Down and Dirty at Ditka’s – Act 1_Scene 1

Joe and I have had some awesome adventures and made some pretty incredible memories on our long journey to creating the Roddler. We get nostalgic and reminisce all the time, but we thought it would be fun to paint you a picture of some of the places we’ve been and dreams we’ve realized on the way. We are still writing pages every day but wanted to share the story of what got us here and where we hope to be going. Stay tuned!

Chicago //  December 31st, 2006

Safe to say that most people are prepping for New Years eve but we’ve got an entirely different agenda. We’re plotting and scheming something ridiculous that little did we know would be the start of a 5 year roller-coaster ride. To give you some better framework,  Joe called me a few weeks prior with some batshit crazy concept to do some stroller to go with my kids clothing line. Given he’d just finished designing a murdered out pickup for Carrol Shelby and now he was all hyped up over this brainchild, I knew something special had to be in store. So, whatever, no harm in putting one foot in. A few hours later, he drops me a quick rendering that I would have never seen coming. I put it at the end of my line sheet and took with me to the Children’s Club apparel trade show in New York. All I could think of was, how the hell I am going to marry my preppy collection to this insane design that I can’t stop gawking at. After 3 days of explaining to buyers that its not a Batmobile and that I was serious it will one day roll, I went back home, hung up my tape measure and we started crunching some numbers.

That brings me to the real start of the story. Sharing a 6 year friendship and a love for the car culture, Joe and I had some really colorful conversations about what it would really take to make a business of this. I mean, neither of us had even so much as pushed a stroller before so it’s safe to say that blissful ignorance and blind ambition were 2 key motivators that set us on course. Anyways, its not hard to stroke some nice numbers out of the potential we had in the stroller business. It’s 2006, people are still leveraging themselves to buy everything with a price tag, it’s cool again to have kids and the housing market hadn’t burst yet, what could go wrong?? So, two months of lip flapping later it’s New Year’s day.  We spoke and emailed with some regularity, especially since we planted the seed in each others head for the baby bomber. In actuality, we hadn’t spent a minute together in the same room since he came to visit me in LA, maybe 2 years prior.  Joe’s out in Chicago visiting in-laws and it’s time to decide if we’re really going to do this.  I brave the holiday travel mayhem, booked a day ticket from Montreal and land at O’hare on what had to be the coldest day of the year. Bears are playing the Packers, it’s a real -30’C with 30 mile per hour winds and I have no idea where I’m going. Any time a Canadian leaves Canada, we dress for summer so all I know is that I need to be back at the airport in about 7 hours, hopefully without frostbite. Joe grabs his in-law’s car, comes and scoops me from the airport and we’re off. We had no where to go, but all we needed was somewhere quiet to put our heads together.  Like the two sport loving meat heads we are, where did we end up? Ditka’s on Michigan Ave. , naturally. We spent 6 hours sampling half of the menu while breaking down everything that would become the vision for the Roddler.  The Packers handed the Bears only their 3rd loss of the year in a wild game, and we were the only people that came out of there glowing. One mangled drink coaster and $50 in souvenirs later,  we were back out braving the cold and on the way to the airport. Chock full of inspiration and ready to change the face of juvenile products.  Little did we know, what we’d really be doing is setting ourselves up for the ride of a lifetime.

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