Two things that Brooklynites love are public drinking and carrying around their children in pouch-like contrivances as if they’re kangaroos. Combining these two loves can be a little difficult, considering no one wants to see a parent swigging out of a paper bag, but one enterprising Brooklyn entrepreneur is suggesting replacing the real baby with a fake baby made of foam rubber that functions as an insulated drink holder. It’s called The Cool Baby, and it’s looking to raise money on Kickstarter so the dream can become a reality.
We met up with the brains behind The Cool Baby, Williamsburg resident Simon Philion, to see if this crazy thing was real and to get a little more information on why he needs $70,000 to fund it. Answering out first question, Philion brought a Cool Baby prototype with him to show it wasn’t yet another web based-hoax. Philion told us that the idea first came into his head in 2013, when he pitched it at his advertising job, when a beer company client was looking for “an iconic vessel.” After all, he told us, “The status quo is now babies strapped to our front.”
The idea was shot down before it could get to the beer company, but Philion said the idea of the baby as drink holder haunted him ever since he pitched it.
So, Philion finally went ahead with his idea after a family friend helped him get a prototype made right here in Brooklyn. The Cool Baby itself looks eerily lifelike, but that doesn’t get in the way of the purpose of the product. Wearing a baby carrier, you strap the Cool Baby in after filling the insulated thermos inside with whatever liquid you want to drink. You then suck it through a mouthpiece on the top of the baby’s head that’s hidden in a cute cap. You can either keep the face turned towards you for maximum subterfuge or turn the face outward to let people know you’re not carrying a living, breathing baby.
The appeal of the Cool Baby, beyond being a hands-free way to drink and not get caught, according to Philion, is that it’s a way to “hack into baby culture…you can walk into the packs of people with strollers and the babies,” and you’ll look just like one of them. Of course, instead of an actual baby in your baby carrier, you’ll be ferrying a “front-mounted drink insulating carbon-based life form” according to the patent on the drink holder.
As if to prove the point that Philion was making about the Cool Baby being camouflaged enough to let you pass as just another parent, someone walking by as he removed it from it’s bag muttered “Fuck, I thought that was a real baby,” and two women expressed concern for the baby left out lying on a stool, before coming over to play around with it and pose for pictures.
It’s not all joy though, as Philion says that he’s gotten complaints about his product trivializing parenthood and children. “Babies are a sacred thing for people, and people who quantify their self-worth through a baby hate me.” It doesn’t seem to bother him, although he’s sensitive to people’s complaints that he’s only going to be selling a white Cool Baby. The plan, according to Philion, once production ramps up is to make Cool Babies with four to five different facial dispositions and a range of races.
If the Kickstarter is fully funded, Philion plans on starting production of 5,000 Cool Babies at factories in China, before selling them directly online for $35 each. For the people who donate enough to get a Cool Baby reward, the tentative date to get one is August of this year, which still leaves time to enjoy some warm weather drinking. And since the thermos is insulated, there’s no reason it can’t be filled with a hot toddy or hot cider when the weather gets cooler.
Though he tells us he’s treating the quest to bring The Cool Baby to the world like it’s his job, Philion is laid back about the prospects of making this his new career, “Either people want this or they don’t, and if the Kickstarter is successful, it’s proof they do.”