Nesting--the desire expectant parents get to prepare their home for a baby--is quite a different experience for city parents. The limited storage spaces, the extra gear needed for brisk city strolls, and navigating subway or building stairwells, call for a smarter approach to buying baby gear.
For Joanne Kapp and Jeanann Genzano (both New York City moms to two young children each), this quest sparked an idea for a startup. Bundle.NYC is a new place for parents to discover, share, and recommend the products they love. But anyone who has shopped for a first child knows finding the right items can be overwhelming.
“Bundle.nyc takes the burden of research off noisy social media comment threads, dated spreadsheets and group texts,” says Kapp. “Bundle seamlessly delivers them in consumable, shoppable product bundles to the parenting community." On the platform, parents can discover and connect with brands and products road tested and approved by like-minded consumers.
Both Kapp and Genzano have similar paths, having launched their careers at Yahoo! before venturing in the startup scene with companies like StumbleUpon and Mix Tech. While Kapp worked in partnerships and agency relationships, Genzano worked in advertising technology and operations. Both thrived in the tech industry, until the pandemic hit.
"In June, we launched Bundle.nyc after being let go from our jobs due to Covid,” says Kapp. “We started with 5 community contributors and 65 product recommendations on our site. Four months later we have grown the community to over 100 community contributors, 250 Bundles of product recommendations, with over 2.5K reviewed products on site.”
The working moms combined their brain power, and mutual love for improving the parenting experience. Bundle’s mission is to empower the parenting community during their product research and purchasing journeys by curating searchable product recommendations based on life stage and milestone.
Here, Kapp shares insights that shaped their entrepreneurial journey. More importantly, from getting through launch to maintaining momentum, she shares business advice any aspiring founder can use, parent or not:
What inspired you to start this business?
The idea for Bundle was born organically after my Jean and I had our own children. We'd worked in the discovery and recommendation space together but struggled to find a way to seamlessly share, organize and discover the things we were buying at the moment. I remember looking for a double stroller while pregnant with my second. I spent hours on the internet searching and researching. When I typed it into an Amazon search, +16,000 recommendations came back! Combing through Facebook posts, searching through comment threads, digging through emails, and group texts – it just took too much time and felt very overwhelming. I ended up buying something, I never used it. As our kids entered different life stages and milestones, we really wanted to build a place we could see what other parents were buying. Our dream was to build a fun, community driven place designed for parents to discover and recommend products that make life a little bit easier as they navigate through the journey of parenthood. And that's what Bundle.nyc is today.
What was the hardest part about getting it off the ground?
The hardest part of getting it off the ground was deciding to get it off the ground! Coming from steady jobs (read: a steady paycheck), taking a leap and taking on the risk of launching a business is/was a big decision. Once you take that leap, the next hurdle is overcoming inertia. Convincing people to use your platform and changing the way they're currently doing things is the next hardest part.
What was the biggest challenge you faced as a business owner during the pandemic, how did you navigate it?
The biggest challenge faced a business owner during the pandemic was having to juggle the workload of running a business and adapting to the new responsibilities as a parent during the pandemic. A household running on simultaneous zooms, different schedules, and lots of feelings was and still is a challenge. Finding a new rhythm and getting into a new routine was super important. There are a lot of hours in the day if you can manage them efficiently you'll be less stressed and more successful. My Google calendar, Alexa timers, and setting reminders are such great tools for time management.
What is special / unique about running a business in NYC?
Living, working, and parenting in NYC is so special. Navigating NYC, especially as a parent, comes with so many nuances and unique experiences. We started building our community by reaching out to fellow New York moms who had found the perfect products for apartment living, walking adventures, Central Park picnics, and everything else. The NYC mom groups and communities are so supportive, we also know these moms have their pulse on the latest trends and products. Since then, we've scaled beyond NYC, but it's where we started.
Why did you choose the .NYC domain for your business? How have you used the .NYC domain to promote your business?
We love NYC, there's no place like it. Our business and career roots are planted here, the .NYC domain made a lot of sense for us. We use .nyc on all of our social channels. And it's even part of our logo!
Any advice can you share for someone thinking of starting their own business?
Start small and narrow your focus. There are so many things you could do, get told to do, or want to do - stay focused. As your business grows you can add-on and test. Keep it simple to start.
What's next for your business in 2021 & beyond?
Our long-term goal is to create a personalized experience for every parent on Bundle.nyc. Serving age and category appropriate product bundles, recommending people and products tailored to your child's life stage and your preferences. In that experience we're exploring ways to reward parents for contributing to the community and supporting each other while building a self-serve platform where any parent can seamlessly create and share their own space to share and connect. We've just made our first hire and are really excited for what's in-store for 2021!