Former soldiers create military-style baby gear for dads
NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Craig Risoli of New Jersey symbolizes a new generation of dads. With three children under the age of 5, even his time as a U.S. Army infantryman did not equip him to handle fatherhood and all the bags and baby gear that come along with it.
"It was a direct problem that I had, carrying around a purple and pink, flowery Coach clutch diaper bag that my wife had for me," he said. "That wasn't really my taste and style."
So three years ago, Craig designed his own line as it were a military operation. Since launching his company, High Speed Daddy, his sales have quadrupled with each passing year.
His lead product is a tactical diaper bag that's built waterproof, tough and durable. The materials, he said, convey how he wants dads to feel when they're looking after their kids.
High Speed Daddy products are selling so well, some items were sold out when FOX 5 News producers checked online.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, another former soldier has been attacking the same issue. Scott Haslam, the founder of JACS Baby Carrier, found in fatherhood that products designed for moms weren't helping him serve his son.
So Haslam applied his military background to design a baby carrier for men. A crucial difference he says is that men can carry more weight in the chest area than women, because of anatomical differences.
"The location in the chest area is quite central, which may be uncomfortable for women to use," he said.
Globally, observers see what they refer to as the "rise of dad brands." Products traditionally targeting the mother are now often purchased and used by the father.
Joshua David Stern, an editor-at-large with Fatherly, says the 2008 financial meltdown caused an economic and cultural shift.
"A lot of dads left the 9-to-5 traditional workforce, the rise of the gig economy, more stay at home or flex time," Stern says. "That dovetailed with a general sea change among employers that, yeah, it would be nice if fathers do get to spend time with their kids."
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