Florida SBDC at FAU Client, Kira Labs, Wins 2018 President's Award for Exports
Inspired by his wife, their collaboration, and their mutual interest in beauty products, David Rosen believes growing up in Australia with a strong family work ethic and opportunities in his youth to work with local businesses and charities was a springboard ̶ a natural progression that prepared him for his future success. Pivotal to his success was coming to the U.S. and "recognizing the tremendous opportunity to take an idea through actualization means one can be creative, have impact and be successful," Rosen said.
In recognition of this success, Florida SBDC at FAU Client, David Rosen, Kira Labs, was one of the honored recipients of the 2018 President's "E" Award for Exports. This highly respected award recognized twenty-five companies across the nation that demonstrated a sustained increase in export sales over a four-year period.
In 2009 Mr. Rosen contacted Florida SBDC International Trade Expert, Parbatee Chang, for business growth assistance, and in 2012, Ms. Chang worked with the company to develop an Export Marketing Plan. This Export Marketing Plan was developed in collaboration with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Department of Commerce. According to Mr. Rosen, the depth of knowledge and services that he received throughout his consultancy relationship with the Florida SBDC at FAU continues to support the ongoing dynamic changes in his business and the impact he creates in the community.
Kira Labs is a local Broward County manufacturing business that has experienced consistent market growth both on the domestic and global front since opening its doors in South Florida in 2003. A true American entrepreneurial success story, after considerable experimentation with product development and digital marketing of their premium beauty products to skin care medical professionals during the onset of Australia's internet in the 1990's, Kira Labs was launched in Mr. Rosen's garage upon arrival to the U.S. He soon realized he was on to something the moment he began to have internet sales and happy customers returning for more. "It is one thing to make an organization financially successful but it takes it to a whole other level when you can also make people happy," Rosen said. Initially he was the only employee, wore many hats, set up several tables, and managed several work stations ̶ from actual product development to web development, alongside a fulfillment center. With a vision of differentiated product lines sold in multiple online channels, he targeted niche areas of superior formulated products with a focus on continuous improvement.
Fast forward to 2018 Kira Labs is now housed in a 10,000 square foot manufacturing facility with a water view, has experienced 30% growth over the past three years and expanded from 10 to now over 100 employees. His products are carried in more than 10,000 stores including CVS and T.J. MAXX throughout Europe, Asia, Russia, Baltic States, Canada. The company is driven by an internal organizational culture of empowerment. Mr. Rosen's philosophy of creating successful employees has fostered a buy-in that champions the success of the company. He has adopted an approach of "meritocracy – enabling the best ideas to filter to the top," said Mr. Rosen. "A bottom up instead of top down management approach empowers the entire team." Also important to him is the chance to help his employees and support them through personal challenges if a situation arises, creating an environment where people really want to be part of the team.
Winner of the Small Business Administration's 2017 State of Florida and South Florida District Exporter of Year Award, followed by Nasbite's 2018 National Small Business Exporter Summit Honoree and most recently, the most prestigious 2018 President's "E" Award for Exporting (Presidential Export Award) through the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Florida SBDC at FAU credits Kira Labs' ongoing recognition to their consistent growth and greater impact on the community.
"Adding to the success of Kira Labs is the adoption of a Lean Business Model…the Lean Business Model partnered together with an agile development approach well-prepared for scale, enables Kira Labs to respond rapidly to the changing needs of the population, providing continuous change and improvements to our products," said Rosen. In keeping with the philosophy of the company, Mr. Rosen underscores, "Kira Labs won the award – it is not all me. It speaks to everyone in the organization … all of those touch points help us deliver the product and that is a team effort."