Smart50 Awards 2017

5 b.box for kids

Revenue

$13.9 million

Growth

419.7%

Founders

Dannielle Michaels, 44 and Monique Filer, 45

Head office

Springvale, VIC

Year founded

2007

Employees

16

Industry

Retail and consumer products

Website

www.bbox.com.au

Winner

Top Exporter Award

B.box for kids returns to this year’s Smart50 list, jumping five places to fifth position and recording a three-year revenue growth rate of 419%.

Co-founders Monique Filer and Dannielle Michaels are by now no strangers to the competitive retail world of baby goods. And as they seek to grow their share of foreign markets even further, no idea is off-limits.

At the end of last year we gave every member of the team $50 to buy a product – not necessarily related to our business – that they loved, were inspired by or thought was cool,” Michaels says.

“They then presented it at a team meeting, which sparked a wealth of discussion and brainstorming. From this session, we came up with quite a few new product ideas.”

Then there’s the constant engagement with customers, through both market research and good old fashioned conversations with stakeholders.

“B.box has a loyal and proactive following and we often have consumers contacting us or coming up to us at shows saying we wish you would make X or Y,” Michael says.  

The business now has more than 800 distributors in 20 countries, including China and Korea. The next 12 months will be focused on these and other Asian markets, including expanding b.box’s reach in Japan and Indonesia.

“We have also invested significantly in the US and will push forward into this market with a focused strategy on securing key retailer accounts and increasing brand awareness,” Michaels says.

There are no exit strategies on the horizon, and the duo are focused on anything but slowing down. Michaels and Filer recently brought their husbands, Ben and Rohan, into the b.box business full-time. They have taken on the roles of head of legal and chief financial officer respectively.

Combined, the foursome can deliver plenty of in-house expertise across marketing, product, legal and finance, Michaels says.

“So many of the services other startups and small businesses need to ‘buy in’ we had in house from day one – a huge advantage,” she says.  

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