The Magic of Multifunctionality
The more functional the better
From space-saving furniture to high chairs that grow with the child and convertible combination strollers – multifunctional products are the answer to the needs of modern families and have long been established in some areas of baby and children's equipment. But that's not all: the demand for multifunctional products is steadily increasing, leading manufacturers to invest more and more in research and development in order to offer ever newer and more creative solutions.
Multifunctionality: In demand as never before
Life with children can be hectic, and that's where practical and simple solutions are key: products that serve multiple purposes at once offer parents smooth integration into everyday life. Universally appreciated are, for example, versatile strollers that can be easily folded, supplemented with a shopping basket or universally compatible with any baby car seat. The Frankfurt-based start-up The Smart Family goes even further with their latest innovation, taking parents' mobility to a new level. Their walk-e is the world's first electric family board, which, as a stroller extension, can be a stroller drive, an electric buggy board or a means of transport for parents and children, depending on the situation.
founder and CEO of The Smart Family
Mobility rethought: The walk-e from the start-up The Smart Family as a practical and multifunctional stroller extension. (Image: The Smart Family)
Saving in many ways – with multifunctional products
Practical, flexible use of children's and baby products often goes hand in hand with another benefit of multifunctionality: time savings. At a time when parents often fill multiple roles at the same time – be it professional, family or social – any product that helps structure everyday life and save time is a welcome solution. A diaper changing backpack that doubles as a mobile changing station, or a toy that stimulates baby's senses while helping with teething, allow parents to focus on the things that really matter.
Multifunctional children's and baby products also offer the opportunity to meet multiple needs with less space. Because we all know: Living space is precious, especially in urban areas. A compact high chair that doubles as a rocking chair or a changing table that serves as storage are examples of products that save space and eliminate the need to purchase multiple individual products.
Multifunctional products are therefore usually also easy on the wallet: whether it's the flexible infant carry cot Nuna CARI next, which can be used both on the stroller and in the car and makes an extra baby seat for the car superfluous, or the Mira Bouncer from UPPAbaby, which grows with the baby and can easily be converted into a comfortable seat for toddlers as the baby grows, and can therefore be used over a longer period than conventional baby bouncers. It is the durability of multifunctional products that leads to long-term cost savings. After all, we all know how quickly the little ones grow and develop!
Not to be forgotten in the context: the keyword sustainability. Increasing concern for the environment has heightened consumers' awareness of sustainable choices. Multifunctional children's and baby products fit perfectly into this concept, as they mean less resource consumption and less waste. The durability and adaptability of such products mean that fewer items end up in the trash and the environmental impact is reduced – a win-win for the family and nature alike.
Only the beginning
Multifunctionality has long since ceased to be just a trend, but a response to the needs of modern families and thus an important evolutionary step for many products. Space, time and cost savings, practical use in everyday life, flexibility and sustainability are the driving forces behind the increasing demand for children's and baby products that serve multiple purposes. New concepts of existing products are needed. Jens Kerschling, CEO of Arthur Berndt Möbelfabrik, agrees: "Concepts that extend the useful life of classics such as the crib and baby bed are actually overdue. We've been thinking about this, too, and will be presenting something at [this year's] trade show."
In the future, young families can look forward to an exciting range of products that will make their lives even easier and more enriching.