Premium baby brand Hello Bello comes to Canada

The brand founded by Kristin Bell and Dax Shepard is launching across banners with an all-natural, price-friendly positioning.

Hello_bello_image2

Some have expected a baby boom nine months from now as a result of couples staying at home. If that’s the case, a new entrant into the baby market is ready to meet them.

Hello Bello is a premium baby products line co-founded by actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. And the products have begun rolling out to Canadian stores.

California-based Launched.LA is a consumer goods company that distributes healthy lifestyle brands, including Hello Bello, offering premium-styled product at affordable prices in retail.

The company’s general manager of international markets, Evan Selby, tells strategy its operations and the roll-out of Hello Bello has not been affected by COVID-19, and has seen an increase in e-commerce sales over the past seven days, for both the U.S. and Canada. He concedes there might be some impact if warehousing and operations come to a standstill, but at the moment, that has yet to happen.

The fundamental different between the Canadian and U.S. launches of Hello Bello, Selby says, is that north of the border there are multiple retail partners, whereas the United States had Walmart exclusivity. This is because of scale.

“The economics make it tough to have exclusivity in Canada. Walmart in 500 stores was really difficult in terms of minimum order quantities and production,” Selby says. “We felt it made most sense to be a national brand, and we had interest from every national retailer prior to launching, which helped the decision-making.”

In Canada, according to the latest figures from Euromonitor, the diaper market is a mature one dominated by Kimberly-Clark (Huggies) and P&G (Pampers), although private labels could pose a tough challenge to both for price-conscious customers. That same Euromonitor data shows that biodegradability is top of mind for diaper consumers, and Hello Bello says that even though it uses a plant-based polylactic acid (PLA) and sustainably-harvested fluff pulp, its products are “not compostable or biodegradable.” Hello Bello, however, says “we’re always on the hunt to make things better” and continuously monitors the raw material markets and partner with suppliers worldwide to ensure it evaluates latest and best plant-based ingredients for inclusion in its diapers.

The whole premise behind the Hello Bello brand is to create a natural premium brand that was affordable to all; the brand’s ethos is “you should not have to choose between your baby and your budget.” When it comes to the dominant market players, Selby says that Kimberly Clark and P&G are conventional brands that don’t play that much in the natural place, he says. He says main differentiator is the price point, and that it is really competing with other natural brands that tend to be more expensive.

Hello_bello_image

A near-full suite of Hello Bello SKUs have launched in Loblaw, London Drugs, Rexall, Well.ca, Babies ‘R’ US and Buy Buy Baby. Other products will be delayed as they are evaluated based on Health Canada regulatory standards; vitamins will likely launch in Q3, while diaper rash cream and hand sanitizers are planned for within eight weeks.

Hello Bello has launched in Loblaw with full palette of designs, while London Drugs has full end-cap corrugate displays going into stores. According to Selby, the brand “pushes the envelope in terms of POS and marketing material” (which has remained in market after launching the first week of March).

This means making the displays as colourful as possible. He says the brand is investing lots of money in terms of sidekicks and profit panels, and has half and full palette displays and counter cards, show strips and PDQ displays for Loblaw, which will house five personal care products.

Beyond in-store, there will be influencers, with 250 micro-influencers doing reviews and commentary on Facebook and Instagram.

With respect to the Canadian launch, South Carolina agency Brains on Fire is the main driver of all the creative and product packaging, though Deck Agency is reviewing and adapting all the creative for the Canadian marketplace.