?
1975, a farm in North Dakota.  It is summer and the hot sun is making the penny hot against the railroad track.  You put your ear to the track and listen hard because you know it will be coming soon.  And then you hear the low rumble and rattle of the Burlington Northern as it nears.  You start running fast in the field alongside the track as the train nears pumping your arm in the air as the conductor blows his horn loudly before coming through the intersection and flattening your penny. And after you search in the dirt by the track to find your newly flattened penny, planning to return later to repeat again and again.
AW: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Becoming an artist.  Being able to wake up each day and create work that is appreciated and loved by my contemporaries is fantastic.  It is life affirming, challenging and never dull. 
And please complete the following:
…make(s) me laugh.
Sparkles and Stubs, my woodland chipmunk friends…make me laugh.


October 26, 2010

Singing the Blues

When it comes to juvenile products, blue is definitely the new black.  It’s everywhere!  From classic navy to midnight blue to awesome marine colors, there are blues for everyone this season.  Some of my favorites include our exclusive blue Bugaboo Cameleon (shown below), Storksac’s metallic blue Tania Tote, and DwellStudio’s navy Hudson tote.

And there are more to come! Some fabulous finds that aren’t on the market yet but will be here in 2011 include Navy Chicks Crib Bedding from Egg by Susan Lazaar, Jonathan Adler’s awesome nautical striped rugs, and Orla Kiely’s heavenly new blue meets chocolate brown patterns.
Stay tuned for more shades of blue in the new year!

September 26, 2010

Buyer Beware: Consumers Need to Do Their Homework

Last week’s NY Post unveiled the Babies-R-Us launch of the UK Brand Mamas & Pappas stroller called the “Urbo” –  a stroller that we at giggle reviewed carefully and agree has a nice sense of style.  However, the Urbo is definitely not 5 pounds lighter than the Bugaboo Bee as stated in the article.  In fact, weighing in at 19.8 pounds, both strollers are virtually identical weights.  Moreover, both strollers are equally compact, with a total width measuring in at slightly under 21 inches for both.  In other words, the Urbo stroller was built to compete head-on with the Bugaboo Bee closely if not exactly mimicking its dimensions. 

Often imitated, the Bugaboo Bee sets the standard for urban strolling.

So what’s the difference between the two?  Well, today, you pay a premium of about $100-$150 (depending upon accessories) for Bugaboo’s proven track record of amazing maneuverability and performance.  Despite being known to many consumers for its design and style, anyone in the industry knows that Bugaboo’s true innovation to the juvenile stroller market was an entirely new standard of maneuverability and defect-free performance.  The compliment that the Urbo makes to Bugaboo, like many stroller brands since Bugaboo’s debut, is the quest to achieve the same level of performance that Bugaboo set as a new standard. Time and usage will be that test.  The other difference is styling.  And of course, we all agree, that’s simply a matter of personal taste. 

So, for a fully-loaded, seat-reversing, urban-styled, single-child stroller that you can also use with your car seat and that is still compact and relatively lightweight, Urbo is the latest in the growing number of new competitors to the Bee.  Other than some conflicting data on the maximum weight of a child that each stroller is designed to accommodate, the key difference today is style and price; the rest will be proven with use over time. 

There are few companies that LOVE new, competitive products more than giggle. Why? Our entire reason for being is to review the market for only the “best of” solutions for every parenting need. The more competitive the market, the better the standard for every “best” that we find for our customers.

So cheers to all the competition in urban strolling, but we also encourage today’s educated consumers to always make sure and double check the facts!