How a Growing Baby Retailer Found a New Favorite Product to Carry Through Hubba
We know being a small business owner can be hard. We love being able to offer tools to help you feel better equipped to navigate the always-shifting world of commerce. We love it even more when we see the fruits of our labor manifest into solid working relationships amongst our users.
We recently chatted with Kirsten Chapman, founder of Kleynimals and Monira Silk, owner of baby retailer, reBlossom about their Hubba success story. Read on to learn more on the trials they faced as business owners and working mothers and how Hubba became the digital glue that brought these two time-strapped entrepreneurs together.
Kleynimals, which offers non-toxic, eco-friendly stainless steel keys and flatware for babies was launched back in 2010 and has been growing steadily ever since. “I don’t really go out and market Kleynimals,” Kirsten reveals. “Usually, people will find out about me through word-of-mouth. [Kleynimals’ growth tends to be organic,] whether it’s a customer suggesting it to a store owner because they would like to see my product in-store or a store owner suggesting it to another store owner – it’s typically the latter.”
As we’ve covered before, for smaller craft brands especially, trade shows can sometimes feel like the only option to get their products out there. But as Kirsten explains, it’s just not always feasible. “I have both limited time and finances. I really haven’t gone to any trade shows. As a small business, [Hubba is a] great way to get my products in front of buyers and boutiques.
“Monira is very unique in that she found me on Hubba and was interested. So far, she’s been the only one to find me on Hubba but I know I haven’t done much [to help that]; I’m a one-person-show and I’m spread quite thin. [I’m a] stay-at-home-mom who’s at school for various events all the time, while still running my business. That’s my reality.”
While we have a clearer picture of why an owner of an upstart brand such as Kleynimals would turn to Hubba as an extra set of hands to show off their wares, what’s really in it for the retailer?
Monira bypasses the limited time and money issue by taking a creative approach to seeing what’s out there. “I typically do [go to trade shows],” she states. “I go to Atlanta a lot just because it’s closest to us. But I have never been to one of the other, bigger trade shows, mostly because of money and travel [that needs to be invested].”
When she is able to get to a show, Monira makes sure to get her money’s worth. “[When I go to a show, I’ll spend] about 12 hours there,” she explains. “I especially want to see if there’s anything new. I have a couple of sales representatives that I work with and we tend to have similar tastes so I’m really curious about what new brands they are taking on. [I find a lot of brands] through alternate sources.”
Whether it’s flipping through parenting magazines to see what’s at the forefront of mass media, or visiting upscale baby stores in other cities to learn more about what’s popular in more niche or regional markets, Monira admits it’s good to have another source of inspiration. “In some ways, I feel like I haven’t had that much trouble [finding brands], just because I feel like I get a lot of different ideas from a variety of sources. However, if Hubba hadn’t connected me to Kleynimals, I probably would have never heard of them before.”
Indeed, users of Hubba have the capability to browse through scores of brands or retailers within their industry, acting as a virtual trade show, on their own terms with 100% less monetary investment. With that in mind, anyone using the platform should make sure they’re in tip-top shape in case that special someone comes along.
“When I first found Kirsten, I went through almost every profile that I thought was baby-related,” says Monira. “In some instances, there might be incomplete profiles, so people should add more photos and more information in general.
“I have fairly strict criteria when looking for things. I really try to choose companies that have some sort of environmentally-friendly aspect to them, preferably made in the USA, handcrafted or fair-trade. I seek out brands, as best as I can, that are socially conscious and that give back somehow.”
So why continue to use Hubba? Monira loves how we connect real business owners without any middlemen. “What I liked about finding Kleynimals on Hubba and connecting with Kirsten is that it was Kirsten. A lot of times you’re merely dealing with sales representatives who may or may not know all the answers to the questions that you have. It’s nice to be able to put a name to the face [and] I like the fact that [Kirsten is a] mom, that’s usually one of the main criteria for our products.”
As for Kirsten, it’s the easy to use interface and our unending support that make Hubba a great tool to have in her arsenal. “Visually, [Hubba] looks really nice and I like the idea. [Hubba has] been persistent with me and very helpful with trying to get me to follow through which makes [the whole process] easier for me.”