Let’s start with good news: I have a report on the prototype from our manufacturing partner!
I just finished a two-week trip where we reviewed all changes to date and then focused on updates to the softgoods (fabric) parts of the stroller. Our partner had already made great progress before I arrived, and all of us had a conversation together, the owners, all the technical sewing experts, the chief engineer, the project manager, and myself. By asking lots of questions, I believe we all came away quite satisfied with what’s ahead.
I’m so impressed with how quickly their prototype sewing people can make changes. We ran through several options on how to attach the fabric to the frame and in the end, we decided on a removable fabric pod. It can be washed if needed, and with many of the attachment points hidden, it looks nicely finished. There are other new features users will appreciate. For example, there’s a shade and bug screen function and a stow away space. There are some other trailer/stroller combo options on the market with a full bug screen, but no other jogging strollers that I am aware of that will function like ours and stow away. And our shade screen will adjust from stowing position to full body coverage of your child with several intermediate positions.
In terms of the hardgoods (anything not fabric), it was great to see our design reviews and prior sampling come together. The result has a finished look and the functions worked well with one exception: the adjustment to the suspension level. But the suspension as a whole functions very well. Our project manager can fit in the stroller, and she is just the right weight to load up the suspension. It has a good response and feels stable. However, the adjustment portion I designed, while functional, was too difficult to adjust. It required too much hand strength to reach the higher load settings. The chief engineer gave me a good idea for an alternate adjustment which I will work on and make a few new parts to send back to them to try.
We also visited our wheel supplier, actually a combination of folks. One group makes the rim, and the other makes the hub and brake. A wheel builder puts everything together with the spokes. The picture above is a sneak peek of a portion of the wheel. Everything looks good for the wheels and brakes.
Other business matters are also progressing: I’ve contracted two consultants to help analyze and develop a solid direction for the financial model and our distribution model. They are great to work with, highly experienced, and they give me confidence that we can pull it all together.
What’s next? The plan is to complete these minor updates in the next couple months and then we will have a fully functioning prototype from the manufacturer’s system that we can show investors. Who knows, maybe that’s you! Perhaps my older prototype will retire to the garage museum of stroller parts, having been around the world a few times, poked, kicked, dropped, raced, and most importantly, demonstrated that ergonomic running with a stroller is possible.
Thank you for your continued support. I wish you a great 2019.