What’s there to learn from Jessica Kim? Apparently everything. Seriously. It’s no secret that it takes a lot of energy to start a company or to raise children. Kim is one super energetic parent, though. Two children and another on the way, she’s also the mother (CEO and founder) of the company BabbaCo, a parenting brand that combines content and commerce.
Her entrepreneurial journey began during college, when she founded Jessica’s Wonders, offering premium baked goods. At 19 years old, from her dorm room, she managed to raise $1 million in angel investments. She grew the company to include over thirteen employees, use multiple manufacturers, and enjoy a full distribution launch in New England supermarkets. It only took her two years to lift her company to $3 million in sales.
After marrying her college sweetheart, she experienced the complete lifestyle change of becoming a parent. She couldn’t find a company or brand that adequately reflected her new perspective on life, and her motherly instinct sensed another market opportunity.
Originally, BabbaCo focused on creating and manufacturing educational products for retail sale. Then Kim took her startup to the incubator ExcelerateLabs in Chicago, where her business made a dramatic pivot. BabbaCo changed from the manufacturing/wholesale model to a subscription based model. Her mentors helped her to see the benefits of a recurring platform–longer lifetime value, easy to control inventory, repetitive use and payment.
How accelerated was her development? Kim came up with the pivot idea in June. She secured $1.2 million in funding from Lightbank and SV Angel in July, launched in August, and shipped the first BabbaCo boxes in September. Her numbers doubled quickly and the company moved to Boston in October. Wow!
Kim’s retooled BabbaCo creates monthly subscription boxes geared toward children ages 3-6, at the cost of $29.99 per month. Her BabbaBox has been featured on Rachel Ray, Good Morning America, Daily Candy and other media outlets.
The BabbaCo Box
Kim knows firsthand how challenging it is for busy parents to find the time to create rewarding educational experiences for the entire family. The BabbaBox includes monthly projects, activities, digital downloads and content. Each box is theme-based, offering educational materials meant to surprise and inform. She sees the BabbaBox as a more interactive alternative to television.
Each box focuses on creating, learning, and storytelling. The “Gratitude” themed box for instance, includes physical materials for building serving trays and thank you cards, a disposable camera and photo album for documenting all that kids are grateful for, and the illustrated story book Giving Thanks.
Kim’s entrepreneurial path reminds parents out there that there’s always enough energy reserve to pursue a business idea. Raising funding for BabbaBox while pregnant taught her that there’s no need to apologize for being a mother and in business. When she embraced her pregnancy with confidence and talked about it openly with investors, she felt she left them no reason to doubt her capabilities or to consider her situation a liability.
With plans to expand soon, the company might want to rush development of a “How to Become A Startup Entrepreneur ” themed box.