The company’s flagship product, Quook, is a five-in-one baby food processor that replaces three gadgets
When you’re a parent, there’s never enough of two things: time and counter space. After Garett Senez and his two business partners found that out the hard way, they set out to make baby products that take cost, efficiency and sanitation into account.
Quark, based in Vancouver, launched in April with a line of six “intelligent” baby products, including a dining set, a freezer tray and corner guards. Its flagship offering, Quook, is a five-in-one baby food processor that replaces three (very big) devices. The machine has a touch-screen that you can use to steam, blend and cook baby food, a built-in milk warmer and a built-in sanitizer that can sterilize things like bottle nipples.
“The impetus of the brand itself, quark, it’s the smallest particle in the universe,” says founder and CEO Senez, who has a background in marketing. “Quarks are the building blocks of the universe, and that’s kind of how we view our kids.”
The startup’s journey began last year, when Senez and his wife welcomed a daughter into their lives. “When you have kids, you’ll know that you start buying stuff well in advance—60 to 90 days in advance—and as you have your baby, you start testing this stuff,” he says. “When we started testing the products, a large majority of the stuff we bought was poorly designed, overpriced and lacked true innovation.”
Cost was an issue, too
Mr Senez adds. “We bought a $35 bowl and spoon that was made of bamboo, and it looks really nice, but it’s super impractical when you use it. Bamboo can’t be put in the microwave; it can’t be put in the dishwasher. Stuff like that just drives you nuts as a parent because you have all this stuff that you think works and is really, really nice, and then it actually does nothing.”
To help simplify the difficult task of raising a child and to assure fellow parents of quality, Quark products are spill- and stain-resistant, leakproof, stackable, multipurpose and dishwasher/oven/microwave/pressure cooker/freezer-safe. Ranging in price from $12 to $200, they’re also made without BPA, BPS, PVC, lead and phthalates.
"It’s designed to really be what you would expect from a baby product so you don’t actually have to worry,” Senez says. “That’s why we say, ‘No nasties’—if you have a baby, you want to take comfort in the fact that this stuff can actually work for your children.”
With 17 more products in the works, Quark is using “share of heart and share of home” as a guiding principle to establish itself as a reliable brand before it diversifies. That approach seems to be working, given that the young company already has strong partnerships with big retailers like Indigo Books and Music, Loblaw Cos., London Drugs and Walmart Canada. Quark products are now available at more than 400 retail stores across Canada as well as on Amazon.