The k-baby marketplace
South Korean culture has taken the world by storm in a wide range of industries: fashion, skincare, music, entertainment and cuisine, just to name a few. But the so-called “k-wave” does not appear to slow down anytime soon, thus bringing opportunities to infiltrate numerous other retail sectors and to create veritable global trends. Next in line? Korean baby products.
Esther Chang, former SVP of Design and Head Creative at Forever 21, together with her husband Julius Son, a private equity investment banker with a focus on tech-enabled retail, have recognized a gap in the baby products market when they began their own journey into parenthood. A simple industry skim could conclude there were few consolidated children’s brands and none of them offered differentiating styles. High-quality, high-design k-baby products at sharp price points, on the other hand, could completely change the game. So the couple merged their complementary skills and created Ububba: a smart, ever-evolving marketplace of affordable, trendy children’s goods evocative of their Korean origins. It’s set to launch in early 2021 in the US.
“The k-baby concept already exists, but people are not aware of it. There are plenty of products coming from South Korea that people do not associate with the trend or even with their true origins. Ububba will bring that awareness and help solidify a trend through products that transcend cultural boundaries.”Julius Son, Co-Founder of Ububba
More than a name
Translated from Korean, Ububba means “carrying and supporting” – and that’s exactly what the company hopes to achieve. The marketplace aims to simplify and individualize parenthood for today’s busy parents by carefully curating the product selection according to the highest of quality and the latest of trends. The subsequent streamlined shopping experience is much appreciated in an increasingly busy world where time is of the essence.
“Time is a highly valuable commodity for contemporary parents, so Ububba’s curated marketplace will enable them to discover great and interesting products quickly.”Julius Son, Co-Founder of Ububba
The Ububba vision also hopes to nurture the relationship already established with former customers of Forever 21. Although they are starting a new chapter of their lives and their needs are now dramatically different, some things remain unchanged, like the importance of social selling. The platform plans to leverage social media engagement and written content in order to accompany customers every step of the way, no matter the channel.
“We have been alongside our customers since their teenage years, courtesy of Forever 21. But they are mothers now, and their focus has changed, so ours has, too. Our wish is to successfully carry them through the entire parenthood experience and to become their go-to solution for everything baby-related.”Esther Chang, Co-Founder of Ububba
A big chunk of their plans is also devoted to supporting k-baby brands and distributors to reach their full potential. On their end, sellers are enthusiastic to work with experts of the retail industry and to venture into digital territory under their guidance.
“The key to any business is vendor relationships. Another goal of Ububba is to carry these vendors through the marketplace experience, enabling them to sell their products to a much wider audience.”Julius Son, Co-Founder of Ububba
The engine powering Ububba’s operations is VTEX. The collaborative commerce approach and native marketplace capabilities fit Ububba’s business like a glove, at significantly lower costs than with other technological alternatives.
“To build a true marketplace without native capabilities is a pricey process. Thus, we wanted to partner with a proprietary product solution that had numerous out of the box elements, but which retained the flexibility to build custom functionality at the enterprise level.”Julius Son, Co-Founder of Ububba
What is more, as the first and only global, fully integrated, commerce-OMS-marketplace solution, VTEX will offer Ububba scalability and room to grow. A symbiosis of business ideas enabled by this flexibility is already taking form, with a brick-and-mortar retail store set to open in Los Angeles alongside the digital marketplace.
All in all, VTEX’s agility is imperative for Ububba’s boldest ambition: eventually turning the k-baby trend into a global phenomenon.