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Each week, The Columbian offers a brief snapshot of an interesting Clark County business.
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Business name: Puj.
Owners: Katie and Ben Richardson.
Address: 4200 S.E. Columbia Way, Suite C.
What the business does: Puj designs, manufactures and distributes baby products. Owners Katie and Ben Richardson said the Puj Tub, an infant bathtub that fits in the bathroom sink, was their first product. Puj (pronounced "pudge," like a pudgy baby) focuses on solving problems for parents by creating products that are simple and intuitive.
Steps to build the business: The Richardsons attend several trade fairs yearly, both nationally and internationally. Puj partners with distributors in 24 countries. They also work with magazines, news media, parenting websites and blogs. Their products are available in more than 600 retail stores; on such websites as Target, Amazon and Babies R Us; and on their own website.
Greatest challenge: Timing their inventory is the greatest challenge, the Richardsons said. They are thankful they have been featured on national television shows but that exposure can cause a large surge in sales. When they were on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, traffic to their website was so high that their website crashed three times in one day. Such exposure makes it hard to keep up with demand.
What's ahead: Although the Richardsons have plans for more products, in the near term they believe it makes sense to continue to enhance the baby bath experience. They have several new products set to be released this spring for both baby and toddler bath time.
Business philosophy: The owners' values are family, independence and simplicity. These values have great meaning to them in their lives. Their hope is that as people use their products, they can sense the love and dedication that went into making them.
Owners' business history: Ben Richardson was a product designer for a firm in Portland and Katie Richardson was working part time as a designer before they decided to start their own business. They are parents and both have degrees in industrial design.
Year established in Clark County: 2009.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.