Snibbie: Spit Happens (a)
10 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008
Who hasn't had a great idea and believed it could generate millions? Greg Heard actually took his idea and developed a bib for infant caregivers he called the "Snibbie." The A case explores the entrepreneurial challenges that arose as he introduced his product to the market. The A case describes Heard's learning experiences and progress in approaching institutional buyers, attending his first vendor fair, working with vendors, moving his operations out of his garage and into a warehouse, and becoming an international company. The news that his biggest buyer has just filed for bankruptcy is unsettling and raises many questions about how this will affect his company. The B case describes the direction he took regarding private labeling, working with the bankrupt national chain, and further developing his brand by devising additional products. A video supplement is available to enhance the learning experience.
SNIBBIE: SPIT HAPPENS (A)
“If the folks behind Diaper Genie can do it, so can I,” Greg Heard, CEO of Snibbie, told his wife, his former business partner, and his sometimes skeptical friends. Snibbie, the bib for adult childcare givers, was the product Heard developed. The company was headquartered in Potomac, Maryland, where Heard lived, with an office in Great Britain. Heard's exit strategy had been to follow the Diaper Genie model: Develop the product, open enough doors in the baby product market to grow the business to sufficient scale to make it an attractive purchase for a major player such as Gerber, Playtex, or Procter & Gamble, and sell the business for buckets of money.
Heard worked hard to build his brand and relationships with buyers and manufacturers. The Snibbie bib was available in Kmart and buybuy Baby stores in the United States, with an offer to “private label” his product through CVS stores. Snibbie was also sold at Wilkinson stores in the United Kingdom. Just as Heard was feeling confident about his sales distribution, he got devastating news. His biggest buyer, Kmart, had filed for bankruptcy on January 21, 2001. How would the bankruptcy affect Heard's company? Would he get paid for products he had already shipped? What about their contract? Should he continue to send Kmart products? Would it make sense to agree to the private labeling deal CVS offered to save his business?
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Keywords: entrepreneurs, bankruptcy, brand management, new product introduction, private-label, distribution strategy, marketing research, marketing strategy, retail marketing
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