In case you havent heard, there’s a new buggy in town that’s been receiving a lot of buzz across the stroller scene: the Roddler! The Roddler is a unique and creative buggy whose designs derive from classic automobile Hot Rods; hence its name Roddler. With the purpose of standing out from the “traditional” look of strollers, the Roddler adds unprecedented style to the process of transporting the kiddies around!
So when Kid Kustoms contacted me with their latest press release, I definitely wanted to learn more about the Roddler. So I got in touch with Jamie Coblentz (one of the guys behind Kid Kustoms) and he agreed to do an interview here on Mommy Daddy Blog! It was definitely interesting to learn the history, passions, and goals behind Kid Kustoms and the Roddler! Enjoy!
How did Kid Kustoms first get started, and how did the idea for the Roddler first come about?
Joe and I have known each other for upwards of a decade and have worked on several high profile branding projects before. Joe and Iacono Designs had become a household name in the automotive industry, and I started a children’s apparel company [Pinstripe Prep] that I was developing into a lifestyle brand, so a natural product extension was the best avenue. That’s how Kid Kustoms was conceived. Wildly enough, it started off as “the Baby Bomber”. We thought we would soften the name a little when we learned that we were actually going to have to sell the product through conventional juvenile product stores…plus given its clear Hot Rod roots and the fact Bush was all over the middle-east, politically speaking it was a safe bet to opt for the Roddler.
Oddly enough, Montreal, however small and remote it is, its home to Dorel, and thus a large piece of the juvenile product business. Everyone is also 2 degrees of separation removed, so serendipitous as it be, one round of Jewish geography got me the ear of the CEO. I think I sold him on my passion so they signed NDA and executives came right over. Bear in mind, none of us have kids or had even pushed a stroller before the Roddler. His people were floored at the innovation and convinced me to beg and plead to show administrators to get into ABC Kids despite the fact we had less than a month to create our show worthy prototypes. Since you already know the end of the story, it was the most incredible experience to have a product that you pour your soul into be so well received, best yet beating them all at their own game. Having been the left hand to the owner of American apparel [I say that only because he’s a righty and well if you know him, trust me you’ll understand] I was part and privy to the madness. He’s a global icon and marketing genius, and I am proud to say that despite his eccentricity, he was an incredible mentor. Since the show, we have batten down the hatches and have a clear vision on how we intend on being a force to be reckoned with. We have even been consulting for some of the industry leading companies so we can help to rent our passion to beautify the conventional product offerings before we become one. When else can you harness the 3 young creative minds and industry pioneers and have them make consumer products for kids their passion. That is the formula for beautiful things to come.
A few Roddlers basking in the sun.
Typically how long does it take to build one Roddler? What all has to go into it?
With all of the parts on hand, we can make finish 5 or more Roddlers a day. Thankfully in California we have pretty scalable labour and accessible resources…and sun, so it’s a great place to be. Our strollers are really made the same way a car is only without the production line. So, in essence it’s the same platform as buying a custom Hot Rod for your kids. The product development takes all of the effort, beyond that its inventory management, but each Roddler has a lot of parts to keep track of. There are 3 stages of the production line; assembly, upholstery and technology. Beyond that its all the regular Quality Control, logistics and a lot of love. We all love what we are doing here and the customers are showing their love in return.
A Roddler in bare metal.
What features and accessories come along with each Roddler?
Well, the signature edition is entry model and it removes all levels of customization. The Classic edition is where the fun begins. You start the process with the color options and then move on the upholstery choice which offers suede or textured inserts. Then on to the technology, which incorporates products that were made for us by Harman/Kardon, Motorola, Cat Eye and a slew of cosmetic details. You can select from your hardware finish, accessories, tires, rims, we even have custom license plates or embroideries if you want them. Oh, and the fenders are interchangeable, so you can have tear drop, or the traditional ’59 with functioning brake lights. If the price is really less the concern, we offer the Kustom edition that really gives the customer a blank canvas. It’s a lot of fun to conceive your own model, I get excited thinking about it. I don’t even have someone to push around but I love helping the customers choose their colors.
Roddlers come in a variety of colors.
Has the Roddler been sought after by any celebrities?
We are certainly working our way through the professional sports figures and are working through Hollywood scene. Lebron James’ Roddler took an award at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, CA. For those of you who don’t know, that’s the industries largest Hot Rod convention. That’s unheard of, it’s a stroller. We have one coming out for Carmelo Anthony now. I actually prefer the athletes to celebs, they are so much more down to earth and there’s never a camera around. Give it a few weeks till it heats up in Los Angeles and I’m sure we will be hard to miss.
A LeBron James Roddler.
What’s D.A.W.S. (Dads Against Wack Strollers) all about?
I was sifting through pages and pages online trying to educate myself on the competition past and present, and it was clear we were the future. We really just wanted to express our disapproval for the rest of the offerings out there and give some reason for the prospective consumers to embrace our message and lend their voice to incite change. Every stroller on the market seems to be with the champagne colored, minivan driving soccer mom in mind. We are targeting the guys who are looking to involved in their children’s life, but don’t want to sacrifice their manhood in the process. The trend is evident, men are playing an active roll in parenting these days and we know they are not wearing froufy diaper dags either, so on came the slews of daddy centric products. There is nothing more relevant to a stylish man than a suitable set of wheels and it seems that only a fraction of our admirers can afford to be our consumers. So while we are in the process of developing something more, well economical and scalable in production, we wanted to offer the chance for everyone who has given their kudos to win one.
What kind of future endeavors does Kid Kustoms have planned for the Roddler?
We have lots of fun things in store, in fact most people don’t know but we are a design and consulting company with a pretty incredible list of clients from apparel to automotive. Needless to say, some of the other juvenile products companies are also starting to surface with questions. In terms of Kid Kustoms, we really want to round out our stroller offerings; in fact, I have an umbrella stroller in the works that the rest of the R&D guys will smack themselves again. We also have something for the parents. That should be out soon. It is really insane that I can’t wait till Jason builds me one. I wish I could give you more information, but I will promise to leak it here first. I think that since the last ABC Kids show we have opened a few eyes. Not having kids really helps you think about the parenting products from a different perspective.