Baby proofing can be a daunting task. There is danger lurking everywhere in mundane daily items around the house. When our son Benny started to crawl and get into mischief, we set out to baby proof our whole home. We found good solutions to neutralize almost all the common household baby hazards except our kitchen and washroom cabinets. There were many different child proofing products for cabinets and drawers. They all boiled down to 6 different systems.
In our article The Best Baby Proofing Systems for Cabinets and Drawers, we reviewed the pros and cons of each system and explained why spring latch locks were the best baby proofing system for cabinets and drawers.
Spring latch locks have 2 interlocking parts: a latch that is attached to the door or drawer and a catch that is attached to the cabinet wall or ceiling. To release the latch, simply open the door or drawer a little and press down on the spring to unlock. This system has a lot of benefits including:
- It is effective at keeping babies out
- It is convenient for adults who can still open and close cabinets and drawers with one hand
- It works on most cabinets and drawers
- It is installed inside the cabinet or drawer, so it is completely invisible
Unfortunately, after trying multiple brands, we were disappointed with the spring latches available at the time. We were frustrated. We knew these were great in theory but the products we bought kept failing. There were 2 critical flaws:
1) Latches were too short.
The shorter latches didn’t work with countertop overhangs. This is because the overhang covered the gap required to get your finger behind the door or drawer to release the latch.
2) Latches were too flimsy.
The longer latches were made of cheap flimsy plastic and bent down with frequent use, rendering the latch useless over time.
About the same time, my brother had approached me to start an eCommerce business. Frustrated and inspired by my baby proofing experience, we decided to join forces and launch a spring latch that actually worked. Benny Bradley’s (inspired by my son Benny) was founded to make parenting a little easier, by bringing functional baby products to busy parents…And our first product was this baby proofing latch lock.
With all the benefits, we knew parents would prefer to use spring latch locks if they actually worked. We set out to design a latch that was longer to accommodate countertop overhangs, and stronger so it wouldn’t bend over time. We eventually found a manufacturer who could customize one of their existing products to meet our needs. After extensive testing, we knew we had a winning design!
A few months later, we finally launched Benny Bradley’s Baby Proofing Cabinet Latch Lock. Initial feedback was very positive and sales began to grow steadily. Then came the first negative feedback…And more trickled in over time. We soon realized 2 common themes:
- The latches or catches were falling off prematurely
- The product was arriving damaged from shipping and handling
At first, we thought these were user installation errors. After all, in our tests, the 3M adhesive used in the latch and catch consistently held at least 10 pounds. We also tested the product in our own kitchen and bathrooms and never had an issue.
After following up with customers, we confirmed most of the cases did involve user installation errors. We were able to send a replacement set and walk customers through the proper installation.
However, in some cases, the 3M adhesive was truly failing, even with proper installation. Knowing our product was flawed, we discontinued the product. We knew we did not want to continue to disappoint our customers.
We knew we still had a winning idea and began to work on a solution. We consulted the factory and adhesive experts and found a stronger adhesive. We switched to the 3M “Red” adhesive which tested to withhold at least 25 lbs of force. Considering the average 2 year old weighs 25 lbs, we were confident these new adhesives would work for most babies and toddlers.
We also took the opportunity to improve our installation instructions. We recognized most instances of product failure were a result of installation errors. We knew clearer and well-written instructions with images would avoid a lot of frustration for parents.
Finally, we designed a box to protect the product through shipping and handling. As a bonus, we found the box also made our product more desirable for gifting.
Once we were satisfied we had addressed our customers’ concerns, we relaunched Benny Bradley’s Upgraded Invisible Baby Proofing Cabinet Latch Locks. The reception has really exceeded our expectations. In a few short years, Benny Bradley’s has become one of the best-selling baby proofing systems for cabinets and drawers in North America. We are sharing our development story because we want to thank our customers for giving a small brand a chance, and taking the time to give us invaluable feedback. We want you to know it does help us become better! Also for any budding entrepreneurs, we wanted to share our journey and learnings. If you put customers first, they will reward you!