Get Wrapped up with the Founder of Baby K'Tan

Michal.jpg
 
 
 

What is the name of your business and what is your product or service?

Baby K’tan, LLC is a juvenile products company best known for the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier. It’s a wrap without all of the wrapping sized to fit the wearer. With no buckles or hardware it’s one of the most comfortable carriers on the market. We have expanded to include our Newborn Swaddle set made from the same breathable mesh as our Breeze carrier and a line of diaper bags. Most recently, we launched our Weekender Bag – a diaper bag that can take parents from weekday to weekend in a snap.

 

Do you work from your home in an office/studio, other?

The majority of the Baby K’tan staff works from our Davie, FL office. We do have a few employees from our Marketing and Sales teams that work remotely across the U.S.

 

What inspired you to start your business?

It all started with a desire to provide my son, Coby, born with Down syndrome, the sensory nourishment he required for optimal development, while also wanting to carry/wear him as much as possible for parent-child bonding. Thus, the first prototype of the Baby K’tan Carrier was born as a homemade hybrid that improved and incorporated different aspects from other carrier models.

 

Take us through your typical day. How do you start things off?  What does your afternoon look like? When do you say I'm done!?

I’m a single mom, so I often get up at around 6:30 a.m. to get my three kids ready for their 3 different schools! After drop off, I head over to my office. My day usually consists of touching base with each of my departments to make sure things are moving along with product development and distribution as well as marketing and operations. We are a small company, and I have my hands in every aspect of the business, so there isn’t really a ‘typical’ day other than to maintain a pulse of where things stand for our company as a whole. I try to sneak in workouts here and there as well! We always have a weekly all hands on deck meeting, where we brief and discuss any current pain points, celebrate milestones and propose any new projects and/or tasks across the entire company. A big part of how way we do things at Baby K’tan includes looping in the entire staff so we can get their input on decision making. They are all encouraged to chime in. From products to marketing – they are encouraged to give us their thoughts and perspective.

I try to say ‘I’m done’ around 4:30pm when my kids are out of school so I can tune into them. I often have periods of travel where I can’t be with them, so this is important to me. Once they are in bed, I’ll often do a quick check of email or wrap up anything that needs my immediate attention. If it can wait until the morning, I do try to leave it to maintain some down time.

 

What do you think you do differently to separate yourself from your competitors?

The Baby K’tan Baby Carrier is a simple and smart wrap without all of the wrapping. Our patented double-loop design allows for ultimate comfort with your newborn because there are no buckles, snaps, or hardware of any kind. All our competitors have some form of hardware or complicated wrapping involved with their products. We are all about being “simple & smart” so you can spend more time emotionally bonding with your baby. Another thing we do extremely well is cultivating close relationships with our customers. When you see our reviews, you can tell that Baby K’tan is a hands-on company. Our customer service team is in-house so we can stay true to our focus, a product that helps simplify a parent’s life, not add stressors. We concentrate on keeping it simple so parents can focus on getting to the business of bonding with their baby.

We’re all about being simple and smart

 

What does your team look like?

We currently have 13 staff members that work within our Operations, Marketing and Sales teams.

 

How do you feel Social Media has affected your business?

Social media has helped us connect with the parents who love our product. From the early days to today, we’ve been using social media to get face time with our loyal users and celebrate how babywearing with the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier, as well as our other products, make their day-to-day life as a parent easier.

 

What tips could you offer someone to help them grow their following?

Develop content that stays true to your brand and continuously rotate key messages and education. Sometimes, you’re going to have to pay for advertising to be ‘seen’, that’s just the reality of social media in 2018. What worked in our earlier years isn’t necessarily an impactful strategy today. Being willing to evolve as the various social media channels evolve is key. Stay on top of trends and changes so you are not left behind. Finally, invest time in an email strategy. It’s the one channel where you have a captive audience that isn’t controlled by a third party.

 

What piece of advice can you give someone just starting out?

Becoming an entrepreneur in no easy feat. Ask several successful business owners what their “secret” is and you will receive different answers from all. Technology may be constantly changing and saturated markets can seem like an obstacle, but there are several traits that remain constant in my entrepreneurial success for Baby K’tan:

Motivation. Always remember why you decided to start the journey. I began my company out of sheer necessity. Wanting to bond with my son, born with Down syndrome, I created a baby carrier that allowed me to hold him close while meeting his developmental needs.

Perseverance. Will you endure even when obstacles arise? Competition will always try to sidetrack you, but a strong will can keep your vision alive.

Patience. Many want to be their own boss and be successful, but it does not happen overnight.

Humility. No one likes a know-it-all, and this is even true of the boss. The ability to delegate, let go and accept help from others can propel any business.

 

What are your goals for 2018?

Our current goals for the remainder of 2018 include expanding our product line and looking to move our offices and warehouse to a larger space.

 

What app can you not live without?

Our whole staff stays connected via WhatsApp. From trending news in our market to day-to-day fun, we all communicate through the app on a regular basis.

 

Have you read any books, or received any advice that has had a positive impact on your business or in life? Please share.

Unfortunately I don’t have as much time for books as I’d like. The most recent book I read that had a positive impact on me is Shoe Dog. It’s incredible to read because it walks you through the start of Nike. When you read about what they went through in the early days, I can completely relate and it reminds me I’m on a greater path. I found myself connecting with a lot of their struggles, including mishaps that can occur with tradeshows and with manufacturing runs, to competition and dedicated staff and sales reps. It’s good to know Nike went through everything we’re going through!

 

Are you listening to any podcasts and if so which one?

I don’t listen to many, but NPR’s ‘How I Built This’ is fantastic.

 

How do you balance mom life with work life?

It can be difficult to balance work and mom life. I don’t think there is one clear cut answer to this question. It’s really a ‘one day at a time’ thing. I ask for help and try not to take on more than I can manage, but being a business owner can definitely make that part a bit more difficult.

Michal & Kids.jpg

What are you most proud of?

Creating a product that meets the needs of so many parents while meeting the needs of my own children!

 

Who inspires you?

My family is a large part of what inspires me to do what I do. From my son Coby who has Down syndrome and was the reason the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier was developed, to my 97 year-old grandmother who still lives on her own, to my baby sister who found herself wheelchair bound 7 years ago and has more drive and motivation than anyone I know. I am inspired by their resilience and love of life.

 

Someday I want to ...

I want to be able to employ young adults with disabilities like my son. I want to have a big enough operation where I can incorporate that type of program.

 

Where can you be reached

www.babyktan.commichal@babyktan.com

Aileen Lavin