Smart CEO Future 50: Featuring 50 of Baltimore's Fastest Growing Companies
Mary and Stephen Bauer were recognized by Baltimore SmartCEO as one of Baltimore's 50 Fastest Growing Companies! Congratulations to the Bauer's and Bratt Decor!
Bratt Decor designs and sells furniture and accessories for babies and children. The company's goal is to bring high design aesthetics found in other segments of the furniture
market to the children's market. Bratt Decor designs and manufactures a wide range of furnishings and sells them directly through its stores and Web site.
KEY FACTORS OF COMPANY'S CURRENT GROWTH
Growth is hard, a true blessing, but is constantly challenging. Over the past three years, the company has grown from a staff of about seven to more than 30, and dealing with the fallout of that alone has been an education. Additionally, Bratt Decor has opened offices in Asia and has had to learn to manage staff and
factories internationally. It requires lots of travel and lots of trust. Lastly, the company has grown its online and retail business significantly, placing the company in an entirely different space.
Over the next year, Bratt Decor will continue to 2008, which has already become the darling of the design world. Five national magazines have picked it up for editorial and have highlighted it
as the best new look in nursery. The Tysons Corner, VA, store opened this spring, but has yet to really reach its potential, so the company believes that entity will grow and flourish in
2008. Bratt Decor plans to revamp its Web site to include more items, and the company increased its production capability in Vietnam, so inventory capacity is expected to rise, which
will result in lower lead times.
MARY BAUERS BUSINESS HEROES AND MENTORS
"I don't really have a personal mentor or coach, but I have been influenced by the work of Ralph Lauren, in particular. I think Ralph Lauren was a pioneer in lifestyle marketing and imaging, and Ive always been inspired by his ability to translate a way of life into products one can purchase. It makes life so easy and
provides consumers the ability to choose objects, clothing and personal effects that speak to their individual style and life.
CHALLENGES FACING THE INDUSTRY THIS YEAR
One challenge that faces all small designers is rapidly evaporating market share. Big box, well known players, such as a Pottery Barn, have saturated the childrens furnishings market and put a lot of people out of business. Bratt Decor's challenge is capturing the consumer who just heard about the company. There can be a wonderful restaurant in your neighborhood, with an amazing chef, inspired menu and reasonable prices, and they have empty tables, while the TGI Friday's has a wait list of