Megan Maden talks to Kooshy Kids founder Louisa Williams about turning one!
Kooshy Kids founder and director Louisa Williams
What made you decide to start a family travel range?
Remember traveling before kids? Tanning, drinking, eating, sight-seeing and flying were relatively easy...and then you have kids and boy-o-boy do they change the whole 'vibe' of a 'holiday'. So many families choose not to travel due to the stress and hard work involved.
I wanted to provide families with the confidence to travel again and also provide a one-stop-shop for families with innovative travel products designed to take the stress out of family travel...and so Kooshy Kids was born.
What are your best-selling products?
The Kooshy Kids Kooshion is our signature product...it is an inflatable cushion that sits between plane seats and allows you to stretch out with your legs and/or feet elevated. It's ideal for kids and really helps with those long-haul horror flights.
The Parent Backpack has been very popular with expectant and new mums. With so many great features it is has been a sell out at every Baby Expo that we have been to so far!
Our Family Passport Wallet is an essential for the traveling family. It holds the entire family's passports, a pen, boarding passes, coins and notes. It's the key to an organised trip!
How did you come up with the Kooshy Kids Kooshion?
Through my Bali kids travel blog and Facebook page, I became a distributor for another inflatable cushion brand. I loved the concept so much, that I decided to innovate and develop my own version using the feedback that I had received from customers and through my own observations and experiences.
The Kooshy Kids Kooshion addresses common complaints of the other cushion brands, including it not sitting flush with the seat. So our Kooshion is taller than all other inflatable cushions on the market and it therefore has the ability to sit flush with all plane seat heights.
Punctures were also a concern and while they are possible with all inflatable devices, the use of PVC with the thickness the same grade as inflatable play centres rather than the use of nylon makes the Kooshion more durable. I also found the nylon to be rough around the edges, so I added a soft flocking top and base to the Kooshion, so that it could be rested on comfortably without the need for a pillow.
Inflating the device is always a concern for consumers, so I chose to offer a few methods. A manual pump, a battery operated pump and of course with no pump (by mouth).
The waterproof drawstring bag that holds the Kooshion comes in three different colours so that customers have the option of getting a different colour for siblings or to cater for colour preferences (my daughter is HUGE on pink and my boy is all about BLUE).
What have been your biggest challenges in the past year?
I have found that work-life balance and the airlines to be the major challenges.
Having young children and wanting to dedicate all of my time to them whilst running a growing business has been tough, but I have finally got the hang of it and manage to do both well.
Since Qantas' ban on in-flight sleep devices in July last year, there has been a lot of negative press about the products and false information has been shared on social media. We are fortunate to have 50 airlines allow the use of the Kooshion, including Virgin Australia and many others leave it to the crew to decide. The airlines that do not allow its use are yet to conduct testing of our product and this is something that we will be working on this year.
I am so excited to be adding some AMAZING travel products to the range in the coming months including some pretty awesome Parent Backpack designs with new fabrics that are currently in the final design phase. Watch this space!