14 January 2008

Sleeping with Cloud b

You have probably seen a Cloud b product at some point, even if you don't recall the encounter right now. They are the inventive company (with the snazzy packaging) behind the Twilight Turtle - a fantastically cute illuminated sleep aid that is available in all those cool, quirky magazines and the finer independent toy retailers. I am in love with the idea behind Cloud b's unique and nearly-exquisite line of kiddie sleep aids. Unfortunately Cloud b's execution with their entire product line leaves something to be desired as does their hideous, almost non-existent 'customer service' (using that term very liberally).

Over a year ago you may remember me discussing the Twilight Turtle in passing on these pages. The Turtle was OWTK's introduction to Cloud b and the Bear relished sleeping under the starry sky each night for about 2-3 months until the turtle passed away - not even fresh batteries could bring back her bedtime buddy. After a few months passed, she began asking for the turtle again so I decided to check out Cloud b's website and discovered a variety of other sleep aids including two brand new products (as of Fall 2007) - I bought 'em all with the intention of test-driving and reviewing them (making the assumption the first Turtle short-life span was a fluke).

The Twilight Turtle & Twilight Ladybug (new!)
The original Turtle and the new Ladybug perform wonderfully and have over a long stretch now. We have used both nightly for the past 3 months. The lights go out after 30 minutes so the battery life is excellent (I yet to replace them). The mouse sleeps under the Turtle's green or blue stars (the third color option, amber, is so dim it is never used) every night. The Bear staked claim to the Ladybug and it too is still going strong after several months although she no longer uses it every single evening. The two stuffed animals with hard shells travel very well, easily fitting into a suitcase and they look great sitting on the edge of the bed. You will need an elevated flat surface for optimal performance - having the animals on the floor will yield unimpressive results (stars are too fuzzy and wide). During the summer months we positioned the original turtle atop the Bear's rotating tower fan which provided a slightly dizzying but very cool planetarium effect as the night sky moved above her. Highly Recommended.




Sleep SheepLike the Twilight Turtle and Ladybug, the Sleep Sheep is a real winner. The Sheep is attached to the side of Mouse's crib very securely with the extra strength Velcro (a very well made product - the Velcro has remained tight and sticky after constant use). We predominately use the sound of rain but the ocean, with it's crashing waves, is equally as enjoyable. The same cannot be said of the heartbeat sound, a bit too robotic, and the rather unsettling whale sounds. The sheep is highly portable, we often will take it in the car and attach it to the backseat headrest for evening drives. Also like the Twilight, the Sheep looks great in any nursery. Highly Recommended.

Cuddle Cub
Here is where it all falls apart. The Cuddle Cub is one of the new offerings from Cloud b. It's a terrible product. The idea is nice (which is why I bought it) - a sleep aid for toddlers to snuggle while they sleep, all the while being soothed by a soft vibration or a reassuring heartbeat. Sounds perfect, right? Well, the Bear was excited too...for about 90 seconds. The Cub got tossed to the curb faster than any toy I've ever seen. The heartbeat is loud and obnoxious and the vibration is as clunky as a coin operated motel bed. Aesthetically, the cub doesn't fair much better. The Cuddle Cub looks great in a picture but in "real life" seems lifeless. The stuffed animal has almost no neck to speak of so it's head has no choice but to flop down or back - it looks pretty silly. The heart shaped box inside the cub is also a problem. The stomach pouch is not centered - you cannot push the box into the center unless you un-stitch the cub's innards. As a result, the hard gut of the cub is mishapped, uncomfortable and kinda freakish looking.

It's a shame that the cub is so poor, because the rest of the line is rather lovely (including a Lavender Lab not reviewed). It's really a shame that Cloud b's customer service/return policy is so useless and unresponsive. I completed the return form online within days of receiving the package only to receive one "do not reply to this email" email acknowledgement and emailed twice (even stating that I was planning on reviewing the entire line). I've heard nothing since and will probably not buy a single thing from them in the future thanks to that unresponsiveness. Why even have an email address or offer returns? Poor consumer interaction can be the downfall of an organization and while it doesn't appear to be hurting Cloud b right now (their products are showing up in more and more places/mags), I cannot get passed how lame it is to ignore numerous emails and can't help but think that it will catch up with them eventually.

Don't hesitate picking up the Sleep Sheep or Twilight Turtle/Ladybug for your youngster, they will probably adore them as much as the Bear and Mouse do, just pray nothing goes wrong with their little friends. For a company promoting snuggling and comfort, they sure leave this writer feeling pretty cold and alone.

3 comments:

Megan said...

We have the turtle too - it's really a neat product!

Glamour Mom said...

I did listen to the mother's heartbeat and it is indeed bizarre... and my husband thought the whale songs were scary.

Sunny Boutique said...

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or www.SunnyBoutique.com