Dads revolutionize the diaper bag
“What’s in your pants?”
That’s the motto of Freedom Pants, the first pair of pants designed to replace a diaper bag. And on Nov. 14, James Kadonoff, founder and CEO of Man vs Baby (a media platform catering specifically to dads), asked Daymond John, a judge from the ABC entrepreneurial business show “Shark Tank,” that exact question.
Kadonoff was pitching his daddy pants — which come complete with pouches for a smartphone and a pacifier — during a “Good Morning America” segment. In a mock scenario, he was up against The Undress, a dress that gives women-on-the-go the ability to change wardrobes in public settings and that was ultimately declared the winner by the “Shark Tank” judge.
“I mean, you have beautiful women dressing and undressing on stage — how do you compete with that?” a lighthearted Kadonoff told the Journal. “The particular Shark we met, which was Daymond John, was not a father, and he came up to me after [the segment] and said, ‘Great pants, but you know, my girlfriend wants a baby, but I don’t — so your pants are like kryptonite.’ ”
After the show aired, Kadonoff said he received an email from “Shark Tank” producers, asking him to participate in the show’s seventh season, which will broadcast next year, giving him a chance at real funding.
What’s the big deal with these particular pants anyway? To the untrained eye, they might just look like a typical pair of military-grade cargo pants. But Freedom Pants mean business for men with babies who desperately want to shed their diaper bags. The pants come with adjustable utility pouches for diapers and wipes, thermal insulated removable liners, Velcro straps to secure removable pouches, a changing pad, a sunglass pouch, a smartphone pouch and, yes, even a Binky pouch.
The prototype for the pants was designed by Naomi Kawanishi, owner of the fashion line Eternal Sunshine Creations and the wife of Avi Sills, co-founder and vice president of product development at Man vs Baby. It took about a year of research, development and revision before the product’s Oct. 28 unveiling via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
Kadonoff, a father of five with a background in commercial production and advertising, first got the idea for Man vs Baby while at his neighborhood park’s jungle gym. He was out with one of his sons when he realized he didn’t have his diaper bag,
“As a generally organized father, I found myself at the park with no diaper bag and a 7-month-old with oatmeal on his face,” Kadonoff said.
Later that night, he bought the domain for ManvsBaby.com, and eventually he recruited a team of like-minded fathers to help propel his idea forward. Among them were Sills, a father of three, and advisory board members Anthony and Joe Russo, the brothers who directed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Sills, the son of a rabbi, is Kadonoff’s neighbor in Santa Monica and a percussionist at numerous local temples.
To describe their website, Sills said that Man vs Baby is Funny Or Die meets BuzzFeed meets Parenting.com. Think of it as a digital man-cave, a virtual refuge for dads, stocked with blogs, videos and products.
Kadonoff said Man vs Baby aims to disprove the popular media portrayal of fathers as “bumbling gooks who don’t know what’s going on.” Eventually, he and his team hope to inspire other brands to direct their products to fathers.
“This is a media platform with a twist,” said Sills. “And the twist is the introduction of Freedom Pants.
“Usually one of the first presents at a baby shower is a frilly, girly diaper bag, which becomes your diaper bag for a while,” Sills said from personal experience.
Until of course, the father upgrades to a more masculine rendition of that forsaken bag, or invests in a pair of Freedom Pants. Or both? Kadonoff likes the idea of describing his pants as an “alternative.”
“I hate to say it — because I know we’re trying to get people to stop buying diaper bags — but on those crazy days, when I’ve got all of those kids, I might use both [Freedom Pants and a diaper bag].”
Freedom Pants’ Kickstarter campaign officially ended on Dec. 4. Although organizers didn’t attain their goal of $50,000, they’re determined to stride forward. They’re currently filling orders for the pants — the market price is still being discussed, but the cost is likely to be upward of $100 — working on their website and getting their products into stores, according to Sills.
So, what’s in your pants? If these guys have their way, the answer will be a bottle of milk and a Binky.