: Jamie Coblentz
: Montreal, Quebec & San Francisco
Currently Listening to
: Amad Jamal, the Solution
Click on the photos to find out more about the artist
Every once in a while there are people out there who understand the philosphy of "paying it forward". When Jamie Coblentz contacted me, I was impressed with what his company, Kid Kustoms is contributing to the do-gooding realm. Tins for Tots
is an effort in which charitable artists are contributing their designs. They are creating one of a kind works upon the fenders of Kid Kustoms Roddler strollers. The artists that are submitted are judged and the winners' strollers are auctioned off to the participating charity of their choice.
Very cool concept if I say so myself. The strollers themselves are very chic and funky and the designs cater to the modern parents of today.
So, if you wanna be that cool parent who dresses their kid up in alternative tees and are socially aware, I definitely suggest a Kid Kustoms stroller! Read on to learn more....
How did the concept of Kid Kustoms begin and when did Tin for Tots begin their entry?
Kid Kustoms began as a product extension to my child’s clothing brand and it took off on a life of its own. My business partner, Joe Iacono is a very well established car designer, so the idea of making a hot rod inspired stroller was a no-brainer. I have worked extensively in building brands and product development, and so Kid Kustoms was born and we have been giggling ever since. Initially it was just a high exposure side project, and well, we are do-gooders, we’ve put together some very cool goodwill programs so there could be multiple beneficiaries. Kustoms for Kids, DAWS [Dads Against Wack Strollers] and Tins for Tots are the first projects. I’m not sure how it came about; I was just looking at the fenders one day and thought it would be exceptionally cool to ask some of our artist friends to paint them. We had no commercial motivation. It was purely with the intent to put together a cool event that would bring together our different groups of friends and incorporate our product so the company can subsidize it. All of the artists were stoked that there was a new medium for them to embellish. The fact that it is international and there were so many other reputable participants from different genres, it made them swoon.
It is invite only for these artists to design the custom fenders....how do you go about selecting them?
As soon as we started getting dozens of requests we knew it was going to have to be invite only. Not that we don’t want everyone to participate, but since it is for charity, we have to be able to generate enough from the sale of the fenders to pay for the cost of the materials, shipping, framing, etcetera and then be able to donate the proceeds. Some artists are incredible but cannot yet command enough for their work that we had to draw the line. Our participants are all very well known in their respective fields. Some of the work done by the historic graffiti guys is priceless, let alone next to an illustrator or legendary Hot Rod pin striper.
What has been your favorite one so far? What's your favorite Kid Kustoms color?
I don’t want to be biased, but I think that Brent Nolasco’s really blew my mind. He is well known for his work on canvas and in vinyl toys, but the level of detail and intricacy in the work, I’d never risk rolling those around on my Roddler! I don’t have a favorite color for Kid Kustoms, I think if I had a kid today, I’d get the chassis anodized in titanium grey, get fenders two toned in red with a grey and red stitched seat and red top. Oh ya, and matching grey anodized billet wheels with red wall tires… but, I’m just saying.
Who are the charities you will be recognizing this year and do they change every year? How do you go about choosing them?
This year, Unicef, Action Against Hunger, Conservation International, One is Greater than None and Sacred Circle are the beneficiaries for the artists work. I wanted the artists to select from a diverse choice of charities that they could feel associated to, and I really scrutinized them before I requested they participate. If you check online, they have a site called CharityNavigator.org that will give you the details on the organizations internal operations and allocation of resources. It’s awesome, and they will certainly change annually.
How is your model of strollers distinctive from the competition sans the customizing?
Aside from the fact we are the only stroller made in the US , it is made of billet 6061 aluminum. Most
components start as a block of metal that gets carved into shape and are made to order. We are also the only stroller in the world that converts into a tricycle. There is a 2 bolt application where the seat comes off, a trike seat bolts onto the chassis and a new pedal and handle bar assembly goes on the front. We find it comical that everyone seemed to overlook the concept but it’s as cool as it is economical and environmental. Most of the competition looks to China for innovation; we decided we would rather be pioneers from California .
How many designs for Tins for Tots have been created?
We have received 25 submissions to date and there are 50 total participants
How does one go about obtaining one of these customized strollers?
We are pretty back ordered so I guess you just need to place an order a little in advance. We have a great network of dealers across the country and now blossoming internationally that are listed on our website. On stipulation, we do not ship to mean or rude people. Life is too short, and you know who you are.
Are there other models in the works?
There sure are. There is a tandem stroller that converts into two trikes [can’t have jealous siblings at that age, or so I am told] and an umbrella stroller that folds into a messenger bag and weights 5 lbs.
Do you feel as Generation X become parents that this type of product appeals to them and why? How do you go about marketing your product to them?
The marketing and product is what comes natural to us. The problem in juvenile product, or so the successful companies have realized is that few people are catering to the parent that are having kids. Many new parents, especially modern gen-X’ers pride themselves on self expression and the strollers in the market are the equivalent to walking into a grocery aisle and only finding white bread. Customization aside, it is the design that is completely revolutionary. Lets be real, most babies would be comfortable being toted in a milk crate, this is something is fun and functional.
What is the first thing you do when preparing for a trip?
Figure out if my French bulldog Pinto is coming for the ride or needs to find somewhere to hang out.
If you'd like to know more about Kid Kustoms and Tins for Tots, visit their website HERE
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