Jessica Kim Is Subscribing To Success With Her Business, BabbaCo

When you can’t find a baby product that you like, what do you do? Well, if you’re Jessica Kim, you launch an entire empire dedicated to products that parents will love. And that’s exactly what Kim did when she created BabbaCo, a subscription-based service that delivers education, crafts (and fun) for both kids and their parents. Kim spoke with us about her career (which started by baking yummy goodies!), pumping during presentations, and why the focus of her business is about helping families find meaningful moments together.


So let’s talk about BabbaCo and what it is?

It’s basically a monthly enriching activity for your kid. It addresses the question of: “What do I do with my kids?” You don’t want to give them an iPhone all the time or watch TV. Every month is a different theme, like awesome artists that will take them through Impressionism and pop art. The box has depth to it; it’s not like an art project. All the activities they do are exploring that actual era, but it’s also super fun. You feel like you’re enriching your kid. Of course, we include all the materials so if you need scissors, or tape or glue, it’s literally all right there. I always say you can be on a desert island and open it up and do it.

What were you doing prior to BabbaCo, Jessica?

I started my first company out of my dorm room. I was 19 years old. I was an anthropology major. And apart from business, the whole four years I was in college, I thought I was going to graduate and go study apes! [laughs] I was always intrigued by human behavior, and what drives people.

But at the same time, I started a baked goods company out of my dorm room, and I called it Jessica’s Wonders. The whole idea was that it was going to be the Ben & Jerry’s of baked goods. It had wholesome ingredients, but also personality. I ended up raising a million dollars.

That’s amazing.

It was my senior year — I was a scrawny girl with braces, but it was raw passion and vision. So I was baking and selling to local hotspots, baking in my dorm in a tiny oven. As I expanded to different locations, they had a business plan competition. And literally, I did it to get credit for school. I found that I loved the process, and with the idea of what it means to market. I won the big prize of $3,000. But more than that, I met some great entrepreneurs who became my mentors. They told me that this is something that you can grow into, and it opened my eyes to where this can go. I worked nonstop and then I started expanding to different stores. I met with angel investors, and we raised a million dollars.

How did you segue from baking to BabbaCo?

We grew the company to like almost 4 million in revenue in two years. We launched in the whole Stop Shop supermarket coast, and it grew quickly. I sold my shares to the investors, and I went to business school, and that opened my eyes to what had happened in the last four or five years. I went to Kraft Foods to get the brand management experience. I never thought I was going to be an entrepreneur; I was burnt out, to be honest. After being at Kraft for about three years, I missed that passion. I was in a big corporation, but I was on the barbecue team. [laughs]

But as soon as I became a mom, my eyes opened because it’s a huge lifestyle change. All the things that I saw out there — I didn’t feel this personal connection with the products or the retailers

I wanted to combine content and commerce in an intriguing way. I started off making baby products. We created an infant car seat cover and cool, innovative products. After a couple years, I started having this real huge engagement level with consumers. And the biggest question as my kids got older was, “What do you do with your kids?”

I was a busy working mom, and I would come home, and want to be with them. But then I didn’t know what to do with them. And then, being a busy working mom, there’s always that guilt factor, and I don’t like having that guilt.

The pivotal moment for me was when I came home and there were stacks of all these craft materials that I got Michaels one day. Kayla was saying, “Mom, can we make flowers?” She was asking because she had become very curious, and I wanted to foster that curiosity. The materials had been there for over a month, felt like what am I doing? Because I was there for like over a month, and she kept asking me when we were going to do it. And I realized that there was a space in the market for this, to empower parents to feel like they’re doing a great job, give them what they need to have fun with their kids, and show them that they can do it. And that’s how BabbaCo came to be.

Now you have three kids under five. How are you managing it all?

It’s not easy. When I come home, I’m with the kids having dinner, but when they go to sleep, I’m back on it. I don’t know how I’d do it if it wasn’t as incorporated into my life. Even when I’m with investors, I’m pumping or we’ll have meetings with my team, and I’ll say, “I’m sorry, I’m pumping right now.” If you’re going to be part of this company, that’s how it’s going to be; I’m not going to hide it from you.

One of my tenets is believing in the mission and the vision beyond what the product or business is. The heart behind this is a focus on family and fun interactions together which is why it’s so meaningful to me.

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