Monday, August 9, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
U' student ranks
among top five in
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1327
Editor in Chief
Upholstered furniture caught fire on the porch of the rental house at 928 South State St.
on the morning of Apr. 3.
Vote looms on
A 2 couch ban
proposes online retail
site for baby clothes
By BRIENNE PRUSAK
Parents burdened by the cost of
baby clothes may soon have an inex-
pensive option after one University
student's efforts to design an online
Engineering senior Allen Kim has
become the first student from the
University to be selected as one of
the top five finalists in Entrepreneur
Magazine's College Entrepreneur of
the Year competition for his compa-
ny, Bebaroo, which he described as
"Netflix for baby clothes."
Bebaroo.com offers a service
where parents can dress their young
children - between the ages of zero
and two - "more affordably, more
conveniently and more stylishly,"
Kim said the inspiration for the
company came from his own expe-
rience with a family member who
complained about the cost of baby
clothes, notably those for special
The website, he said, allows par-
ents to order clothes available on
the website and send them back for
free once their child either no longer
needs them or has outgrown them.
Bebaroo currently ships clothes to
Kim added that by using Bebaroo,
parents rent clothes for a fraction
of the retail prices because they pay
a fixed monthly subscription price
instead of buying individual clothes.
However, parents have the option of
also purchasing the clothes at dis-
Bebaroo offers different monthly
pricing plans, depending on how
many clothes or brands parents
would like to rent, according to Kim.
Kim said be and Luis Calderon
- the co-creator of Bebaroo - start-
ed working on the business after
attending the University's Bay Area
Entrepreneur Experience trip to
San Francisco in March, which was
sponsored by the Center for Entre-
preneurship and the Zell Lurie
While on that trip, the pair was
able to surveyover a hundred parents
by visiting shopping malls, day care
centers and online forums, Kim said.
He added that they received positive
feedback from parents, which gave
them confidence that the venture
could succeed with the demand for
affordable baby clothing.
Kim also said the Bay Area Trip
helped them recognize the feasibility
of Bebaroo after gaining the atten-
tion of several venture capitalists in
Silicon Valley. He said he and Calde-
ron plan to work on the business full-
time after graduation.
After creating this concept, Kim
said he applied to Entrepreneur
Magazine's College Entrepreneur of
the Year competition by submitting
a business concept, target customer
profile and proposed company mis-
Kim said he believes that Bebaroo
was selected as one of the five final-
ist companies, because there are no
other baby clothes rental services in
the country and that the novelty of
the idea may change the way parents
clothe their kids in the future,
"I want to think that being recog-
nized as a finalist for this competi-
tion means there is that much need
for this kind of service available for
parents," he said.
Entrepreneur Magazine will
announce the winner of their Col-
lege Entrepreneur of the Year com-
petition by Sept. 15. The winner will
be profiled in Entrepreneur Maga-
zine's January issue as well as in a
follow-up article in the December
The winner of the competition
will alsoreceive $5,000 to start their
business, a $500 gift certificate for
The UPS Store, a selection of Entre-
preneur Press books and a year's
subscription to Entrepreneur Maga-
Kim added that winning the com-
petition would also showcase Michi-
gan's entrepreneurial community as
having many networking opportuni-
ties with investors, alumni and busi-
"For the first time a Michigan stu-
dent has been selected as a finalist of
this contest, and I want to bring the
trophy back home," Kim said.
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City Council reads
By DYLAN CINTI
Ann Arbor City Council approved a
first reading of an ordinance that
would prohibit upholstered furni-
ture on porches citywide, according
to councilmember Mike Anglin (D-
Ward 5) in an interview on Friday.
The ordinance comes four
months after a deadly on-campus
blaze that authorities suspect start-
ed with an outdoor couch catching
fire, according to an April 5 article
in The Michigan Daily.
The Apr. 2 fire gutted a rental
house at 928 South State St., killing
one tenant and injuring two others,
the Daily article reported.
Since then, councilmember
Christopher Taylor (D-Ward 3)
backed the current ordinance.
As Anglin pointed out, this is not
the first time council has discussed
a ban on upholstered furniture on
In July 2004, the council con-
sidered a similar ordinance that
sought to ban upholstered furni-
ture on porches and impose a $100
fine for violators, the Daily article
The 2004 ordinance stated that
"placing upholstered furniture on
front porches can create fire con-
ditions near the primary entrance/
exit that can impede the occupants'
abilities to escape from a fire."
Ann Arbor city council indefi-
nitely proposed that ordinance in
The current ordinance is set for a
second reading in late September, at
which point council will vote on it,
According to Anglin, council-
members will use the interim to
gather feedback from their constit-
uents and listen to speakers slated
to address council on the issue.
Ryn Karte ManagingEditor
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