Xavier de Bure, Co-Founder and Managing Director of BABYZEN, has always had a deep understanding of the problems his organisation was solving for parents. The company’s iconic YOYO stroller has been lauded as a game-changer and even achieved its own Instagram hashtag. So, he knew that their product was good and was unlike anything else on the market. But it was only when he had his own children that he really understood just what an incredible product his company had created.
Tell us a little bit about your career and what led to the creation of BABYZEN and the YOYO stroller.
Straight after finishing business school in Paris, I started working for a large French IT company in Germany, mainly focusing on customer service products and related implementations. At the same time, BABYZEN was being dreamed up by Co-Founder and CEO Julien Chaudeurge, who had recently welcomed his son.
The stroller he had bought was too big and too inconvenient and he recognised that the stroller market needed a simple, compact and easy product. Together with his father, Jean-Michel, a famous product designer in the baby product industry and founding partner of BABYZEN, he created a new-generation stroller designed to fit the lifestyle of today’s urban parents. In 2007, I met Julien in Hong Kong and he told me he was looking to develop this product and we decided to work together.
What opportunities did you see for the company?
We founded the company during the era of bulky, hard-to-handle strollers, when parenting often meant a complete sacrifice of your lifestyle and moving around the city with a newborn and toddler was seen as a hassle. Plus, travelling abroad was almost impossible with any stroller. We tackled these issues by creating products that were highly innovative, efficient and state-of-the-art, and looked good.
The first model, ZEN, was created in 2009 to meet the needs of these parents. We then introduced the YOYO in 2012, which took the stroller industry by storm as it was lightweight, foldable and compact enough to be taken on board a plane as hand luggage.
Did you have kids when you created the YOYO?
My children arrived just at the time we launched the YOYO, which was great as it meant I could experience firsthand how amazing our product really is.
How long did it take for the business to really gain traction in the market?
When the YOYO launched in 2012, it was immediately adopted by users around the world. It was game-changing and presented parents with something that would help them with their stroller struggles. We built our brand awareness on word of mouth, helped along by a strong community of global celebrities and influencers who were, and still are, in love with the YOYO.
We are currently distributed across 85 countries. With such a broad distribution, we’ve partnered with Geodis, one of the largest logistic companies globally, for an optimised transport solution.
How does the YOYO differ from competitors’ products?
We focus on what we do best – highly innovative, practical and aesthetic products. Instead of expanding our range to overly complicated and numerous stroller options or product ranges, we focus on creating the best product that truly answers the needs of parenthood.
How do you tackle sustainability and innovation within your product development?
YOYO is an all-in-one stroller that grows with your child and can be used to travel, which means you don’t have to purchase two or more strollers to meet your family’s needs. We also pride ourselves in manufacturing a product that can be fully disassembled and recycled. Plus, our assembly method and the choice of our materials are a conscious choice of minimising our environmental footprint.
“We focus on what we do best – highly innovative, practical and aesthetic products.”
What have been the biggest challenges and how have you worked to overcome them?
With a great product like YOYO, there are naturally many copies and fakes out there. Not only are there quality issues, but safety also becomes an issue. These copycats and counterfeits use substandard materials and processes and, by not passing the main international testing requirements, there is a real risk of harming a child by using one of these products.
To help us tackle the situation and fight against IP infringement, we hired a legal team in Hong Kong and China to help us monitor and file cases. This team, from the IP specialised law firm Rouse, has significantly helped us in the process.
What have been your biggest achievements?
On a personal level, it’s a shared achievement with my wife in how we’ve raised our magnificent children. On a professional level, the results in curbing IP infringement and removing unsafe products from the market have been very satisfactory. The war is not yet over, but we’ve won a few battles so far!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Stay true to yourself. You have to be able to adapt to your surroundings, but do not compromise who you are. This is true in my personal life as a husband, a father, a brother and a son, as well as in my professional life.
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