Lucia Nash established Bababou in 2015, and since then, the plans to launch their first innovative product – the Hugg Baby Crib, have gone from strength to strength, having recently been nominated for an Irish Made award.
The Irish Made Awards by Irish Country Magazine aim to highlight the incredible work being done by men and women across the country.
The categories include furniture, jewellery, home, textiles, gifts, beauty, accessories, fashion, and food & drink, with the winner of each category featuring in a special issue of the glossy magazine in September.
The overall winner will scoop an adverting package worth a whopping €5,000 as well as a membership and mentorship from Guaranteed Irish. Winners will also attend the inaugural Irish Made Summit, where leading Irish producers will take part in a networking event and get the chance to her from experts on funding, entrepreneurship, and much more.
At Bababou, they produce products from extensive research led design, promoting the health and well-being of babies in the most sustainable, transparent means possible.
Lucia says that being nominated on a national platform for a design award is wonderful.
“We haven’t launched yet but we thought the competition would be an ideal launch pad nationally as it is Ireland’s number one glossy magazine. And the dates tie in with our launch schedule – August 2017.
“So when we saw that Bababou was nominated – we consider it a great validation, as the product has got the nod of approval from a number of design peers in the industry. It truly is a wonderful start to what has been a long design process.
Bababou is in a category amongst the top furniture producers in Ireland, including; Cooper Handcrafted Furniture, Whackpack Furniture, Snug, Martin Gallagher, Elements of Action, Coppergreen Design, and Coolree Design.
“We honestly would be so proud just to win the category. Winning the category would mean that the Hugg Crib would be featured in the September Issue. So really that is all we need hence why the votes at this stage is so important.
“However, if we did win overall, the mentorship, and advertising package would make such an immense difference to our small start-up.
“Small companies don’t have budgets to advertise or get their product out nationally. Winning overall would certainly change all of that.
“There are eight companies in the furniture category in total but we are the baby – pardon the pun and I believe the only female led – so exciting times!”
Their first product is the Hugg crib, designed to integrate into parent’s bed, eliminating the need to bedshare (which is the main cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), promotes safety, frequent breastfeeding, physiological regulation, and room sharing for first 6 months as recommended by research from UNICEF/Lullaby Trust UK.
As the first Irish company to produce a multi-functional co-sleeping baby bed, Lucia says it’s a product that the Bababou team are extremely proud of.
As a mammy herself, Lucia explained to Donegal Woman what the inspiration behind the product was.
“The idea for the Hugg crib came from my personal experience as a first time mum. I loved the functionality of the hospital bassinet, the ability to see your child at every angle.
“And when I came home, I was shocked and frustrated at the lack of functionality of nursery furniture, in particular the moses basket: it was so noisy, small, and from an ergonomic perspective, it lead to a more disruptive sleep. Research has shown too that women with strong motivation to breastfeed frequently bed-share. However, bed sharing is one of the greatest causes of SIDS.
“It was then I knew furniture could be improved to enable peace of mind and a better night’s sleep for baby and parents. In addition to the ergonomic issues, I have since discovered through research that the moses baskets which are typically shipped in thousands of miles overseas from countries such as China, are sprayed with pesticides to prevent mold and dust mites – so apart from the poor functionality, the chemicals are a horrible addition.”
And so, Bababou was established. Lucia explains that their ethos is simple; to produce beautiful products in response to the needs of parents in the most sustainable, and transparent means possible.
Sustainability is the cornerstone of Bababou, as they carefully consider where they source their materials from.
All the wood in their furniture is supplied from European forests that must pass strict FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) demands for certification – ensuring that it comes from well managed forests; which in turn support the local environment.
Their water based low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) lacquer finishes and using cotton and bamboo that are certified to OEKO-TEX and GOTS – ensures that the materials are sourced from environmentally friendly companies.
The linen used in their products is Irish, produced in Northern Ireland.
Lucia says “Ireland has a rich heritage in producing this wonderful material, and for Bababou it was a natural choice, making it the most sustainable material choice by supporting and celebrating local business and talent. Our packaging is also manufactured locally, made by an ISO-certified Irish company from FSC-certified, recyclable cardboard. Strong sustainable and transparent supply chains are at the core of our design and operational values.
“In addition to our sustainable values, we wanted to push the design boundaries further. As a mum I was frustrated, at how much plastic was in baby furniture and the extremely short lifespan. Within this nursery sector – too many products are designed to be thrown away – which is damaging to the environment.
“At Bababou our design and sustainable values considered this problem too and now design furniture made to last longer. In fact, the Hugg Crib can last up to eight years and beyond!”
Lucia added; “A lot of research has gone into the design over the 18 months of development, first via NCAD, research centre – Origin 8, in Dublin. Then totally revised and completed by Coastal Design, in Donegal, headed by Cathal Sheridan. Enterprise Ireland has been a fantastic support too, along with the Local Enterprise Board, and the staff and management of the CoLab, at LYIT.”
To vote for Bababou, follow this link and scroll down to the Furniture section: