ROBERT Elizabeth was in Slovakia
teaching English. I was on a low-budget trip through Europe. We saw
each other, fell in love, and now, here
we are—fve kids and 20 years later.
ELIZABETH We were living in Boulder
when I had my second child. The
baby slings I used went over just one
shoulder—they hurt my shoulder and
back. I went to the fabric store, bought
$100 of fabric, and cut it into three
wraps. Wherever we went, people
stopped me. One of us said, “OK. If one
more person comes up and asks us
about this wrap, we’ve got to start
something.” So fve minutes later …
ROBERT We had $15,000. We put a
portion toward inventory and a portion
toward marketing, and calculated how
long we could survive on the rest—less
than $5,000. We decided to travel the
world, because we could cut our budget
down to a minimum, and started with
an unbelievably cheap fight to Ireland.
ELIZABETH Where our frst photo
shoot was—on the clifs.
ROBERT Then we made our way to
Slovenia, where my family is.
ELIZABETH We stayed three months.
ROBERT The frst 1,000 wraps cost
around $6,000. After we sold the frst
two, we said, “OK! This is real. Let’s
get going.” Isabela was 4. Nikolai was 1.
Our condition was that everywhere we
landed, within 24 hours, we had to fnd
internet access to reply to customers.
In 2007, this was a challenge. I found a
cheap fight to Egypt and we few into
Sharm El-Sheikh, then went to Cairo
to wait for our visas for India. We
stayed quite a while in the cheapest
hotel, and relaunched our website
from the roof.
ELIZABETH With all these stray cats.
ROBERT And our kids petting all the
cats. Then we few to India. We stayed
in Pushkar two months—a comfortable
place was a dollar a night. We took a
train to Goa and did customer support
in second-class coach with 20 or 30
locals looking over our shoulders.
ELIZABETH There were big rats in the
rafters of our hut in Karnataka. I’d get
underneath my mosquito net, with my
fashlight and laptop, and answer customer service emails. I was connecting
to the world and growing our business
while pulling up well water in buckets.
One day, I poured a bucket of water
over my head—and it was full of frogs.
ROBERT I began studying Ad Words
and saw that spending $10 got me
$32, spending $50 got me $150. That’s
when I said, “We’re moving back to the
U.S., because this is going to work.”
That frst year, revenue was half a
million dollars. Would we do it again?
ELIZABE TH Yes!
ROBERT Boba is not one of those
unicorns where in three years we’re a
billion-dollar business. I’m sure that’s
exciting, but it sucks you in and takes
everything. Boba is our sixth kid.
Twelve years of gradual growth. And
through it all, we got to keep the
balance of our lives.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Boba—short for “Boulder
baby”—produces and sells baby carriers and wraps.
Founders Robert and Elizabeth Antunovic launched it
with $15,000 and then began traveling the world with
their family. Today, Boba’s revenue tops $10 million,
and the couple oversee 25 employees from their home
in Ljubljana, Slovenia. AS TOLD TO UNA MORERA
WORLD IN A DAY
From top: Elizabeth, Nikolai,
and Isabela Antunovic, near
Egypt’s Pyramid of Khafre;
Isabela and some banana
thieves in Pushkar, India; Robert
running the business in a
live-work space in Pushkar.
How we built our company
Robert and Elizabeth Antunovic j They wandered—and won
traveling the world—