KooKoo Bear Bullish on Growth

KooKoo Bear Kids is hoping to parlay its catalog and online success into the retail world. The two-year-old business, which sells high-end bedding and decor for children, opened its first brick-and-mortar store in January. And CEO Joe Mediate hopes to open another four stores by 2007.

“I’d say we compare a lot more to Saks Fifth Avenue than to Wal-Mart,” Mediate says. “While our competitors may look to move units based on price points, we like to move them based on style points.” Mediate characterizes the typical KooKoo Bear shopper as a affluent mom most looking to decorate a child’s room or in search of special gift ideas for kids up to the age of 10.

The store, like the direct business, is located in Roswell, GA. “Roswell is a nice suburban area just outside of Atlanta and things have gone well down here so far,” Mediate says. “We think our best chance for success in retail is to open up additional stores in other wealthy suburban areas – especially those neighborhoods where families have young children.” “Wealthy” is a key word, given that KooKoo Bear’s offerings include cribs in excess of $1,400, a child-size vanity for $710, and duvets for more than $300.

Since launching in July 2003, KooKoo Bear has grown its catalog circulation to more than 2 million and redesigned the Website twice. Prior to the launch of the store, the company’s catalog revenue and Web sales were just about equal. “Since the store opened, we have done a lot of PR work, a lot of local promotions and direct mail,” Mediate says. “While we like to say that our catalog still runs the show, we anticipate that our Web sales will only increase.”

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