Mellow Mummy: Meet the People Behind Kiddy Car Seats : Taking life as it comes...

Monday 18 July 2011

Meet the People Behind Kiddy Car Seats

Meet Bettina Wuerstl, joint owner and International Sales & Marketing Manager of Kiddy, a German company making waves in the world of children's travel products. Tucked away in the picturesque town of Hof in Bavaria, Bettina, her husband Jan-Stefan, and a small team of passionate staff are hard at work trying to take on the might of Maxi-Cosi and Bugaboo.

Kiddy is a family-run business which has grown with the Weurstl family for over 30 years. Kiddy launched in the UK and 2009 and has gone from strength to strength. In it's current guise, Kiddy has evolved into a major player in the European children's car seat and pushchair market and yet, within their home town of Hof, Kiddy remains a central part of the community with the local mums and dads visiting their nursery shop within the Kiddy headquarters for all of their nursery needs, Kiddy are the German distributor of many of the mother and baby brands I know and love. The store is colourful and welcoming and huge – you could easily mistake it for one of the enormous out-of-town nursery retailers anywhere in the UK.

Bettina and Jan-Stefan have found their niche. It has taken some years for the business to evolve into what it is now and, since Jan-Stefan inherited the company from his father, the relationship between the husband and wife team has also evolved. Bettina, is the enthusiastic and passionately outgoing face of Kiddy who is immediately lovable. Jan-Stefan is the more reserved and calculating engineer behind the brand – a clash of characters which, although difficult to manage in the past, has proven to be a recipe for business success . As Kiddy has grown (and they themselves have started a family), they have added to their team with an eclectic group of cheerful and passionate staff, all experts in their field.

Kiddy car seats, as you will know if you have read my review of the Kiddy Energy Pro, don't look like most others on their market. For many years, Kiddy have pioneered the use of their innovative 'impact shield' which they continue to develop and improve on a mission to find their car-seat-safety nirvana. Jan-Stefan, as head of Research and Development, is the one on that mission.

Jan-Stefan Wuerstl is passionate about safety and technological innovation in a way that re-enforces his stereotypically German approach to life (his presentation to us lasted exactly 1 hour. Not a minute more. Not a minute less). Jan-Stefan quite strongly feels that the European laws on child car seat safety are not stringent enough and simply can't comprehend why parents would risk their children's lives with incorrectly fitted car seats or those of a sub-standard quality.

Everyone I met at Kiddy was incredibly passionate and cheerful which is not surprising in such a beautiful part of the country. I am convinced that the relaxed atmosphere and focus on sourcing the very best people in the industry contributes to the creativity and success of Kiddy's products . This success can be seen in a number of recent awards, most notably, the Kiddy guardian pro which was awarded the highest accolade in the Stiftung Warentest (the European equivalent of the Which? tests) and is the only Group 1,2,3 seat to have been given a Which? Best buy award twice in succession.

Kiddy's latest products demonstrate their passion for child safety. The Guardian Pro 2 is a group 1,2,3 car seat with improved side-impact technology which grows with your child through an astonishingly easy-to-use expansion mechanism. The Cruiserfix Pro is Kiddy's new group 2/3 car seat, which I think is one of the best-looking on the market. The Cruiserfix Pro can be used with or without ISOFIX harnesses and uses all of Kiddy's wealth of car safety knowledge. In addition to the car seats, Kiddy have launched a baby carrier and have a wealth of new products launching in the UK over the coming year.

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