This week we chatted to Mark Hamilton and Stewart Gold, creators of the innovative nursery toy, Dingle Dangle. They told Nursery Online what prompted them to design it, what problems it solves, how it felt to be awarded a BPA at Harrogate – and their top tips for anyone else wanting to take their brand new nursery product to market.
“As fathers of two young children, we realised that we shared a common struggle: nappy changing nightmares. We found that the wriggling, rolling, kicking and fussing made nappy changing an unpleasant experience at best – and at worst, could feel like wrestling a wild alligator!
Mark spent months creating a homemade, rudimentary nappy-changing ‘distraction helper’ out of a Go Pro camera strap and a coat hanger. The makeshift toy worked wonders to distract and entertain his baby – and when Stewart welcomed his second child and borrowed Mark’s prototype, he, too, found it was an incredible solution to his wriggly-baby problem. We realised there were few solutions on the market to address nappy changing distraction, and so we set out to create a toy that was useful, portable and didn’t rely on restraining baby.”
Why should parents buy a Dingle Dangle?
“The Dingle Dangle is specifically designed and engineered for parents to share memorable moments with their baby. Once you put the mobile on your head for nappy changing – you can’t help but smile and have fun!
It’s designed for two-way hands-free interaction between parent and baby that encourages bonding and cognitive development. Dads are more involved with their babies than ever before, so we wanted this to be reflected in our product – and we’ve had many emails and pictures from new Dads using our product, telling us how they have bonded with their baby over the Dingle Dangle. As two Dads, this holds a particularly special meaning for us!”
Tell us more about the process from product inception to the finished product – and any top tips for anyone else taking a brand new nursery product to market.
“Our advice to anyone who is passionate about bringing a product to market can be summed up in three words: Find. A. Way.
We’ve met dozens of people who’ve looked at the Dingle Dangle and said: “I thought of this idea 20 years ago!” … and yet, there are no products like ours out there. It took us nearly two years to bring our idea to market. When we first sat down to talk about the idea, we had zero experience in the nursery industry, zero connections and not the faintest idea even how to bring a product to market. So, we created a team around us who did: an engineer to help us with the functionality, a toy designer to help us with design and a product development consultant, Scott Blease from Plan A Product Development, who became a trusted member of the Dingle Dangle team. Without him – we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
What 3 words would you use to describe Dingle Dangle?
You took Dingle Dangle to Harrogate and were commended in the BPA awards, together with some industry stalwarts: tell us a bit more about the experience and what the award means to you
“The Harrogate show experience was crazy! It was our first “industry” show, and we had no products to sell, no meetings set up and no clue about what we should be doing but we were able to meet some wonderful retailers and distributors who took an interest in our product. While we were still too early stage for most, we ended up meeting our first (major!) retail partner at Harrogate along with other potential partners who we still keep in contact with today.
The best part was just listening to industry professionals. Everyone was so generous with their time – offering us advice on distribution strategy, marketing, pricing and other key business strategy. It’s amazing how nice people are in this industry!
To be recognised by the highly-regarded Baby Products Association (BPA) alongside household names like Chicco, Vital Baby and ROMA was validation that our idea had merit.”
Why should a retailer stock Dingle Dangle?
“Simply put, the Dingle Dangle is different. It’s a conversation starter in the best way. Love or hate it, the Dingle Dangle is something that will get consumers talking and will make them stop and ask: ‘What is this?'”
Can you share any specific plans or developments for Dingle Dangle for the year ahead?
“Our plan for 2022 is simple: to get the Dingle Dangle into the hands of thousands of new parents in the UK. We know first-hand how magical the product can be, but the challenge with any new and innovative product is adoption.”