THEY'RE a husband and wife team that came up with an idea for a foldable cart with wheels while on holiday, and Rebecca and Anthony Keain have decided to go it alone after initially securing an investment from Naomi Simson on Shark Tank.
The Adelaide couple began their Cart-A-Lot business two years ago when they bought and brought two of the American carts home and friends and family thought they were onto a great idea, and no company in Australia was doing anything similar.
"We were at a restaurant in California with our two teenage boys and young daughter and we saw what looked like a fold up push chair under a table and we kept watching and the lady with it opened up this contraption and walked out with it and that was when I realised it was a great idea," Rebecca recalls.
"I'd never seen anything quite like it and we brought two back but they were so poorly made and there was actually a toxic coating on it so went on the hunt for a better version in Australia and it just didn't exist."
The idea was born and with Rebecca Keain having to take early retirement as a salesperson in the pharmaceutical industry because of an illness, she thought it would be a great way to start a 'hobby' business with firefighter husband Anthony, whose shift patterns meant he also had time to work on it.
They designed and manufactured their own foldable cart and sold 1,700 in their first 14 months and expect 5,000 sales within their first two years of operation with their carts selling at $219 and $239.
"Sales have gone way better than we expected and it's being picked up by parents who can load all their gear into this and take it to the beach or business that need to protect themselves from health and safety considerations and rural farmers, people with horses, kindergartens schools and even lawyers," Rebecca Keain says.
"The market in Australia is huge and untapped and all our customers are reviewing the product which is helping us grow and social media is all part of that as well."
They also developed an accessory range to broaden the appeal of Cart-A-Lot and they pitched their idea to the 'sharks' and were looking for a $100,000 investment for 10 per cent of their new business, valuing Cart-A-Lot at one million dollars.
Naomi Simson was the only one who 'bit' but initially offered $100,000 for 40 per cent, giving a valuation of $250,000 and after due diligence, Rebecca says they mutually decided to go it alone.
"Naomi was fantastic. She's a very serious and professional business lady and we were embraced by her and she's advocated for our business which is fantastic."
"We just wanted to go down a different path and there were no hard feelings in it and the whole process was a life changer for us and really positive.
"In the end, it was a business decision and Naomi was fine with that.
"We think we have a habit changing product and we believe in it. Once people have seen it and have used it they will realise it is a lifestyle changer."
Business News Australia
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