Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
What is in the products your baby uses or wears? Some parents may not think much about that question, but Kim Ormsby did. She wanted products that were safe and gentle for her children without sacrificing quality. So, she started her own business, The Natural Baby Company.
I recently spoke with Kim about her business and the inspiration behind it.
Tell us a little about The Natural Baby Company.
The Natural Baby Company began as an online retailer in 2003, which I ran out of my home laundry room. At the time, I had two young children and the products that were readily available to me were not what I was looking for. I wanted products that were responsibly made, that were safe and gentle against my baby’s delicate skin. I decided to take matters into my own hands, and now – 5 babies later – The Natural Baby Company has grown into a business that not provides the most sought after items in the industry, and more importantly, items that parents can be proud to purchase and use. After almost 10 years in business, we now have a brick and mortar retail location in Bozeman Montana, our very popular online store, and have developed the company with in-house brand GroVia, a top selling modern cloth and natural diaper line, which we also manufacture. And, we have recently signed on as the exclusive U.S. distributor of famed Danish pacifier brand, Hevea. I feel like it’s all happened so quickly, but it’s actually true as The Natural Baby Company has just been named on Inc. Magazine’s 2011 list of the 500 fastest growing companies in the nation!
What inspired it?
My family. Knowing that as a parent I had a right to demand better products for my children and for our planet. Also, being confident and motivated – I knew I could do this, and could do it better. There was nothing in my way so I took a risk and trusted my intuition.
At what point did you realize you had a winning diaper brand, GroVia, on your hands?
Of course I figured that GroVia would be a success. It was a diaper that I had created for parents just like me – parents who wanted something safe for their children and our planet but also provided the highest quality function. I had tried many cloth diaper brands knowing that they were better for my children, but the products on the market weren’t easily accessible, and needed improvement in terms of simplicity, convenience and utility. I took what I liked about cloth diapers and revolutionized the product into something modern, a product that saves parents money, that grows with baby, and I transformed what can often be a confusing item into a system that is truly easy to use. The point in time that confirmed that GroVia was a success was when we sold out of our first shipment before it even arrived. That was the point that redefined our company.
What are some of the other products your company offers?
The Natural Baby Company is a retailer, manufacturer and distributor. We do it all! All of our products are based in providing products that help parents nurture baby, naturally. We are focused on selling and creating responsibly made, natural and often organic products. Along with our in-house cloth and natural diaper brand GroVia, we are the exclusive U.S. distributor of the Danish made Hevea brand of 100% natural rubber pacifiers, teethers and bath toys. We also sell eco toys, maternity items, nursery decorations and furniture, and other parenting and baby products out of our retail store in Bozeman Montana, and online at www.TheNaturalBabyCo.com.
What separates you from the competition?
GroVia continues to lead the market in innovative designs and materials like our unique one-size snap system that literally grows with baby.
The most important aspect of the GroVia brand that separates us from the competition is that we are the only diaper company to offer three distinct ways to diaper baby naturally. Cloth, Hybrid, BioDisposable. We offer a healthy, eco-friendly, cost effective diapering choice for any modern family. What we know about parents and parenting, are that there is no ‘one type’ and no right way to do it. Parents appreciate that we understand the different needs of different families, being able to cater to the needs of everyone gives us a unique voice and place in the industry.
Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish in the next year or so?
We have a lot of exciting launches coming up; including very exciting product updates and one totally new product that will be added to the GroVia diaper line. Those will be happening this winter and available at www.Gro-Via.com. We are also looking forward to signing on new distributors outside of the U.S., and working with large national retailers. Right now our focus is on expansion and making the modern cloth diaper more mainstream. We want parents to know that there are healthy alternatives to regular disposable diapers; we will be working hard this year to create a generation of aware parents!
What are some lessons your business has taught you?
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to always have a Plan B. In business, things almost always go awry so I’ve learned to always have a back up in place before starting. And, some of our best products are Plan B’s!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I learned a lot of lessons in business over the last several years, but one in particular stands out. We spend the majority of our lives working, likely more than any other activity. So, make sure you are working/have business doing something you LOVE!
Do you have any advice you’d like to offer fellow entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
Be prepared to take risks. Without risks there are no rewards.