Mothers struggling to clothe their constantly growing children may finally find solace through a new company started by a University student seeking to make his mark in the baby clothes industry.
Engineering senior Allen Kim, the creator of Bebarang — a company that allows parents to rent baby clothes online and return them for free once their baby has outgrown them — was featured in this month’s Entrepreneur Magazine after winning the magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year competition in September.
Previously called Bebaroo, Kim’s company is the only one of its kind in the country and allows parents to pay a fixed monthly subscription instead of buying clothes. Parents also have the option of purchasing clothes at discounted prices.
After being named College Entrepreneur of the Year, Kim was awarded $5,000 to start his business — which he describes as “Netflix for baby clothes.”
“It’s a really fun and exciting opportunity to be featured in a national magazine,” Kim said.
Kim said he and University alum Luis Calderon, the company’s co-founder, decided to create the company because Kim’s aunt often complained about the cost of baby clothes, especially clothing for special occasions.
The business was forced to change its name recently from Bebaroo to Bebarang because there is already a trademarked name very similar to Bebaroo, Kim said. They decided to change it to Bebarang, Kim said, because “it sounds like boomerang and babies. Baby clothes that go and come back to us.”
Kim said the award doesn’t mean he’s successful yet, but it inspires him to keep working.
After winning the entrepreneur competition, Kim said he has received requests for business partnerships with web hosting companies and baby boutiques. He said he is still considering all his options.
Bebaroo products are currently not being sold in order to focus on improving and making changes to the business, Kim said. The website is set to launch its services in the United States within the next three months.
The company plans to eventually serve a wider clientele and has already received many opportunities to franchise in other countries, Kim said. The need for a cheaper, less wasteful way to get baby clothes “is a global problem,” he said.
University President Mary Sue Coleman honored Kim’s innovative idea at a Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs meeting on Jan. 10.
Kim said he is “absolutely flattered” by Coleman’s recognizing his business.
“I would not have won this competition without the support of the University,” he said.
While the University’s entrepreneurial community already offers students guidance and resources to help them get their ideas into motion, Kim said it’s important to expand the fostering of entrepreneurial ideas at the University. He said he hopes “to make the University one of the best-in-class in entrepreneurship.”