Springboard Design Partnership is not the first group to reassess the pushchair, but it is one of the few to get its product into manufacture. The product consultancy experienced the usual frustration with disinterested UK manufacturers, and resorted to producing the vehicle itself.
This will be a familiar story for David Crisp, whose pushchair concept met with a luke warm response from manufacturers, until UK cycle company Strida became involved in 1989, leading to the Strida Busy Bus.
And like many consultancy-initiated products, Walk-about has been long in the making. It started life in-house at the three-strong Bristol consultancy nine years ago. The team set itself the challenge to design an off-road vehicle for rough terrain.
‘Once we had the prototype, we tried to interest big pushchair manufacturers in the Walk-about, but were turned down,’ says partner Joseph Ottewill. The consultancy turned to the Department of Trade and Industry and got a loan to set up a separate company, Walk-about Limited, to manufacture and distribute the product.
The thrust of Walk-about’s sales and marketing will be through a dedicated website, www.walk-about.co.uk. ‘We hadn’t anticipated doing it all ourselves,’ says Ottewill.
The Walk-about has a lightweight aluminium frame, so that its total weight is less than 5.5kg, and extra wide big wheels ‘to spread the load so that the chair can be easily pushed over soft or uneven terrain’, says a Springboard spokesman.
It can be folded up to fit in the boot of a small car, and extras include sun hood, rain cover, water bottle and shopping pannier.
Design: Springboard Design Partnership
Creative directors: Joseph Ottewill and Mike Hoddell