Kimberly (King) Taylor ’96, MBA ’98, proudly counts herself amongst a growing population of mompreneurs—mothers who have recognized a consumer need and then developed a product to meet that need.
She and fellow mom and businesswoman Carri Grimditch are co-owners of BINSI® Labor and Birth Apparel founded in 2005. The company, which sells a unique line of birthing apparel, has experienced tremendous growth and publicity in the past two years. Their signature BINSI® Birth SkirtTM was chosen from hundreds of applicants to be featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, and has been highlighted in several national publications and websites, including Mothering magazine and about.com. BINSI®’s most recent product, the BINSI® Birth Wish Bracelets, were featured in Pregnancy magazine’s Mother’s Day edition (May 2007); earlier this year BINSI® was invited to participate in the Golden Globes Celebrity Boom Boom Room Gifting Suite. Taylor explains, “While we do sell a product, we are actually selling a concept. We want women to understand that they are in control. They have options in their birth experience to feel, instead of intimated and scared, confident and comfortable by wearing our apparel. Our goal is to empower women as they go through the birth of a child, which is a life-changing event.”
Taylor’s business partner Carri Grimditch, who is a doula, designed and wore the first BINSI® skirt for the birth of her second son. She liked the skirt so much that she began making them and gifting them to clients and friends, including Taylor. Mothers-to-be loved having a comfortable and stylish option to the clinical and unflattering hospital gown, and its popularity led the women to start a company of their own. Many of their initial customers were either from the birth professional industry or mothers who chose home births. Taylor adds that the BINSI® Birth SkirtsTM and Birth TopsTM were designed with input from birth professionals so that they can accommodate any necessary medical equipment in a hospital environment. The skirt sits below the belly so monitors can easily be worn, and both it and the BINSI® tops feature hooks, snaps, and drawstrings for easy removal. It is all a part of making the birth experience a more personalized one. Taylor says, “The birth process is changing. We feel that we are on the right track with our products. If we weren’t, then hospitals wouldn’t be making their rooms look like bedrooms and they wouldn’t be making changes so that the medical aspects of birth are a smaller part of the birth experience.”
Taylor’s role with BINSI® is primarily in developing wholesale and retail sales as well as customer relations. Recently the company began distributing its products in Australia and Canada, and it plans to sell them in the United Kingdom in the near future. Prior to the birth of her children Taylor worked in sales, and she says that she always knew that she wanted to be an entrepreneur. She believes that she has found the perfect dynamic with Grimditch. “Working with Carri is great,” says Taylor. “We complement each other very well. We are both strong women, but we have different strengths, which is why we work together so well. The other reason that the business works for me is because my peers in the marketplace are wonderful women and mothers too.”
A native of Binghamton, N.Y., Taylor initially enrolled in UB planning to apply to the School of Architecture, but later changed her major to media study because of its digital arts program and her own interest in design and advertising. Taylor was also very involved in athletics as a student, and she helped to start the women’s softball club at UB. Her sports participation led Taylor to work with the athletic administration and she served on a committee seeking to bring UB athletics into compliance with Title IX. “That is something I have always had a real interest in—empowering women, either through athletics or other avenues, and that is what I love about BINSI®, the empowerment aspect of it and helping women,” Taylor says.
Her UB athletics experience led Taylor to choose sports management as a career path, and earning her MBA at UB became an important step in that process. She says that two of the most influential professors in the School of Management were Arun Jain and Philip Perry. “I had a lot of great opportunities,” Taylor says of her time at UB. “Working with people from different backgrounds is great, and the School of Management has helped prepare me for my professional career, especially with BINSI®. Everything we did was a team project, so we learned to understand the dynamics of a group and to organize our time within a group so that we could get things done.”
As an undergraduate student and a graduate assistant, Taylor worked in UB’s Office of Resource Management, where she met her husband Paul (MBA ’00). Taylor was an employee at the university for a year after graduating; they then relocated to Colorado after Paul graduated, where they now live with their two sons, Connor, age 4 and Griffin, age 2. The family usually travels back to Buffalo twice a year to visit their many friends from their UB days.
Written by Jessica Dudek