- 19 Jan 2017
Ok, so today there's been a recall on a baby beanbag, and we've had some parents write through with concerns about their Chibebe Snuggle Pod, asking if it is safe.
YES, THE CHIBEBE SNUGGLE POD IS SAFE. In fact, it's the most raved about baby beanbag brand, yet you will always get some parents who still think it's ok to buy one that's half the price of a Chibebe, and not worry about the consequences.
We have never promoted the recall of another 'brand' as we think it's petty and low, and makes us look like we're taking advantage of someone else's bad situation. We don't need to do that, and it's against our ethics to be so naughty. BUT, when that 'brand' is selling designs that can be easily confused with a Chibebe to the uneducated eye, resulting in us being asked if ours are affected in the recall, this forces us to have to speak up about the real issues in todays society, where it is so easy for someone to say 'I want to start a baby product business' and simply import cheap, less superior products, expecting you to pop your child into it.
You see, unethical overseas manufacturers will see a product do well, and attempt to copy it and sell it to amateur 'importers' who find it hard to create products on their own terms, and instead rely on the success of others to ride the tails of. We have seen plenty of ebay sellers and online stores pop up, attempting to use our successes and buy dodgy copies of our designs to sell to unsuspecting buyers, and we have spent the better part of 10 years securing reliable and trustworthy factories who are loyal to us, and trademarking our brand and designs etc, to ensure it is easier to identify a genuine Chibebe product.
In the beginning, we never thought anyone would attempt to sell copies of our products....but they did. And we got 'em. We don't really see it anymore as we have taken measures to protect this from happening. We're a force to be reckoned with, and we're fiercely protective of our brand, and it just isn't worth trying to counterfeit our items.
However, in a desperate bid to be noticed, some 'brands' still attempt to use an old, outdated design we started out with, which was a generic birds fabric we used to trial the brand with, and this generic fabric is one that has been included in the latest Bubba Beanbags recall, which you can see here. It's the one with little birds on it. The picture is also not anything like like a genuine Chibebe photo would be. Everything screams 'not genuine Chibebe' in these pics.
So rest assured, Chibebe has nothing to do with this recall and DO NOT endorse other baby beanbag 'brands' as we don't believe that any of them assume the same due diligence that we do in our practices. It is proven time and time again.
A few years ago, we changed our manufacturing procedure to avoid counterfeiting, as we were, by now, growing crazy fast as a brand, and needed to protect our hard work. We discarded most of our old designs, and kept some. Being sentimental, we have kept this 'teeny bird' design as a staple in our range...HOWEVER, we changed the design AND the colors, and did some other things that made it impossible to counterfeit. So when you see another brand offer 'the same' design.....just know that is is a COMPLETELY different one, and is not related to Chibebe AT ALL. It is a run-of-the-mill fabric bought from markets by overseas suppliers and is made into a beanbag on the cheap. The beanbags are then bought and sold by those who do not design their own ranges and simply use these fabrics that are offered to them via spam emails or via buying sites that have no regard for copyright or trademark infringement. This leaves the seller in Australia etc 100% liable for the sales of infringing and unsafe products etc.
Whats even more infuriating, is we see others try to copy our 'lingo' on their websites and social media. They try to be 'us'. They say imitation is a form of flattery, but in the baby business, it's dangerous to try to be something you're not. You are either dedicated and passionate about what you do, and this comes across in everything you do, or you are too busy trying to be someone else, and you simply cannot be as attentive and pedantic to your brand if you're too busy trying to be someone else. A copy is never as good as the real thing. As Mariah has Jay Z say in Heartbreaker: 'often imitated, never duplicated'.
Whilst our Snuggle Pods are made in China, ALL of our designs and marketing, and all business practices are 100% Australian owned and practiced. We at Chibebe design ALL of our fabrics, and they are EXCLUSIVE to us. Our products are manufactured under the strictest of conditions, with every step being monitored by one project manager per process (ie: fabric production, zipper production etc), and reported to us every step of the way. Chibebe is a brand that prides itself on our regular testing procedures, performed by independent, non-biased laboratories. We refuse any fabrics that do not pass these strict tests, and are fortunate to have the best of the best making our fabrics and parts for us. What's more, Chibebe have worked with, and continue to work, with the ACCC, to ensure that baby beanbags are recognised as a product, and helped with the change of labelling in 2016, to better represent how they should be used.
Part of our laboratory testing includes very important factors, such as resistance to fire, and small parts testing, among many other things, to ensure that Bub is safe and sound in their Snuggle Pod. In fact, we have won many awards for our extra attention to safety and function, and also our designs. It's no wonder that others want to achieve the same goals, but it's near impossible to have the same passion and dedication to such a product as we do.
In fact, we would have launched the product much earlier than we did, and was urged to by friends and family, as they knew what a great product we had, but we refused to until we spent the best part of 2 years researching what we had to do, to ensure it was made to the highest standards, and went through testing in a lab. And because it was a brand new product at the time, it wasn't easy, and no-one could advise us on it (not even the ACCC!). This is why we spent so long, researching and pouring everything into finding out what we could for it. This resulted in us having non-biased, laboratory testing applied to our bean bags, and we still do so today, even though it is still not required by law to do so. The emergence of our baby beanbag in Australia also helped the ACCC clarify what laws applied to such a product.
However, like all original products, others will try to copy it. So after we did it the ethical way, others decided to take short-cuts and just sell a cheaper version without consideration for a childs safety....even though they will tell you it's their #1 priority. They simply buy them cheap from an overseas factory who have no regard for the consequence that may befall their customer, who thinks they've got a great price, and who sell them cheap in Australia. These Australian sellers think they are running a good business, and probably don't even think they are doing anything unethical, but they are not taking into consideration what else is at stake by not being educated and experienced importers and knowledgeable baby product manufacturers. We've had Chibebe counterfeits confiscated off these ebay sellers in the past, and it shocked us to see those that have not complied with even the mandatory ACCC standards.
The moral of our story? It is EASY to start a business. But to start a reputable, high quality baby product one, you have to be careful, diligent, patient, but above all, you MUST be aware of the risks involved. A baby is life's most precious gift, and we don't mess with that fact. We are constantly amazed at how many sellers will sell baby products without the consideration of what would happen if something went wrong. Most are willing to risk it, but we're not. We have a real brand. One built on honesty and a reputation for having the highest quality products.
We can't make everyone happy, and we know that if we were to sell our products at a mere $49, there'd be no market for another 'brand' as everyone wants a Chibebe, but not all can afford one. Unfortunately, when you spend endless $$ on testing your products in a laboratory on a regular basis, and spend even more on trademarking your brand to protect it so that Bubs can rest easy in a safe product, it is impossible to reach this price point.
A baby beanbag is so much more than a seat for your child to rest on. Consider the beanbag to be more than just a seat. There are other aspects, such as the zippers that are used on the seat tops. We have seen zipper heads of inferior 'brands' that simply fall off from being pulled lightly. What if your child did this, and swallowed that zipper head? All because you wanted to save a quick buck!
As you see above, baby beanbags are NOT all the same, just because they have the same shape. You are NOT only paying for the brand, although a brand CAN help identify if it is a great product or not, based on reputation.
Recalls happen. You see them all the time at Ikea, and we all love Ikea! It's not a bad thing to get a recall. It's a pro-active thing. But when you see a recall on products that are obviously not doing the most they can to protect your child, and they obviously just selling something a cheaper version of something to make a quick buck, then you have to wonder if you're willing for your child to be the one to pay the price for it.
Chibebe is not a name. It is a reputation.