Traci Costa of Peekaboo Beans (BEAN:TSXv) : The Queen Behind a Category King

I’m on a mission.

Over the past eight years, growing research has proven that female-led companies perform better than those led by men. Canadian investment company, O’Shares Investment, has witnessed that 95% of companies led by women were able to meet their financial targets, in comparison to the 65% of male-run companies meeting their monetary goals.

As a female assistant to the CEO of an Investor Relations company, I’ve been exposed to the ins and outs of how publicly traded companies work, and I want to know why and how women are challenging the status quo.

In my research, CEO and president of Peekaboo Beans (TSX-V:BEAN), Traci Costa, stood out as a particularly impactful woman.  Not only is her product of children’s apparel environmentally and socially conscience, Costa’s business model employs over 1,000 women as “stylists,” allowing them the freedom and opportunity to create their own profitable business. In addition to this, Peekaboo Beans’ Board of Directors in predominantly female, and together they are working in the lucrative market of direct sales — an industry worth $36 billion in the U.S. alone. For these reasons, Traci Costa truly is the Queen behind a Category King.

Claudia O’Neill: Traci, I’m very intrigued that not only are you a CEO of a public company, but you also have developed a business model that empowers women of all backgrounds and walks of life to take ownership of their own business platform. How has this affected the corporate culture while facilitating the growth of stylists’ revenue?

Traci Costa: We are very driven by our mission, to design functional, intentional children’s apparel, that focuses on playful living for children.  Because of a strong mission, we are focused on delivering results operationally, as well as creating long term shareholder value, and therefore our corporate culture has remained strong through the transition to a public company.

Claudia O’Neill: You mention your strong mission delivering results — why does this corporate culture within the direct sales model give you a competitive edge?

Traci Costa: Our culture is driven significantly by women, with an almost all female staff, board of directors and over 1000 independent sales reps, we see our advantage of a mission-based business building a legacy for our children.  Since 90% of direct sellers in the United States are women, we believe that we are providing a new entrepreneurial opportunity for the educated, millennial mother to build a business on her terms, and never miss the moments that matter in her life, well contributing to the household income.

Claudia O’Neill: Where do you see your company a year from now?

Traci Costa: I see 1,000 new stylists in the United States, improved margin, consistent growth in Canada, and a growing brand presence and a much larger company!

Claudia O’Neill: Tell us how you plan to tackle the US expansion and gain market share of this large-scale opportunity?

Traci Costa: Tackling the US expansion will be a multi faceted strategy. We aim to attend more tradeshow and vendor events and partake in alliances and collaborations, including increased content with social media influencers. We will be training our current stylists on the benefits of recruiting and developing more affiliate and referral programs. We’re creating an e-commerce and wholesale strategy to seed the product in certain markets and will also be developing a digital social media strategy to help in these efforts. All of these strategies in combination with increased product diversification, should create the results we are looking for.

Claudia O’Neill: It sounds like you’re confident in your strategy and efforts to expand. What factors help you predict this growth?

Traci Costa: There are a few factors. Firstly, we strongly believe through market research and focus groups that our brand has significant opportunity for success.  We are what I would define as a category king entering into a robust market.  We have an extremely strong product Net Promoter score in Canada and the US of over 71, which is equivalent to the likes of Zappos and Google.  We had a 1 % attribution rate for 2017 in the direct sales model, which typically averages approximately 50%. We are entering a 30 billion-dollar children’s apparel industry, with in a 36 billion distribution model where 1 in 7 households have a directs sales business. We are also reinventing how women/parents shop for their kids, creating stress free shopping experiences.  I would also note, that the sensory processing industry is a niche $500 million-dollar sensory processing space – we have identified this as a specific untapped niche.

Claudia O’Neill: Traci, you’ve created and developed a unique brand and developed a competitive strategy to help further your success. What advice can you give to women who are entering the corporate world?

Traci Costa: Care enough to take risks and speak your voice.  Women have an innate ability to be powerful and strategic, yet thoughtful and open, which can be a strong competitive advantage.

Peekaboo Beans Snapshot (BEAN:TSXv)
2017 Revenue: $ 3,358,307
Shares I/O: 17.6M
Market Cap: $7.3 M
52 Week High: $0.99
52 Week Low: .37
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