Amanda Kludt, co-founder of the Bumbums & Baubles brand, is building a business based on add-ons. We asked her five questions to find out how they’ve done it.
1. How has the company grown since you launched for back-to- school ’13?
We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to our concept. We’ve established some great partnerships with [retailers including] Zappos, Von Maur, Harry’s New York and other key independents. When we started, we had only one boot style in three colors. We’ve since expanded to more than 40 styles, including boots, sneakers, sandals, flats and Mary Janes. We also have lots of new bauble designs, including scented and glow-in-the-dark [versions].
2. Where do you look for inspiration for new bauble motifs?
The best inspiration comes from girls. We get plenty of bauble ideas from customer requests, and we also look to fashion and apparel trends. Girls love to express their creativity and style with our shoes. We see some girls wearing as many crazy bauble combinations as they can fit onto their shoes, while others like to wear baubles that coordinate.
3. What are some of your best marketing tactics?
One thing we do is include a postcard in each shoebox for girls to draw their own bauble [design]. If they mail it back to us, we ship them a free bauble — they love that. Another great promotion we started recently is the “Bumbums Girl of the Month” program. There are instructions in the shoebox for parents to submit a photo of their daughter wearing her favorite Bumbums & Baubles [style] for a chance to win free shoes, a collection of baubles and have her photo featured on our website and social media channels.
4. Have you faced any big hurdles in establishing the brand?
The toughest challenge [early on] was that while retailers loved our concept, that didn’t necessarily result in huge orders out of the gate, especially with larger retailers. Perhaps we would have understood this better if we’d come from within the industry, but our backgrounds are very different. I came from the pharmaceutical industry, while [my partner], Caitlin [Zapf], was a practicing attorney. Now that we’ve been [at this] for a few seasons, we realize we needed to prove ourselves first.
5. What’s next for Bumbums & Baubles?
We’re planning to launch a collection of licensed-character baubles, as well as a boys’ [shoe] line. We will also expand with international distribution by fall ’16. We’ve been making noise in the industry, and several key players have taken notice of the long-term growth potential of [our brand]. Although we’ve put a lot of time and resources into making Bumbums & Baubles a success, we’re open to the potential to add the right partner who can help our brand explode.