Business Monday

Small Business Spotlight: Baby K’tan

From left: Robert Rincón, Michal Chesal, Isaac Wernick, Abby Schochet and Jamie Cohn, with dolls wrapped in Baby K’tan carriers.
From left: Robert Rincón, Michal Chesal, Isaac Wernick, Abby Schochet and Jamie Cohn, with dolls wrapped in Baby K’tan carriers. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Company: Baby K’tan.

Location: Davie.

Product: Baby K’tan is a baby products company founded by two families raising children with special needs. Their initial product, the patented ready-to-wear Baby K’tan carrier, won numerous awards for best newborn carrier. Baby K’tan (K’tan means “little” in Hebrew), continues to increase its product line with smart, simple and stylish products that assist in baby-parent bonding and make life easier.

Baby K’tan products are sold at Buy Buy Baby Stores, Babies R US, Target.com, Amazon.com, Diapers.com. Customers can go to http://www.babyktan.com/stores.html to find other stores where its products are sold. Its best-selling baby carrier is priced at $49.99.

Years in business: 10. Baby K’tan incorporated in 2005 but launched its first product in 2007.

Management team: Isaac Wernick, CEO and co-founder; Michal Chesal, president and co-founder.

Website: www.babyktan.com

Unit sales: In 2008, 17,000 Baby K’tan Baby Carriers were sold. The company projects sales of more than 190,000 carriers in 2015.

Number of employees beyond management team: 11.

Milestones:

▪ Baby K’tan Baby Carrier has earned several seals and awards.

▪ Launch of new products, such as the patent-pending Baby K’tan SmartGear Diaper bag and patented Baby K’tan 3-1 K’tanCloth.

▪ Receipt of utility patent on flagship product, the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier.

▪ Hiring of new staff and expanding from a three-person operation to a 13-person team.

▪ Moving product lines to a distribution center to assist in sales growth and expansion.

▪ Building the brand globally in 15 countries and growing.

Keys to success: Never give up. Always remember where you came from. “We still allocate a percentage of proceeds from the sale of every Baby K’tan product to the American Heart Association and National Down Syndrome Society,” Wernick said. Take time to help and mentor smaller businesses, the same way you got mentored. “If organic growth has helped you, like it has for us since we introduced our first product in 2007, don’t throw it out the window,” Wernick added. There’s no reason to stop relying heavily on pure organic growth, including word-of-mouth, blogger reviews and social media, and continue growing in the same low-budget way that Baby K’tan has learned to excel at, the founders believe.

Impact: “The biggest impact of starting Baby Ktan on me personally is the satisfaction that we are providing a wonderful product that helps parents and caregivers bond with their babies. I always remind myself of this. This passion provides the extra energy and strength to endure many of the stresses of running your own business,” Wernick said.

Next steps: Baby K’tan plans to add new styles to its baby carrier line, and the company is working on designing innovative line extensions that assist in baby-parent bonding and making life easier. Baby K’tan is also in potential licensing discussions and plans to continue expanding internationally.

Strategy for next steps: Participating in more trade shows, including ones in Cologne, Germany; South America; and Shanghai. “As for line extensions, we have a few products in the pipeline, and we are constantly getting new ideas from mom entrepreneurs who often have innovative ideas but do not have the time or resources to bring them to market,” Wernick said.

NANCY DAHLBERG

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