The pandemic has left us seeking comfort now more than ever. Due to prolonged community quarantine, we want the things in our house to make us happy, give us peace of mind, and provide comfort. The sisters behind the brand, kun-kun, realized this and quickly worked on providing blankets to soothe and provide you with a restful sleep after a stressful day of work or school.
The three sisters, Kimberly, Joey, and Karla Lim, are represented by the three sleeping owls in their logo. We were able to catch Kimberly for a few minutes before she had to dive back into her busy schedule.
Even as a fairly new business, they took their time perfecting their product. “This is the first step of kun-kun. We started working on the brand and product during the onset of the pandemic. It took time to design, build a prototype, which included a lot of back and forth until we were all satisfied with what we wanted to share with everyone, and manufacture the first batch. And come December 2020, that was the time when we were finally ready to launch kun-kun.”
Kun-kun offers dotted blankets and beddings that are meant to provide you with a restful experience. But why blankets and bedding instead of loungewear or carpets?
“It’s quite personal — the whole family loves good blankets and I was really suffering from bad sleeping habits since I was in college. I always thought of my bed as a safe space or even an extension of myself. It sounds a bit exaggerated, but it’s true. So I have always been particular about the color of my beddings, fluffiness of my pillows, having a good bed topper that I also can’t live without!” she shared. “We have another business selling kids’ minky blankets (dotted blankets) and we noticed how much moms love these themselves. We were using them too and got much better sleep because of it. That was our inspiration: We wanted to make a jumbo version. It doesn’t exist in the market, so we really had to create it from scratch.”
It boggles the mind that simple dots can make such a difference. “A lot of moms opt for dotted blankets especially for their newborns. It’s said that the dots can stimulate their baby’s young senses, helping them ease into the world outside the womb. That’s why babies are always touching the dots! Based on personal experiences, and the experiences of our customers, the protruded dots really do have this calming effect on you, inducing better sleep.”
For the ‘jumbo version’ of these dotted blankets, they went with the measurements of 200×230 cm. “It’s standard queen size. We wanted a size that you comfortably wrap yourself with like a burrito!” she explained. “And we wanted it to be something that can be shared with other people — a lot of moms use our kun-kun blanket to co-sleep with their kids. [The blankets are] also used by couples.”
And unlike a lot of food businesses that popped up during the pandemic, the production of blankets and beddings at the quality they wanted requires a huge investment. But the sisters have managed to start this business all on their own without the help of their parents. So what are their backgrounds that have helped them set up their business?
For one, Kimberly said, “I finished Marketing Management at DLSU. It definitely helped a lot especially when it comes to branding. I’d also say market research played a huge role in how kun-kun came to be — this is my other atsi’s profession — as we did extensive research on the untapped opportunities in the market, what our customer needs. This is core for us and until now, we do talk and keep an active discussion with our past buyers. We listen to their feedback, suggestions on how we can improve, and what else we can offer them.
“I’m based in Beijing for work and I always try to keep up with this fast-paced environment here where products come and go like crazy. So all those factored in helped pave the way to keep kun-kun going. We’re learning as we go.”
With kun-kun’s attention to their customers, it’s not a shock that they’re quickly becoming a favorite in the bedding business. Speaking of their products, she added, “They are manufactured in an uncle’s factory in China. They also manufacture beddings used in hotels. It’s 80% made with a machine, 20% handmade. The edgings of our kun-kun blankets and pillows have to be sewed by hand.”
That 20% is just the perfect amount of human touch to make each blanket feel special.
The Business of Adapting
But the thing about blankets, is that in out tropical climate, it may be a bit suffocating. Not to worry.
“We designed it to suit the Philippine climate,” Kimberly assured us. “The usual first impression about our blankets is that they might be a bit too hot. They look kind of hot, but then once they used it, tamang tama lang. It is soft, fluffy, but it’s not suffocatingly warm, [it] gives you a fuzzy warm feeling that you’d like.”
While there is a popular weighted blanket trend going on now, Kimberly said, “Weighted blankets usually have glass beads to make up its weight, while our blankets are filled with pure organic cotton. It’s a totally different experience.We do not compete with weighted blankets, [though] they are good and have their own advantages. Some customers have both weighted blankets and kun-kun blankets and they interchange these depending on what they feel like.”
For some future plans, she shared, “We want to keep expanding our color selection for our flagship product (kun-kun dotted blankets).”
However, they didn’t always have that confidence about their business. “Honestly, at first, we were apprehensive about how it will pan out. If things don’t go well… then we will have hundreds of blankets to gift our friends and family for a decade.” she remarks humorously. “But we just did it — advertised our product as truthfully as we could based on our personal experiences. Our first customers really loved them too and bought more, and it just went on and people started to notice and wanted to try the blankets too.”
“We’re still learning ourselves and we take inspiration from other businesses that have already carved a name for themselves by offering unique products. At this point, I guess the advice we can give is if you 100% believe in your product, then just go for it and just try your best!”
Looking for more business advice? Check out our Modern Tao Ke articles here.