March 15, 2007

Bundiebaby - A good idea that could be great

Competing in the childrenswear fashion industry is all about finding a niche and doing it well. Jody Williams is one such individual who has a great niche, but is struggling with the execution. Jody was recently highlighted in Forbes magazine, (March 26, 2007 issue). (You have to register at Forbes online to read the article, so I am not providing the link to the article. Head to the library instead).

Jody creates clothing for children with special needs. Specifically children who need feeding tubes and ostomy bags. Her business idea developed after a rather difficult night with a special needs foster child. She sat down in front of her sewing machine to solve a problem and created a one-piece swaddling outfit with only one opening for diaper changes.

The article was not all that positive towards Jody. It reveals some interesting facts about her costs versus her retail prices. DE's need to pay attention to this kind of stuff, or it could sink a start-up. And please don't get me wrong. I WANT her to succeed. Her idea is very much needed. This is one DE that would benefit from reading Kathleen's book.

She has spent $35,000 and four years to sell only 100 units. Her wholesale cost for retailers is $22 and she retails them for about $40. She spends $10/each to manufacture. One very revealing detail is that she spends 26 cents for each label! But to be fair, many people will pay $40 for a bodysuit/onesie at a specialty boutique. I think she can overcome the sticker shock if she finds the right distribution and marketing.

She certainly needs to lower her manufacturing costs, but she has also chosen a difficult customer profile. Cash-strapped parents of special needs children have to be convinced to part with $40 for one outfit. Plus, hospitals are very difficult to work with because of fierce competition for high dollar contracts.

I hope she does well. Special needs children need her.

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