The baby product retail landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade, and Dutch design brand Bugaboo is making sure it’s keeping up with the trends.
Bugaboo, which first launched in 1999, is best known for its higher-end strollers, but the brand makes others products like car seats, high chairs and play yards. And while Bugaboo has been sold in the U.S. for decades, North American expansion is a major priority.
Jeanelle Teves, Bugaboo’s chief commercial officer, is leading this charge. And she joined this week’s Modern Retail Podcast to discuss the company’s history and strategy.
“Bugaboo is leading in the premium category,” Teves said. “[But over the years,] the parent has a lot of choice — and so it is our role and our mission at hand is to really connect: what is the Bugaboo brand association?”
One of the ways Bugaboo first rose to fame in U.S. was by going viral before online virality existed. ‘Bugaboo was featured on Sex and the City.’ And that was a really pivotal moment for the brand,” Teves said. From there, celebrities began showing off their Bugaboo strollers and the company’s placement as a premium baby player was cemented.
But Bugaboo has continued to try and find new ways to generate similar types of buzz. Most recently, for example, the company partnered with the apparel brand Kith on a limited-edition line of strollers and accessories. “We continue to be really selective with the brands that we partner with,” Teves said.
Beyond the partnerships, Teves sees her role as a growing the word-of-mouth network that already surrounds the brand. “One of the things I’m most proud of is if I am at a dinner party in New York, and I’m speaking with a parent, where someone with a much older child identifies themselves: ‘I was a bugaboo mom,'” she said.
As Teves sees it, her job is focused on making that moment happen more often in North America. “There’s this longevity and this high quality and superiority that lasts multiple children,” she said. “Regardless of where you are in the world, that is what Bugaboo is known for.”
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
The ‘Sex and the City’ effect
“It was in the early 2000s where, within the U.S. market, Bugaboo was featured on ‘Sex and the City.’ And that was a really pivotal moment for the brand, because of the cultural relevance of that show. And then subsequently, the mothers and the parents within the celebrity world started choosing Bugaboo; the brand really just exploded. And this was in the early 2000s. Since then, the brand has been on a journey. And so my role is really to continue that growth journey.”
The baby market is getting more crowded
“The retail landscape is noisy, and there is a lot of choice. And there’s also a lot of access to product. So whether you go to an etailor or you go to Amazon or you’re on Babylist or you go to a DTC site, there’s just really so much choice. And the way that I look at it is really meeting the consumer where they are. And so, for us, absolutely, our Bugaboo.com — what we call our DTC flagship — is very important and it’s a big part of our strategy. But also, realistically, we know that consumers are building registries, that’s a big part of the path to becoming a parent. Parents sit down, they create a list of what their dream items will be. And then there are also a lot of retailers out there who offer group gifting or ease of access to add all sorts of categories to your registry. So it’s also really important that we have a shortlist of what we call our key accounts. And we make sure that we’re present there — we have the right educational content at the point of purchase on the site, but then also on the shop floor.”
Building off of ‘I’m a Bugaboo mom’
“One of the things I’m most proud of is if I am at a dinner party in New York, and I’m speaking with a parent, where someone with a much older child identifies themselves: ‘I was a bugaboo mom.’ And their child is now 20 years old. ‘I was a Bugaboo mom, you had the best customer service, I used that stroller for all three of my kids. And, I was able to, to sell it or to gift it to a cousin, sister, friend, and they used it for another five, 10 years like.’ So there’s this longevity and this high quality and superiority that lasts multiple children. Regardless of where you are in the world, that is what Bugaboo is known for. So that is what we try and have come through all of our campaigns — within our global campaigns, and that’s also the through line within our U.S. campaigns.”