Kai — A child entrepreneur on the move

Kai — A child entrepreneur on the move

Observer Business Reporter

Friday, August 30, 2019

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After announcing her intention to launch health and sanitation kits for children a few months ago, 10-year-old Kailee Coombs (Kai) has made good on her promise with the launch of her Kai Kits health and sanitation packs.

The Kai Kit for Kids is comprised of the external kit, hand-made in Jamaica, and packed with nine different items, including the lemongrass trio of hand sanitizer, hand wash and body lotion, which are all made in Jamaica. Other child-safe items include wipes, toothpaste, toothbrush, toothbrush cover, mouthwash and tissue pack.

In an interview with the Caribbean Business Report, Shanoy Coombs, mother and manager of Kai, shared that her daughter's desire to start this business came after she gave her a similar sanitary kit to take to school.

“I gave her a little “just in case” pouch, which had basic hygiene items after seeing her come home with dirty hands. I included a sanitary napkin as well; as a way to start having that conversation about periods whenever that arrived, and her friends were quite fascinated. She told me the same evening that she wanted to have a kit to keep all kids clean and healthy and she even said it would be called Kai Kit. She [then went ahead] and drew up a mock-up logo and tagline,” Shanoy Coombs said.

She further outlined that production of the pouches was started by Kai's uncle and grandmother, after which she (mommy) handles the production cycle, order system and visibility and daddy helps with the marketing. Now with the official launch of the business, they have since moved to engage the services of two community-based seamstresses.

“Once all nine products that make up each kit are delivered they are packed and labelled in our home,” she added.

In terms of support and financing, the business has been a family-funded one, mainly operating from home. Coombs noted that the recent official launch has however secured a few pledges from corporate and other entities towards the venture.

“Since launching, corporate entities have been engaged and these discussions are ongoing. We have also been working out meetings with key government partners and other stakeholders (some of who were at her launch), who are aligned with the clean and healthy message that Kai Kits for Kids promotes.

The intention is to encourage volume support which can then be further disseminated to needy communities, schools, students, among others as a part of great corporate social responsibility, Shanoy shared.

Now a student at Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory, Kai is doing well academically and is one who loves to draw and undertake Do It Yourself (DIY) projects.

For her, the recent launch of her brand and products marks only the beginning, as the young entrepreneur is eager to partner with major companies to encourage group sales of her kits. She also has her eyes on Kai Kits for adults and hopes to add babies and toddlers later.

As for the mommy manager, she is very hopeful about the future for her child's success and business expansion.

“I would love to see Kai Kits in other countries and eventually hope to add the baby and adult kit. Currently the version of the kit being sold at Monarch Pharmacy in Barbican, St Andrew, and Art Connect at Devon House has products that are safe enough for children but also suitable for adults as a hygiene pack. The thing is that our initial survey with over 200 persons was geared at a kit for children, so for her to progress to one for adults and babies, we'd need another round of research to determine the specific products those groups would require, whether we can keep the existing items or modify them,” she shared.

Plans are also in the pipeline to add more offerings to customers. Shanoy Coombs spoke to plans for introducing a reorder system where persons, once accessing an initial Kai Kit, can order refills of the products.

“For the ones made in Jamaica they receive a larger dispenser bottle in three months, six months or nine months' increments that can refill the smaller bottles. This is our way of encouraging persons to recycle these smaller bottles and further reduce plastic pollution,” she disclosed.

Kai Kits for Kids was officially launched recently (August 9) and is now available for purchase from Monarch Pharmacy in Barbican, Art Connect JA or via the website www.kaikit4kids.com at a retail price of $2,500.

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