LAFAYETTE, La. (ABiz) – On Friday, local businesswoman Tereson Dupuy, founder and CEO of FuzziBunz, will appear on ABC’s Shark Tank Friday, bringing her revolutionary modern cloth diaper before the show’s panel of seasoned business execs.
“So after 12 years in business, I’ve made it onto Shark Tank,” Dupuy says gleefully. “I have a fairly successful business already and going on Shark Tank is no doubt going to catapult that tremendously!”
Shark Tank is a TV show that places aspiring entrepreneurs in front of a panel of established entrepreneurs and business executives called “Sharks,” who then consider each presenter’s business or product for potential investment.
“This season they’re not exactly getting away from start-ups but introducing companies that have been established for a while and want to get to the next level and kind of need that help,” says Dupuy, “So that’s where I fit in.”
Back in 2000, Dupuy designed a contemporary take on traditional cloth diapers, which she dubbed FuzziBunz, and built a business around it from out of her home that now pulls in between $3 million and $4 million in sales each year. The company, now headquartered at 1318 Camellia Blvd. in River Ranch, distributes from its warehouse in Broussard with a manufacturer in Austin and an overseas manufacturer in China.
“Modern cloth diapers are just that, they’re modern, they’re not old fashioned,” Dupuy explains. “People still think they’re pins with plastic pants, which they’re not. It’s a pocket diaper that utilizes polar fleece and different materials. It’s very easy to use, very easy for moms to wash at home, saves tons of money and it’s become a very trendy product.”
In addition to being trendy and mom-friendly, FuzziBunz are sustainable and incredibly cost-effective. Rather than literally throwing hundreds and even thousands of dollars in the diaper bin by purchasing disposables, moms can purchase a dozen FuzziBunz for around $20 and see them last until their baby is potty-trained.
“I’ve never really thought the general public was really ready for a product like this,” she confesses. “However after seeing this on Shark Tank I think it’s going to bring us a whole lot more awareness.”
Up until now, the majority of her products have been available only through either the Internet or small boutiques, but Dupuy says she expects her markets to soon expand and hopes to start selling FuzziBunz in major baby retail stores such as Buy Buy Baby.
“Just preparing for the aftermath or what’s going to come next is going to be crazy,” she says of the coming surge her business expects to see.
But while she seems apprehensive about the new customer flow, Dupuy says her company has already inadvertently prepared for the coming sales jump.
“Our company ran into some problems to do with quality in a manufacturer and we wound up with a lot of inventory, which in 12 years we’ve never had because it sold so fast,” she says. “So now that we do have the inventory we’re prepared for the influx of customers and we’re even prepared to take on new retailers. Fortunately, I guess we’ve taken a negative and turned it into a positive.”
[This article originally appeared in the September 2012 edition of ABiz Magazine and on TheIND.com.]