INNOtalks: Success of the start-up that bets on the value of craft and wood

Written by Alenka Žumbar Klopčič

Rimarket, a Slovenian start-up, has successfully launched Froc, an innovative kid’s chair. Rimarket is one of the accelerated companies that have found its fortune in ABC Accelerator. Its director Matej Košir had decided against taking over the family business and took a study loan in order to start his own company and launch the product. The path to the final product was a painful one since most of the wooden industry had collapsed due to the financial crisis. Owing to hard work, that has been internationally recognized, his company survived and Froc chair will be sold in Benelux, Germany, Austria, and Russia by the end of the year.

Matej Košir was a guest on 10th INNOtalks that was organised my ABC Accelerator. He stated, that if he had to, he would go through the whole process of making the product again. The only thing he would change is connected to making the initial prototype, which took them two years. In the beginning, a lot of the time went into getting all sorts of certificates. The hardest to acquire was the German certificate of safety. All this, however, gave them a chance to learn important lessons in the business world:

“When we arrived to Germany, we realized only then that our price is way too high for distributors. We could sell our chairs only to the biggest merchandisers. We took all the necessary steps to cut down the costs so we could offer our product to other distributors as well.”

For Slovene companies, it is often a rule of thumb, that first they have to prove themselves in foreign countries before they can succeed in Slovenia. It was the same in the case of Froc. Only after they received international recognition, they gained the trust of customers at home. Most prominently their product is sold at Babycentre. They are also very happy to collaborate with influencers, most of the budget, however, is consumed by constant innovation.

To be more precise, they constantly try to improve the safety of the chair. For this reason, the chair has no extra pillows and locks. New versions of the product will be presented at the biggest conferences, for example, Maion&Objet in Paris. This way Froc has secured the attention of customers in Benelux, Germany, Austria, Russia, and Scandinavia.

The goal of the company is to make a perfect chair for kids. Right now, they make three hundred chairs monthly, with the next year the plan to make a thousand chairs monthly. Yet, their ambitions in the distant future are not limited only to chairs.

Matej Košir is convinced, that the decision to make the chair out of wood was the right one. Latest trends show that people are more environmentally aware. Wood has also a very low price, which, however, is balanced by high modification costs.

Froc is only one of Rimarket’s brands. The company is stationed in Ribnica, a city with rich wood crafting traditions. They wish to offer their customers different wooden products with the combination of modern design, tradition and honest respect to the environment.

They wish to make an impact with their products on their customers and the society, so we would all move towards a greener environment. This was also the base for their marketing which had to be changed quite often due to financial difficulties. Nowadays, they base their marketing mostly on the use of social networks, such as Instagram.