When you have a baby, you are immediately thrown into a world of crazy gear and accessories that can quickly overwhelm any new parent. When you want a simple stroller and there are so many choices, how do you know which one to choose?
Hollie Schultz was just like any other mother when she had her first baby — she wanted the safest, most durable and user-friendly equipment she could find. At that time there weren’t any websites solely devoted to baby product reviews and information. Hollie would take products out of their boxes in the stores to test them out, sometimes bringing her own batteries to see how they worked or how loud the music was. We spoke with Hollie recently about how her website Baby Gizmo was born.
An idea is born
During the first eight months of her daughter’s life, Hollie kept coming back to the idea that there really wasn’t one place parents could turn to when making decisions about which baby products to purchase. Asking other moms for product advice only helps if they have tried multiple products for comparison. She started Baby Gizmo to try and fill that void — to be that honest friend who gives you the scoop on any baby product you are considering buying.
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Real life testing
When Baby Gizmo tests a piece of equipment, they hold nothing back. Moms want to know whether a highchair is easy to clean or if a stroller is hard to steer with one hand. The Baby Gizmo team has been known to sling mud at strollers, smash green beans into cracks in a highchair or travel with equipment to see if it stands up to the rigors of traveling with children.
“We’ve left strollers outside in the rain, just to see what happens,” says Hollie. “We have an iPhone case that’s very toddler-friendly and supposed to be waterproof. I don’t have water damage protection on my iPhone, but when we went to do the video I felt that I needed to show my audience whether it worked or not. So I was literally putting my iPhone in a glass of water, but it worked!” The only testing they won’t do is crash-testing, which is best left to the experts.
A key component of Hollie’s philosophy is that she doesn’t really care what the product companies think — she’s working for the parents. While you won’t see any product bashing on the Baby Gizmo site, if Hollie is testing a product and finds that it’s really unsafe she contacts the manufacturer and tells them exactly what she thinks. In one particular case, a stroller manufacturer made changes to one model based on her recommendations.
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Videos make it personal
“Video was a big addition — literally nobody did it,” says Hollie. “When we started the site, nobody did video for baby products before we did, and it kind of exploded.” There are over 360 videos on the Baby Gizmo site now, with more added all the time. Watching Hollie explain products in her no-nonsense way makes you feel like you’re hanging out with an honest, cool mom friend.
With almost 9 million views of their video collection, lots of information is getting out to parents before they make purchasing decisions. Looks like Hollie has filled that void — and then some.