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The One Product For Kids That Needed Innovation

May 17, 2019

The One Product For Kids That Needed Innovation

I’ve had several people ask me WHY I chose to build as many “long-term” features into my products. I even had one potential distributor tell me that I built “too much” quality into the backpacks, and I would have a hard time getting any store to ‘pick us up.’  (more on that at the end of this blog.)

Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked about the way our animal backpacks are made:

WHY did I make sure our animal backpacks are washable?

This one to me was a no-brainer.  If I was going to make cute and durable backpacks for toddlers and preschoolers, it absolutely, positively HAD to be washable. Including a ‘care bag’ with each backpack is our way of reminding our customers that yes, you CAN wash it over and over again! 

WHY did I want all the seams to be enclosed?

Zippers get stuck. In anything they possibly can. Even adults have this problem. I didn’t want the loose threads from the inside of our backpacks EVER getting stuck in our zippers. That’s reason #1.

Reason #2 is that the inside of all the pockets looks much better and will last much longer if it is completely lined and all the seams are covered. I wanted the backpacks to be something the child will use until he or she outgrows it. I didn’t want it to fall apart before then, not even close.

WHY did I choose a fabric that is so lightweight, it’s practically air?

These are little bodies. They don’t need to be carrying more than a few pounds anyway. Why make the backpack part of the load? Instead, I designed to fit the little body and not feel like anything was on the child’s back. They’re not only animal backpacks, but they’re also especially engineered and crafted for kids!

WHY the textured fabric on the shoulder straps?

Personally, I don’t like the horizontal straps across the chest of backpacks, especially on kids carry on backpacks. I wanted the straps to be adjustable and, once adjusted, stay in place on the child’s shoulders. The textured fabric keeps the shoulder straps from slipping. The straps simply stay in place better than if they didn’t have the textured back.

WHY did I spend the extra money to have Social Compliance Audits run on the factories we wanted to work with?  

This was something I actually did for ME more than for marketability.  I’ve always appreciated well-made, ethically-produced products. I support businesses that adhere to these ethics.

So, I wanted to do the same. Now, I’ve had several importers tell me that it was a waste of money. But you tell me, was it? I’m building this brand according to my personal values, and that is worth it to me. We’re not just passing off our kids things for them to carry-- we’re passing off a world too.

WHY do we use an independent Quality Assurance (QA) company instead of the in-house QA our factory provides?  

I trust the integrity of the factories we’ve chosen. I know that they want to produce quality products and do what they can to make sure the products meet our quality standards.

However, collaboration makes everything better, so we hire a QA company to do an interim inspection (to catch issues before the products are packaged) and a final inspection. These inspections don’t catch every flaw, but we’ll catch more than other brands. And we want to be known for our well-made, quality kids backpacks.

WHY do I personally visit the factories when we place orders?

It’s important for me to have a direct relationship with my factories. We communicate through an awesome app called “WeChat” and when I need to visit, they are very accommodating. They appreciate seeing me visit since it shows them the respect they deserve. They ARE part of the team, and I like treating them that way.

Can a product ever be “too good”??

So now, let me address the “You made them ‘TOO good’” comment. I was really surprised when I heard this. This person has been a sales rep in the gift industry for many years, and I know that their knowledge and experience is valuable. When I met this person and visited their showroom during a market, I didn’t say much, just listened and watched how they worked. This agency represents several brands, and they’ve been doing this for many years.  

When they talked to potential wholesale buyers, I never heard them talk about what differentiates Animal Packers from other kids carry on backpacks. They lumped us in with the rest and expected sales to come only from how adorable the animal backpacks are. (In their defense, perhaps I didn’t emphasize this enough.)

So how DOES Animal Packers compare to a $19.99 kid’s backpack?

There is NO comparison. An Animal Packers backpack is a PREMIUM product that is also washable, lasts until the child outgrows it, and ethically made.

Here’s how we stack up to other Premium Brands:


 

Animal Packers

Other Brands at our same price point

Machine Washable

Care Bag included

Most are NOT machine washable, but of the few that are, none include a wash bag

High-Quality

Fully-lined, no raw seams, inspected by an independent QA company

Only a few other brands are fully-lined

Lightweight

All our styles weigh less than 8 oz

Only one other brand weighs 8 oz. or less, all others are more than 10 oz

BPA, PVC and Phthalate free

We test each order for compliance

Most are Phthalate-free, but most of the less expensive brands use PVC lined fabric

Ethically sourced

We've run social compliance audits on  our factory; we package in a reusable, colorable box

Only 2 other brands are ethically sourced, none include a reusable, colorable gift box




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