WEST LOOP — Baby products company Kolcraft is seeking a few good moms to voice their opinions about strollers, walkers and high chairs.
West Loop-based Kolcraft designs, engineers and tests all of its products at its headquarters at 1100 W. Monroe St. before they are manufactured elsewhere.
“I see our strollers all the time in the West Loop,” said Michelle Halm, Kolcraft’s marketing and communications manager, and the mother of a 2-year-old girl with a second on the way. “I think a lot of people know our products, and most likely their kids are sleeping on our crib mattress, but they don’t realize that the brains behind it is right here in Chicago.”
Kolcraft’s products are carried in stores such as Target and Buy Buy Baby under seven brand names: Sealy, Jeep, Sesame Street, MLB, Contours, Kolcraft, and Stearns and Foster. The company uses a variety of women to help perfect the products.
“We want honesty. We don’t want moms to come in here and say everything’s great. The reason we have them is to improve. We want moms who will tell it like it is,” Halm said.
In the past, designers have added cup holders or enlarged canopies on strollers based on feedback from the moms.
And moms-to-be can get in on the action, too.
“Moms who are pregnant will be looking at a product with expectation rather than experience,” Halm said. The fresh viewpoint helps the designers and marketers.
Kolcraft was founded in Chicago in 1946 when Leo Koltun started making playards. The business has been in the Koltun family for three generations and has now grown to become the top crib mattress manufacturer in the country.
Kolcraft conducts safety tests such as burn and paint tests, as well as hands-on testing of products in the pre-production stage at its West Loop office. Products that are further along in development may be sent home with qualified mommy bloggers to try out in the real world. The bloggers get to keep the product as compensation. Women who attend a product testing session at Kolcraft are paid for their time. There is no cost to apply.
Women who are interested in being product testers can contact Alison Johnson at AJohnson@Kolcraft.com. Be sure to include your name, where you live, contact information, age of your child and which products you’re interested in.
“It really helps to get their hands-on feedback. And they feel like an extension of our family,” Halm said.