Writing is one of my favourite distractions from depression, and when Frugi wrote a post asking for fans to become a ‘Frugi Crusader’, naturally I jumped at the chance. I saw it as a way to get involved with a brand I loved, and meant that I had something I could really focus on; asides from the book – As much as believe it is so important for me to share my experience of depression and self-harm with others, I also need other things I can focus on that won’t be so mentally draining.
When I went to check out Green Baby’s website – only to find that it was ‘closed for maintenence’ I began to get panicky. Somehow I just knew they wouldn’t be coming back. I did a little research, hunted them down on Twitter and FaceBook, and generally dug about online until I got the answer I was looking for – It was true. Sadly the company had gone into liquidation. My heart sank.
A Green Baby vest was the first item of clothing our little baby wore in hospital (and for a few weeks after until she grew into the others). I had fallen in love with them because they understood the need for clothes that fit over cloth nappies, and because everything in their range was such soft, good quality organic cotton. When I realised they were gone for good, I quickly bought a stash of Green Baby clothing that I found on other online retailers, and squirrelled them away until our little girl grew big enough.
With my goodbyes said, it was time to find a new favourite brand. This is where Frugi comes in.
I had already heard of Frugi (originally called cut-4-cloth), and we did already own a few items that I had bought in the sale. The quality was just as good, if not a little better than Green Baby, and the designs were adorable. In all honesty, the only thing that really put me off was the higher price, and more expensive post and packing. I always found discount codes for Green Baby that worked with sale items, but this was not the case with Frugi.
However, with some of the competition now gone, there really is no question about it. Frugi sell the best quality baby items out there, at a price that isn’t ridiculous. In the grand scheme of things, I’d actually say the price is pretty spot on given the quality, and it was Green Baby who had perhaps sold themselves too cheap.
Now as part of the Frugi crusader team, I see it as the perfect opportunity for me to let Frugi know what I think they could improve on. This is naturally going to mean comparing them other brands and shops, but I am sure that Frugi might quite like to know how they can fill the gap that Green Baby left. As someone who spent the latter half of their pregnancy signed off work and unable to walk, I am not too ashamed to admit that I spent many, many hours looking at baby things online – so I’ve got a fairly good understanding of what is already out there, and at what cost.
I think Frugi already know that price is one of the biggies that puts people off, but naturally they are not going to sacrifice quality to make themselves more budget-friendly (and nor should they). Going back to Green Baby, I remember that they had a ‘natural’ range, which I didn’t really ‘get’ until now. But now it makes perfect sense – It was a basic range that was cheaper for their customers, but was still made of the same excellent quality cotton. They branded it as being neutral so that it appealed to parents who had chosen not to find out the sex of their baby, but in actual fact it also suited those of us who just wanted to stock up on clothes without paying too much for them, and didn’t mind about fancy patterns or bright colours. We have a couple of vests from this range, and I must admit that I still grab them first when putting them underneath other clothes – so I can ‘save’ the fancy ones for a day when they can be seen. And you guessed it, all this means is the plain ones are worn much more than the others. I honestly think that if Frugi perhaps chose to market their plain items slightly differently – so they were easier to find, and more obviously cheaper, I really think that this would be a good way to get customers interested. For example, it isn’t glaringly obvious that plain bodies are sold in 2-packs (the main picture shows one on a model – the same as the patterned ones do). Yes it does say that underneath, but some people will glance at the price and quickly move on (I speak as a bargain hunter here). Maybe it’d also be worthwhile to sell them individually, so that the low price has a real chance to attract people? Or perhaps Frugi could create a section on their website for a ‘natural’ or ‘budget’ range? It may also work well to offer some kind of deal for first time customers, such as ‘add a plain body to your order for half price’ – that kind of thing. I’m pretty sure that if Frugi can entice new customers with a cheaper option, it won’t be long before these same customers fall in love with the brand and end up buying all the colourful stuff anyway (just as I did!)
Being someone who loves special offers and competitions, I think it is wonderful that Frugi are always trying to engage their customers with competitions on the social media sites and blogs, and that they offer discounts codes throughout the year. I’d love to see some of these codes work on sale items, or have free postage attached, but maybe I’m asking too much here. Their packaging is brilliant and so I can see why it does cost a bit more, but again – new customers won’t appreciate this.
My personal hope for the Frugi future is that they do a few more really wintery items (seeing as every season in the UK seams to involve the cold recently) We have a merino wool hat with ear flaps from another brand, and it is always the hat we pick up first (and believe me, we have quite a pile to choose from). Whilst the thick cotton knotted baby hats are really cute, being able to tie the hat up under the chin wins hands down on blustery days, and a hat made of wool is obviously a real bonus in terms of warmth. The Frug reversible fleecy jumpers are a real favourite at the moment, but what we are missing is a nice warm Frugi coat to go over the top! I’m also a big fan of footed trousers (because baby socks are such a hassle and our girl keeps pulling her shoes off to eat). I’ve not seen any of these by Frugi in my time as a customer, so I’d be over the moon if this is something they did introduce into their range. In fact, the only place I ever seemed to find good quality footed trousers was Green Baby, so I think there is a real gap in the market for these now. Our baby is too old for us to want to dress her in sleepsuits all day, and not quite old enough to crawl or walk (when footless trousers will be more suitable). Perhaps Frugi think that this is too niche an audience, but surely there must be a lot of babies who end up sitting there with cold feet!?
Anyway, I am pretty sure that my love for Frugi will only grow over the coming year, and hopefully I’ll be able to share some valuable feedback during my time as a crusader. I’m certainly excited to find out exactly what will be in store for us all, and love the fact that I have a great new distraction to focus on.