Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eurostroller: A brief history

Once upon a time, there was a fair lady, a handsome man, and their gorgeous boy. The fair lady loved strollers, a strange love affair indeed. However, a good stroller made for one less hassle when out and about town with a wee one. Then word arrived that a beautiful babe would be arriving. The lady researched double strollers high and low, but just like Red Riding Hood, this one was too big, that one was too heavy, and the other was too bulky. A late night bout of insomnia and a very basic understanding of European love languages landed the lady at some online European stroller shoppes. Euro-mommies raved about this double umbrella and it looked unlike anything I had seen in the US. As luck would have it, my insomnia allowed me to make a transatlantic call to a German Kinder Shoppe during their business hours. The following day I wired a bunch of Euro's over to them. (Shipping was more than the actual stroller.) I tracked my package over the following few weeks. While it made the long journey over the ocean, I hatched a business plan. IF the stroller was fabulous, I would bring it to the US. There wasn't a single stroller like it on the market, and everyone I talked to about double strollers, wished for something sleeker, with better steering, and that didn't consume the trunk.

It arrived, and Mr. Man, my brother, and a few moms all said, "You've got to go for this." I had several conference calls at 2am with the manufacturer, and during the day I spent many hours on the phone learning import laws, tariffs, and what LTL meant. (Long Term Logistics) Fed-ex became my best friend and this truck would unload strollers while my neighbors looked on with curiosity as we weren't really zoned for semi's.
Mr. Man & I worked on this together, he rearranged the garage to accommodate the strollers. He supported me every step of the way, cheered every success, and helped me troubleshoot when I needed it. Pillow talk was whispers of logistics, marketing, etc. There was even one night where I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. I thought Mr. Man was sleeping, he rolled over and said, "I'm wondering, if we could cut down on shipping costs if we...." I loved it. I loved having this project to work on together.
Eurostroller came at a time where Mr. Man & I were still mourning the passing of his dad from ALS, and working through the adoption process waiting for AK to arrive. Along with that came the constant thoughts of "Will everything fall into place for her arrival?" We were fumbling around trying to find a new normal. Eurostroller, kept our hands and minds busy until we could find our way.

I loved working with a product that I loved, and doing something that was so far out of my comfort zone. In August of 2005, AK arrived! And we continued to move forward with Eurostroller. When AK was struggling to thrive, I started to feel s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d very thin. Something had to give, and Eurostroller was going to need a serious time investment to take it to the next level. There was not a guarantee success. It wasn't a difficult choice to hand off Eurostroller to someone else, I had a sweet little tiny babe to tend to. It was a fun chapter of my life and maybe I'll revisit something similar to it later on. The thing I miss the most about it was the license to say, "Oh, pardon Mr. Man? Oh, you see the new stroller I bought, yes.. um... well that was for... uh.. research. I'm wondering if we need to look for an alternative to the urban jogger." To this day I still have an odd obsession for strollers.

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