Special Award Ergonomics winner 2020 - Interview with Frank Herold, Hama GmbH & Co KG

The Special Award Ergonomics has now gone into the second round. Together with the renowned German institute of health and ergonomics (IGR), the stationery expo Insights-X confers the award to selected exhibitors. They award it to products in the stationery industry which put a special focus on the topic of ergonomics. The prize is awarded to innovative products that verifiably offer added ergonomic value and are developed with the goal of benefiting health while working in mind.

The company Hama GmbH & Co KG won the inaugural Special Award Ergonomics last year in 2020. The submitted product, "ScaleRale" of the school back pack brand coocazoo won around the jury in the category (school) bags and backpacks.

We talked about the award with Frank Herold, who boasts over 30 years of experience in the stationery sector. He has been Deputy Sales Manager at Hama GmbH & Co KG for 25 years and played an important part in developing the business of ergonomic schoolbags and school backpacks, as well as the company’s own brand coocazoo. Frank Herold was born in the German Vogtland region and has been responsible for sales management in the German and Austrian market since 2008.

Mr Herold, you participated in the Special Award Ergonomics in 2020. What were your expectations beforehand and to what extent were they fulfilled?

Frank Herold: We were of course hoping that the ScaleRale would impress the expert jury and be nominated for the award, as the school backpack fulfils all the requirements for the ergonomics award with its unique back system. Due to the patented EASY-GROW SYSTEM, the ScaleRale grows with the child. The Campaign for Healthier Backs (AGR) and the German Association for Posture and Exercise Promotion (BAG) even designated the school backpack as "outstandingly ergonomic". The fact that the ScaleRale actually went on to win and was awarded the Special Award Ergonomics makes us very proud.

How did your company and the awarded product profit from the nomination?

F. H.: We profited twofold from the award: on the one hand, the award led to higher awareness on the market, and on the other hand, this is of course an excellent selling point for consumers. Kids usually care about cool designs and individuality when deciding on what to buy. For parents, however, ergonomics is an important criterium, on top of sustainability and safety. 

Which aspects do you believe are essential when it comes to ergonomics in the product group (school) bags and backpacks?

F. H.: A school backpack must fit perfectly and be constructed ergonomically so the bag’s weight is spread out through various components – that is what the ScaleRale’s hip, shoulder, and chest straps are for. Because of its stepless height adjustment that grows with its user, the backpack always sits perfectly and therefore offers the highest wearing comfort as well as perfect freedom of movement. Receiving competent advice from trained staff in a specialised retail store is also crucial. That way the kids get to try on the backpack under the guidance of the staff and get to know the backpack’s height adjustment system as well as all its other features.

Which ergonomic features does the coocazoo school backpack "ScaleRale" have? Why did you decide to submit this particular product?

F. H.: The ScaleRale distinguishes itself with its stepless EASY-GROW SYSTEM. Beyond that is its ergonomically shaped back support and its soft, breathable back cushion. The cushioned shoulder straps offer additional wearing comfort, just like the removable hip strap. And for running or bike riding, the backpack is additionally held in place with its adjustable straps: they can be used to reduce the gap between the backpack and its user’s back.

In which way were you able to communicate the award to retailers?

F. H.: We communicated the award via specialist trade magazines and consumer channels such as our website and social media. 

Are you planning to participate in the Special Award Ergonomics 2021?

F. H.: We most certainly will participate again in 2021! And we hope that we can win over the jury with our exciting innovations again!

Special Award Ergonomics


Do you have ergonomic products in the (school) bags and backpacks or stationery categories? You can register your company along with three products until 11 August 2021 for the Special Award Ergonomics offered by Insights-X and the German institute of health and ergonomics (IGR).

Register here

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