Categorized | Shoestring Startup

The Juppy teaches children how to walk safely

Name of your company and URL?
Juppy LLC; http://thejuppy.com

Date started?

The idea came to me on a summer afternoon. I had a prototype and business license by the Fall of the same year.

What is your product or service?

The Juppy teaches children how to walk safelyThe Juppy Baby Walker, the only baby walker that fits in a purse! The ultimate impact will be to see the parent go from the arduous task of bending to the immensely enjoyable act of seeing their baby walk while they themselves stand erect. Unlike traditional baby walkers The Juppy is a parent assisted baby walker which eliminates all of the dangers of walkers with wheels. The unique design of The Juppy eliminates the problems associated with similar products. For example other parent assisted walkers do not have the crotch piece which is essential in keeping the baby from involuntarily lifting its arms. It also helps to keep the babies arms by its side and therefore the baby learns balance on its own. No more falling down stairs or reaching for dangerous objects because The Juppy requires the parents’ assistance at all times.

Why did you start your company?

In 2008 when I came up with the idea of The Juppy I was working for a men’s retail store. When I saw that the company was downsizing and cutting wages I knew I had to make some changes. That’s when I decided the only way to enhance my chances at a decent future was to start my own business. Since I had already come up with The Juppy to help moms teach babies to walk it was pretty easy to just make the decision to work for myself.

How was it financed?

Some capital was secured through family and friends, the rest came out of my 401K. In other words everything I had is now in my company and the truth is it was the best decision I ever made.

Date officially launched?

October 2009

What free online or offline tools do you use?

My favorite free tools that I use today are Evernote for synchronizing my to-do’s and projects to all my devices like desktop, laptop, iPad and smart phones. Hootsuite to post status updates on multiple social networks. If you are the DIY type like me I highly recommend DIYThemes to learn about SEO, Problogger to learn about blogging and content marketing and The Mogul Mom where you can find quick and dirty tips about how to run a business.

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn?

Yes,Facebook and Twitter has been our number one method of staying in touch with our fans and customers. We like to host giveaways as a thank you to our fans and as a result we have developed a loyal following.

Provide exact URL of each:
We use Facebook: http://facebook.com/thejuppy
Twitter: http://twitter/thejuppywalker
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/thejuppybabywalker

YouTube :
The Juppy Baby Walker YouTube Video:

How many people are currently working, including employees?

Currently we have 5 people responsible for most of The Juppy operations separated into “departments”: website/blog, social networks/customer service, accounting/bookkeeping, vendor relations and legal.

What almost killed your business in the start?

We didn’t know in the beginning that there are many aspects of the company that can be run on your own; meaning that we didn’t have to spend thousands on a PR rep when there are free resources like HARO and we didn’t need to hire an SEO firm when you can learn to do that yourself. It’s easy for anyone to label themselves as “professional” but you still have to do some research to find out if they are right for your company.

What is the one thing that you did right?

The Juppy teaches children how to walk safelyIn the beginning stages of the company I spoke with anyone that would listen to my idea so that I could gauge the potential success of this product. Most people had nothing but positive things to say and were amazed at the simplicity of The Juppy but every now and again someone would say something very negative. I realized that The Juppy was like my baby and it was important not to take it personal so the one thing that I did right was to listen to my own instincts and stay positive.

What was the biggest transition you had to make?

Having had a background in men’s retail clothing I definitely had a lot to l learn. I taught myself how to blog, manage our social network accounts, manage our books and land our own PR. It may seem overwhelming to up and coming entrepreneurs but you would be amazed at the amount of resources out there dedicated to teaching these skills to individuals.

Are you currently in the black or red?

We are currently in the black and project $400,000 in sales this year.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

Mostly Google AdWords, product reviews from mom bloggers, social networking and word of mouth. The most effective in spreading the word for us has been working with mom bloggers because they get to test it on their own children and write a full post about it. We’ve even had bloggers do “tutorial” type videos of The Juppy to give customers an idea of how The Juppy really works.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

We are consistently spoken about as a positive alternative to traditional baby walkers therefore by continuing our branding efforts will enable our business to become more successful. We are starting to run into people that have seen or heard of The Juppy. It’s an amazing feeling when you say to that person that you are the creator, we always get a blank stare followed by a “no way”.

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

It’s hard to say at this stage because we enjoy seeing the company grow as well as knowing that we are making a difference in someone’s life be it through customer service or through our products. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

What do you think your projected annual revenue will be?

We project to reach two to three million within three years.

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