Designer of the Week - Lola & Ben

Over the past couple of years, with the help of {KID} independent, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting all sorts of creative folk with innovation, imagination and passion in their hearts. Today I’d like to introduce a design duo from New Zealand who share this very ethos, Sigi and Trina from Lola & Ben.

Lola & Ben 4 Seasons in 1 Bag - Organic Baby Sleeping Bag

The Product Review

In review today we have the Lola & Ben 4 Seasons in 1 Bag. My favourite feature of the bag is the fact that it is made from New Zealand Merino and GOTS certified organic cotton.

I engaged the assistance of Mum of three, Tanika and her twins, Ollie and Sarah, for today’s review. Tanika says, “With the increased use of organic cottons and beautiful materials such as merino over the past few years, I decided early on that I would invest in these fabrics whenever possible for my twins. My older kids both struggle with eczema, so I’m all about the natural fabrics.”

The concept behind the 4 Seasons in 1 Bag is to provide a complete sleeping solution for your child (from birth – two years) that can take you through the seasons.

Tanika says, “The bag looks great, and the inner liner is very soft and cosy. I wish I could crawl in there for MY afternoon nap! Logistically it “sleeps well” and stays in place which is an excellent safety feature. The clips are good quality and are adjustable, which I like as we’re a family of giants!”

The Verdict… Eco-style meets design innovation, a practical solution for Mums and Bubs.

The Indie Label

Lola & Ben was launched in 2005 after Sigi and Trina’s first children were born (2 months apart). Trina explains, “Seeing big functionality flaws in the sleeping bags we were using, we decided to design and manufacture our own baby sleeping bag, having absolutely no idea how challenging that would be, but also how rewarding in our strive for perfection.”

“Neither of us wanted to go back to work full time so we decided to start our own company using our skills in business, finance and science and learning a heap along the way.”

They chose the name Lola & Ben to honour their little inspirations, Sigi’s daughter Lola and Trina’s son Ben. Trina says, “We wanted a name that was universally accepted (as we were always keen on exporting), as well as cute and timeless.”

The Creative Mind

I was particularly drawn to the innovative design of the 4 Seasons in 1 Bag, so I asked Trina to explain her design process.

“We had the idea of a merino liner that can be detached so there would be no need to buy a winter and a summer sleeping bag. We also wanted something that would be adaptable up to 2+ years of age.”

“Washing a cotton and merino sleeping bag can difficult due to their different washing requirements. Merino should only be washed with wool detergent and cotton sometimes needs a soak. We had found when using traditional blended bags that we ended up with very stained cotton, that couldn’t be soaked, and disintegrating merino as we sometimes did wash the sleeping bag with normal detergent. The 4 Seasons in 1 Bag liner is detachable to avoid this problem.”

“Along with our own experiences, we surveyed our customers to find out what they wanted in a sleeping bag, and we had lots of feedback from customers and maternity professionals and incorporated this into the design. We made lots of prototypes and tested them on our own children until we were happy with the final design.”

The Whimsical Spirit

Here’s a few interesting facts about Sigi and Trina:

Sigi is a Mum to one daughter (7) and two sons (5 and 17mths). She loves gardening (and doing fancy things with the produce), reading, a good glass of wine (or two), and keeping in touch with friends and family in Europe.

Trina is a Mum to one son (7) and one daughter (4). She also likes to garden (mainly vegetables), and loves her little herd of cows & calves which the children have given quirky names. She likes to play tennis socially most weeks, although she says, “I’m not really a social player, if you know what I mean!”

The Handmade Collection

You can find the Lola & Ben 4 Seasons in 1 Bag online from $179NZD, with free worldwide delivery until the end of 2012. You can also join Lola & Ben on Facebook to keep up with the latest news.

Lola & Ben 4 Seasons in 1 Bag - Organic Baby Sleeping Bag

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