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Meet the Swedish man putting the Messi into baby changing

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Meet the Swedish man putting the Messi into baby changing
Leo Messi and a baby in his number 10 nappy. Photo: AFP / blog moda bebe
16:16 CEST+02:00
The Local talks to Thomas Ridell, a Swedish entrepreneur living in Barcelona, who is taking the nappy world by storm.

The 52-year-old Swede is co-founder of Brappies, the Barcelona based startup behind the latest fashion must have for infant footie fans; Barça diapers.

How did you get the idea for Brappies?

As you can imagine of someone who has children aged five and almost three, I have spent an awful lot of time in the last few years changing nappies. One day it just struck me that underpants have a lot of branding on them, with designer brands such as Calvin Klein, but why not nappies? My wife and I both have a background in marketing so we thought about it and decided it was a good plan. My current business partner Paul Davies and I started the company and the first Barça nappies hit the shelves earlier this month.


A baby ponders Brappies Barça collection. Photo: blog moda bebe 

Are branded nappies now a thing then?

Big nappy names have long since teamed up with Disney and that sort of thing to produce decorated nappies but we haven't seen sports merchandising on them until now. It surprised me as you can buy everything else branded with your favourite team from baby dummies (pacifiers) to baby bottles, to babygrows. It seemed logical therefore that fans would want to put their babies in the team nappy too. People love football and the world will always need nappies.

Who is buying them and where?

Of course our target is the dads but lots of people might buy them as a gift; grandparents of toddlers, friends of expectant couples. People love to show that their baby is a "fan since birth". They are not everyday nappies but for a special occasion, match day or whatever and are available through Amazon.es, at €7.80 for a pack of 12, and at Barça merchandising stores around Barcelona.


A baby models Brappies Barça collection. Photo: blog moda bebe 

How did you end up in Spain?

My wife and I left Sweden years ago and moved to Shanghai in China. We were there for eight and a half years and loved it, it was different, special and lots of fun, socially. Then the children came along and we wanted to move to somewhere cleaner so we moved to Singapore. About a year ago when the business started really taking off we took the strategic decision to move back to Europe.

But why Barcelona?

We love summer, warm weather, the heat, beaches and we love good food, nice wine so Barcelona was a natural choice. We came as tourists and after walking around for two days under clear blue skies, with 24 degrees Celsius and cava for €2.50 sitting in a plaza that it just seemed like a perfect fit.

How easy was it to make friends?

Having kids makes it much easier. Through the school and kids we met lots of families with children the same ages as ours (five and almost three) and they have invited us to do social things.


Photo: Thomas Ridell with his two children.

Any culture clash?

Well, our kids go to bed earlier than the locals. They are in bed by eight o'clock and then an hour later we can still hear the family next door just sitting down to dinner with theirs. And we learnt quickly about punctuality. We were invited to a party to eat calçots (a Catalan leek-like speciality) for 1pm. We arrived at 12.45 because the traffic was light but everyone else turned-up closer to 2pm.

What's next?

We have found the place we want to live and bring our children up so we have no plans to move. The focus is on growing the business and we are already in talks for licensing agreements with Atlético de Madrid, Inter Milan, Roma, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham. But we don't plan to stop just at football. We are thinking big and could see it rolled out to NFL in the states or rugby in Australia and the UK.

One day we hope to have Brappies stores in major cities selling all of licensed branding.

To find out more about Brappies, follow them on Facebook.

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