Industry experts under
Name: Kyli Owen
Job Role & Summary: Category Development Manager, Engineered Soft Goods (and mommy of 16-month old son Luke and #2 due in June!)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Speaking to Nursery Industry experts is always an insightful discussion, but when you get the opportunity to interview the Category Development Manager from Kids II who is also a mum, you know you’re onto a winner.
This week, we’re speaking to Kyli Owen who is based in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA. From a fresh perspective, we gain a glance at the industry from a subjective mother’s point of view, making it possibly the most honest and humble interview to date. Kyli talks us through the brand new Woombie Swaddles™ recently launched by Comfort and Harmony and why they are a favourite of hers from Kids II, the myriad of innovative products on the never-ending conveyor belt that is the nursery industry and her insights into the psyche of an online shopping mother.
As the Category Development Manager, what are the attributes that make for great business development opportunities?
Part of being a great company and house of brands, we work hard to give moms and consumers options within each category that we develop. Whether she’s looking for items that are fun for baby, or solution-driven for her, we have products that fit her needs. In addition, we are able to offer these products at a range of price points that suit her budget. Our teams work hard to understand the market on a global scale. Moms are different all over the world!
What makes Kids II a valued supplier?
Kids II are a game-changer and have been since we started in this industry over 45 years ago. We’re dedicated to excellence and being a trusted partner. It starts with our diverse brand portfolio and the promise of delivering unique products in key toy/gear categories that meet the needs of moms and babies across the world. We know your customer, and our passionate team of leaders, designers and category-specific experts are committed to inventing new products and solutions for your market. Its 45 years+ of strengthening our offerings and what we bring to market, listening to moms and understanding what our retailers and vendors need to be successful and profitable. We know it’s working because we’ve experienced double-digit growth globally year-over-year. We’re focused on operational success and ensuring the right product gets to the right location and fast.
As a mom, I always look for solution-driven products that are not only great for baby, but also me. We recently launched a swaddle line called Woombie Swaddles™ by Comfort & Harmony™ that are an absolute life-saver. They are a unique peanut shape that zip up, that’s it! No wrapping and no unwrapping. It’s as simple as a zip. And, I don’t have to worry about it being too tight as it has stretch in the material to allow baby to move naturally. There are several “solutions” under this line and one of my favourites is the Peanut Leggies Swaddle™. You can safely swaddle baby in a bouncer or sleeper because his little legs can kick freely and still use the harness.
What ‘special something’ does Kids II have that sets it apart from its major industry competitors?
We strive to be the leaders in innovation and bring new ideas to moms and consumers – they are fresh, exciting, and cutting edge.
Do you know how many awards the company and its products have won globally?
Between design, product, packaging, marketing, we have won hundreds of awards across the globe.
How many Facebook fans/Twitter followers do Kids II have?
Across all Kids II brands, we have over 550k followers on major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Have any Kids II products been spotted in use by celebs?
Yes! Some local to the Atlanta area and some are US national celebs.
Tia & Tamara
Jenna Dewan Tatum
Kim Zolciak Biermann
What is exciting you the most about the industry in 2015?
There are so many facets of this industry that are constantly moving and breaking the mould: Innovation, education, development for baby, solutions for parents, and so much more. It’s incredible to me that even in the short year and a half ago that I had my first baby, there are myriad new products within the baby industry that blow my mind. Our talented team of creators and designers never cease to amaze me with their imaginative and thoughtful new ideas.
How long have you been working in the industry?
I’ve worked in product development for several years but specifically in juvenile products for about 5 years.
How have the developments in the ecommerce industry impacted the baby retail sector in your opinion?
Moms are getting smarter and smarter with their research and cross-checking in-store and online retailers for the items with the best reviews, best features, and best prices. It’s a means of further educating themselves on what is out there – and furthermore, moms look for reviews from trusted sources (usually, other moms!). It is vastly important to seek moms’ opinions through product testing, but equally as important to help her shop products by educating her on why key features are important and how she can benefit from them.
What is it that keeps you driven and sparks your interest in the nursery industry?
From a personal stand point, I have a vested interest in all-things-baby as my husband and I continue to grow our family. So naturally, I adore shopping for my toddler and baby-on-the-way. And from an industry stand point, seeing new trends and innovations happen even in juvenile products is fascinating. We see products that are not just developed by big name companies, but also from entrepreneurs that create products that solve for a problem they couldn’t find in the marketplace. Kids II has partnered with some of these “idea moms” too and we have been able to take their ideas global!
Are there any developments you would like to see in the industry that haven’t quite happened yet?
Kyli under the spotlight
If you were a Disney princess, who would you be?
This question took some thought because my all-time favourite Disney movie doesn’t have a Princess! It’s the Lion King. But, I would say Ariel because she has the best sing-along songs.
Do you have any irrational (or rational – depends how you see it!) fears?
Now that I’m a mom, I’d say my fears are both irrational and rational. I constantly fear something happening to my son, especially when he’s not with me. I have absolutely become the mom who will put her children’s’ lives before her own.
What is the strangest thing you believed in as a child?
I had an imaginary friend named Jack that lived in a rock. It didn’t last long, but I loved making up stories about him.
If you got to have one superpower, what would it be?
What was your favourite toy as a kid?
I was a Barbie girl. My entire room would become her world – I had everything Barbie.