Catching a Baby Shark: How partnering with a YouTube sensation opened the door to Asia for Whole Kids

Whole-Kids

Whole Kids co-founders James and Monica Meldrum with their kids Chloe and Sam. Source: Whole Kids website.

Australian kids’ food business Whole Kids has secured a Baby Shark-sized branding partnership that could get kids reaching for healthy snacks and parents reaching for their ear-plugs.

The B Corp is set to launch a range of Baby Shark-branded products, to be released in conjunction with a show and movie from Pinkfong, the Korean creators of the viral Youtube sensation.

In partnership with Pinkfong, Whole Kids will distribute Whole Kids products in the South Korean markets, marking the start of the Aussie business’ expansion into Asia.

The news comes as Whole Kids prepares to launch its second equity crowdfunding raise, and to ramp up global growth.

The Baby Shark partnership comes off the back of a growth spurt for the business, which creates plant-based and organic snacks for children.

Whole Kids has seen a 66% uptick in sales, year-on-year. Sales in Coles supermarkets are up 60%, year-on-year, and Woolies sales are up 58%.

It is also ramping up its presence in New Zealand, where sales in Countdown supermarkets are up 150%, year-on-year.

In December, the brand is set to launch in 500 Aldi stores, and in Drakes supermarkets in South Australia and Queensland.

The startup raised $1.2 million via an equity crowdfunding campaign in October last year, securing backing from the likes of Adore Beauty founder Kate Morris, BugCrowd’s Casey Ellis and Shebah founder George McEncroe.

Since then, the founders have invested in the team and refreshed the branding and packaging.

That funding “enabled us to really build the foundation for our business to start to scale,” Whole Kids co-founder and chief executive Monica Meldrum tells SmartCompany.

Now the business is preparing to launch another equity crowdfunding campaign, currently in the expression-of-interest stage, with an aim to raise the same amount again.

The new funding, plus the partnership with Pinkfong, are intended to fuel growth for Whole Kids globally, and particularly in the Asian market.

Baby Shark is “such an iconic video”, she says. It’s recognised, for better or worse, by kids and their parents all over the world.

“It’s incredible that we are able to partner with them, and it is a true partnership,” Meldrum adds.

The products are Whole Kids products with packaging featuring both Whole Kids and Baby Shark branding.

It will undoubtedly build awareness for Whole Kids, but Meldrum notes that it also plays into the business’ broader mission — getting healthy foods into the hands of kids. If it takes Baby Shark to get children engaged with the products, then so be it.

“We have big plans, and we really want to position the business as a leading global kids’ health brand,” Meldrum explains.

It’s also a certified B Corp, and also runs programs focused on improving social equity for kids.

Global expansion means bringing those benefits to more kids around the world, she notes.

“That’s at the heart of our business,” she adds.

“It’s partnerships like this that will really help us scale quickly and enable us to do that.”

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