"The best way to complain is to make things", a wise man once said. From my knowledge it was a man called James Murphy, hence some refer to the quote as "The Other Murphy's Law" (Lol). It's so true, though. And it's actually the reason why we ended up creating KAOS. People we meet often ask how we managed to establish KAOS while working full time in other demanding jobs plus having kids, dogs and (trying to have) a life (it's just not so darn romantic and glamorous one, dah-haha). Anyways, I thought I'd share the short version of a long story. I'll start today, and finish up with the launch and running our webshop later on. Maybe it can inspire others or just be a good read.
It started when I got pregnant with my second child, Hennie. Like any other pregnant lady, I thought of things I would need for the baby and myself. Unlike a first pregnancy, being pregnant a second time you actually know what you'll be needing. I'm lucky to have got the All Time Sister-in law, and as Mette and I were discussing parenting and kids gear, there were so many things we wanted to improve. We started to ask questions like "how come we can't find a proper diaperbag that doesn't look like a toiletry? One that our men would actually like? How come most gear for kids and babies are either babyblue, covered in pink flowers or (God forbid) Disney's Cars?" It never appealed to us, the parents. How come practical stuff had to look like crap, or how come the things we liked visually didn't have a practical side?
Instead of complaining, we made long lists and started to sketch out things we'd like for ourselves, our kids and our homes. And we did nitty-gritty research for about a year (and we still research, everyday). What would make parenting a bit cooler, easier and more stylish? How hard could it be? As "The Other Murphy's Law" implies, the answer was to stop whining and actually try. Having so many things we wanted to change and do better, we had to start in the right end. The results from our research told us it would be smart to start with the diaperbag we'd always wanted (plus it would be the first product I needed myself after the baby came). Yeah, a diaperbag seemed like a great idea. But Oh Emm Gee! Did we start in a steep hill, haha! (You can read more about the process with the Ransel in this blog post). Bottom line: It was hard, yet the best start we could have ever got. It thought us everything we didn't know with regards to product design, prototyping, production, freights, logistics and so on. It sometimes felt like a rollercoaster never knowing where or how fast it would turn next. We figured that the best thing we could do was to put on a crash helmet and clung on. We still figure this is the best way if there are things we don't know to well;-)
Anyways. From the start, we knew we wanted to make more than just one product for the launch of KAOS. KAOS is a brand, and it was important for us to launch a little collection rather than one single product. We developed two other "wants and needs" we had defined during our research; the Nettsekk and the Samlesak. Having developed a complex, technical backpack already, these two were nothing but a walk in the park. And thank God for that ;-) It also belongs to the story that the most demanding process found time while I was in maternity leave. In between breast feeding and sleeping I had time to prepare everything we needed for launch.
3 months after the launch we've shipped half of our batch already. To know that our products are being used by people in UK, USA, Belgium, Sweden and Norway is very flattering and extremely motivating. It's so motivating that we have started developing our next product: The mini-Ransel. For mini-people going to kindergarden. It is undergoing prototyping as we speak, we're really looking forward to showing it to you. We also have another product under development, but that is such a great secret still, that nooo one can be told. Yet.
Looking back, it has been hard and hectic but most of all fun and a pleasure. Having a family-business is great cause we see each other more often. And we all know that women can multitask (for real). Being moms on top of that just make us extremely efficient when we have tasks to do. We don't think of it as a job, it's just a way of living. We manage to outsource the most demanding tasks to keep our hands free and minds focused on the marketing-bit, the products and the making of new ones. Life with kids is chaotic anyways, might as well top it with a hobby we love.
We've learned loads of new things, like the importance of protecting a brand and your design. We've met many new, interesting people, and that is a privilege. In the process of development there has been many ups and downs, and we are perfectly aware it will be more rollercoasters ahead as we develop new things. But hey, we have our helmets on and we're ready. Bottom line: we'll keep complaining so we can keep making things.
Thank you for having us <3
We'll tell you more about how we cope with having our full time jobs in advertising and the media-business along with handling the webshop and all that comes with it, next.