yoomi for Feed Me Bottles

Helping an innovative U.K. start-up bring its award-winning baby-bottle concept to market

Farah and Jim Shaikh founded FeedMe after their own experience with heating up baby bottle feeds - from stumbling around the kitchen in the wee hours to begging restaurant waiters for hot water - inspired them to find a more pleasant, efficient way to do so. They conceived a self-warming device that would warm formula or breast milk to the ideal temperature in just one minute. Their early prototype, designed with IDEO, won the 2008 Design and Engineering category of the London Technology Fund’s Competition and a 2007 Department of Trade and Industry Research Award.

The U.K.-based entrepreneurs approached IDEO London for help in realizing a final product and creating a holistic and aligned brand, marketing, and business strategy to promote its market adoption. Working closely with the Shaikhs, IDEO set out to understand the needs of new parents and to determine how they might be persuaded to use an unfamiliar, albeit innovative, technology. Through research, the design team discovered that emotionally driven thinking is sometimes illogical: Mothers want the bottles they purchase for their babies to seem natural, yet look trendy with benefits focused on baby rather than their own convenience, so they don’t feel guilty. These and other motivations were synthesized into a series of principles that informed the design stage.

IDEO, the Shaikhs, and their engineering team then developed a series of bottle and branding typologies for assessment by mothers and fathers—and subsequently narrowed these down to three options that were fully prototyped. Each offered less fuss than traditional bottles (particularly for caregivers other than moms), was easy to use and aesthetically pleasing, and relied on existing market language (to downplay the “new technology” angle and provide reassurance to users). The final product and branding approach was chosen after the team gathered additional input from new parents.

The resulting 5-ounce Yoomi bottle works on a similar principle to hand-warming gel packs. Its rechargeable warmer heats milk to 32-34 degrees Celsius in 60 seconds—and makes it easy to combine breast and formula feeding. “The button activates the process that turns the non-toxic solution from liquid to solid, during which it gives off heat. It can be recharged after use by immersion in boiling water or a steam sterilizer,” Jim Shaikh explained to the U.K.’s Daily Mail. The bottle features a naturally shaped teat, an ergonomic design, and materials that are 100% safe and BPA-free.

Yoomi creates an entirely new product category by integrating bottles and warming stations into a single solution. The team developed a business strategy for Yoomi’s pricing, promotion, and launch after conducting a full market analysis (in the U.K. and the U.S.) and a series of workshops with the client.

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Project date: 2009