Many outdoor retail customers have little ones who can bring a hike or outing to a quick halt when they get tired. But Wayne Lifshitz and his brother Jonny came up with that they say is the solution to hikes cut short by tired kids: the Piggyback Rider.
The child carrier is different from others in that it’s not for babies; it’s for kids who are big enough to walk, but are too tired to do so. They launched their product at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 and were back for seconds at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012.
“We came up with the idea because my brother and I both have three kids that are the same age we could never go out on a hike and complete the hike,” Lifshitz said. “The kids would get tired and we’d have to leave.”
Get outside with your kids
The two Lifshitz brothers wanted something to hold their children after they’d bonked on outdoor adventures. They couldn’t find anything for toddlers on the market, so they made several trips to Michael’s, Home Depot and the Navy Surplus store to get materials to make one for themselves.
“We set parameters for what we wanted our product to be — compact, lightweight and easy-to-use,” Lifshitz said. They slowly modified and added to their originial prototype and began testing. In January of 2011, they went into full production.
“Our biggest challenge was not only did we invent a new product, we invented a whole new category,” Lifshitz said. “The kids market is highly focused on baby products … we’re clearly for toddlers. “
The product, Lifshitz said, is better than a stroller because it keeps the kids engaged, as they have to hold onto their parents.
“They’re not two feet in front of me in a stroller or a foot behind me in one of those backpack (child-carriers),” Lifshitz said. “Our biggest challenge has been convincing people this is the future.”
Lifshitz said the company’s goal is to get kids outside. “Families, go outside with your kids. Period.”
Piggyback Rider took two new lines to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market — the Nomis and the Niloc, the names of their two middle children spelled backwards.
The new products feature variations of the safety harness, which allowed them to put more SKUs in the catalogue for buyers so they can choose something that works for their budgets.
Lifshitz said there are many benefits to running a business, including being his own boss. “We’re self-financed so fortunately we’re not answering to anybody outside the company,” he said. When he and Jonny Lifshitz get a new idea, they still mosey on over to Home Depot, Michael’s and the Navy surplus store to gather materials for a prototype.
It’s most rewarding when they’re at a trade show and spot someone carrying a toddler on their back with a Piggyback Rider that’s intended not only for outdoor adventures but on marathon shopping trips or trips to Disneyworld.
Plus, he said, the Lifshitz brothers — including a third brother, Bryan, who helps with design and production materials — are at work creating partnerships with companies like Merrell and GoPro.
“We’re not a massive company,” Lifshitz said. “We’re two brothers who invented this had a really good idea and came up with something that’s not out there.”