When his first two children were 2 and 4, Jon Helman attached a car seat to a suitcase. This travel-style-easy-chair meant his then-pregnant wife Jennie could rush through the airport and not leave her coffee behind. And voilà: A solution to the chaos of traveling with kids was born.
Since then, the Helmans have perfected that early vision, creating Lugabug for children 2 years and up with a weight limit of 60 pounds. This compact child's travel seat attaches to a rolling suitcase in seconds, and isn't just for the airport. The Helmans have used Lugabug for all-day soccer events to get from field to field.
My kids would have loved this travel seat when they were small enough to refuse to walk through the airport; it means I could have left our stroller at home. But even as I picture thankful parents snapping this "snug seat for tired feet" onto their luggage, I wonder how Jennie and Jon found time to launch a new business. Jon works full time as a tech consultant and Jennie is a human resources consultant who logs 30 hours a week. Not to mention she’s the bass player for The Not-Its!, a "kindie" band that’s traveled all the way to India to play at a music festival.
So what finally inspired them to make good on an invention they'd discussed for years? She and Jon were rushing through the airport at 6 a.m. with one of their three children strapped into an earlier version of Lugabug. Six men in business suits saw them. "One guy says, 'Now that's a good business idea,'" Jennie recalls. "We looked and each other and said, 'Oh yeah, we should do this.'"
The work with Lugabug feeds Jennie and Jon's creative sides, she says. "It meets a need and makes people happier," she adds, not to mention "it's a conversation started for people in the airport.
A locally made Lugabug seat retails for $69.99 and is available at Lugabug's website, on Amazon and at Satsuma Designs in Seattle. Through March 31, 2016, ParentMap readers can receive 15 percent off by using the code “springbreak2016” at the Lugabug online store.