Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Little known changing bag brands worth knowing

The changing bag is a big deal for a lot of mums-to-be, mums and, let’s not forget, dads. From choosing it to using it on a daily basis, it has to be the right design and feel or else it may drive you crazy whenever you struggle to find what you need, only to leave the bag in an unrecognisable disarray. You may leave home with it in perfect order but, if when it really matters it lets you down, you may end up pulling your hair out. A relaxed parent means a relaxed baby so I have always been of the opinion that having the right bag is essential.

Basically, finding a changing bag is a bit like finding a partner, it has to be the right fit for you, not for anyone else, for you.

Today I want to let you know about brands of changing bags that you may not have come across yet but that are well worth exploring. Behind each of these brands there is a concept that may match your personality and behind each of them a story worth sharing.

Below is a list of the first four brands that I have been researching over the last few weeks, all especially chosen by me through my own research*. In the next few weeks I will be writing in-depth articles about each of them so stay tuned; however, if you are either at the end of your tether or too near your due date to wait and you like the look, design or concept of one or more of these brands, get in touch with them, they are all lovely people who will be more than happy to help you, what’s more, you will get to talk or correspond with the people behind the brand, not a call centre and not a representative. As you would expect, these people know what they are talking about, they are the true experts because they are the creators.

Other advantages of buying your changing bag straight from a small company include the love and care that goes into every small detail, including how lovingly they will wrap it and let’s not forget the distinct pleasure of being one of the first who carried that particular piece of arm candy before they hit the big time and everyone else discovers them.

Let me introduce you to my four chosen little known brands worth knowing, organised by price range:

Mia Tui

Lots of pockets, wipable, organised bag, pink lining, blue lining, many colours
Amelie in tan with pink lining, coming soon (c) Mia Tui
Charlotte Jamme, a mum of two, created Mia Tui in 2010 while living in Vietnam and, now back in her homeland, she has just launched her brilliantly designed range in the UK, with delivery worldwide. But Mia Tui is not just a changing bag brand, she designs bags for the busy woman, whether she is a mother or not, in fact she can provide the bags with or without the changing mat.

Changing bag, diaper bag, bolso cambiador
Amelie in tan with pink lining inside-out  (c) Mia Tui
When I contacted Mia Tui to let them know that I was planning to include the brand in this article and to ask for a bit of information and photos of the range, Charlotte herself wrote back offering to send me a couple of bags so that I could be really informed**. The owner’s confidence in her brand is not only strong but contagious and, having received the bags, I can confirm what I already thought: hers is a really fantastic product range. At the moment of writing this I have already taken Ava for a road test on one of the few days I get to go out without my toddler and I can tell you, she has quickly become a friend and personal assistant all in one (yes I know “she’s a bag”!), helping me stay organised. Ava is the best organised bag I have ever owned (and I am renowned for my love and number of bags!). Soon I will publish an in-depth feature with more details on what makes these bags so special so stay tuned.
  • Key features: Waterproof, extremely lightweight, huge variety of pockets, key fobs, matching clutch bag with strap, clear plastic bag with strap (included in some models), changing mat if you want to use it as a baby bag.
  • Delivery: Worldwide
  • Price range: £9.99 for a nappy purse; bags from to £34.99 to £59.99. 
  • Where to buy: Online at the Mia Tui store.
  • Follow: Facebook and Twitter

Sophia & Matt

At Feisty Tapas HQ we are mad about polka dots, we go dotty on them. However these bags deserve a mention for a lot more than their polka dotty status. Sophia & Matt are the odd ones out here, as far as I know they are not parents, however they talk with such great pride of their changing bag, you can read what they have to say about it here.

Sophia & Matt, changing bag, polka dot, spotty, diaper bags
(c) Sophia & Matt
These are two rather busy people, so much so that I wasn’t expecting to hear back from them when Sophia wrote telling me just how busy they were and, if I could wait, that she would be in touch with lots of details for the upcoming in-depth feature about their brand; so, lovely Sophia, no pressure, I am eagerly waiting! Busy is good for any business but above all for a small business, I know that well.

I first discovered the Sophia & Matt changing bag when I was pregnant, my love (passion, fascination…) for polka dots led me to do a polka dots changing bag search in Google and there it was, a changing bag so lovingly made in a beautifully designed website, but they don’t just do changing bags, take a look at their website and all the other gorgeous items they create and sell. Can’t wait to let you know more details about them, I’m hoping to take a trip to their shop one day, “in the name of research” of course.
  • Key features: Polka dots (trust me, they're a feature!), attention to detail, 8 pockets, outer pockets for those not-exactly-spill-proof sippy cups, 2 types of detachable straps
  • Delivery: Worldwide
  • Price: £85 for the changing bag. Their website talks about a mini baby changing bag coming soon, I'm intrigued...aren't you?
  • Where to buy: Sophia & Matt's online shop or their store in 28 Greenwich Church Street, London, SE10 9BJ
  • Follow: Facebook and Twitter

Mamami by Chet

Changing bag, diaper bag, silver, leather, Shivali, flower lining, print
Award-winning Shivali (c) Mamami by Chet
Mamami by Chet is the result of Chetna Patel's search for a truly stylish yet practical changing bag. Her bags, absolutely glamourous on the outside, hide a surprise interior: a unique organisational system against the prettiest of backgrounds, a floral lining. 

Changing bag, diaper bag, silver, leather, Shivali, flower lining, print, black, bright, vanity case, travel bag, make-up bag, manicure bag
The inside of Amara (c) Mamami by Chet
Chet has achieved a highly functional bag with great versatility. I know that Mamami's bags are supposed to be changing bags but every time I see the inside I can't help thinking that they are also perfect as weekend bags, vanity cases for longer trips or as bags for glamourous train or plane trips and, of course, ideal for days out with the kids. Very apt for afternoon tea on the Orient Express: accessorise a sophisticated ensemble with a pretty hat, fabulous shoes and either Shivali or Amara and you will step back in time in style; whether you have the kids with you or you keep it adults-only is up to you, but don't forget to take your Mamami with you. I do love a bag with more than one use and there is something about this bag that understatedly screams glamour.

I may be proven wrong but, I think there may be room in there for a laptop too, or a book for mum or, even better, an iPad.

Not only are these bags highly functional and versatile but they are award-winning arm candy, earlier this year the silver Shivali won the Loved by Parents silver award to the "Best Baby Changing Bag".
  • Key features: leather, unique organisational system with clear internal pockets and the ability to unzip it fully and lay it flat to see all of its contents at a glance, changing mat (washable at 30ÂșC), bottle holder, clear bag
  • Delivery: Worldwide
  • Price: £189
  • Where to buy: Mamami's online store.

Rebecca, Lily, Ava, changing bags, diaper bags, pockets, compartments, luxury, leather, bolsos cambiadores, bolsos maternales.
The Sugarjack range, but do check their Facebook page for the soon-to-be-launched additions (c) Sugarjack
As my mother says, you get what you pay for and with Sugarjack you get luxury: leather, dust bag (that you could use as a bag in itself really), baby organiser (changing mat, insulated bottle holder and zip pouch) and a baby bag that doesn't look like a changing bag and, not just that, they also offer a fantastic bag called Gabi (short for either Gabriel or Gabriella, this is clearly a unisex bag).

Basically, a Sugarjack will become your other baby, one you will treasure for years, in fact once your kids are all grown-up you will still be using this baby. This is a classic and classics are made of quality, this is the Rolls Royce of changing bags.

The most surprising part of this brand is that, unlike many other brands created for mums in search of the perfect changing bag for their needs, Sugarjack was created by two men. Curious? Stay tuned.
  • Key features: leather, pretty reusable bamboo dust bags, baby organiser included (can be transferred to other bags), both feminine and unisex options, timeless designs
  • Delivery: Worldwide from their online store
  • Price range: £249-339
  • Where to buy: Sugarjack's online store. As well as online and in-store at Harrods.
  • Follow: Facebook and Twitter
If someone could afford all of these brands, after getting over all feelings of jealousy, I would advise: use a Mia Tui on a daily basis, alternating to best coordinate with what you are wearing or just for the fun of it! The Mia Tui range is perfect for heavy-duty days full of meetings and kids activities when you know that you need to be super organised; a Sophia & Matt when you need a change and a splash of colour to brighten up a day, any kid will be mesmerised by this ; a Mamami for a special day out, whether you're taking the Orient Express or National Express, this bag will take you to fabulous places; and, last but not least, a Sugarjack for Sunday lunch with the family or friends at a relaxed country pub (I would personally take a Gabi in tan for this) or coffee and cake with fabulous friends, the kids and Holly (in fact, you're allowed to take this bag even if you don't have/want to take the kids!).

That completes Feisty Tapas' first ever Little known brands worth knowing article.**.

*All opinions are impartial and remain my own throughout. All brands chosen for the Little known brands worth knowing section are chosen based on my opinion, which will not be swayed and shall remain feisty. If I believe in a product I will be happy to spread the word, but only if I truly believe in it. 

**For the purpose of this article and a more in-depth follow-up with my own photos coming soon, Mia Tui sent me three bags (Amelie, Ava and Grace) and a changing mat.
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