Fairfield County Business Journal, Nov 9, 2009 by Liyakasa, Kelly * 1
Funkoos doesn't want to be known as that tree-hugging organic company." Organic is great, but it's not the end-all-, be-all, according to Stefanie Brychcy, head of corporate communications for the organic baby apparel startup. Price and ease-of-use are just as important, shesays.
Although the "organic message" is growing, Director of Operations Sitwat Shah said people still ask, "What is organic and why should I buy it?" Chipping away at any preconceived notions is necessary.
So, too, is making a mark in 'a competitive retail environment. "We recognize that this is a market with hundreds of different brands," director of Sales Ali Shah said. "We had to ask, 'How do we stand out?'" For starters, the product alone differentiates the company from competitors, he said. About a year ago, Shekhar Sattiraju (a founder) and his wife had twins and were looking for things that were as organic and natural as possible," Sitwat said. "They found a big gap when looking for (organic) clothing was either too expensive or the quality was lacking." Sattiraju engaged the gears a the proverbial entrepreneur - he turned a need into a solution with founding partner Sameer Joshi and the rest of the Funkoos team, who now maintain the daily operations of the company. Building on a brainstorm, the partners solidified capital for their startup and searched out organically certified manufacturing facilities in India. To keep costs low, director of Marketing and eCommerce Aaron Wasserman said the company chose to purchase cotton from India as opposed to the U.S., where "the cost is prohibitive." "India is the largest producer of organic cotton today," Sitwat said. "Where we get our cotton, the land it is being cultivated on has to be organic for three years before it can get certification." Organic means it is free of pesticides and a chlorine-bleach...