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Parents looking to shop local have an ally in new startup Bun Out the Oven

New parents who are interested in getting more than just another adorable baby outfit or package of diapers might want to check out Bun Out the Oven, a month-old startup lately of The Founder Institute that helps friends and family gift local services instead of stuff.

"Bun," as cofounder Robert Bettmann affectionately calls the startup, is essentially a vetted registry for local services. "We're interested in [finding] the best local experience providers," he says, whether they provide cleaning, baby-proofing or handyman services, prepared meal delivery or parent-and-baby experiences like photo sessions and yoga, "and connecting them with new and expecting parents."

Bettmann says the impetus for Bun came from his family's experience. "My mother-in-law wanted to give us housecleaning," he says. "It's something we wouldn't have gotten ourselves. But buying local services is really hard to do. [Local businesses often] have small marketing budgets."

Bun vets each service on the site by looking through existing reviews on other sites and publications and reading online forums like DC Urban Moms. "We list companies that have only positive and exceptional reviews on different review sites," Bettmann says. "We know we have a sensitive population. All of our providers have to be really exceptional, as well as sustainable, for our population."

Bun is free for users; the company takes a small percentage of each sale on the site as a brokerage fee. Says Bettmann: "We only get what is purchased through our platform."

Bun is actively looking for advisors to join the team and for service providers that might want to partner up. The company is using D.C. as a trial market for what Bettmann calls their "niche registry service. Our goal is to be in 13 cities within 2 years," he says. "Our business advantage is that we're first to market."

Bun is currently in beta mode. Interested in learning more? You can sign up for advanced access here

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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