Baby K’tan, LLLC is a Florida-based Juvenile product company founded by two families raising children with special needs. They understood the need to provide their children with the sensory nourishment they required for optimal development, while also wanting to carry their babies as much as possible for parent-child bonding. They experimented with many different baby slings and carriers, eventually creating their own innovative design, and Baby K’tan Baby Carrier was created!
Now Baby K’tan LLC is much more than a baby carrier, they have added new styles and accessories to their items and have increased their product line. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of every Baby K’tan product is allocated to the American Heart Association and to The National Down Syndrome Society.
MO: Tell us about the initial concept of Baby K’tan, and what the process was like in creating the company?
Michal: 10 years ago I found that most baby carriers didn’t give my son, who was born with Down syndrome, support for his low muscle tone. His physical therapist would tell me what was appropriate for his hypotonia and what was not. I began to experiment, and as a result the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier design came about. With the use of connecting two loops, he got the swaddling needed and was able to sit up while still having his legs and body in a developmentally appropriate posture. The Baby K’tan gave me the ability to have him face forward, observe the world & receive the stimulation he benefited from so much. It created the ideal environment for development and growth. Plus it was great looking and attracted a lot of attention. It could be worn like a sling, wrap or carrier, but looked like a t-shirt. People were amazed.
All the attention of wearing him in my hand-made double cotton carrier led me to join forces with my partner and bring the Baby K’tan public: it is now a Patent Pending 100% natural cotton hybrid carrier marketed all over the U.S. and abroad. Not only was it perfect for my son, It is ideal for all Moms, Dads, Twins, Preemies, Breastfeeding and obviously near and dear to my heart, Babies with Special Needs.
We did not have any personal experience in the Juvenile Product market, but I did have previous training in sales and marketing. My prior business was a promotional marketing firm. This did help in the brand launch and marketing of Baby K’tan, however, my partner and I have both pretty much earned our MBA on every other level from launch date until now.
It was very exciting yet fearful to jump in head first on a new venture, but it has paid off.
MO: What are some of the challenges in face in balancing family and work as your business keeps growing, and how has this helped shape the brand?
Michal: Finding a balance between family and work as business keeps growing is a struggle and a big challenge, especially for a mom entrepreneur. However, this challenge has certainly helped shaped my brand as it is a family oriented product, and family involvement and dedication to kids counts when it’s you who stands behind the brand name. Ultimately it has also forced me to rely on others, seeking outside help from parents that use and love our product. I have enlisted actual customers to visit stores and trains staff, things I used to do myself when I had more free time and we were a smaller company. In due course this has turned into a great process of organically spreading knowledge of the brand.
MO: How have you managed to do marketing on a very tight budget?
Michal: A challenge that’s worth mentioning would be marketing within an extremely tight budget. When starting my businesses I had to overcome the small-business “chicken and the egg” problem: Big agencies and consultants with the know-how to spread the word about our product wanted lots of money, while VC’s and banks wanted us to have customers, sales and buzz before investing their capital. This actually shaped the brand as well since we were forced, budget wise, to do most of our marketing efforts in house. In turn, we formed relationships with editors that still contact us today for a feature and appreciate speaking to the actually owner rather than a commissioned PR firm.
Also word of mouth marketing is priceless. Not only is this free, but word of mouth holds more weight in the eyes of consumers. We have received some of our best “advertising” from the very moms and dads that have used and fallen in love with our Baby K’tan baby carrier.
Another variation of this would be social media, which has been a huge factor in helping spread the word about our brand.
MO: Tell us about the other Baby K’tan products other than the Baby Carrier, and how they fit within the brand?
Michal: We currently have 3 styles of the Baby K’tan carrier, Regular, Breeze and Organic. We also added our first “non” carrier item, the K’tanCloth – a 3in1 attachable burp cloth nursing cover. We are also adding additional baby hats and carry sash bags to our line this quarter.
MO: What makes the Baby K’tan carrier different than other baby carriers?
Michael: This parent “must have” is the only soft hybrid baby carrier that is an ideal blend of a sling, wrap and carrier. It allows mom or dad to wear baby in multiple positions from birth, without any hassles of wrapping or buckling. Extremely simple to use, the secret behind this parent-invented, ready-to-wear baby carrier is its unique double-loop design, which gives added security for carrying baby and privacy for mom while nursing! The Baby K’tan is lightweight and compact like a sling, but goes over both shoulders to evenly distribute baby’s weight like a structured carrier. Every Baby K’tan carrier also has an adjustable back support band to keep mom and dad as comfortable as baby, and comes in a free carry bag!
Additionally, Baby K’tan, LLC uses all 100% natural cotton free of harmful chemicals, formaldehydes and azo dyes.
MO: What products can we see in the future for the Baby K’tan business?
Michal: We are planning on introducing new products under our brand name Baby K’tan and are currently working on two new and amazing items that we can’t’ really write about.
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