How a Kickstarter campaign to build the first dads’ clothing line can change the game of parenting
Guest post by Andrew Bentley, Father + Figure, CEO
For several years before my wife became pregnant, we discussed wanting to be equal parenting partners. We were going to be like swaddling superheros back-to-back, fighting the evils of teething and poopy diaper monsters. We bonded over it.
But when she became pregnant and we moved from discussion to actual preparation, I started to feel left behind. The vast majority of books, classes and equipment were geared towards mothers. During birth, I read, dads are supposed to stay out of the way and try not to faint. And for the first time I was conscious to the deluge of commercials, TV characters and books that paint dads as helpless parenting punchlines. My superhero dad cape withered.
I had a hunch I wasn’t alone in my disappointment with parenting resources and cultural norms, especially after hearing similar sentiment from my new dad friends. To better understand the new father experience, I conducted a survey of 350 millennial dads. Turns out, 84% of them wish parenting companies better understood their needs. I expected lots of dads to feel left behind, but this large majority blew me away.
The lack of attention given to new fathers has consequences. More than three quarters of dads surveyed feel they aren’t valued as parents when products and services aren’t geared towards them. Personally, it made me feel like a second-class parent.
Inspired by dozens of dads sharing their stories with me and becoming a father myself, I am building a startup to support and inspire dads. My company, Father + Figure, is developing the first clothing line designed for new dads. The clothing combines fashion and utility, with built-in features to help dads care for their children.
Why clothing? When my wife started wearing maternity clothes, I noticed they weren’t only practical but also helped her get in the mindset of carrying and caring for a child. Feeling prepared is an important component of confident care-taking of a newborn. Father + Figure’s clothes are fashionable uniforms for dads to put on for the big game.
The line includes a t-shirt, a long-sleeve denim shirt and bandana print burp rags. Stylistically and functionally, they are inspired by classic american workwear, with features like loops to store burp rags or attach toys. Father + Figure’s shirts are made from the softest materials I could find. They include extra soft patches where babies are most often held, such as along the forearms.
After designing and testing for more than a year my dads’ clothing line is ready to be produced here in the USA. In order to do that I am raising funds for our first product run. If you want to join this movement to support dads please back our Kickstarter project here. We’ve gotten tremendous support but still need more.