Atlanta's Lalabu babywearing couple on 'Steve Harvey's Funderdome' August 6

This was posted on Thursday, July 27, 2017 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Atlanta's Brian and Keri Fosse will get their moment in the prime-time spotlight with (who else?) Steve Harvey to promote their babywearing line of shirts with hopes of winning up to $100,000.

Harvey's umpteenth show called "Steve Harvey's Funderdome" on ABC features entrepreneurial companies pitching products head to head. The audience decides who wins $100,000. There is also a chance for a team to take a lesser amount before the final vote as a hedge in case they lose.

Called Lalabu, the companies creates shirts designed for babies from newborn to about 15 pounds to be carried in the shirt itself comfortably.

"Our goal is to bring babywearing to the mass market, to have a positive impact for families nationwide and worldwide," said Brian, a Collins Hill High School grad from 2001, in an interview today.

The Fosses, who work out of a 1,000-square-foot space in the Old Fourth Ward, will appear on "Funderdome" Sunday, August 6 at 9 p.m.  They are currently ready with inventory as they await an influx of orders after the show airs. They have four full-time staff and five part timers.

He said the idea for the shirt came from a visit to see an aunt in Burkina Faso, a small, poor country in Africa. There, his wife Keri learned how to hold a baby with a traditional African wrap from a woman named Lalabu. After they got back to Atlanta, they sought a way to design a better way to hold a baby through a shirt and came up with the Soothe Shirt. (A dad version is out, too.)

He believes the shirt enables a baby and the parent to bond closer. He also thinks it's safer than placing them in a stroller at a young age. It's also a good shirt for breastfeeding, he added.

The company introduced the shirt into the marketplace in 2013 and has grown gradually ever since. It now sells for $75 apiece on their website or Amazon. Brian said they sell about 10,000 a year.

Producers for "Funderdome," a new show, reached out to Lalabu to participate last year. The episode taped last fall.

Brian and his wife, engineering majors who met while attending Georgia Tech in 2004 and married in 2007, now have their third child coming in September. They used their first two children, four-year-old Levi and 18-month-old Flora, to test prototypes of their first two products.

If they win the money, they plan to use the funds to work on two new prototype products.

Although Brian couldn't address his competitor on the show, a press release revealed who they are to taking on:  Imperfect Produce, a subscription service for cosmetically challenged produce. The inventor is Ben Simon from Emeryville, Calif. Given that descriptive alone, I'd say the Fosses have a solid chance of winning.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.