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Real men don't carry diaper bags - or do they?

February 23, 2009

The answer is "yes!" if Scott Shoemaker ('94) and John Brosseau ('94) have anything to say about it. Shoemaker and Brosseau are co-owners of DadGear, LLC, a Denver-based company that manufactures diaper bags, vests, and jackets for on-the-go dads.

Diaper bagStarting a family

After receiving a degree in Construction Management from CSU, Shoemaker spent 10 years as a construction manager flying all over the United States and the world to oversee projects. But when he thought about his life as a parent, he didn’t want it to include living on an airplane.

One night over a plate of nachos, Shoemaker and Brosseau, friends from their CSU days, were talking about work, family, and the future. Since they both had recently entered parenthood, they stumbled across the idea of a diaper bag that men would actually carry. “I wasn’t going to carry my wife’s diaper bag so I bought myself an expensive backpack. She thought it was ugly, but within a short time she was carrying it too,” says Shoemaker.

Starting a business

Shoemaker and Brosseau thought they might be on to something, so they started researching baby gear online and at trade shows. The one thing they found missing was gear for dads. With that discovery, the guys set to work developing their product line. During the day, the guys worked their regular jobs, and after dinner, business and product development occurred. “We worked from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. about four times a week,” recalls Shoemaker.

They spent the next year and a half developing their product line and in May 2005 they had four products to offer in various styles and colors. The guys now have a successful business selling their products on their Web site, with baby boutiques stores around the country, and with baby e-retailers.

But how does a guy who studied Construction Management end up opening and running a successful retail business? According to Shoemaker, it’s a natural connection. “Starting your own business is nothing but problems and Construction Management gives you the foundation for how to solve problems. I spent a decade helping people solve problems: how to be more efficient, find resources, and coordinate groups of people,” says Shoemaker.

Product recognition

And Shoemaker’s problem now? “None of our products look like a diaper bag and that’s the hardest part, getting the public to see all the features and functions of the products. They’re meant to be stealthy,” he shares.

Diaper vest Indeed their stealthiest product may be the diaper vest. Because of the outdoor lifestyle in Colorado, Shoemaker thought a hip, stylish vest may be just the thing for dads who are taking their little ones on a short trip. “I was the cook at home until a year ago. I would take my son shopping with me and I had to lug around this giant bag when I only needed a few things – a couple of diapers, wipes, and maybe a onesie,” says Shoemaker. Now the vests are the number two product in their line.

Shoemaker has made a career out of solving problems: first, for the construction industry, and now, for dads and babies everywhere. Dads across the country (and even the world) can thank Shoemaker and Brosseau for providing a stylish, stealthy (and flower-free) diaper bag. For a view of the different diaper bags, vests, and jackets that Dad Gear makes, visit For the woman in your life, check out the Daisy Gear line of bags. For the Ram fan, check out the diaper bag with the CSU Ram logo.

This article was originally published in AlumLine newsletter. To subscribe to AlumLine, become a member of the CSU Alumni Association.

Contact: Beth Etter
Phone: (970) 491-6533