Congratulations to our August Amber Grant Winner – Laurie O’Nion, founder and CEO of Kiddologic – an award-winning baby bib creator. Below is Laurie’s story.
WNN: Tell us how you were inspired to start Kiddlogic:
LO: My previous profession, prior to being a mom and entrepreneur, was as a wildlife biologist. In 2008, I joyfully traded my backpack for a diaper bag to become a full time mom. My husband and I were indescribably happy and grateful to become parents.
When my first kiddo was 6 months old and transitioning into solids, I quickly realized the need for a better bib. I tried many of the options available, and found that conventional bibs and so-called ‘full coverage bibs’ on the market didn’t provide true protection of my baby’s clothes and were lacking in comfort, ease of use, quality, and style. I started my company in 2010 to pursue the development of the bibit-all™ – in order to fill those gaps and that need both personally and in the market, and to create a job that I could do primarily from home with my little guy.
I poured all my research skills into learning, planning, and implementing the many ‘moving parts’ of the business that were necessary to take my product to market. I didn’t have a business background, but I had always been a problem solver with an innovative nature—necessary qualities in a mom and in an entrepreneur.
WNN: How long was it before you launched your product?
LO: I launched the bibit-all™ at the ABC Kids Expo in October 2012 and began filling orders in January 2013. The bibit-all™ is currently sold in 17 independent retailers, on Amazon, and on the Kiddologic website. The bibit-all™ is poised to take off at a significant rate. Large retailers including Babies R Us, Bed Bath and Beyond, Fred Meyer, and Walmart Canada have contacted me with interest in carrying the bibit-all™. Kiddologic has the infrastructure in place (such as a manufacturer capable of efficiently producing large quantities, warehousing and fulfillment center with EDI) to meet large orders from mass-market retailers.
The bibit-all™ has already won four prestigious product awards. It is a Parent Tested Parent Approved winner, a Mom’s Choice Award gold seal winner, a Mom’s Best Award winner, and a BabyMaternity Magazine Award winner (named 2013 Top Choice of the Year for the bibs category). The bibit-all™ also received rave reviews from bloggers with significant social media following. The word is getting out!
WNN: What’s your long-term vision for Kiddlogic?
LO: Kiddologic’s mission is to offer “the best of basics” – products that are smart, practical, and fashionable solutions to the universal challenges of parenthood. My focus is on improving the most essential baby care items that parents use every day.
This is an under-served niche in the distribution of juvenile products, as much of the innovation in the industry takes place in baby ‘gear’ categories such as strollers, car seats, high chairs, etc. Baby ‘basics’ is a very attractive niche, as the market and demand is very large for the mandatory staples in baby care – especially when fresh new solutions to the current limitations in these basics are presented. In addition, these primary care items are in a price range that make them ideal baby shower gifts, which broadens the market substantially.
I have an exciting plan for growth, with a consistent stream of new products to offer in the future. I intend to grow Kiddologic into a trusted brand that is known for functional innovation, excellent quality, and modern style. My vision is to 1.) expand the bibit-all™ line and 2.) grow the company’s product offerings and distribution to be a leader in the market of ‘baby basics’.
WNN: What are your plans for the Amber Grant money?
LO: I’ll use the Amber Grant toward making a strategic expansion of the bibit-all™ line that will significantly increase its distribution. I plan to expand the bibit-all™ line to include a trendier fashion line that will appeal to the thousands of higher end baby boutiques. This will allow Kiddologic to offer the fashion line exclusively to independent retailers (boutiques) and the original trio of solid colors to large mass market stores, establishing two thriving categories of wholesale distribution.
This strategy is a solution to one of the biggest challenges in retail – acquiring and keeping specialty stores as customers while, at the same time, securing mass market distribution. Sometimes, specialty retailers will drop a product when it makes the leap to mass market distribution, because they feel they can’t compete with the bigger box stores in terms of price, and that the product is no longer unique enough for their customers if it is widely distributed.
Both of these categories of wholesale distribution (specialty retailers and big box stores) are vital to the growth of Kiddologic. To grow the Kiddologic brand on a substantial level, I need national recognition, which means getting in front of the mainstream consumer in larger mass market stores. At the same time, specialty retailers nurture the Kiddologic brand on a more intimate level by validating a standard of excellence in quality and style.
The Amber Grant obviously would not completely fund Kiddologic’s two-pronged approach to growth (establishing and growing both specialty and mass market channels of distribution), but it will be a significant and much needed component.