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How We Designed the Cubby Strollers

How We Designed the Cubby Strollers

Words Rebecca Ulanoff

At OXO we apply our “question everything” philosophy to every product we develop. When it came time to design our first line of baby strollers, we knew we wanted them to be lightweight and easy to fold, but also address pet peeves we experienced as parents and questions we had about strollers. We interviewed nearly 1,000 parents, both first-timers and old pros, met with baby store staff, and pored over hundreds of online reviews, to discover what people loved about their strollers—and what drove them nuts. Those pet peeves led to some of the most important and parent-friendly features in our brand new Cubby and Cubby+ Strollers.

TOT_Cubby Stroller_lineart

A few years ago, the office had a bit of a baby boom. Twenty-five babies were born over a five-year period! Since OXOnian parents are a mix of engineers, product managers, and straight-up design obsessives, they became extremely knowledgeable about all things stroller. When it came to single strollers, they knew from personal experience that a one-handed unfold and upright storage were equally as critical as a one-handed fold. The parents we interviewed confirmed this and then some.

“Lots of parents said they stored their strollers leaning against a wall,” said Amy Goldsmith, senior product manager at OXO. “And then when the strollers inevitably fell over, they had to pick them up and wrestle with them to get them to open.”

In our process of creating the ultimate fold (and unfold), we looked at as many folding strollers as we could to calculate the location of their unlocking mechanisms, and the effort it took parents to get out the door.

“We added an easy to reach latch that lets you open each stroller with one hand without having to pick it up, so the strollers unfold from standing position to ready to roll,” said Tommy Hanson, senior product engineer.

 

Harnessing Our Strengths

Another feature the team is particularly excited about took the team’s problem-solving skills to the next level. In a meeting about safety harnesses, the group discussed how annoying they were to adjust and wondered what it would take to incorporate a one-pull harness—similar to those in a car seat—into the Cubby+ Stroller.

“We learned the hard way why few strollers had that kind of harness,” explained Tommy, “but we knew it would make parents’ lives that much easier, so we just couldn’t give up.”

To land on a cinch harness that “remembered” your tot’s fit (so parents don’t have to readjust it every time) and worked with the fold functionality took half a dozen brainstorms with the entire OXO engineering team and about ten different prototypes.

“It’s one of those features you don’t realize you need until you have to adjust five straps to get your kid secure, or you finally get a jacket on your kid and they immediately want it off—a regular occurrence in my family,” said Amy.

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Easy-cinch harness pull prototype.

 

Store All the Things

We also learned through our research that many parents didn’t want to lug around a diaper bag when making a quick trip to the park, and ended up stashing their phones, cash, extra diapers, and wipes in the fold of their stroller’s canopy. When they need something, or forget their stuff is in there (baby brain is real!) things could get a bit messy.

This insight led to our “parent pocket,” an easy-access zippered pocket which perfectly fits a phone (we calibrated the biggest cell phone models out there to make sure) and other essentials. But we didn’t stop there—after testing the pocket, we noticed it was hard to find black phones inside a black pocket, so we added brightly colored lining to help parents find their phones on the fly.

In fact, parents were so passionate about better storage, it was one of the main features we factored into our design. We even named the strollers “Cubby” to pay homage to a snug and comfy place for little ones.

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Early Cubby prototype illustration.

 

Proud Parents

When asked about their favorite part of creating OXO Tot’s very first strollers, the team sounds kind of like proud parents.

“From an engineering standpoint, it’s easy to drop in a lot of screws and fasteners to make a stroller work,” said Tommy. “I’m proud of the fact that our design and function are clean and sleek without any unnecessary hardware.”

“Cubby strollers are more than just the sum of their parts,” said Amy. “They help solve a lot of pet peeves for parents.”

tots in strollers 1


tots in strollers 2
Real-life tot testers.

By Rebecca Ulanoff

Rebecca Ulanoff is part of OXO’s Brand Communications Team. She enjoys talking about her next meal while eating her current one. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and four-year-old daughter.

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    Heather Powell

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