Hi! I’m Emma, a designer and mum of two (plus 4 via my blended family).
After the birth of my daughter, Coco, 12 years ago and daily visits to our local Happy Valley coffee shop (that included many frustrating diaper-changing instances!); I was faced with two dilemmas.
The lack of diaper changing facilities at most public places. Why should I have to change my baby’s diapers in their sink or worse yet, the floor?! No thanks!
The lack of simple, modernistic baby bags instead of those cutesy, mumsy, cartoon-pasted ones you find everywhere?! I’m still the same person I was before, someone that had a penchant for style and designer bags. I refused to abandon that simply because I’d had a child. And I knew I couldn’t be the only mama that felt this way.
So months of searching and planning finally led to the idea of the Coco Alexander Diaper Bag! A chic clutch on the outside, but a resourceful, everything-you-need diaper changing bag on the inside.
EARLY DESIGN DAYS
Though luxury and style kick-started the diaper bag journey, quality and functionality were paramount as the journey progressed.
The Coco Alexander Diaper Bag, whilst being a stylish diaper bag, is a diaper changing mat. The quality of this changing mat was a major focus in the design phase: it had to be gentle on my baby’s skin and free from toxic plastics. Baby’s needs first, style and function joint second! Yes, you can have all 3.
In addition to being comfortable and gentle on your baby’s delicate skin, the mat is lined with black fabric for two reasons: first, it’s the perineal color of fashion and second, it masks those inevitable stains in between washes.
To the mat design, we added see-through pockets, inner pouches, and nooks to store all the regular baby items. All of this folds into a gorgeous faux-leather casing so the fashionista in you can go around like a proud mama!
After months of designing and researching, we came up with the 2013 version of the Coco Alexander Diaper Bag
Revisions from the 2013 Version
- Gross grain pocket openings changed to elasticated openings for improved access
- Top left pocket amended from net to jersey to prevent the corners of tubes getting stuck
- Length of the outer Velcro increased to augment capacity but ensure everything still held securely in place
- Additional inner panel added for those really messy days
- Quilted exterior for additional padding and extra-luxe finish
- Water-repellent lining inserted to cover the padding to maintain cleanliness and hygiene
Early Design Days
Flashback to the 2010 Happy Valley coffee shop days. I knew the changing clutch needed to have Tardis-like qualities to cope with the minuscule proportions of Hong Kong living. There's no room here for oversized, vacation style tote changing bags.
I'd already landed on a neat clutch that unrolled to reveal inner pouches and nooks to store all the regular baby paraphernalia. Of course, the changing mat was integral to the design, and there was no question that this should be super soft on my babies' delicate skin. The plasticky changing mats of questionable composition and origin have always foxed me. It was set in stone. Our mat would be comforting, luxurious, and a break from the norm.
Though luxury and form kick-started the Nappy Clutch journey, practicality and functionality were paramount. The nappy clutch's inner lining was designated black, the perennial shade of fashion, but also a dream for concealing the inevitable marks between washes. A see-through net fabric was an obvious choice for the pockets, making it a breeze to find everything and a zip-out machine-washable inner for optimum hygiene. All that was left was to encase this cavernous creation into a beautiful faux leather skin that took on the appearance of a classic, timeless and simply gorgeous clutch bag. Why faux leather? So it can be wiped down and kept clean. Have you ever seen what happens to leather when it gets wet?
Several design iterations and many sketches later we move onto the 2013 version, very close to the product we sell today.
Several design iterations, reconsiderations, and many sketches later we have the product as what it is today. Through the years, I have personally put the Coco Alexander Diaper Bag to the test and made changes (from personal experience) to make it more accessible, convenient, and user-friendly for all mamas out there. With improvements in the textile industry, we have improved our product as well. It is now made using sustainable and recycled fabric, that is antimicrobial and water-repellant.
In 2021, thanks to undying support from my husband and his experience in business, we were finally able to launch the new and improved version of the Coco Alexander Diaper bag for mama's like myself.
With the concept of a luxe diaper bag, I aim to remind mama's everywhere that yes, motherhood and everything that comes with it is indeed beautiful. But in the chaos of it all, it’s just as important to stay true to yourself and not to lose sight of things that matter to you.