Getting to know Bugaboo
Here at Bloesem, we have a soft spot for innovative design so needless to say when iconic Dutch Design stroller brand Bugaboo contacted us to do a collaboration, we were both honoured and thrilled!
Having been pushing out strollers for almost 20 years, they have come really far. Back in 1999, with years of intensive research, development and a lot of perseverance, designer Max Barenbrug and entrepreneur Eduard Zanen, raised the pushchair bar to a whole new level with the launch of their first Bugaboo. Add that to a cameo appearance on a certain popular HBO show in 2002 – Bugaboo has definitely taken the world by storm and has become an absolute favourite with design loving modern families around the globe. Its attractive aesthetics, long lasting quality and functionality are second to none and with innovations to suit every parent’s needs, limited edition collaborations with the world’s most interesting designers and neat accessories, nowadays it’s hard to imagine walking down the street or even the lanes of Kensington Palace without seeing this nifty pushchair gliding by.
During my recent visit back to Amsterdam I met up with Bugaboo’s Chief Marketing Officer Madeleen Klaasen and we had a lovely chat about herself and the company, plus our love for our hometown.
Could you share with us a little bit about yourself, Madeleen.
I’m 51 years (young) this year, and am part of an amazing family. I’m married to a percussion player and music producer, with 2 step children. I’m also a new step grandmother of a precious little girl called River! My dogs and cats are definitely also a big part of my family.
While I definitely have a big love for my home Amsterdam, travelling, sports, yoga, music and dancing are some of the things I love to do during my spare time.
As for work, it means a lot to me to work with high-performing and innovative brands full of passion for what they do. Some of the brands I’ve worked for include ELLE, Nike, Bijenkorf and of course Bugaboo. They sure are fun brands to work with as well – having fun I feel is an important part of the job, wouldn’t you think so? That’s how I see it.
I can’t agree more! Over here at Bloesem we find it especially rewarding to love doing what we do. So when and why did you decide to start working at Bugaboo?
I was with Bugaboo from January 2002 officially, but I actually started back in October 2001. I was asked to meet with the owners of Bugaboo to see if I could be part of their marketing department. Even though I haven’t heard about Bugaboo then, listening to them share about the company’s innovative nature and dedication to their customers’ freedom and movement immediately resonated with me. I was so intrigued! Plus I got to see the Bugaboo stroller. It was beautifully and innovatively designed. I thought to myself, many parents in the world would definitely love this product. This was going to change the industry of strollers and deliver a brand new experience for many parents. With that, I then became the company’s 8th employee.
What are some of your favourite or especially memorable projects you worked on at Bugaboo?
Firstly, the Bugaboo By Bas Kosters, since it was our first special collaboration with a fashion artist. And we definitely went all the way with that one!
Another one of my favourites would have to be the Bugaboo Donkey. It was a real innovation. There were a lot of requests from the US to create a double stroller, but we wanted something more innovative and designed the first convertible stroller that goes from MONO to DUO and back, since functionality and a unique style is a big part of our products. This was all in the midst of the recession, but it actually had a positive impact on the company, for it made us reflect and ponder over the question of who we are. What we found is that because we are so passionate about innovation and design that’s exactly where we need to put all our efforts. And it worked out! Thanks to sticking to our core ideals and launching new innovative products like the Bugaboo Donkey, we were able to broaden our audience during a downturn in the global economy and we have since since then continued to grow.
Some other products included the (BUGABOO)RED which contributed some of its revenues to the Global Fund to help eliminate aids in Africa by covering the cost of medication to hundreds of thousands of pregnant women rid of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
The Woolmark accessories that you can have as part of your strollers were interesting for me because I managed to visit the merino wool farms in Australia and it was so nice to see for myself how the whole process worked. We are also very proud of the BOO magazine through which we share the different stories of our company, and also the Bugaboo Amsterdam store — our first one! Definitely many many moments I am proud to be a part of and witness.
That sounds absolutely fantastic! Bugaboo has definitely grown a lot as a brand! How about now, what are you working on?
We’re working on something called the endless stroll. It’s a new initiative to celebrate our iconic Bugaboo Cameleon. We’d love our Bugaboo friends and fans to take part! Bugaboo Bee by Diesel Rock ‘Consumer’ parties is also currently in the works. And a new mobility product that has nothing to do with the stroller industry.. Very exciting.
Really? Wow, we can’t wait to see what you guys have in store. Which Bugaboo stroller is your personal favorite and why?
I have the Bugaboo Donkey mono for my step grand daughter, River. The side luggage basket is great, I always use for my leather handbags since I carry a lot of stuff with me. I love the innovation that you can go with 3 clicks from a mono to a duo configuration for you to be able to store even more of your shopping. It’s all very maneuverable and has the same width as the Bugaboo Cameleon, very compact.
The jogging extension comes in very handy for me as well. All I do is click my Bugaboo Donkey seat on our jogging extension and I am ready to go for a run with my grand daughter. The ultimate freedom is great.
Pictured: Bugaboo Cameleon3 Classic+ collection
Tell us more about Bugaboo’s recent launch of the Bugaboo Cameleon3 Classic+ collection.
That one is a modern classic, and is hugely popular indeed. The upgrade includes a leather-look handlebar and carry handle and a new colour. The collection is originally inspired by 2001’s Bugaboo Frog, and features an off-white micro-fleece quilted interior lining on the extendable sun canopy, carrycot, mattress and apron.
Pictured: Bugaboo Cameleon3 Classic+ sun canopy
As a parent myself I think it’s awesome that we can now customize our Bugaboo Cameleon3 to our own personal style and needs. But how about you? What would yours look like and what accessories would top your list?
Firstly, I would definitely love it in all black! Add the Artic Grey Breezy Sun canopy, Black Performance Footmuff, Grey Woolmark Blanket and the Jogging extension and I’m all set.
What role did and does Dutch Design play at in the success of Bugaboo as “the stroller” brand?
I think with Dutch Design, it definitely comes with creativity, innovation, and you can expect us to integrate form and function, while bringing complexity back to its simplest form. And of course – quality, quality, quality!
Bugaboo sounds like an amazing place to work in. Could you share with us how the space or studio, where the Bugaboo designers do most of their creation, looks like?
Think lots of sketches, lots of computer design work and a real workplace for making prototypes. Team work is a huge part of how we do things around here. You can feel the vibes of creative work, and dedication to going all the way and making the impossible, possible. We don’t settle for anything less than a truly unexpected user experience and product performance. Sometimes we will even fight for the time to get it right if it means giving our customers our 100%.
Amazing dedication. Hats off to you guys! What artist(s) would you like Bugaboo to collaborate with in the future?
My dream would be a Bugaboo By Chanel! And also the upcoming creative designers/artists.
We’ve learnt so much about Bugaboo, thank you Madeleen! Between us Dutch, I’ve got to say Amsterdam is one of my team’s favorite cities in the world too, and we’re always looking for new hidden gems. What are your favourite go-to places in Amsterdam to relax, meet with friends or get inspired?
There are so many! Running along the Amstel is definitely top of the list for me, I love running. I go to Delight Yoga as well. But to just walk around, shop and feel the real Amsterdam vibes I would suggest the 9 Straatjes area. Akitso Japanese food and Isakaya Japanese food are my go-tos and definitely not forgetting having a cuppa at Cafe George. I could go on and on. There’s just so many places worth mentioning. Amsterdam is truly amazing.
What a delightful time getting to know Madeleen. We’re so glad to be able to learn more about Bugaboo and also a bit more about the people behind this innovative company as well. Thanks so much, Madeleen!
All images via Bugaboo HQ.