Way back in the last century – the summer of 1996, to be precise – Andy and Caroline Regan took their five children on holiday to Cornwall. Their older two daughters Kerry and Katie were already strong swimmers, but their three sons Pete, Jack and Billy, who were only 6, 4 and 6 months old, respectively, weren't. The two older boys were full of confidence, but really didn't like the idea of armbands. Being adventurous types, this meant that they needed an eye kept on them all the time!
During the holiday, they got to use heavyweight water sports gear. This helped to keep the kids warm and afloat, but they didn't really provide a comfortable solution. Out of this came the idea for a combination of built-in adjustable buoyancy and neoprene wetsuit.
For the next two years, Andy and Caroline looked at all the products available for children aged between 1 and 6 years that weren't armbands and provided good flotation for their kids. Unhappy with the choices and styles available, they decided to build their own. The result was the Original Konfidence Jacket, which launched in 1998. The name "Konfidence" came out of the confidence it gave parents, as well as their children, when it was worn.
The rest, as they say, is history, with the Konfidence Jacket continuing to help tens of thousands of children learn to swim every year. In fact, we are proud to say that it's the number one best-selling neoprene swimming buoyancy aid for children aged 1 to 7 years across the UK and Europe.
As a direct result of the success of the Original Konfidence Jacket, we were able to grow significantly and expand the product range in the noughties. We were one of the first swimming product companies to foresee how big the baby swimming market would become, which led to us creating our first range of baby swimming products in 2004.
This included our Babywarma baby wetsuit – so called because it enables babies to stay warmer in the water for much longer than would be possible without it, keeping both baby and parent much happier. The coveted Babywarma continues to be one of our best-selling products, alongside the Original Konfidence Jacket.
Our colour-coordinated baby swimming range – which also includes the one-size-fits-all reusable AquaNappy and the swim school-approved NeoNappy – has received much acclaim over the years for its quality, design detail and price. As a result, we've been privileged to receive a host of top awards from leading parenting magazines and websites.
As Europe's largest designers and manufacturers of baby swimming products, buoyancy aids and UVPF sun protection clothing and wetsuits for children up to 14 years of age, we continue to innovate and give customers what they want, rather than what we think they need.
Over the years, we have formed really great relationships within our industry, including working with swim teachers, national swim schools and the Swimming Teachers' Association. Collaborating with them ensures that the Konfidence products continue to be relevant and the very best they can be. We also work with and design for many major high street retailers, swim schools and holiday companies.
Plus, as the market leaders who work across 22 countries – including 14 countries in Europe, North America, South Africa, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong – we are able to share our diverse experience across a vast range of different cultures, as well as taking ideas and best practices found within them to innovate further.
As a British family business with three generations involved (four if you count the little ones testing and modelling our products!), our abiding principles today are the same as they were 20 years ago – to create great products, to provide excellent customer service and to treat all of our customers and partners as we would wish to be treated.
The team at Konfidence welcome all feedback, so please feel free to email or call us with any comments, positive or otherwise.