THIS GEAR WAS TESTED ON KIDS. MINE.
As a brand, we never planned to make TOBE® kids’ gear. As a couple, we never planned on making kids. Soon, we were doing both.
I met Marianne in 1999. In 2001 we co-founded TOBE, as a means to riding sleds, traveling and partying.
We did that for 10 or so years until life took an expected, yet unexpected turn. Marianne turned out to be the ideal partner, and even if I was punching a bit above my weight class, she already took a liking to me. Before we knew it, we were pronounced husband and wife.
As we grew together, TOBE grew up too. Gone was the wild lifestyle—the skulls, the rivets, the tribal tattoos and the promotion tours in bars. We replaced it all with premium materials and considerable design and construction thought for each piece that we produced.
We set our goals, revamped the product line, remodelled a house, got a dog and we were cruising. I thought we were set. Then in 2012, came the first of two kids. And if the question were, how did you start making kids gear… I’d say that you start by making kids.
As we watched the kids grow into wild little shits, TOBE continued to grow into the refined, bomber gear that it is today. Bulletproof materials, 45,000mm membrane and breakthrough construction made our gear able to handle anything snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding threw their way.
Soon the kids were tearing up the ski hills, backyards, trails and lakes, and we noticed that their gear was getting tore up too… But we couldn’t find well-made kids’ gear.
To my surprise, the premium materials and quality construction that had grown into a near-religious belief with our TOBE design team, was unheard of in the kids apparel industry.
And since it had been awhile since I’d carried on like a kid, I witnessed first hand from the comfort of my gear, how quickly kids tore through everything you put on them, just being kids…
So we set out to change that, as we do—and make a new line of kid-proof gear. We started with all the proven Cordura® and Kevlar™ fabrics, and Sympatex® 45.000mm membrane we used for our gear… Then we doubled down on the stitching and seam sealing—because, well, kids. Lastly, we added a touch of TOBE flavor.
Next, extensive “product testing.” This included towing my oldest behind a tractor on a gravel road—which was nothing compared to the real-life testing we did at the local kindergarten.
Before we knew it, we proudly presented our first collection of miniature monosuits for the kids. It’s been five years since then. Every time we’re certain that we’ve perfected the ultimate kids suit, kids from around the world have proven us wrong. So we’ve continued to improve. And this year, I’m convinced that they can’t beat us. After all, they’re just kids, how hard can it be? 😉
From all of this, I’ve learned one important lesson. The ideas and experience needed to craft the most enduring gear in the world, comes from living life. We put the gear through the same realities that any outdoor-adventure loving family goes through every day. You can’t get that first-hand feedback from any laboratory or design studio.
Author: Tomas Berntsson, founder of TOBE Outerwear