1. Hi Nice to meet you, - Brandon/Andrew/Lauren, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Brandon: I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, where I reside today with my wife (and fellow bökee co-founder) Lauren, our 5-year old twins and amazing Golden Retriever. I come from a family of 6 kids (5 boys and a girl) and we all remain very close to this day. My career has always been focused on creativity applied to brands, products and marketing, though outside of work I am also a passionate writer and musician. Ideas have undeniably been the currency of my career. I worked at DreamWorks Animation, E! Entertainment, and two years in the startup space before beginning a 9-year stretch on the agency side where I came up as a Creative Director. In 2018 I jumped in headfirst to my entrepreneurial journey, and the bökee was one of the products that was born.
Andrew: I grew up in the LA area where I grew up with co-founder Brandon. After moving to the Bay Area for school, I stayed around San Francisco where I met my wife and mother of my three children. I've worked in various Engineering positions at medical device and tech companies in Silicon Valley. My role in bökee has been design, manufacturing, and operations. I continue to be amazed with the reception and growth of the bökee and the impact it's has on parents. We read through every review and gift message on orders and it's clear, the bökee is a simple win for moms and dads everywhere.
Lauren: I live in Los Angeles with my husband and bökee co-founder Brandon, our 5-year-old twins and 11-year-old Golden Retriever. I grew up in TX and went to the University of Texas before making my way to California to work in advertising and marketing. Prior to bökee I was working in sales strategy at Google but left there to focus on taking care of our premature twins (born 8 weeks early) and getting them “caught up”. My role at bökee is marketing and partnerships, I love working in the space and connecting with other small businesses and moms. I like to share our personal story and I’m an advocate of “fed is best”. I have breast fed, donor-milk fed, formula fed, and tube fed my children. I’m passionate about how bökee can help every parent in how/what they feed their baby or babies.
2. What inspired you to start bökee?
Our children and the daily struggle of preparing bottles. We all had children born the same day in 2016, it was Lauren and Brandon’s first time as parents with premature twins and Andrew’s second child. Brandon and Andrew are childhood friends and were discussing the pain points of bottle prep; why did it require two hands to prepare a bottle, why does a screaming child need to be put down or juggled in your arms? We wanted to help parents and caregivers prepare bottles more easily, with one hand and a soothed baby in the other.
3. Where does the name “bökee” come from?
“Bottle keeper”, We wanted a name that was catchy and also gave a nod to it’s clean scandinavian design. That’s where the umlaut comes in.
4. What would you say the bökee Brand Mission is? How are you applying it to your day to day operations?
We want to create products that solve a problem in a simple and aesthetically pleasing way. bökee is the staple product in our portfolio and this year we added two new colors to our lineup that are on trend and will add warmth to any kitchen. It doesn’t look like a baby product on your countertop, and that’s the point. It’s functional, solves a problem, and is beautiful. As we bring new products to market we will follow those core principles of the company.
5. What has been your biggest challenge in building this business?
Our biggest challenge is awareness of the problem that bökee solves for among first-time expecting parents. They haven’t yet experienced the heartbreak of knocking over a pumped bottle of milk, or the piercing screams that come with a hungry baby that you are juggling in your arms to feed 8-12x/day. bökee’s simple functionality eliminates all of this, and we need first-timers to understand the value bökee will provide them. We see parents who are expecting their 2nd+ child immediately understand the value bökee provides and they say, “where has this been?!”
6. Any advice for busy parents looking to start their own business?
Connect with small brands in the space, many are willing to share advice and insight (as long as you’re not a competitor!) If you believe in your idea, share it with other people you trust to get honest feedback before investing in it - if you get a good response, go for it, but nothing is guaranteed!
7. What are some of your favorite brands to follow along with?
We love working with other brands in the space that have similar targets and that are complementary to the bökee. We LOVE Comotomo and so do many of our customers. Our most asked question is if the bökee works with their bottles and they do! We both share content of the two together often. Some small businesses we also love are Junobie, Baby’s Brew, Cafe Baby to Go, Davin and Adley and Busy Baby Mat. Great products and owners at these companies! #shopsmall
8. What’s next for bökee?
We have some ideas in the pipeline that we can’t share, but whatever we bring to market will solve a problem in a nicely designed way.