This is the latest entry in a series called Who Owns That? We ask readers on our LinkedIn group to identify their favourite small businesses from across Canada, and we track down the owners so they can tell us their stories.
Introducing Donna Farber, the founder of Bouche Baby Inc., a Toronto-based company that produces safe and convenient baby products.
1. Can you briefly describe your business, including when it was founded, what it does, and where you operate?
At Bouche Baby Inc., we are committed to producing unique, ultra-safe and convenient baby products to make the lives of busy parents (like us) as easy as possible. Our products are also visually appealing and easy for babies to use and enjoy.
We recently launched Take N' Shake, a baby to toddler feeding system, with integrated formula compartment and sippy cup kit. It's everything parents need from birth to toddler.
Our company is based out of Toronto, and our products are manufactured at one of the largest and most well respected baby bottle factories in Thailand. It took a few years to develop the products to ensure they are safe (passed international testing procedures for baby bottles), and easy to use. We have warehouses in Ontario and Pennsylvania – to accommodate our Canadian and U.S. customers.
2. What inspired you to be an entrepreneur and to branch out on your own with this idea?
When our children Ryan and Chloe were babies, preparing bottles of formula on the go was a very messy undertaking, requiring the use of plastic bags and separate containers. We wanted to create an easier way to feed babies on the go. With the Take N' Shake feeding bottle, mixing formula doesn't get any easier. You simply add pre-measured formula to the compartment, attach the sieve, add water into the bottle, seal, and go. When you're ready to feed your baby, simply unscrew, flip, shake, and serve. The specially designed (and patented) sieve ensures no formula clumps
The bottle is BPA-free, includes nipples designed to help reduce colic, and has passed international safety standards. In independent focus groups, babies and toddlers selected this bottle over others due to its whimsical, toy-like colours and design.
The system is designed to follow the baby through to the toddler years as it easily converts to a standard bottle when formula is no longer required. In addition, it also can be used as a sippy cup, so the transition from baby to toddler is even more seamless because of the familiarity with the look and feel of the product.
In summary, we believe the Take N 'Shake baby to toddler feeding system will change lives. This bottle can be filled in advance and mixed at feeding time, and can also be used as both a conventional bottle and a sippy cup. It's simple to use, the easiest to clean, and is very well received by babies and toddlers as it looks like a toy.
3. Who are your typical customers, and how do they find you?
Our customer base is comprised of new parents, grandparents, and people with friends who have babies and toddlers – anyone who wants to try to help make parents' lives easier. Our biggest seller is our baby to toddler gift set which includes everything required from birth to 2 years old. Recently, baby showers are now being thrown for grandparents as well, so we are seeing an increased volume of purchases for this demographic as well.
People hear about us through word of mouth, media coverage, mommy blogs and other social media, and via on-line advertising. We were featured on Disney's babble.com as a 'Hot on the Market Must-Have' and later as 'the Best Invention Ever.' Mommy bloggers and the media are giving us rave reviews. Also, celebrities like Gwen Stefani, Olivia Wilde and Kate Winslet all have our gift sets.
Our products are available on-line through major retailers including: Walmart Canada, Babies R' Us, Target, Drugstore.com, Walgreens, Amazon.com, Sears, Kmart and others. The products are selling very well on-line, but we would like them to become available in stores as well.
4. What are the roles of you and your co-founder in the business? Do you have any employees?
I'm the president of the company, as well as a marketing executive on Bay Street. I'm responsible for marketing, advertising, sales and media outreach. Mark Segal takes care of operations and finance. He is also a technology executive by day. Darryl Farber is a former dentist who has been manufacturing private label products for major global retailers for over 25 years. He provides strategic guidance.
5. You've been identified by one of our readers as a standout business. What do you consider the key element of your success?
We have created a great line of baby products designed to help make parents' lives easier. In the future, we plan to expand the line to include other unique time saving baby feeding items. Our plan is to stay efficient and nimble, so we outsource all operational functions like e-commerce, logistics, warehousing, and manufacturing. This allows us to focus primarily on selling.
We are partnering with larger companies which have complimentary offerings. We have recently launched a "perfect partnership" with Enfamil Canada which we believe will continue to be successful in promoting both brands.