Mimijumi is working to convince mothers around the globe that it has built a better baby bottle.
The product, an ergonomic bottle with a nipple designed to replicate the breastfeeding experience, has been in production since 2012 and is currently sold in 30 countries. Last year, Mimijumi sold 50,000 of the bottles.
Brendan Collins, the company’s CEO since June, thinks the company can triple or quadruple that figure this year through greater educational outreach to emphasize the bottle’s primary benefit. With Mimijumi, there’s no nipple confusion, he said, adding that a baby will move back and forth between breast and bottle.
Getting the word out has been supported by a stronger sales effort, increased production capacity – now 1 million bottles per year – and a streamlined supply chain. Collins says the product is “flying off the shelves,” and the company is looking to triple its warehouse space.
The company’s original supply chain was inefficient, slowing production and distribution times, Collins said.
“I have spent the bulk of the last year trying to streamline the process and supply chain,” he said, adding that 18 different hands touched the product before it reached the consumer or retailer. That process may have been necessary when Mimijumi was run by its founders, who are physicians in Tennessee and could not oversee the production themselves. But since stepping in last June, Collins has focused on bringing assembly, packaging and shipping activities under one roof, which he did last fall, locating the operations in a 1,000-square-foot Ogden warehouse.
But one link of the supply chain won’t change, according to Collins: manufacture of the nipple at a plant near Salzburg, Austria.
“It’s the only plant capable of doing this,” he said, citing the demands of working with high-tech materials and exacting measurements. “It’s the same plant that makes upscale car parts, and they have been wonderful partners for us.”
While Mimijumi’s design and materials may be high tech, the key to growth is a sales approach that is high touch, Collins said. That means forging a personal relationship with consumers who are willing to pay close to $30 per bottle. Mimijumi has tried to make its website as educational and interactive as possible, inviting consumers to ask questions and share their experiences.
It also means nurturing relationships with the roughly 300 specialty retailers that carry the bottles, helping them create engaging displays and talk knowledgeably about the product.
And it means, Collins said, ensuring that every aspect consumers’ experience with Mimijumi is “gold plated,” from the design of product and packaging to customer service on the web, over the phone or in a store.
“We think we have a compelling value proposition for moms and dads,” he said. “And we’ve just scratched the surface.”
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