business

Small Business Success Story: Juppy Baby Walker

With the Juppy, adults don't have to strain their back to walk with young kids.

Profile

Who: Jeffrey Nash, 64Where: Las VegasWhat: Inventor, Juppy Baby Walker

How did you get the idea? In 2008, I attended my grandchild's soccer practice, where I saw a woman bent over, walking her toddler. I thought, There must be an easier and safer way.

What did you do next? I drew a sketch of what I wanted, and I had a tailor make one. I was selling men's clothing in Las Vegas. When clients would come into the store with their babies, I would ask them to try out the prototype. I'd ask them what they liked or disliked. We made two more versions before we started selling it. I named it Juppy, which is my son Jeffrey's nickname.

Who manufactures it? I couldn't find a manufacturer here in the States. So I found one in China, which was more cost-effective anyway. Our first production run, in early 2009, was 1,000 units.

Where did you get the start-up money? I sold my house and used some 401(k) money. A friend and my dad gave me $5,000 each. I needed about $30,000 to set up a website and to manufacture, ship and market the product.

Did you patent the Juppy? I sold under a patent pending until I received my patent in 2015. It cost about $15,000, and it protects me for another 17 years.

How did you begin to sell it? I visited baby stores in San Diego and Los Angeles, but I didn't receive any orders. I realized they were struggling and I needed to focus my efforts on the internet. In Las Vegas, I snuck into a trade show for baby gear and made a deal for 700 of the 1,000 units with BabySteals.com, which is like Groupon. The Juppies sold out in three hours, and I made $12,000. I quit my job.

Where can you buy it? We sell it on our website and on Amazon.com, as well as the sites of Sears and Walmart. We sell the regular size, which holds up to 35 pounds, for $29.99 and a larger one for $39.99. Setting up to sell a product on the big online retailers' sites is a bit daunting, but you learn. Usually, we pay them 15% of the retail price.

Who fulfills the orders? If the big retailers fulfill orders, it can cost as much as 30% of revenues. So my fiancee, Mayra Sotello, and I fulfill about 85% of orders out of my garage. For the balance, we use a company that helps us sell in online markets overseas.

How's business? We've sold 57,000 units since we started, with gross revenue of $1.6 million. In 2017, we grossed $160,000. I've paid back my 401(k).

What's the Juppy's potential? About 4 million babies are born annually in the U.S. If I got 5% of that market at $29.99 per unit, I'm looking at $6 million a year. I feel like I'm three feet from gold.

How long will you keep going? I'd like to work to about age 70. I'd sell the Juppy before then if I got a good deal. Shark Tank called me in 2015 and wanted me to make a pitch, but I passed when I realized that any Shark would get 20% of my company but would want 80% of the say-so.

Most Popular

Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of
careers

Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of

It’s tough to change, but your job could depend on it. Be flexible in your career goals – and talk with your kids about their own aspirations, because…
September 13, 2021
7 Best Commodity Stocks to Play the Coming Boom
commodities

7 Best Commodity Stocks to Play the Coming Boom

These seven commodity stocks are poised to take advantage of a unique confluence of events. Just mind the volatility.
September 8, 2021
5 Top Dividend Aristocrats to Beef Up Your Portfolio
dividend stocks

5 Top Dividend Aristocrats to Beef Up Your Portfolio

The 65-member Dividend Aristocrats are among the market's best sources of reliable, predictable income. But these five stand out as truly elite.
September 14, 2021

Recommended

6 Troublemaking Clients Chiropractors and Lawyers Should Refuse to Take
small business

6 Troublemaking Clients Chiropractors and Lawyers Should Refuse to Take

Chiropractors and lawyers should just say no to these six types of clients, who are either too difficult or too devious to work with. Just walk away!
September 7, 2021
Pitfalls to Avoid When Financing Your Business
small business

Pitfalls to Avoid When Financing Your Business

When small-business owners look for financing, they make a lot of mistakes. Here are six common issues to steer clear of.
August 31, 2021
Do You Own a Business with a Parking Lot? Read This Now!
small business

Do You Own a Business with a Parking Lot? Read This Now!

You may be vulnerable to an ADA lawsuit without even knowing it. Here’s why and what to do about it.
August 21, 2021
I Sold My Business … Now What?
small business

I Sold My Business … Now What?

The rich cash infusion that comes from selling a business can create a liquidity conundrum that's a challenge to manage.
August 3, 2021