Smart50 Awards 2014

44 b.box for kids

Revenue

More than $1 million

Growth

55.69%

Founders

Monique Filer, 42, and Dannielle Michaels, 41

Head Office

Melbourne

Year Founded

2007

Employees

3

Industry

Consumer products, design, manufacture and distribution

Website

Bbox.com.au

Friends Dannielle Michaels and Monique Filer were brimming with ideas for innovative children products when they launched b.box in 2007.

With small children at home, they both wanted to create a business that let them apply their commercial and creative expertise with a more flexible work/life balance.

But it was a case of famous last words for the women, who say they quickly found out running a business could be all-consuming.

Michaels, who came from a strategic communications background, and Filer, who came from an operational risk background, took a crash course in manufacturing and soon learnt how to get their ideas from their heads to the shelves.

After the successful launch of their first invention, a nappy wallet, the two set about establishing the company with a measured approach to the release of new products.

“Our strategy has been to grow organically through new product development,” says Michaels.

“We’re innovative and creative with our products, but we’re conservative with how we bring them to market. We do a lot of work to determine the best time and the readiness of the market to release our products.”

Continuing to grow their product range and picking up international distribution deals, b.box experienced quick and solid growth.

“We laugh when we look back at our five-year plan now,” says Michaels.

“We achieved our three-year goal within six months; we’d really underestimated the online market.”

The company now gets daily inquiries from international buyers and does around 70% of its business in overseas markets such as Asia and the US.

Michaels and Filer say the most challenging part of growing their business was managing the opportunities they were offered versus cash flow.

“We’ve learnt to be stronger in our upfront due diligence. It’s really exciting when you start out and lots of people want your products, but you have to say, yes, but are you the right person to stock my product?” says Michaels.

“We’ve grown a lot more confident as a business to pick and choose.”

B.box is now looking to further expand its feeding products range and will take over its own US distribution by the end of the year.

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