This inspiring story is of a rising startup called Baba Bags started by Fedi Kourbatov. Baba Bags is on a mission to make single-use plastic grocery bags extinct by providing reusable bags that are better for the planet and also tied to social causes. Here is the story of Baba Bags in Fedi’s own words.
Currently, 2 million tons of plastic end up in oceans by the USA alone. Plastic bags are a top 7 plastic item of that 2 million tons of plastic. This plastic ends up killing over 100,000 marine animals and affecting 267 more species every year. In our first year of business, we prevented the use of an estimated 21,000 plastic bags!
Introduce us to your idea of Baba Bags
Baba Bags are handmade in Ukraine with organic cotton thread. Since our bags are handmade our bags are the most durable reusable bags on the market. Our bags hold over 140 pounds and because of this unbelievable durability they come with a Lifetime Warranty!
Currently, our bags come in 2 colors. Our orange bags are partnered with the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation and our green bags are partnered by Action Against Hunger. When a bag is sold, $2 is donated to the partnered charity.
Baba Bags wants to create products that are of the highest quality and that don’t harm our planet. Our agenda is also to give back to impactful nonprofits, and make it affordable to the everyday consumer!
What’s your strategy story? What led you to start Baba Bags?
Baba means grandma in the Ukrainian language. I got the inspiration for Baba Bags from a bag my Ukrainian Grandma brought from Ukraine. I quickly fell in love with the bag because it was compact, held so many groceries, and often my mom would come home with a big smile on her face telling me about the compliment she had gotten about the bag while at the grocery store.
After talking to my mother after one of her grocery trips I had a light bulb moment: I needed to share this bag with the world. I saw it as a great opportunity to eliminate single-use plastic bag usage. Right around that time, I was starting to educate myself about our planet and the fact that climate change would be the biggest challenge our generation would face in our lifetime. I wanted to help. My idea would not only help our planet, but it would allow me to share my Ukrainian heritage!
What marketing, operation strategies are you adopting? How are you cost-conscious at Baba Bags?
I have learned that word of mouth is so important for a business. To increase word of mouth about our brand I created a “Baba Bag Appreciation Scratch Off” that comes with every bag. The concept of the scratch-off is that a Baba Bag customer gives the scratch-off to someone they appreciate (since often we forget to show our appreciation to others) and that scratch-off recipient can win 10% to 100% off of their first Baba Bag purchases. This has increased our word of mouth business. Our idea was to think of ways we can encourage your customers to talk about our brand to others!
A marketing strategy I plan to really focus on in 2021 is to really start using LinkedIn and TikTok to grow our brand. Brands put most of their social media attention on Facebook and Instagram. We are interested in seeing how we can leverage LinkedIn and TikTok to promote our brand and grow our business.
As I started this business in college, I did not have a lot of financial resources. This made me very cost-conscious and as a result, I became creative in utilizing all the resources I had. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a logo, videos, photos, etc. I went to friends that were good at these types of things and asked for their help. Being broke=creativity. I utilized my network and resources to minimize start-up costs.
Any strategy mistakes you have made and what did you learn?
It took me a lot of time and many mistakes to learn how to run effective Facebook Ads. My biggest lessons are:
- Testing is the key to figure out the right formula for a successful ad. You need to test your target audience, your photos/videos, the objective of your ad, the text of your ad, etc. to learn what works and what does not.
- Dig into the data. The only way to know if your tests are working is to really dig into the analytics Facebook gives you after your ad has run. These numbers tell a story and will help you understand why some ads work and some ads don’t.
Also, did you know that you can see what Facebook Ads ANY company is running? Simply go to their Facebook Page. On the left side find “Page Transparency” and click “See All”. Then click “Go to Ad Library” and you can see all the ads that the company is currently running on Facebook. It is a great tool to learn how big companies advertise on Facebook and what type of ads your competitors are running.
Finally what advice do you have for your fellow entrepreneur readers?
My suggestion to anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship or is an entrepreneur looking for inspiration is to listen to Guy Raz’s “How I Built This” podcast. This has been the most influential piece of content for me as an entrepreneur. Raz interviews the founders of some of the world’s most successful companies such as Starbucks, Spanx, Lyft, Lululemon, etc.
Listening to common people like myself on how they were able to build some of the most influential brands in the world gave me the confidence that I also could build a successful and impactful business. There is so much you can learn from these stories about entrepreneurship, life, and building a successful company.
Disclaimer: The information in the above story is provided by the startup and The Strategy Story takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the product and services offered by the startup. Reader’s discretion is advised.
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