Baby carrier of BABYBJÖRN has been favored by many parents among various kinds of baby products.
We had an interview with Mr. Fukai, President of BABYBJÖRN Japan, and Mr./Ms. Lisen, a designer at BABYBJÖRN headquarters, and asked them what makes people choose BABYBJÖRN products when they are looking for some considering the products’ safety and security.
Mr. Fukai and Mr./Ms. Lisen told us their thoughts on OEKO-TEX® certificate with their passion for “safety first.”
Left ：Lisen Elmberg
Right ：Makoto Fukai
BabyBjörn, Japan President / Sales Director of Asia
BabyBjörn is a Swedish family-owned company. Established by Björn and his wife Lillemor Jakobson with their passion for creating something good for their children in 1961, now the company is run by their children and Lillemor is still working for design.
Our business mission is to develop products excellent in safety and innovativeness for the children under the age of three and to make life of parents with small children easier.
BabyBjörn has three keywords: safety, quality, and style.
Safety comes first – we focus on safety on the development of the products. Quality comes next – the products are made under the policy of high quality and functionality. The last one, style, represents our respect for Swedish style and parents’ lifestyle, which you can feel through the stylishly designed products.
In Sweden, it is required for fathers to have a childcare leave by law. Both father and mother are willingly to participate in childcare – it is common.
We have seven categories: baby carrier, bouncer, travel crib, cradle, potty chair, high chair and dinnerware. Our business has operations in more than 50 countries with sales of over 31 million pieces of baby carrier.
I started BabyBjörn business by introducing plastic baby bib for eating and potty chair. At that time, the products with vivid color caught attentions among the pastel color products in Japan. The soft bib has been a best-seller – it was originally introduced with a name of “sti” as a new category of plastic bib to differentiate it from the existing fabric bib. Now the word “sti” is used to represent the whole bib including fabric ones.
BabyBjörn’s style – continual
improvement of existing items
You may be surprised to hear our way of thinking toward safety. Since 1973 when we began selling baby carriers, we have been improving our products to meet customer’s needs. In our quality control section, the staff use a Japanese word “KAIZEN,” meaning improvement, as it is.
All the buckles of BabyBjörn’s baby carrier can be handled with one hand. And we ask parents not to use two hands when holding a baby - one hand must keep the baby safe.
Buckles also have some functionals: they are colored red and blue so that those in hurry or having poor sight can use in a right way, and the buckles are designed to fit into place – this enables parents recognize the buckles are fit into place by the sound while the baby is crying in a dark room at night. These are just some examples. Safety comes first in detail.
The bands and buckles are self-invented and patented. BabyBjörn has been making numerous improvements in one product to make it safer for 45 years. Continual improvement of existing items – it is BabyBjörn’s style.
OEKO-TEX® certificate to prove safety
BabyBjörn got OEKO-TEX® certification for all the materials in 2000 and put labels on the products. Because safety is our priority, it was quite natural. BabyBjörn is a brand paying close attention to safety and high quality, and OEKO-TEX® consists of the most important elements. This is a base for the brand to grow and can be said corporate attitude – I believe the companies with this base and awareness for safety achieve a lasting growth – with a few lows and highs.
In case we have inquiries about the troubles of baby’s skin, we can tell that is not caused by our products for they are OEKO-TEX® certified. And OEKO-TEX® certificate helps our customers easily understand the certification proves the tested products are harmless and do not contain harmful substances.
We feel OEKO-TEX® has not gained much recognition in Japanese market, and in Europe, that varies by country. It is inevitable that consumers pay more attention to safety and environment: competitive situation where companies produce safety and earth-conscious products is well received. It is also good enough for the environment that the customers use better products for long. We hope OEKO-TEX® receives more attention and becomes a benchmark when choosing products.
Raising awareness for “bonding”
BabyBjörn is frequently liked to “subtraction.” Companies tend to add more functions to one product, but we don’t: these additional functions may disable something necessary during a certain period, for example, complicated design is hard-to-use or won’t fit well. What is needed varies by the process of baby’s growth.
We seek what is the most important for babies and parents. “Less is more” is the most appropriate expression for BabyBjörn: our clients and customers value our way of creation to solve what the users need with the simplest way by eliminating unnecessary decoration and function.
It is the most important to have a baby carrier for bonding between baby and parents when the baby is four or five months old. Holding a baby at the height of chest makes the baby feel most secured and bonds him/her with firm relationship with parents. To support this bonding, it is required to have a baby carrier durable for frequent detaches and fitting into place safely. Bouncer is produced not to intend to keep the baby’s space but to develop balance that is the most important sense until the time the baby stand up.
BabyBjörn is expected to reflect what is essential for childcare gained through experience in our products.
We would like to be the best and essential brand for the users and hope to contribute to daily childcare for its usability.
We do not only sell products but also have an added value to give parent and child an opportunity for bonding, which we can be most proud of and would like to expand.
It is difficult to say one sentence.. but we hope the children to be raised with plenty of parents’ love and become those living with mother nature and enjoying design, art, and fulfilled life with family and friends - this is my personal impression for Swedish people. And we hope parents enjoy the period for raising small babies.