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NEW

JANUARY 2020 ISSUE 4 VOLUME 23

Mica A new spin

on comfort

i-Size

G-CELL


Trusted by parents for years

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contents the team Editor Penny Franks penny@lemapublishing.co.uk

Ad Manager Christine Contreras christine@lemapublishing.co.uk

Contributors

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JANUARY 2020 ISSUE 4 VOLUME 23

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News 46 file Retailer Pro p Talking Sho apshot Supplier Sn

6

cts New Produ The Baby

22

Products n Associatio

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Production Director Paul Naish paul@lemapublishing.co.uk

39

Production Rick Vickers rick@lemapublishing.co.uk

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Managing Director Mark Naish mark@lemapublishing.co.uk

Chairman

43

Malcolm Naish malcolm@lemapublishing.co.uk

p14

Circulation Robert Thomas robert@lemapublishing.co.uk

Trevor Ginn takes a look at the pros and cons of selling on eBay.

Parents Insights

This month Jenny Kieres runs us through recent findings in their latest reports of parental lifestyle choices.

Barking Mad

John Barker takes time to look back at his personal favourites of 2019.. and the winners are..

NSG

Yasmin Ali (NSG & Babyland Fife) looks at how supplier support and retailer confidence can grow during 2020.

Ross Hewitt

Taking a look at the digital market, Ross gives advice on how to drive traffic to your websites.

Intelligent Retail

This month David Fairhurst looks at why you need to blog.

Cover Story 10

Lema Publishing Ltd

Maxi Cosi

Features

1 Churchgates, The Wilderness, Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 2UB Telephone: 01442 289930

www.nursery-today.co.uk

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VendLab

14

Travelling Baby

28

Baby Essentials

34

Toy Fair Preview

40

Consultancy Services

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editor’s letter www.nursery-today.co.uk Instagram: nurserytoday LinkedIn: Nursery Today

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irstly, can I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and I trust Christmas went well for everyone. We are now officially out of our ‘teen’ years and embarking on our ‘twenties’. What this year might bring for independents is uncertain. However, I for one am hoping this will be the year for everyone to shine. As we all know, independent retailers are the backbone of our industry and have definitely kept our sector alive and kicking! They really have been the unsung heroes of 2019 and have constantly promoted brands via their own social media platforms, given valuable floor space showcasing ranges and of course, most importantly, provided solid, knowledgeable advice and demonstration of products to the consumer. What we do know is that the Election has been called, the results came in, the Conservatives stayed at the helm and Brexit here we come. Whether we agree or disagree with Brexit (I’m not going to get all political), the decision has been made and January will see us leaving the EU. This of course will hopefully start to ease everyone’s uncertainty for the months ahead, giving us all the opportunity to focus on how best to operate during 2020 to ensure success throughout the year. So to kick-start the year, Toy Fair will open their doors this month, which should provide a good barometer with regard to infant and preschool toys for the coming year and I’m sure 2020 and trading conditions will be a hot topic among many in attendance. This is always a good exhibition to attend. If you haven’t considered infant and pre-school toys perhaps now is the time to visit. With many key toy brands having added nursery toys to their ranges, where better to be than here to view everything this industry has to offer, spot new trends that may be emerging and potentially find that wee gem that could set your business apart from your competitors.

Take a look at products suitable for the travelling parent.

Ergobaby UK survey findings.

To find out more about the 2020 event, turn to page 34 or visit www.toyfair.co.uk Our cover star this month is Dorel/Maxi Cosi. Anyone who visited Kind Und Jugend this year would have been impressed with their commitment to innovation and saw first hand the launch of their new modular infant carrier, Coral, which was proudly exhibited alongside other new product launches. One such product is featured on the cover this month and within this issue - the new Maxi-Cosi Mica. This newly launched i-Size car seat covers all current ‘wants’ of parents, including extended rearward-facing travel, high safety standards, recline option and the ability to rotate. For ultimate safety, Mica provides rearward-facing travel from birth all the way up to 4 years old. You can check out all of Mica’s stunning features by turning to page 10. This month we also take a look at products suitable for the travelling family (page 18) and all those baby essentials (page 28). Talking of baby essentials, Ergobaby UK announced findings from research commissioned which revealed how much first-time parents are spending on baby gear. Among findings the study found that 83 percent of new parents said they would prefer to invest in quality products that had long-lasting guarantees to ensure they could be used again

for potential new siblings, rather than items that would only last for one baby. Although we are in January, now is also the time to look forward to a fresh year with new opportunities and Harrogate International Nursery Fair is a great place to start. This is the UK’s only nursery trade show which takes place from 29th to 31st March 2020 and is the first port of call for retailers and buyers seeking innovative new ranges from the baby products industry. This year sees the return of many favourite brands including BabyStyle, Bebecar, Allison Baby, Joie, Nuna, Graco, Hauck, Cuddleco, Uppababy, OBaby, Silver Cross, Diono, Cheeky Rascals, Peg Perego, Roma, Purflo, Pink Lining, Slumberland, Shnuggle and Vennici – to name just a few! Harrogate will also welcome new and returning companies this year including Bamboo by Mama Bamboo, Clevamama, DCUK, Melissa & Doug and Ubere Mama. This event is set to provide visitors with a great opportunity to see new product launches, gain valuable demonstration of product and will deliver some great ‘show only’ offers. If you haven’t already registered, now is the time to head to www.nurseryfair.co.uk where you can find an array of information and gain your visitor passes.

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news

Sponsored by

Selling on eBay As well as being an independent nursery retailer, Hello Baby’s Trevor Ginn runs the Amazon/Online marketplace consultancy VendLab. Here Trevor gives his views and advice on the pros and cons for retailers looking to use this ecommerce platform. Whilst not the ecommerce force it once was, eBay is still a very important channel for online retailers second only to Amazon as an online marketplace for domestic and international sales. Whilst it is still dominant as the selling venue for distressed stock (e.g. returns, end of line items) it is also a great way to sell new products to a loyal user base.

Opening a shop

As a business seller on eBay you need to open an eBay shop as this gives access to preferential listing fees and international selling options. It also provides sellers with a branded destination within the eBay platform e.g. http://stores.ebay.co.uk/hellobabydirect

Listing products

Sellers list products using their own descriptions and can create branded HTML listing pages including photos and seller information. Each product also has a title which should be carefully crafted to include a description of the product and also keywords people will use to find your product.

Pros of selling on eBay

• Promote your brand. Unlike Amazon, eBay offers sellers the opportunity to create branded listings and open a branded shop • Listing control. Whereas on Amazon products are sold against a catalogue, on eBay sellers use their own descriptions. This make the listing process longer but givens more control. • Easy. eBay you access a ready made audience and ecommerce platform in exchange for a commission fee. • They are on your side. eBay does not compete for sales with its sellers • Reach eBay’s millions of customers. eBay is a major ecommerce player with millions of loyal customers across the world • International sales. eBay has sites in more than 10 countries which provide an easy way to reach customers outside the UK. • eBay Advertising. eBay has its own internal adverting programme where sellers can bid on keywords to drive traffic to listings and increase sales.

And the cons…

• Perceived low value channel. Many brands, particularly at the higher end, don’t like their products being sold on eBay • Costs. eBay fees are around 10% but then there is PayPal fees (1.4 to 3.4%) and shop subscription fees on top of this. • Loss of control. eBay or PayPal will mediate in any disputes with customer and often decide against the seller • Competitive. Prices are fiercely competitive and margins can be lower than through other channels. • Setup. eBay requires more set up than Amazon, though not nearly as much as your own website! To find out more on how Trevor and his team can assist brands and retailers launch and manage their presence on international marketplaces including eBay and Amazon as well as leading regional marketplaces visit: www.vendlab.com

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Rebrand announced for Obaby in 2020

Obaby has an exciting future ahead and are starting this with a fresh start in January 2020 after a re-organisation of the company during 2019, with Sally Lewin appointed as Managing Director and Jason Crossland joining the company as Head of Operations in addition to a number of other personnel changes. With their new 5-year strategy, Obaby will grow with their retail and service partners as well as launching a new customer friendly website. Another prioritised initiative is to make the Obaby shopping experience hassle free and as enjoyable for customers as possible, before and after purchasing. Launched in autumn 2019, their new customer relations management system ‘freshdesk’ provides retailers and end users with a 5-star service from their skilfully trained aftersales team. Web: www.obaby.co.uk

Rainbow bids farewell to Richard Longmate after nearly 40 years

Richard, joined Rainbow Designs on 1 July 1980 and has spent the last four decades supporting independent retailers in the East Anglia area. Starting under the leadership of former Rainbow Designs owner Mike Mutters, Richard has been part of the incredible journey of the business and witnessed the addition of many iconic new brands and collections on the way. Richard, has always been a strong and reliable member of the sales team, and his passion for Rainbow, cricket and red wine, will be greatly missed. Anthony Temple, Managing Director of Rainbow Designs said: “Richard has been an integral part of building our independent business over the last four decades and we are extremely grateful for the time and dedication he has given Rainbow over the last 40 years. We all wish Richard the very best for the future and will no doubt be catching up with him again very soon.” Richard Longmate added: “I have greatly enjoyed my association with Rainbow over so many years and wish them all the very best for the future. I look forward to seeing my wonderful customers in 2020 with great new products from all my other agencies.” Web: www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk

Kind + Jugend expands into new halls

Due to the popularity of Kind + Jugend it has become apparent that the current exhibition space has become insufficient, therefore, 2020 will see the opening of two new halls - Hall 2 and 3 (with the closure of Hall 4.1). Halls 2 and 3 will enable K+J to effectively accommodate the influx of visitors arriving through the West and East entrances with a higher level of efficiency, also enabling visitors to better transverse Halls 2 and 3 with ease. This solution gives direct access to Hall 11. ional Kind + Jugend has continuously demonstrated its strength as an Internat of nursery trade platform with visitors and exhibitors experiencing the opening nursery key of number a housing , received Hall 4.1 in 2017. The new hall was well hotspot brands together with the UK Pavilion and quickly became a destination for many visitors. create The new halls for 2020 are located directly at the West entrance and will fair, trade this of growth steady us, continuo for nities significantly more opportu which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2020. A further update will be released later this month - watch this space! Web: www.kindundjugend.com

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Open for business

Boots appointed as Mothercare’s official UK franchise partner

Mothercare has announced that it has entered into binding heads of terms with Boots UK for Boots to become their new exclusive franchisee of the Mothercare brand for the UK. Boots is the UK’s largest pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, and is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. the ďŹ rst global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. This new partnership will provide the strong foundations for Mothercare’s continuing presence in the UK. There is good synergy between the UK customer proposition and the customer bases of Boots and Mothercare and this new partnership is expected to create signiďŹ cant opportunities for both companies.Under the terms agreed between the parties, Boots will stock Mothercare-branded clothing, and home and travel products; this latter category includes pushchairs and car seats. The Mothercare product range will be made available in larger Boots stores across the UK including a number of Mothercare shop in shops over time, as well as online at www. boots.com. A limited range of Mothercare product will be available to buy online from mid 2020. It is expected that a wider Mothercare product oer will be available in Boots stores from late summer 2020.

Nikidom appoint Acorn Business Consultancy

Acorn Business Consultancy is proud to announce that they have been appointed as the exclusive UK representative for Nikidom, a 21 year old Barcelona based manufacturer of innovative children products. Known for its unique school wheelie bag, the Roller, Nikidom also manufacturers nursery items such as the Dual Drive Stroller, the only stroller that combines both handlebar types, and the Flat Pack Portable Booster, the only booster seat that ďŹ ts inside a nappy bag at 3.2cm when collapsed. To ďŹ nd out more about the range and to become a stockist, please contact Acorn Business Consultancy at enquiries@acornbusinessconsultancy.co.uk or 0203 0703868.

Organic babywear retailer Hugo and Me has opened its ďŹ rst ever high street store in Greater Manchester, hoping to oer local parents the chance to shop organically. The babywear company was founded by Victoria Shuttleworth and launched as an online retailer after failing to ďŹ nd reliable retailers of organic and ethical babywear following the birth of her son, Hugo. Now, the company has opened its ďŹ rst physical store in the UK’s fastest growing city, Manchester.Victoria, reecting on the inspiration for the company, commented: “When Hugo was born, I was faced with a challenge – where can I ďŹ nd organic, highquality baby clothing that looks stylish? After all, I thought, you care about the planet. You care about your baby. It’s only natural that you’d want organic, ethical clothing for your treasured little one. So why was it so tough to ďŹ nd?â€?The store’s opening was met by a wide audience of Manchester locals, journalists and bloggers. With Christmas spirit in full cheer, mince pies and cupcakes were available all day, as well as a Santa Rae - raing o some of their products. Hugo and Me also directly worked with Cascade Baby Bundles, a charity that works with families going through hardships in a nearby area. They donated 50% of all takings from the rae directly to Cascade Baby Bundles. Web: www.hugoandme.co.uk

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Best Buy status for Oyster3

2020 has started in fine style for BabyStyle with their Oyster3 gaining Which? Best Buy status. Following in the footsteps of the original Oyster by BabyStyle, the Oyster3 Travel System has been awarded a Which? Best Buy in the Pushchair category. The revolutionary Oyster3, is quite simply one of the ‘best pushchairs’ BabyStyle has ever designed, with the review saying, ‘The Oyster 3 is a great all-round pushchair’ and with ‘every single tester’ saying they would buy the Oyster3 because it makes life easier with its ability to fold with the seat unit attached, carrycot fitting and car seat compatibility. Web: www.babystyle.co.uk

Fundamentally Children rebrands

Following an incredibly successful year in 2019, culminating in its fifth birthday celebration, Fundamentally Children now has its sights set firmly on the US, and as such is rebranding to streamline and align the business to its core and long term objectives. Now known as Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide, the independent, expert advice provided by the business retains the same three pillars: • Child development expertise - guiding companies to understand children and play through research, training and consultancy. • Quality assurance via independent reviews of children’s products and services, producing the ‘Good Guides’ for parents and educators. • Brand support and experiential marketing to communicate developmental benefits of products and services to their target audience. Across all three of the areas, the expert team guides businesses including manufacturers, licensees, licensors, PRs, parents, educators and more, through the eyes of children to better understand play and its importance in healthy childhoods. For further information, visit www.GoodPlayGuide.com

The Entertainer’s Big Toy Rehoming is back

The Entertainer’s Big Toy Rehoming campaign has returned this month in partnership with The Salvation Army. The toy retailer is encouraging customers to declutter their homes this January and help charity at the same time by donating their pre-loved toys at any of the 172 The Entertainer stores around the country. It’s live now and runs until the end of the month. Thanks to generous donations from across the country in June and September 2019, The Entertainer and Salvation Army’s scheme has already re-homed an incredible 16,000 toys which could have ended up in landfill but instead brought smiles to underprivileged children. Gary Grant, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer says he and his team are “incredibly proud” to announce the return of the charity. “It has been especially brilliant to receive feedback from those both on the receiving end of donations and kind families donating, with words of encouragement and praise for the campaign. “Last year was a phenomenal success and we hope to continue to increase the number generous donations we receive for 2020, especially as families look to declutter their homes after Christmas and make room for their new toys and games.”

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Mattel focusses on sustainability

Mattel has announced that it will debut in the first half of 2020 its first product aligned with their sustainability goal - the iconic Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack which will made from sugarcane-based plastics and packaged in 100% recycled or sustainably sourced materials, which coincides with Fisher-Price’s 90th anniversary. This new goal expands the Company’s Environmental Sustainable Sourcing Principles that were announced in 2011. The Company now sources 93% of the paper and wood fibre used in its packaging and products from recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) content, surpassing its 2018 goal of 90%. In addition, the Company has adopted the How2Recycle label, a standardised labelling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. Earlier this year, Mattel established an Environmental Sustainability Council comprised of a cross-functional team of leaders dedicated to actively advancing the Company’s sustainability efforts in several areas, including materials innovation. “Environmental sustainability is a corporate priority at Mattel and creating sustainable products and packaging is an important part of our commitment to the planet,” said Ynon Kreiz, Chairman and CEO, Mattel. “Our dedicated cross-functional team made sustainability a key priority throughout the product and packaging design and production process.Today, we are delivering on that priority by announcing our first product made from sustainable materials and we look forward to expanding our efforts to all Mattel brands.”

Bear necessities

Trends UK will welcome a familiar face with a brandnew look to its range in 2020, inking a deal with The Copyrights Group to launch a range of electronic learning toys based on the new Paddington animated series. The educational toys will introduce young fans to early learning skills like recognising colours, numbers, letters and early spelling. Items will begin to appear late 2020, with further products scheduled to follow into 2021. “We are delighted to be developing learning items based on this lovable bear and his world” said Lindsay Hardy, Marketing Director of Trends UK. “The narrative of Paddington’s experiences with his family, friends and home will definitely appeal to pre-schoolers and parents, the TV series looks fantastic!” Web: www.trendsuk.co.uk

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advertorial QUINNY

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retail

GIRAFFE

A tall tale This month Nursery Today catches up with Georgina Carlile, owner of independent nursery store Giraffe who are based in Chesterfield. Can you tell us a little about your store? What was the inspiration behind opening your doors in 2011?

I bought the store in 2011, Giraffe had been trading for over 12 years when I purchased it. On becoming pregnant with my first child in 2009 I visited the store for the first time and purchased all our baby’s essentials, it’s only a small store but they had all the leading brands we were interested in. I was previously the PA to a multi-millionaire for 10 years, after my maternity leave had finished I returned to work at the same company part time. As my previous role required me to work full time I returned under a different role. However, after only a few weeks I found the role just wasn’t challenging enough so decided I would look into opening my own business when I saw that Giraffe was up for sale which I thought would be a perfect fit.

Why is the store located in Chesterfield?

The store has been located on Chatsworth Road since opening a number of years ago. Chesterfield is a great location surrounded by a number of major cities. We are just outside the town centre on one of Chesterfields busiest roads, there are a number of boutique style shops, nice restaurants and bars which makes it a popular place, plus we have free parking right outside our front door.

Do you have any multiples that operate in your area supplying nursery products?

I feel extremely lucky to be able to answer no to this question. There is another baby shop Babyluv just over a mile away and the good news is that we 12

work really well together as we don’t stock any of the same products. Babyluvs owner Sharna Nessling will send customers my way if they are looking for a certain brand and vice versa

Since opening, what has been your largest challenge to date?

“ The

power of social media is a mazin g. We certain ly benefit as a busines s from the likes of Facebook and Instag ra m. ”

I would have to say the first year of trading was probably the biggest challenge to date. Before purchasing the business I had no retail experience at all let alone running my own shop!

Do you feel that consumers buying habits in nursery have altered over the years?

I have found that more and more customers are wanting to buy into bundles, I have had a particularly good year with one of my suppliers who offer some amazing bundle deals throughout the year.

Will Mothercare closing in the UK do you envisage this to have any particular impact on your business? It’s very hard to say. Our closest store was at Meadowhall, which is quite a

distance from our store, and therefore, hardly on our doorstep.

How important are brand names to your business?

Brand names are probably one of the most important aspects of our business. Giraffe is a small store with more of a boutique feel. I have limited space and therefore choose the brands I stock wisely. I would say a large number of my customers enter the store knowing exactly what brand they are interested in and have found the store using the stockist location checker on the brands website.

Do you feel that your customers are better educated on products available, perhaps due to researching online? Yes definitely, like my previous answer I am getting more and more customers entering the shop knowing exactly which product they want to test drive because they have read online about its features etc.

How important is social media to your business? Extremely! The power of social media is amazing. We certainly benefit as a business from the likes of Facebook and

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Instagram. The option to create adverts and the ability to choose your target market are great.

At present, you don’t sell via your website - why is this and do you expect this to change in the future?

At present I have no intention of selling online. When I first took over the business that was one of the main changes I intended to make, however being such a small store there was no way we could compete with bigger retailers.

You offer a payment plan to your customers, how successful is this for you?

trained on ALL the products we sell.

Do you feel your suppliers give you sufficient support with regard to this?

Yes definitely. We are visited at the store by product trainers on a regular basis to keep us up to date with the latest products.

Is there a particular product category where you feel you are known for your expertise? I would say car seats, and now with our new car seat room complete we have more space to focus even more on this category.

Very, it gives the customer the option to spread the cost over a few months. I also think we receive more sales offering the option as some people who are wanting a premium travel system often with a price tag in excess of £1000 makes it possible with this option.

Do you have a hero product at the moment that your customers absolutely love?

Do you price-match?

How do you keep abreast of consumer trends? Is there any notable trend that you are experiencing at present?

To a certain extent I would but to be honest we very rarely get asked to price match. I think the brands we stock are usually on the ball with any crazy online pricing.

Your store is split over two floors, how do you manage your space?

Downstairs we have all our travel systems and change bags and upstairs I have just completed works on our new car seat room.

What focus do you place on ensuring your staff are fully trained and knowledgeable with regard to products you sell? It is one of my main goals to ensure that staff are knowledgeable and fully

I would probably have to say the Cybex Priam teamed up with the Cloud Z and Base Z. Our customers love it, and so do I!

There’s definitely a trend we are noticing at the moment and that is bundle deals and also ERF car seats.

Finally, a look to the future, are there any exciting plans on the horizon that you would like to share with Nursery Today readers? Now that our new car seat room is finished I will be focusing on the next Derbyshire Baby and Toddler Show which we host at the Proact Stadium. The show which is organised by myself and Sharna Nessling from Babyluv is due to be held in May next year.

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focus TRAVELLING BABY Image courtesy of Maxi-Cosi

Travel time Travelling away from the home can cause anxiety for parents, perhaps more so the first-time parent. However, we are fortunate that as an industry there are ample products that have been designed to assist.

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hether travelling away from the home for a family holiday, or simply nipping to the shops, this can cause stress for many parents, especially new parents who may be leaving the home for the first time. For those who are opting for a weekend break or holiday, parents will have a number of concerns, for example, how to entertain baby on a long journey, what will be used to transport all items deemed necessary, what baby will sleep on and also perhaps whether they purchase a more light-weight stroller or baby carrier/sling. Therefore, products that fall within this category many include, for example, changing bags, travel cots, carrier or sling, lightweight stroller/pushchair, etc. We asked Babymoov’s Marketing Manager, Annabelle Cording what she feels are parents’ concerns when travelling away from the home with their little ones. “Parents naturally worry about being able to take all they need with them for every eventuality but also not wanting to carry it all around. They want the reassurance that they are able to access facilities when away from home.” These are natural concerns for any parent, so as an industry do we have a good level of choice for parents who may be looking for solutions while travelling away from home with their infants? Dorel’s UK & Ireland Marketing Manager, Debbie Wakefield would say yes and told Nursery Today. “Absolutely! With the rise of the travel pushchair parents have a huge amount of choice when finding the products they need to go away with young children. There’s probably even too much choice now! Brands understand the importance of including a portable pushchair in their range as parents want the ease and simplicity of not taking a huge pushchair away with them.” Does this desire for products that are more compact fall into other categories and are we seeing an increase in ‘compact’ across other ranges? “Car seats also are becoming more compact and airlines particularly, are more welcoming to having them checked-in on their flights,” said Debbie. “This is usually included in a family’s baggage allowance.” A travel cot is perhaps the first item thought of for the majority when travelling away for a longer

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period of time. Many brands have recognised this with, for example, Joie and Redkite ensuring their travel cots are lightweight, easy to transport and provide ease of use. Bedside cribs are also becoming popular too as some can be easily transported and provide a familiar sleeping environment for babies, with manufacturers seeing a clear advantage to including within their design a ‘pack and go’ feature. Debbie confirmed this stating: “We’ve seen a change in the travel cot too. This is an essential when travelling with baby and they are becoming smaller and easier to transport. Our very own Maxi-Cosi Iora is multi-functional. Not only is it a bedside co-sleeping cot, it can also be packed away to fold flat, meaning that it can easily be taken away in a car or on an aircraft.” Of course, there is no denying the appeal of a good change bag that will contain all those baby essentials when travelling. However, are we seeing a rise in the popularity of bags that have a ‘unisex’ approach giving appeal to both mum and dad? “The benefit of a unisex bag is that it doesn’t necessarily ‘belong’ to one parent making it more versatile and therefore more useful,” said Ergobaby’s Marketing Manager, Amanda Loveday. “It removes the need for two separate bags or the constant changing of items from one place to the other, saving both time and energy - vital resources for new parents.” Annabelle agrees, “If parents can get hold of stylish and practical changing bags in a colour that both parent likes it instantly becomes a more cost effective purchase. I feel neutral colours have always been more popular as they will then compliment any pram, any outfit, male or female.” When looking for solutions to assist while away from the security of the home. do parents research products to locate products that might help? “Most definitely,” comments Debbie. “The market is now more saturated so parents and parents-to-be need to know that they are making the correct purchasing choice. Consumers are incredibly budget conscious now, so they don’t want, for example, multiple pushchairs or car seats for different purposes. One product needs to work for their lifestyle wherever in the world they might be. Finding this product takes a lot of time and research as there is just so much for consumers to explore.” We highlight a number of products over the following pages that are perfectly suited to the wants and needs of parents who are venturing away from the home.

The survey says…

Nursery marketing specialists FanFinders surveyed 1000 consumers via their platform Your Baby Club focusing on travel products. Here’s the results. Do you feel there is a good level of choice available with regard to products that assist when away from the home with your infant?

Yes: 857 (85.7%) No: 143 (14.3%)

Did you purchase a travel cot?

Yes: 435 (43.5%) No: 565 (56.5%)

Did you look at portable baby monitors?

Yes: 679 (67.9%) No: 321 (32.1%)

Did you buy products that are specifically designed for feeding while out and about away from the home?

Yes: 626 (62.6%) No: 374 (37.4%)

Did you purchase a portable high chair?

Yes: 266 (26.6%) No: 734 (73.4%)

Did you look at a lightweight second stroller?

Yes: 292 (29.2%) No: 708 (70.8%)

Did you look at portable black-out blinds?

Yes: 246 (24.6%) No: 754 (75.4%)

Did you purchase a portable steriliser?

Yes: 369 (36.9%) No: 631 (63.1%)

Were you brand focussed while looking at products that assisted while travelling with baby?

Yes: 366 (36.6%) No: 634 (63.4%) Did you research products prior to purchase?

Yes: 845 (84.5%) No: 155 (15.5%) For more information on FanFinders and the consumer insight they offer, please call: 0203 808 3011 or visit www.fanfinders.com

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versatrax™ There’s so much adventure ahead, so make the most of comfort and delightful durability. Made to go and go with an easier than ever fold and setup, higher than most usage at 22kg, all access storage, durable and puncture proof foam filled rubber tyres and everything you need to travel far, experience more and enjoy most.

Share the joy at joiebaby.com


focus TRAVELLING BABY

Sleep tight with Redkite

ights continue to Redkite’s hero range of award winning Sleept ents. purchases for so many s,par be one of the staple mustdaybuy day Black every option r colou of range a in product is available

Delivering both value and quality, this every mattress, easy ns and all feature padded rails for baby’s comfort, and Grey plus the new Navy and Raspberry versio for travelling and storage . view mesh panels, easy to fold and carry handle es the l Crib which is in a soft dove grey fabric and includ Trave er Dream ette RedKite also have the bassin those for ts pocke e storag es includ also er Dream ded use. The detachable new born bassinette option for exten . d whilst in use with minimal disturbance handy essentials and wheels to help move aroun t from Red Kite. expec you as value All the range gives exceptional Tel: 01454 326 555 Email: sales@redkitebaby.co.uk

Perfect pairing partner At just 2.6kg, the PIPA lite lx is one of the lightest infant carriers on the market and its state-of-the-art materials including its UPF 50 dream drape and safety features help make it extraordinarily safe too.

The PIPA lite lx pairs perfectly with all Nuna pushchairs and comes with the PIPAFIX base as standard, taking just five seconds to install in your car. With thanks to ISOFIX connectors and the supremely secure true lock base installation system, your child can safely be on the go at a moment’s notice.

Web: www.nunababy.com

Compact organisation The compact stroller bag by Babymoov is the perfect permanent organsiation accessory for any stroller or pram.

Complete with inside and outside pockets and a large insulated bottle or travel mug pocket, on the days you don’t need the size of a full size changing bag, day-to-day outings with baby and the compact stroller bag attachment are totally convenient with all of your essentials at your fingertips. The full length zip ensures all of your personal items inside the bag are secure at all times including when folding up your stroller or pram to put back into the car or house. Comes in black or smokey grey. Email: sales@babymoov.com Web: www.babymoov.co.uk

Urban living The Maxi-Cosi Laika² is the brand’s lightweight urban pushchair for modern families to be ready for modern life. Well-designed and city-proof— it is the ultimate compact pushchair for busy parents who don’t want to compromise on style or functionality. Complete with a fast one-hand folding system, combined with a narrow and super-lightweight frame, the Laika² can go anywhere. The easy-carry handle and strap makes the Laika² extremely portable, which is ideal when parents need to carry the pushchair up a flight of stairs. And the flexible and convertible Laika² also grows with the baby, from birth through the toddler years. With the ultra-soft, removable Laika soft carrycot that fits snuggly inside, parents can start using the Laika² pushchair immediately with their newborn. Recently updated from the original 2018 model, Maxi-Cosi Laika² now boasts suspension on the rear wheels, infinite recline positions and a bigger shopping basket. Tel: 0208 2360707 Email: sales@uk-dorel.com Web: www.maxi-cosi.co.uk

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Great for travel Meet tourist, a tidy tagalong with an ultracompact fold.

Designed to make travelling easy, tourist adds flash and function to everyday adventures. This stroller features an ultra-compact fold and packs away in an instant using Joie’s one-step, self-folding system. The included easy one-click adapters allow 3in1 multimode compatibility so parents can pair with Joie’s gemm, i-Gemm, i-Snug and i-Level infant carriers or matching ramble carrycot (all available separately). Tourist is packed with features including a multi-position recline with a lie flat mode for newborns, full size UPF50+ canopy with eyeshade visor, height adjustable push bar, removable fabric covered bumper bar, 2 position calf support, all wheel suspension and a full-size easy access shopping basket. Weighing in at just under 6kg, this is one of the lightest fully featured strollers available and comes ready for travel with the included rain cover, custom carry strap and bag. Tel: 01889 808 900 Email: uksales@joiebaby.com Web: www.uk.joiebaby.com

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Everyday travel companion This fully-featured compact stroller is perfect for city living or jet-setting travelers. TRIV™ is cleverly designed with a seat that can face both ways and fold both ways, and can easily convert to a travel system. The ring adapter can even fold with the frame, creating the perfect sidekick to your everyday adventures. For a quick trip to the corner store or getting across town, TRIV is a natural city dweller that packs up quickly with a one-hand fold and stands on its own, keeping your busy hands free. Find out more at nunababy.com


focus TRAVELLING BABY

All change

Modular way to travel

Leading the way in car seat innovation for 2020, the Maxi-Cosi Coral is the world’s first modular baby car seat. ation Award, the Maxi-Cosi Coral Winner of this year’s Kind + Jugend Innov car seat shell for superior has a two-part modular system, an ‘outer’ i-Size s) detachable ‘inner’ carrier safety, combined with an ultra-lightweight (1.7kg with retractable straps. the option to lift the whole The seat is R129 compliant. This allows parents , reducing carrying cargo us precio their with r carrie seat, or just the inner weight by 50%. in from-birth travel safety Available from March 2020, this new benchmark comfort plus a 3-point orn newb for ed design inlay also contains a Baby-hugg ease of use. te harness with one-pull tightening system for the ultima Tel: 0208 2360707 Email: sales@uk-dorel.com Web: www.maxi-cosi.co.uk

Carried away The Ultimate baby carrier that gives three different positions to carry baby in a safely supported and comfortable way.

The Nuna Diaper Bag is designed to make those days out and about easy and simple.

This diaper bag has all the essentials you need including an insulated bottle bag and a changing pad clutch that unfolds for a super large, wipeable space to lay your baby. Not only is it practical but with its luxe leatherette tote handle it’s extremely stylish. Web: www.nunababy.com

The Joie of sleep Kubbie sleep provides an innovative 2in1 solution as both a travel cot and a side-sleeper.

The simple strap and clip attachment connects the cot securely to parents bed and the side panel easily lowers at the push of a button. This allows for safe co-sleeping and easy access to little ones, bringing many benefits to both baby and parents such as encouraging bonding and easier feeding. The side panel just as easily raises to serve as a normal bassinet for naptimes. Unlike traditional bedside cribs, kubbie sleep can be used far beyond baby’s first few months. Simply zip off the bassinet and place the included mattress in the lower area, for sleep and playtime up to 15kgs (around 3 years old). Another key advantage over other bedside solutions is its travel capability - the quick and easy compact fold and carry bag allows for easy transportation, weighing in at just 9kgs! Tel: 01889 808 900 Email: uksales@joiebaby.com

Features user friendly clips which make it easier to fit baby in and out of the carrier whilst in use with one hand. The wide padded shoulder straps give better support and makes the carrier more comfortable to wear. This carrier is designed to support the hip healthy ‘M’ shape position for baby’s comfort and ergonomics. The Ara Carrier can be used as rear and forward facing and into parent and is suitable from new-born to 15kg in weight. Fashioned in popular grey melange fabrics, the Ara Carrier is fully endorsed by the Hip Dysplasia Institute so you can use with confidence knowing that you have purchased one of the best value designed Baby Carriers in the market today. Tel: 01454 326 555 Email: sales@redkitebaby.co.uk

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Multi-mode pram that goes further

For the longer journey Combining the safety of a car seat with the comfort of a carrycot, Maxi-Cosi Jade’s genuine 180º lie-flat position means that parents can take less breaks on longer journeys than with standard infant carriers.

The transfer from car to pushchair has never been easier as Jade is compatible with Maxi-Cosi pushchairs, including the brand-new Lila CP. Then when parents are ready to get back in the car, the unique Slide & Go installation onto the 3wayFix base means that they can go from pushchair to car in seconds, without having to disturb their little one. The interactive light and sound feedback from the base make it even easier to ensure that baby is secure as parents can see and hear that they have installed the car cot correctly in the car. Tel: 0208 2360707 Email: sales@uk-dorel.com Web: www.maxi-cosi.co.uk

Versatrax has been designed as a true first-time purchase covering every mode parent’s want from birth up to 22kg.

With a simple push of a button the pushchair seat removes completely, oering travel system compatibility with four dierent modes for total versatility with a rearward or forward-facing seat, car seat or carry cot. With the included adapters, parents can pair with Joie’s Gemm, i-Gemm, i-Snug and i-Level infant car seats or matching ramble xl family, carrycot (all available to purchase separately). Like the rest of Joie’s Trax seat. the of middle the in located fold ash  d Versatrax features a one-han to Whether fastened forward or rearward, simply pull up on the fold strap using tation transpor for convert to a compact and easily movable package, ready g includin featured fully comes x Versatra mode. the built-in carry strap or trolley foamfree puncture and durable mode, at  lie a with recline a multi-position holder ďŹ lled rubber tyres, all wheel suspension, height adjustable push bar, cup or the front the from le accessib is which and an impressively large storage basket back. Tel: 01889 808 900 Email: uksales@joiebaby.com

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talking shop This issue we speak to established independent nursery retailers to find out their thoughts on the year ahead.

Helen Hickman

BUMPSTART BABY SHOP

How did 2019 perform for you? We have had a challenging (at times) year, but we are still here working hard and our end of year figures are 18% up on last year. We are delighted. What was your biggest challenge during the year? Our biggest challenge has been pricing and finding new staff. We want to make margin and it is frustrating when it does not seem important to some of our competitors I truly believe that some independents are far worse than the (remaining) Nationals. One would like to think that some salutary lessons might be learnt from the sad demise of Mothercare, but I’m not so sure. We are fortunate in that we do not have large overheads, so we price match where we can, when asked as I would rather have the money in my till. I also wish that we did not have to compete with one or two suppliers who sell direct, but who also constantly discount or run special offers which compete against their retailers. We don’t do so well with those accounts. Our sales have grown considerably over the last two years which means we have needed more staff. I am extremely fortunate in that my core team have been extremely loyal. One has been with me for 24 years (with her daughter also working with us for the last 18 months), one for 22 years and one for 10 years. We have had one or two others who have come and gone over the years, but this year has been a real eye opener. It has been really difficult to find reliable and trustworthy people who want to work! It is only in the last few weeks that we have found two lovely new members of staff - one of whom is our new Saturday Lad and another who will be working full time from January. Watch this space. Did you have a product in-store during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? We have not had one particular product in-store which became a big hit, but we have done extremely well with the Oyster 3, UPPAbaby Vista and the new Peach 2020 colours look as though they are going to be extremely popular. What are your goals for 2020? We are busy planning for 2020. The shop is getting a bit of an overhaul and we are busy putting marketing and social media strategy in place. I used to do all my own social media, but I have taken on a Content Expert and marketing guru to help me grow my targets organically, rather than paying Facebook and Instagram large amounts of money. We will have lost both Mothercare and Mamas and Papas in Milton Keynes. It is therefore vital that we get ourselves “out there” to make sure that any parent or parent to be within a 30 mile radius of our shop knows about us. We intend to remain primarily as a bricks and mortar store with an online presence. Do you envisage any consumer trends that might be unexpected next year? I was only having a conversation this morning with my marketing lady. She and I firmly believe that 2020 is the year for independent retail and that more people will choose to shop locally, as long as they know where to go to. I still believe that great customer service and good advice is very important, far more so than selling as cheaply as you can. I really wonder why certain retailers continue to devalue products. Surely by selling so cheaply, they have to work three times as hard?

Susan O’Rourke ANN’S PRAMS

How did 2019 perform for you? For us 2019 was a good year generally but with the pending closure of mothercare and M&P shops the last couple of months have been quieter than normal due to the sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What was your biggest challenge during the year? The biggest challenge of the year was keeping up with new products and silly prices online, which do not do our industry any favours at all as we all need to make a decent margin along with giving excellent customer service Did you have a product in-store during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? We did not really have one product that became an unexpected hit but we have done well with the Axkid Minikid due to great prices being kept with most retailers, along with good promotions and excellent customer service. We have also done well with Maxi Cosi Titan Pro group 1,2,3 seat and the new Joie i-Size i-Spin seat, which is a much better design that the original version. What are your goals for 2020? I am really hoping that the customers for 2020 will come back to the good reputable independent retailers and support their local, hard working shops who fit car seats to a much higher standard than the multiples do. I also hope online shopping for car seats makes customers think about how safe it is fitting the seat themselves and on that basis come to a good shop for that extra service to keep their child safe. Is there any advice you could give your fellow retailers for the year ahead? The only advice I would give is to look at the margins and stop giving stupid discounts as parents and parentsto-be need these products. You have to make a good return or end up like the ones that have gone to the wall over the years. Put your business head on and make a profit. I hope that suppliers support us with that and stop selling their products at shows and on their own websites telling customers if they have a fitting problem to go to their nearest store as we are not a free service for them.

Is there any advice you could give your fellow retailers for the year ahead? My advice to my fellow retailers - Keep plodding on!!!

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Jason Heller HUGGLE

How did 2019 perform for you? 2019 has been a really interesting year for us where we have partnered with some of our brands to develop some really exciting in-store retail concepts, which will provide a key destination for our customers in London. Trade has continued to be positive in a really tough climate (as the press continue to remind us) and we hope to continue the steady growth in our business with support of our key suppliers.

end of 2019 and with their launches we hope to further grow the business and continue to be a destination for new parents and grandparents within the London area.

What was your biggest challenge during the year? Being a London retailer, our cost base continues to grow as business rates, rents and staff salaries increase and will remain our biggest challenge as we move into 2020.

Do you envisage any consumer trends that might be unexpected next year? Continued tightening of the belts and a reduction in the international customer base within London.

Did you have a product in-store during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? We have seen a resurgence of certain brands in recent months such as UPPAbaby and Ergobaby with continued growth across Stokke and Cybex. We also sell a number of furniture brands such as Monte Design, Oliver, Lifetime & Leander which continue to outperform against forecasts.

Is there any advice you could give your fellow retailers for the year ahead? 2020 is going to be an interesting (and some might say tumultuous) year, so sit tight, put your heads down and enjoy the ride. If you continue to invest in your business, team and stores to provide your customers with the best service and experience possible and ensure you work with brands that support your business, everything else will work itself out.

What are your goals for 2020? Our new in-store shopfit and website have both been big projects at the back

Victoria Shuttleworth HUGO AND ME

How did 2019 perform for you? 2019 has been a really exciting but also challenging year for us, we’ve made a lot of changes within the business in preparation for opening our first physical store. For over 18 months we have been looking and patiently waiting for the perfect premises to become available for our first store. Our luck finally came in when the perfect premises became available. It took a lot of hard work but we now finally have a lovely bright and spacious shop where we can display all of our beautiful products. Over the course of the year we have been slowly increasing the age range of our products so that we can now accommodate from newborn up to four years old and we have also further expanded our toys and furniture range, both of which have been very much welcomed by our customers. The store has only been open a couple of weeks but is already doing really well, particularly our snug winter outfits and wooden toys and furniture – making perfect Christmas gifts for little ones. We are continually working hard on making little changes to our online store and our physical store to provide the best shopping experience we can for our customers. We are always on the lookout for great ethical brands to sell and this year we have recently secured relationships with some fantastic new suppliers lining us up for an exciting year in 2020. We have lots of fabulous new products coming in the new year. What was your biggest challenge of the year? Our biggest challenge has definitely been opening our first store. Looking for the perfect premises and getting it exactly how we wanted it. The store needed a lot of TLC but eventually after a few months of hard work we now have a beautiful store that matches the style of our products. It is white, bright and spacious which lets our products do all the talking. We are a family run business with just myself and my mum Jo who do most of the work and therefore we also had to ensure that we could manage running an online store as well as a physical store without compromising our great customer service. We have had to increase our stock and due to customer demand we have also increased the age range of our products up to four years old. It has been a challenging year but we have learnt a great deal and look forward to more challenges with Hugo & Me. Did you have a product line during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? At the start of 2019 we expanded our range of ‘fun slogan tees’ for mums and they have gone down a treat with our customers. From ‘Mama hair don’t care’

to ‘Chasing tiny humans is my cardio’ the light-hearted fun tees have been really well received, with mums treating themselves to one or other relatives buying them as gifts. We’ve had lots of photos sent to us from customers wearing the tees with their little ones in tow, it’s been really nice to see. We sell matching slogan tees for all the family which have also been really popular this year. What are your goals for 2020 Our goal for 2020 is to create ‘product packages’. When we speak to customers we often receive really positive feedback that they really like the style and colours of our products therefore to make shopping easier for our customers we would like to offer clothing packages, for example for different ages – newborn-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months etc. which will contain a selection of our clothing products such as tops, leggings, jumpers, accessories and will be sold at a reduced price as the products sold separately. These will make great gifts, especially for babies but also make shopping much easier for busy parents. We aim to also offer these clothing packages on a subscription basis too, further reducing the time and effort parents need to spend shopping. We would also like to offer furniture packages, enabling parents to furnish a nursery or child’s bedroom easily with our mix and match furniture and décor pieces. Another important goal for us in 2020 is to get more involved with and give back to our local community, Saddleworth, where we have opened our shop. We have already set the wheels in motion for this goal but we want to really push it further in the New Year. We have teamed up with a local charity called Cascade Baby Bundles who provide baby clothing and essentials to families going through hardship. We have offered to be a collection point for any baby clothing and essentials donations which we will then sort through and pass on to Cascade. We also plan to give donations of our profits throughout the year to Cascade. All of the local community and charity work we partake in will be published on our website and blog to give customers more information. Do you envisage any consumer trends that might be unexpected next year? I envisage that there will be a higher demand for gender neutral clothing. With the ever increasing awareness of gender neutralism and many parents now choosing to raise their children as non-binary, there could a demand more neutral clothing and toys. At Hugo & Me, we have chosen brands and products that offer a neutral and unisex style which would fit in perfectly with this trend. It doesn’t mean we don’t offer colour, we have lots of colour in our products but the style of our clothing isn’t gender biased. We also sell a range wooden toys and accessories that are also aimed at being gender neutral.

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focus

PARENTS INSIGHTS

New opportunities to engage dads Jenny Kieras Chief Operating Officer Experienced in product development and both B2B and B2C marketing, Jenny’s focus at Parents Insights is expanding the products offered by the business, which currently surveys 10,000 parents each year to give brands valuable insights into emerging trends. Jenny has worked for brands and with buyers and retailers in this industry for many years, so also knows it is more important than ever before to be able to stay ahead of trends and back product decisions with data and insight. Parents Insights was launched by Manchester-based The Insights People in 2018 to give companies direct access to flash trends and key data to enhance their knowledge about their target audiences’ attitudes, behaviours and consumption.

About Parents Insights

Jenny Kieres this month runs us through recent findings in their latest reports of parental lifestyle choices.

P

arents Insights recently issued its latest reports, covering a broad spectrum of what’s happening in both the online and offline lives of parents, from expecting through to those raising babies and toddlers to age 4. The research is predominantly based on the results of surveying 2,500 parents between August and October 2019, though it also utilises data we have collected since February 2018. Mum’s are often the target of marketing for parents. Mums still typically make the main decisions over parenting matters and tend to have the most involvement, however there are a growing number of dads who are starting to have a greater influence over these choices. Gen Z and millennial parents, both mums and dads are consciously investing more time into their kids to encourage the value of time spent with family as opposed to time spent working. There is a perception that

parents are struggling to find time to be with their children, but our data shows the time spent together is actually increasing for both mums and dads; with any spare time consciously invested in their children. We have seen great examples of this in our data, for instance dads are increasingly spending more time at baby and toddler groups, attending sessions that used to be more traditionally attended by mums. They are also just as likely to attend baby yoga as mums are, and 10% of dads have also attended a baby dance class in the last six months. Dads are less likely today to be bothered by the more traditional masculine ‘norms’ society can often impose on them, and so they tend to be much more driven by the rewards given both emotionally and personally by spending time with their children. When it comes to leisure time, both mums and dads spend most time playing with toys and games with their children, followed by watching TV.

However, where mums are spending time reading with their children, dads are enjoying playing outdoors. Thinking about shopping, price and quality are the main drivers of choice for dads, price the greatest influencer over smaller purchases, with quality leading over larger items that their child needs, or practical products like feeding equipment for a baby. Dads are much less likely than mums to be influenced by their child, or by friends and family when it comes to making child related purchases; coming to their own conclusions over quality. Even when making choices over Nurseries and Schools, dads are considering quality over anything else, whereas a mum is much more driven by family and friends’ recommendations. In relation to brands, whilst practicality is important, dads are also considering fashion and named brands, much more so than mums. For example, when we look at shoe brands, mums consider Clarks, Asda and Next

Parents Insights is the most comprehensive and dynamic market intelligence resource on all things expecting and new parents in the UK. Every week we survey 200 expecting and new parents (up to the age of 4), which is more than 10,000 every year – which enables brands and agencies to provide significant insight what is influencing into the attitudes, behaviour and consumption of this generations of parents. For more information on Parents Insights, a sample report and a demo of the Parents Insights award winning portal visit www.parentsinsights. co.uk/nurserytoday or call Jenny on 0330 159 6631.

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to be the top three footwear brands for their children, indicating quality and price to be driving factors. Clarks is also the top choice for dads too, however Nike and Adidas come in 2nd and 3rd; both being brands that have sporting heritage with men. Something we have seen a stark rise in over the last year is the use of Blogs as a source of information for dads; driven in part by the emergence of more dad bloggers. Popular blogs for dads are DadBlogUK, Dadacool and The Oliver’s Madhouse. Where mums prefer mum bloggers (The Unmumsy Mum and Giovanna Fletcher), dads are increasingly finding support and reference from dads in similar positions. This small snapshot into the life of today’s modern dad, highlights how much things have changed in the last few years. Where the role of the father was once breadwinner and disciplinarian, it is now much more involved and nurturing. There are many more ways we can engage with dads, be it via specific parenting sites and blogs, or in the outside world at baby events and classes. They want to be engaged and be part of the parenting decisions; making sure they hold influence when it comes to the care of their children.

Image source: pexels.com

This is a brief snapshot of Parents Insights capabilities, but it’s clear the attitudes, behaviours and consumption of young parents are changing significantly.

supplier snapshot

We’re offering brands an immersive planning meeting to illustrate how data and insights into the world of parenting can help inform advertising, content, licensing, product, marketing

and sales planning for 2020 and beyond. To download a complimentary Parents Insights report please visit www.parentsinsights.com/ nurserytoday.

This month we spoke to a number of the industry’s finest to find out what their expectations are for the year ahead.

Damon Marriott UK HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT, JOIE

How did 2019 perform for you? As a company we had a year to be proud of, especially considering the economic and social turbulence within the UK at the moment. 2019 involved the launch of a number of great products that are now well placed in the market for continual growth. Something important to mention is we believe we have continued to improve on already fantastic working relationships that we have within the sector, without which our goals would be unachievable. What was your biggest challenge during the year? Our biggest challenge overall would be the closing of Mothercare in the UK, which I imagine has impacted many brands. It’s not just the loss of business that’s been difficult, it’s also having to say farewell to many talented and committed workers across stores and offices, let’s hope they find a new home within the baby industry so they can continue to flourish. Did you have a product during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? Kubbie Sleep has performed well in what is becoming a strong and populated category. It’s success can be attributed to its flexibility in being both a bedside crib and travel cot in one, which has lead us to design an exciting extended range of beside cribs for 2020. What are your goals for 2020? Our general goal for 2020 as with any year is to improve on the last! With

new developments adding to an already strong line-up of products on offer, I feel we are well positioned to enjoy another successful year both in terms of sales and customer / consumer satisfaction. Can we expect to see new launches from you during the year? Absolutely, we have a lot planned for 2020. Some of the new additions have already been publicly announced including the Roomie range which will be our first dedicated bedside crib line, our first i-Size certified booster seat, i-Traver and the Mimzy Snacker 2in1, a great new height adjustable take on our immensely popular Mimzy Snacker line. There’s more in the pipeline that we’re excited about and I’m sure once we announce these products many people’s interest will be piqued. Do you envisage any particular consumer trends that might be unexpected? Car seat sales will naturally continue to move further towards R129 certified models, this is just a natural progression so is to be expected. Since over time many brands are beginning to lean more towards eco-friendly products, I imagine consumers will also start to think about this when making a purchase, although across the near future I believe on the whole it will still very much be a lower priority for the majority of people. Is there any advice you could give retailers for the year ahead? With the demise of Mothercare as a destination specialist now could be an ideal time for other players, be those independents or nationals, to capitalise on their knowledge and showroom capacity to draw consumers to their stores for a hands-on experience.

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supplier snapshot This month we spoke to a number of the industry’s finest to find out what their expectations are for the year ahead.

Sarah Pool

NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER, HIPPYCHICK How did 2019 perform for you? It has been an excellent year with a string of high profile industry awards and sales in strong growth. Christmas is key for our toy brands and we are seeing some exceptional performances.

What was your biggest challenge during the year? The changing nature of the retail landscape culminating in Mothercare going into administration Did you have a product during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? Hippychick Packasuits have long been an autumn winter essential for under 5s, but the new colours we launched this year have been an unprecedented hit - we’ve struggled to keep up with demand in the most popular sizes and can’t wait to restock in the new year! What are your goals for 2020? To drive continued sales growth, supporting our retail customers with a compelling offer and an excellent level of service and expertise. Can we expect to see new launches from you during the year? Oh yes. We have some exciting new products to reveal in 2020 and we are always looking for new innovations. Do you envisage any particular consumer trends that might be unexpected? It might be purely coincidental, but I have noticed a significant increase in the number of new parents choosing to keep the gender of their baby a surprise. This will certainly add momentum to the already growing interest in gender neutral styles and colours, but perhaps also indicative of more simplistic and minimal approach to parenting and buying for baby. Pantone have announced the Colour of the Year to be Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, can you see this trending in nursery? It’s a disappointing choice from Pantone in my opinion - very conservative and uncontroversial. Hopefully the nursery industry will follow more eye catching colour trends. Is there any advice you could give retailers for the year ahead? Work out what you do for your customers that differentiates you from other retailers - and then shout about it.

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Beth Henry

MARKETING ADMINISTRATOR, OBABY How did 2019 perform for you? 2019 has been a difficult year for many retailers but, those who have adapted with intelligent strategies and bought well, have coped and emerged stronger and best prepared for the year ahead. Obaby has adopted the same stance, and we have made many brave, positive changes throughout the year to be supportive and to improve our offering to all our retailer partners. What was your biggest challenge during the year? The biggest challenge that we have faced this year has been to take a step back and to look properly, and honestly at where the market is leading us so that we can then change to best suit the needs of our customers. Did you have a product during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? Absolutely yes, we have several products that have sold in astonishing numbers but we’ll keep that information to ourselves so that we can continue to grow the ranges and introduce more choice in those areas. What are your goals for 2020? To grow, both in terms of our ranges and turnover but also in the way we help to support and listen to retailers. We have already radically changed systems, where the need existed, and we will continue to introduce new, faster and more efficient systems throughout the year to further improve our customer experience. We have taken on a new Head of Operations, who has come to us from Ikea, and he brings with him enormous experience gained over a long period of time in both the UK and Europe. He has already identified areas where, not just Obaby, but the trade, could be made more efficient and customer friendly. Obaby will lead the way in making the whole purchasing experience easier and more pleasurable for new mums and dads coming into the market with their particular expectations and outlooks. Can we expect to see new launches from you during the year? We will introduce many new ranges to refresh and strengthen our offering, some of which will be available early in the New Year, others will be introduced throughout the year. Harrogate and Cologne will be very important shows for us this year. Do you envisage any particular consumer trends that might be unexpected? We have noticed a real change in the way that customers purchase particular ranges, in just the course of this year we’ve seen a sea change and it will mean that we will take different approach to how we buy those ranges. Again though, another one to keep under our hat. Pantone have announced the Colour of the Year to be Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, can you see this trending in nursery? Yes definitely, it’s a lovely classic colour and would fit perfectly in any nursery. Is there any advice you could give retailers for the year ahead? We think our retailers are already very well informed and taking the measures they need to be successful in 2020. We will continue to be a supportive partner to them and together the year ahead will be a good one.

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Debbie Wakefield

MARKETING MANAGER OF UK AND IRELAND, DOREL JUVENILE

How did 2019 perform for you? We feel that 2019 has been a strong year for us, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. The sad loss of Mothercare at the end of the year has impacted the retail landscape. Moving forward, we look forward to a brighter 2020. Staying true to our brand values, we have a lot of innovation on the horizon. We believe in the products that we are launching and are confident that they will perform well in the market. What was your biggest challenge during the year? It’s been a difficult year in high street retail in 2019. The trends in how consumers are purchasing their nursery essentials is now predominantly online. Therefore, we need to offer a superior experience for our products during the research process. Our Maxi-Cosi website offers a one-stop shop for consumers to visit and find out more about the product they’re intending to purchase. We also have the Car Fitting List plus a variety of retailers to choose from when the product has been decided on. We’ve got all their needs covered. Did you have a product during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? In 2019 Maxi-Cosi entered a new category within the nursery sector, Home Equipment. Whilst we knew that this was a bold move, we had confidence that these products would perform well in the market. We were not disappointed. The Maxi-Cosi Iora co-sleeper, Minla highchair and Kori bouncer sales have had an exceptional reception in Q4 of 2019 and based on retailer and consumer feedback, we know that this will continue into 2020. What are your goals for 2020? In 2020 we want to ensure that our portfolio of products will cater for all consumer needs. In 2019 we came close to this, but we feel that 2020 has some key launches that will finally enable us to meet this goal. At Dorel Juvenile, consumer needs are paramount, and we strive to have products to support everyone, regardless of their budget or lifestyle.

Can we expect to see new launches from you during the year? Absolutely! We are so excited for a number of launches in 2020. It’s going to be a busy one for all five of our brands. Maxi-Cosi will be leading the way in innovation with the launch of Coral, the world’s first modular car seat. We see huge potential in this product and feel it will revolutionise travelling with small children – it’s a game changer. Quinny introduces an entirely new collection with VNC, LDN and PAR and has a vibrant new brand campaign. Tiny Love is growing and building on its much-loved developmental toy collections. We can’t wait to reveal an extra special launch coming later on in the year! Then Safety 1st is going into the pushchair and car seat category. An exciting but logical development for the brand. Baby Art will also be extending its current collection of keepsakes and memoirs. Do you envisage any particular consumer trends that might be unexpected? The key for us is to continue to innovate and develop our products to cater for every budget and lifestyle. This is important in 2020 as we can already see a trend developing in consumers becoming more spend-conscious. Parents are really doing their research to get the best deal. They expect their initial investments to last, so if this comes at a slightly higher price point to ensure this, then they are happy to pay it. However, it is notable that less premium brands remain popular, as customers can still get a quality product for a lower price point. That is why we have developed our portfolio to cover a pricing structure that works for everyone, ranging from lower priced options up to higher priced premium products. Pantone have announced the Colour of the Year to be Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, can you see this trending in nursery? Definitely. Consumers are being braver when it comes to colour. Long gone are the days of sticking to traditional black and muted tones, though there is a demand for these too. There has been a trend of bolder colours and patterns in the latter months of the year and this will continue into 2020. Is there any advice you could give retailers for the year ahead? Be confident on the product that you are selling and ensure that you are on top of current trends. New parents will be overwhelmed with all of the information readily available and it is your job to decode it for them when making their purchasing decisions. We have a team of trainers who visit our retailers to ensure that they are at the top of their game and know everything there is to know about both Quinny and Maxi-Cosi. New parents will value your opinions, especially when it comes to recommending a pushchair or car seat to fit their lifestyle. If your range looks the part and your team have confidence in what they’re selling, that’s a winning combination.

Nick Tucker

NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER, REDKITE BABY How did 2019 perform for you? We have again had a bumper year which considering the doom and gloom in the retail sector has been really encouraging and hopefully shows that we are doing something right with our great range of products. What was your biggest challenge during the year? Obviously we are all experiencing the ongoing fallout related to Brexit that has caused some consumer nervousness and also placed extraordinary pressures on costs and profits. This has been reflected by the changing face of the high street and has meant that we at Red Kite have had to work hard to make sure we deliver the right products to our customers. Did you have a product during 2019 which became an unexpected hit? We introduced some new play ranges that have proved to be incredibly popular already – Peppermint Trail and Dreamy Meadow. One of our stand out successes has been the great Nebula Bedside Crib as this delivers on both quality and value plus has amazing styling that is proving a winner for us and our retail partners. This was launched initially as an Independent exclusive product to show our continued support and appreciation of the many great independent retailers we work with. What are your goals for 2020?

To maintain our core ethos of supplying great quality nursery products with great value and to watch out for new trends and demands. Can we expect to see new launches from you during the year? Yes we are looking to add some lines to our successful ranges so watch this space! Also some refreshes on popular lines to ensure our products appeal to the changing trends and market demand. Do you envisage any particular consumer trends that might be unexpected? Whilst there is still some uncertainty in the economy, we can see that there may still be challenges ahead so this is likely to reflect in careful and cautious purchasing from consumers. Is there any advice you could give retailers for the year ahead? To offer a full breadth of product offer to include as many brands as possible and price point differentiation. Otherwise customers may look to find what they are looking for elsewhere. And to make sure that bricks and mortar retailers have a complimentary website as all forecasts indicate online sales will continue to grow and expand.

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09/01/2020 16:35


nursery matters JOHN BARKER

Barking Mad This month John Barker takes us through his personal favourites of 2019.. and the winners are…

W

elcome to 2020 one and all! I trust you’ve all had a brilliant festive period full of mince pies, booze and presents! It’s not every day I can say I’m happy to see a strange man stood at the foot of my bed, baring gifts and a jolly beard, but boy was Santa welcome in JB Towers this year.

I think I speak for us all when I say the short rest was most welcome but I’m afraid I have to be the barer of bad news. . . .It’s business as usual for another 12 months. Rather than look at the year that will be I thought I’d look back at 2019 and mention some brands and products that really shone for me. As usual this is where I put my little disclaimer in – Please remember I can only mention the brands and products I deal with so if you’re not on the list I am very sorry. It’s not that I don’t like you or your wares, it’s just that I don’t deal with you. So what are you waiting for hit 26

me up with an email and lets do some business in 2020 <BLEEP BLEEP> (That’s the sound of my inbox filling up with emails from every brand in existence). Strap in people here we go. . . . .

The Chris Grech-Cini Award for in car brand of the year:

2019 saw more in car products hit the market than we’ve seen in many years, selecting just three winners proved to be difficult so I decided to award brands instead. My winner could have been anyone from Silver Cross with their innovative new range of seats, Bugaboo with the introduction of their partnership with Nuna to “new boys” Swandoo with their brilliantly named Albert. . .however instead I’ve plumped for: 3rd Place – Cozy and Safe. Not a brand I deal with but I’ve been super impressed by their products and attitude to business. If you’re looking for a range of great value, feature reach seats look no further. 2nd Place – Maxi-Cosi. Where to start? Cologne 2019 saw so many new products on the Maxi-Cosi stand it was like all our Christmas’s had come at once. It was also proof that they are committed to ensuring their place in the market in the future.

Rath er than look at the year that will be I thou ght I’d look back at 2019 and ment ion some brand s and products that really shone for me. 1st Place – Cybex. The launch of the Z range of seats seemed to strike a chord with consumers. The excellent Cloud Z looks stunning and features a parent pleasing recline feature. Couple it with the Base Z and you’ve got a product that’s got mums and dads reaching for their debit cards!

The “and a bus was coming” Award for aftercare:

Things go wrong. For some customers everything goes wrong. Luckily the nursery industry has some amazing teams to help us when the wheels literally fall off! 3rd Place – BabyStyle. Ask anyone in the industry how good the aftercare team at BabyStyle are and you’ll always get the same answer. Awesome! Always amusingly cynical but always prepared to help.

2nd Place – Bugaboo. Aftercare doesn’t get easier than “we’ll send a new one”. 1st Place – Joolz. When the proverbial really hits the fan some brands leave you on your own. Lindsey and co take it on the chin and deal with the customer direct! Wow these guys really do go above and beyond.

The “1inch line at the side of your school book” Award for margin support:

We all love making money but some brands really like us making money too. This award recognises the brands that help us to help ourselves. 3rd Place – Bababing. We’ve been selling their brilliant Raffi for a year now and not once have we been asked to price match meaning our margin has been well and truly protected. 2nd Place – BabyStyle. Ask yourself the question, when was the last time you had to price match one of their products? And that’s why they are my No 2. 1st Place – Bebecar. Couldn’t really give this to anyone else. Like BabyStyle before them but these guys are all about the independent and we love them for it.

The Freddie Mercury “I Want It All” Award for wheeled bundles:

Every brand offers bundles now. Customers love them. They’ve become

john@pramland.co.uk

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standard fare on all our shop floors, but which one offers parents to be something different. 3rd Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Oyster 3. 2019 was an odd year for Oyster 3 bundles with the carapace fiasco. But thanks to the Capsule, new for 2020 Oyster 3 is poised to regain itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s title â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The luxury bundle is a true gem. 2nd Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Nuna Mixx. An amazingly high quality product, featuring some fantastic additions not found anywhere else. All wrapped up at a price hard to believe. Fast becoming one of our best sellers, we love the Birch colourway. 1st Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; CBX Leotie. What a little star this is. Cybex quality at a budget price. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stock it what are you thinking? Comfy Grey is a must for all your shop floors.

perfect for stores needing that price point bundle. 2nd Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Rockit. It makes no sense why parents like it so much, we are just glad that they do. Clever and a real tech-parent pleaser. 1st Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Hauck Face 2 Me Crib. Does exactly what it says on the tin. No bells, no whistles. Affordable and exactly what parents to be want.

The Jediâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pyjamas Award for Johns favourite wheeled product of the year:

With so many products new and old in the market place finding my favourite overall should be difficult. Luckily it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. . . . .â&#x20AC;¨3rd Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Not sure if Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m about to breach my M&P NDA so Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be careful here. M&Pâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new stroller shown at Cologne <Product Name Redacted> is only in 3rd place The Randy Orton â&#x20AC;&#x153;From because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not out yet. Mark my Out Of Nowhereâ&#x20AC;? Award for words this thing is going to sell like warm buns! surprise hit: 2nd Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Oyster 3. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not to Some things are always going to sell love? Customers canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop buying it, well. Somethings just appear out of they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t break, and we earn a great the blue and make you scratch your margin when we sell them. I say sell head at their run away success. them, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more like shooting fish in a 3rd Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; CBX Leotie. Winner of barrel than selling. my bundles17B-$1B[PPSGI award this product is

1st Place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Bugaboo Fox. I just love this product, it pushes like a dream, looks like a supermodel with airbrushing turned up to 11 and is a pleasure to demonstrate. The only thing that could be better (in my opinion) would be a new version â&#x20AC;&#x201C; LUCKY US! Fox 2 coming soon!

Overall best thing of the year not nursery related:

There can be only one winner. . . . . . . .YES. . . . . . .BABY YODA from The Mandalorian! And there you go, my little award ceremony is done for another year. I could keep going but something tells me Penny is already reaching for the scissors. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure many of you will

have your own winners and losers for 2019 and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love to hear from you. Why not drop me an email? So until next time, happy trading â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I wish you all the best for the coming year.

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focus BABY ESSENTIALS

Image source pexels.com

Buying for baby A new arrival into the family brings joy, but the level of products that new parents desire that are deemed as essential prior to baby’s arrival is absolutely astounding.

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f course, the first item that any parent absolutely requires after the arrival of a little one is an infant car seat as many hospitals won’t permit parents to leave unless they bring a suitable infant carrier to the maternity ward. However, from the moment pregnancy is confirmed, expectant mums turn their attention to a whole host of products that they deem as ‘must haves’. The list of requirements can appear endless of wants in comparison perhaps to needs. Findings from research, commissioned by Ergobaby UK last August, found that three quarters (73 percent) of British mums and dads were unprepared for how expensive a baby could be, with almost a quarter (22 percent) admitting they had absolutely no idea how much cash they’d have to splash on their new arrival. In fact, a third of new parents admit they didn’t set any kind of budget for baby-related items, and costs spiralled out of control, with more than a quarter (26 percent) claiming it was the most expensive year of their life. The study also found that more than eight in 10 new parents (86 percent) admitted they’d felt stressed out by just how much they had to spend on their new baby, and a staggering 94 percent believe it costs more to have a baby these days than for their parents’ generation. Two thirds said this was because everything was more expensive nowadays, while more than half (54 percent) said there was far more ‘stuff’ for babies out there to buy than in the past. And four in ten believe social media puts pressure on new parents to fork out unnecessarily. To read the full article, visit www.ergobaby.co.uk/blog Among the key items required we can state with certainty this will include a pram, car seat and cot, which equate to perhaps the largest of the items. However, you may also find expectant parents seeking a baby monitor, bouncer/recliner, bedding, mobiles, carrier or sling, changing bags, bottles and sterilisers… the list can be extremely extensive. A cot or cotbed won’t be used immediately, however, furnishing and decorating the nursery is an enjoyable process for many expectant mums and will often be purchased during the pregnancy stage and is viewed as an essential pre-birth product. Many newborns will spend their first three months in a Moses basket or crib in the parent’s bedroom, but with trends continually developing we have

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experienced a surge of interest in side sleeping cribs and a variety of products are now on the market. Parents are also more eco-aware with many searching for cots that are made from sustainable sources. Naturalmat’s Marketing Manager Jonathan Hunter agrees stating that their customers are seeking out products that are made using non-toxic and and natural materials.

Findings from Ergobaby’s research indicated that more than eight in 10 new parents (86 percent) admitted they’d felt stressed out by just how much they had to spend on their new baby Sleep time is an area that causes an awful lot of new parents anxieties, and as such parents are beginning to look more at what baby sleeps on, i.e., the mattress. We asked Jonathan if he feels that consumers are looking at how these are manufactured, and whether they opt for mattresses that state a level of breathability? “We hope so! We know that our customers are looking to avoid things like chemical fire retardants and synthetic materials that provide less than optimal breathability. The source, accreditation and quality of the material we use is always something our customers want to know about.” Another area that may be looked at is which type of baby monitor to purchase. In reality this won’t really be used until baby settles into their own room, but a monitor is considered an essential. With technology now spearheading this category, video monitors and those with built in ‘apps’ have seen an increase in interest by the consumer and this is perhaps an area where dad becomes more actively involved – dads just love gadgets! Changing Bags are also high on the list and have been held as an essential item for many years as let’s face it, babies don’t travel light. We asked Amanda Loveday, Ergobaby’s Marketing Manager whether she felt changing bags were considered a ‘must have’ by parents. “While some consumers begin their journey to purchase a changing bag believing they can simply

repurpose an existing bag, most realise that a specially designed bag is a completely different offering and it swiftly becomes a vital piece of kit.” What about function, is this focussed on more now than perhaps style? “Preference of function versus style largely comes down to the individual but Ergobaby believe parents shouldn’t have to compromise,” commented Amanda. “The functionality of a change bag is crucial, parenting on the move has its own unique challenges and it is important that products keep up with, and minimise, these challenges. When it comes to style, neutral colours are advantageous not only due to practicality in the face of inevitable stains and spills, they are more versatile in terms of appealing to a range of consumers, regardless of gender or personal style. Retailers with limited shelf space for change bags should consider products that are going to appeal to the greatest number of consumers.” Baby carriers or slings are also becoming very mainstream now as an essential item, however, are these a pre-birth purchase? “The perception of a baby carrier as a mainstream, must-have product is continuously increasing, we are a long way from the belief that babywearing is solely for those practicing ‘alternative’ styles of parenting and as we enter the new decade this trajectory is set to continue,” said Amanda. “The steady growth of exposure on celebrity parenting, including babywearing, along with the rise of parenting influencers, has directly influenced consumer’s opinions of the ‘trendiness’ of babywearing. At a deeper level too, the availability of educative materials around babywearing has led to parents becoming increasingly aware of the overwhelming number of benefits of using a carrier/sling, in turn having a direct impact on the number of consumers entering the sector. This has generated a huge shift in innovation and regeneration in the sector.” Although most expectant parents won’t actually buy any products prior to the three month stage of pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that research isn’t conducted from the moment they find out they are expecting. Savvy retailers recognise this and that through good customer service from the moment an expectant parent walks through the door, by using their knowledge and guidance can instil a level of customer confidence to generate sales throughout the various stages of parental requirements from pre-birth through to toddler stage.

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NATURAL & ORGANIC FIBRE BABY MATTRESSES MADE BY HAND IN DEVON SINCE 2000 www.naturalmat.co.uk | info@naturalmat.co.uk

2-in-1 waterproof fitted sheets

Perfect for little ones Practical for you www.bsensible.co.uk

Machine washable & tumble dryable

Kind to skin

Soft & smooth

Silent & crinkle free

Odour reducing

Dust mite barrier

Natural & sustainable fibre


focus BABY ESSENTIALS

Sensible for bedding B-Sensible is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of bedding protection producing unique, breathable and waterproof fitted sheets for adults, children and babies.

B-Sensible’s sheets are the first 2-in-1 waterproof fitted protectors that act like a second skin and are as soft as silk and as cool as linen. The award-winning, innovative range of fitted sheets for babies and children are beautifully soft, breathable, waterproof, hypoallergenic, temperature regulating and made from the natural fibre, Tencel, which originates from the eucalyptus tree. B-Sensible’s products range from fitted sheets in all sizes to durable pillow protectors and are available in over 15 different colours.

Email: marketing@nsauk.com Web: www.bsensible.co.uk

Comfortable ride

Maxi-Cosi introduces the Pebble Pro i-Size, nt carrier car seats. the latest model in infa e Plus car seat, it combines top level An update on the brand’s iconic Pebbl EU i-Size (ECE safety standards with comfort and style. It also meets fit and lying better a orns newb ers off R129) regulation as standard and , part of grows baby As inlay. hugg babyative position with its innov the inlay can be removed for better comfort. material at the The seat comes equipped with impact absorbing nts. Available accide of case the in safety e top side wings that provid -Cosi Maxi the of part is i-Size Pro e Pebbl the rs, in seven colou n with inatio comb in years 4 3wayFamily, a solution from birth up to . i-Size Pro Pearl the and cot car the 3wayFix base, the Jade Tel: 0208 2360707 Email: sales@uk-dorel.com Web: www.maxi-cosi.co.uk

Close for cuddles Suitable from birth to three years and with four carry positions, the CUDL is designed to adjust as a child grows.

Even in the first few months the CUDL’s integrated booster seat and adjustable head support offer the ultimate comfort for little ones, while the mesh fabric, padded shoulder straps and waist belt make it comfy for parents too. The magnetic buckles make it extremely easy to use and it’s packed with lots of helpful extras such as a removable organic infant bib, storage pocket, sun shade for babies and leg opening button to adjust to different sizes. Web: www.nunababy.com

Embrace closeness Specially designed to keep newborns close, the new Ergobaby Embrace combines the softness of a baby wrap with the ergonomic comfort of Ergobaby’s award-winning carriers.

A faithful companion from the moment baby arrives, the Ergobaby Embrace’s cuddly jersey material makes the transition from pregnancy to family life feel as gentle and safe as a tender embrace. Parents can focus on bonding with their new arrival and giving them the safety and security that is so important during this early phase of development. Available in Heather Grey, Pure Black, Oxford Blue and Burgundy. Web: www.ergobaby.co.uk

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Giving comfort

The Home of Classic Characters has a complete range of much-loved character collections all of which are perfect for any newborn nursery.

This year will see the 65th Anniversary of Dick Bruna’s iconic white bunny, Miffy and to celebrate this milestone of the on trend character, a Rainbow Designs are launching a beautiful new Miffy Baby collection in n collectio The pattern. striped blue navy orary stylish and contemp g features baby soft plush infant toys that are all suitable from birth includin Toy. Down Pull Musical and a Comforter, Ring Rattle, Activity Book 2020 will also see the Home of Classic Characters launch a series of beautiful infant ‘Unfold and Discover’ Activity Toys across many of their much-loved nursery collections. The fabric Unfold and Discover Activity e Toys feature multiple textures, crinkles and activities including a baby-saf and play sensory aiding time, tummy for perfect teether, and mirror are helping to develop early motor skills. These beautiful new Activity Toys Classic You, Love I Much How available in the Peter Rabbit, Guess Winnie the Pooh and Elmer collections. Web: www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk

Poco Nido Side-Steps Boring Shoes Poco Nido is thrilled to present its latest instalment of colourful mini shoes.

Barefoot walking friendly and ideal for first steps, the new collection showcases six vibrant patterns including plump peaches, pastel pretzels and even the Queen’s guard. Available in sizes UK 1- 8, the printed baby shoes offer a barefoot friendly, grippy suede sole. The brand’s pull on-stay on technology ensures the Minis will support crawling, walking and exploring indoors. The perfect option for little one’s first footwear, the mini shoes are also free from hazards including Chrome, Lead and Disperse Dyes as they have been vigorously tested by Intertek. Web: www.poconido.com

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focus BABY ESSENTIALS

Natural sleep Naturalmat Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector.

The Naturalmat organic waterproof mattress protector will help keep baby’s mattress clean and fresh. The mattress protector is made with two layers of luxuriously soft, organic brushed cotton surrounding a breathable, waterproof layer. It is soft and silent so there are no crinkly sounds when your child moves, and both machine washable at 60C and tumble dryer safe. Tel: 01392 877 247 Web: www.naturalmat.co.uk

Best seat in the house Ergonomically designed for comfort Brand new to Hippychick – the ultimate Feeding Pillow.

Multifunctional, transportable and a must have when leaving the house, the Feeding Pillow you will never want to be without. The ergonomic shape makes the pillow ideal for placing baby at the perfect height for breastfeeding. The 100% luxury cotton pillow helps take tension and pressure off the mother whilst feeding, taking strain off arms and back. It comes in a little carry case allowing you to pack the pillow down small so it’s easy to carry and take out and about. The pillow even has soft hidden inner pockets to hold essentials such as nappies, wipes, your wallet and keys. Even use the pillow later as a baby nest when baby can sit, or for tummy time.

The Maxi-Cosi Kori is a 2-in-1 rocker that’s perfect for soothing and rocking baby to sleep.

The super soft inlay is supportive for newborns and then once removed, Kori can be used up to 9kg. Thanks to the lightweight design, Kori is easily transported around the home, so it can entertain baby whilst parents run errands. Made with high-quality materials, Kori is sturdy enough for even the most active babies. More importantly, the fabrics are easy to remove and machine washable. Whether baby is laid back for a nap or wants to have a front-row seat for all the action, it’s all possible thanks to Kori’s three different height positions all adjusted effortlessly with just one hand, making it the best seat in the house. Tel: 0208 2360707 Email: sales@uk-dorel.com Web: www.maxi-cosi.co.uk

Web: www.hippychick.com/feedingpillow

Perfect temperature Parents are warming milk, breastmilk and formula to the right temperature in the microwave without risk of dangerous hotspots. milkymeter enables parents to know how temperature is developing in the milk whilst the bottle warms in the microwave. It flashes a bright green light when the milk is reaching body temperature and the microwave should be stopped. This safety feature ensures the right temperature in seconds without the risk of overheating, which preserves nutrients. Just pop milkymeter into the milk bottle before warming in the microwave and wait for the flashing green light. Distributed by Bébelephant. Email: kate@milkymeter.com Web: www.milkymeter.com 32

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Flat out finest! Joie’s i-Level is i-Size certified and cleverly converts to a flat reclining seat that can be used flat, both in the vehicle and on the pushchair.

The 157-degree ergonomic in perfect alignment, body and neck head, baby’s keep to engineered is angle improving oxygen levels and promoting healthy spinal development. The i-Level has rearward-facing longer usage and is suitable from birth up to 85cm ≤13kg. Features include patented Intelli-Fit foam for ultimate side impact protection, removable full body insert, retractable and removable sun canopy with a zip-open panel, and a multi-height headrest and harness that adjust together without rethreading. This infant carrier comes complete with an ISOFIX base (i-Base LX) for quick and easy transitions and pairs with most Joie pushchairs, as well as other brand pushchairs using adapters. Tel: 01889 808 900 Email: uksales@joiebaby.com

Bedside happiness Offering parents the peace of mind that baby is safe beside them, the Maxi-Cosi Iora offers a comfortable resting place for little ones. Boasting five height positions and a comfortable mattress, this adjustable bedside sleeper is compatible with any bed. Plus, as baby grows, it can also be used as a standalone cot up to 9kg. Multifunctional and lightweight, Iora also folds right down and can be taken away in its handy travel bag, meaning that baby has a home from home on family trips too. Furthermore, the large under-cot storage basket can be used to store any essentials so that they are always to hand. Tel: 0208 2360707 Email: sales@uk-dorel.com Web: www.maxi-cosi.co.uk

Keeping it clean

Take everything with you

Eco friendly and 100% biodegradable, the plant based baby bottle cleaner from Milton is designed to ensure thorough cleaning of babies feeding equipment before sterilising.

Sleek organisation in a sophisticated small package, this mini backpack is the perfect take along, with or without baby.

All baby feeding equipment must be precleaned to be sterilised effectively; milk often creates a white film on feeding equipment which can be difficult to remove especially around the rim of a bottle. If any milk residue is left on bottles, a dangerous breeding ground is created for bacteria growth. Milton Baby Bottle Cleaner is dermatologically tested and formulated for sensitive skin, making it kind to hands even after washing up multiple times per day. The transparent gel is fragrance, colour and paraben free. It comes in a 500ml dispenser bottle with push and pull pump, which is 100% recyclable, releasing the a correct amount of liquid to create a foamy lather for cleaning a range of products, including babies’ bottles, teats, teethers, toys, breastpump components, breastfeeding accessories and family dishes.

The Ergobaby Take Along is bursting with features designed to make parents’ lives easier, including an outer magnetic pocket with phone holder and key fob for quick access to personal items, tons of storage, a zip-closure main compartment to keep everything secure, a water repellent changing pad for easy nappy changes, a padded mesh back panel to improve airflow, keeping wearers cool, convenient insulated bottle pockets, straps that allow over-arm or back carry, stroller loops and a water-repellent, easy-to-clean fabric. Available in Grey Sport and Linen designs. Web: www.ergobaby.co.uk

Web: www.milton-tm.com

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10/01/2020 11:44


preview TOY FAIR Image courtesy of Maxi-Cosi

Talk of the ‘toy’ town London Toy Fair is ready to open the doors to the 2020 event. This is the UK’s largest dedicated toy, game and hobby trade show, held in London on January 21st-23rd 2020.

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of the iconic Peanuts brand with the launch of their beautiful ‘My First Snoopy’ collection. This year, Petit Collage sees its first big expansion to its nursery category for several seasons. “Parents of nursery age children are an important audience to us – they were our original core customer, with our first ever product being a collage toy for babies,” said Joelle Engolia, Marketing Manager. “They are actively looking for products developed responsibly for their baby but also with the environment in mind, so Petit Collage is a perfect fit. Two new lines include our Wooden Baby Milestone Blocks and Baby Journal that offer new parents the opportunity to capture precious moments like first steps, first lock of hair and age milestones.” Tobar is taking a more traditional approach this year. Leanne Jennings, Buyer for Tobar, told us: “We are introducing a delightful brand of new wooden toys with traditional push puppets, squeaky cars, pullback and go unicorn and dragon, delightful squeaky rolypolys, noisy farm animals, puzzle blocks and a rainmaker. Real pre-school and nursery fun all in primary colours and with a naïve, scandi style design that has real eye and play appeal.” Meanwhile, Clappy the Monkey joins Flappy the Elephant and Flora the Bunny in GUND’s interactive plush range from Spin Master Toys. “Clappy is an enthusiastic monkey with two different play modes. Press his left foot to play an interactive clapping game, and the right to hear the song ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ in a cute child’s voice,” said Charlotte Yates, Marketing Manager, Spin Master Toys UK Ltd.

Last, but not least, Eduk8 are introducing ‘The Mark Makers’, an early writing programme that aims to simplify writing skills by making marks. “These marks make up letters of the alphabet - as well as numbers and shapes. Four characters display each specific mark through their design shape and colour- Lionel, Archie, Ziggy and Swirlo,” said Christine Lawson, MD. “Within the range are four story books that follow the journey of each character through Letter Land and Shape City, plus an Activity book, Parents Guide, Stickers and Colouring book.” Register your place at Toy Fair 2020 at: toyfair.co.uk/visit/

Image source: Petit Collage

F

or three days, more than 260 exhibiting companies will showcase the latest trends and must-have gifts to the media and the wider industry. From the very beginning, pre-school toys have had a prominent place at Toy Fair. The show began its life as the British Toy and Hobby Fair, organised for the British Toy Manufacturers Association in 1954. The first fair was hosted in Brighton, with a then-unknown silent bear stealing the show. Sooty quickly became the most-wanted cuddly toy of 1954, and cemented Toy Fair’s reputation for predicting the hottest trends for the year ahead. Learning through play is key to development in a child’s early years, and the toys we buy play a huge part in that. At Toy Fair 2020 visitors have an unrivalled opportunity to get hands-on with thousands of new toys and innovations, including fresh ranges for the preschool audience. “Preschool toys play an important role at Toy Fair and this year is no exception!” said Majen Immink, Director of Fairs & Special Events. “From Toy Fair’s inception through to today, our exhibitors are continuing to innovate and discover fantastic new ways to engage with the little ones.” Toy Fair is returning to Olympia London from 21-23 January and below is just a taster of some of the wonderful products you can get to grips with at the show! Magformers is launching their brand-new magnetic construction toy ‘Stick-O’ at Toy Fair. “Stick-O features chunky magnetic sticks, balls and other solid ‘sticky’ shapes in basic sets and special themed sets,” said David Kelly, managing director, Magformers UK Ltd. “The easy-to-hold pieces encourage younger children, especially toddlers and pre-schoolers, to develop their motor skills through fun construction play.” Over on the Hippychick stand, visitors will be able to experience a whole host of new products perfectly aligned for the pre-school category, stop by Stand B35 to also take advantage of their amazing show only offers. The Home of classic characters, Rainbow Designs will also be proudly displaying new ranges, including their new Peter Rabbit Signature Collection and celebrating the 70th Anniversary nursery today

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preview TOY FAIR

Full of classic character Rainbow Designs, Stand: E120

There will be a host of exciting, new and beautiful nursery collections on display from The Home of Classic Characters at Toy Fair this year. l nostalgic

The gorgeous new Peter Rabbit Signature Collection is a beautifu range that has been created to help parents and grandparents share happy . memories and traditional values of their own childhood with their children formats toy soft and r comforte rattle, ring in These beautiful keepsake infant toys show Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny in their most traditional form, creating heirlooms for generations to come. 2020 will see the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of iconic Peanuts brand beautiful and in celebration, the Home of Classic Characters will be launching a and Snoopy feature will range new l delightfu The n. collectio Snoopy’ First ‘My blanket. comfort a and Woodstock rattle toys, ring rattles, My First toys Web: www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk

Set to soar Hippychick, Stand: B35

Hippychick are proud to be exhibiting at Toy Fair once again!

Stand B35 will host a huge array of brand new products fresh to the market for 2020 ranging from the slickest balance bike you’ll ever see, a brand new twist on a classic octopus, to a quirky sustainable kitchen with all the accessories included. Be sure to stop by stand B35 for exclusive Toy Fair offers! Web: www.hippychick.com

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Pop and mix Juratoys, Stand: B121

Juratoys will distribute a new brand from January 2020 called Lalaboom, a collection of chunky, brightly coloured tactile toys to help little ones develop essential skills.

The collection has won numerous awards since launching in 2018, and is sold in more than 30 countries around the world. mix, stack and lace Within the range are vivid, multicoloured beads that kids can pop, twist, all beautifully – balls sensory and boards peg toys, bath together. Other highlights include senses. the designed to stimulate Tel: 02088 782 133 Web: www.janod.com

Learning made fun Orchard Toys, Stand: B12

Orchard Toys will be adding fantastic new products to its award-winning range at Toy Fair, with ‘Learning Made Fun’ at the heart of each product.

Among the new products you will find First Sounds Lotto which is a sound game for children from the age of two. Designed to encourage sound recognition and observation skills, players match sounds to pictures in this colourful lotto game. Players can choose whether to make the sounds themselves or to use the free Orchard Toys App to generate the sounds. First Sounds Lotto also includes a colourful six-piece puzzle to encourage discussion with young children. Tel: 01953 859525 Web: www.orchardtoys.com

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10/01/2020 13:04


coffee break RAINBOW DESIGNS

Talking toys Penny Franks had the pleasure to question Anthony Temple, Managing Director of Rainbow Designs - the home of classic characters, to find out what is currently driving the infant toy sector and consumer purchasing decisions. What are the key elements that consumers seek when looking at infant toys?

Parents and gift buyers for newborns through to early preschool, very often seek toys and gifts that offer an educational element to them. This can range from contrasting colours and multiple textures to crinkles, sounds and peek-a-boo mirrors that provide visual stimulation and encourage sensory play and the development of early motor skills. However, they also look to their own childhood, to the nostalgia and memories that are evoked by the brands and characters that they have grown up with, love and trusted. The combination of much-loved characters that have stood the test of time such as Peter Rabbit, Guess How Much I Love You and Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, coupled with ageappropriate educational elements is certainly a winning combination when it comes to infant toys.

Do you feel we are seeing an increase in growth in this category when we look at gifting solutions?

Infant gifting is definitely a growth category and with the growing popularity of baby showers and gender reveal parties there is certainly an increase in the number of gifting opportunities. Infant essentials beautifully packaged in gift sets also makes the purchase decision even easier for the consumers. We have had a fantastic response to our Muslin and Soft Toy and Cuddle Robe and Soft Toy Gift Sets that we introduced in both our Peter Rabbit and Guess How Much I Love You collections last year.

Does social media or influencers drive awareness to products?

Many parents of today fall into the age category known as the Millenials. They are known for carrying out extensive research, especially when it comes to purchases and the opinions of others matter. The parenting generation of today enjoy the research part of the purchase which is why a strong online presence and profile has never been more important. 38

The parenting generation of today enjoy the research part of the purchase which is why a strong online presence and profile has never been more important. Reading reviews and the thoughts of others such as influencers, especially via social media, forms a significant part of this research. A strong and established online presence is going to become even more important as we move into the next generation of parents known as Generation Z. Their characteristics indicate that they want the sense of ‘discovery’, rather than being directed to what they should buy. Potentially, traditional direct advertising methods may not be as effective on this next parental generation and the opinions of others are likely to become even more significant. Web: www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk

nursery today

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09/01/2020 16:43


YASMIN ALI

focus

New Year Resolutions This month Yasmin Ali (NSG & Babyland Fife) looks at how supplier support and retailer confidence can grow during 2020.

H

appy New Year everyone! 2020 could be the year that the indies come back to the forefront of pram and nursery retail. One of our biggest issues at the moment is the slow closing down sale of one national retailer! The ever savvy consumer knows they’ll drag it out and are hanging off for ‘mind blowing’ bargains. I am doubtful they will surface, but hey! Added to this there are also a few fellow indies who are hell bent on causing drama, and chasing prices down. I think I can safely speak for the vast majority of indie retailers when I say we’re sick of it; and we are on the same page when it comes to maintaining price and margin, we are sick of the price wars! Now more than ever we cannot afford to box shift, we cannot afford to simply churn out stock for 10% return, its ludicrous and surely not a secure long term option. Many suppliers have been for too long happy to dictate to indies, while being told what to do by various national retailers. Now more than ever, its time to freeze out the retailers that are continuing to upset the cart. As a supplier, is your partnership with one or two retailers worth being binned by the rest of your independent stockists? Indies now is our time! Now more than ever your floor space is incredibly valuable. Do brands that don’t support you deserve the support you extend to them? Are you content being the showroom for the top five retailers that are cleaning up? I know for a fact that you are not...so have a good look at that shop floor! Why are you holding stock when every single item sold from certain brands is a price match? 2020 HAS to be the year that we take back some power, because this

isn’t working and its only getting worse. The NSG is mixed, we are optimistic with certain obstacles moved from our paths, but realistic—no change happens overnight, but a new year is the best time to kick start change.

YAS RECOMMENDS: INDIE RETAILERS NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

1. Re-evaluate what is on your shop floor. Ask yourself, is it working? 2. Re-evaluate relationships with suppliers. Ask yourself, is it working? 3. Support indie only brands and lines (Actually support them with floor space). 4. Use the NSG more, come together with like minded independent bricks and mortar retailers who are in the same position as you— share ideas, enforce and push the independent retail agenda. Use the network to get the ‘shop local’ message out to consumers. Suppliers! Welcome back into the indie fold! I’d like to see from you regular retailer profiles on your social media (perhaps speak to Nursery Today’s Editor, Penny Franks, who runs these each month in the magazine). What better way to introduce consumers to where they can find your products? There are brands that do this regularly and its hugely beneficial. Bricks and mortar indies: Join NSG V.2, open to all retailers—no matter how big or small! Everyone else join Nursery Trade—join in the conversation! Yas NSG, Nursery Trade, Babyland Fife Nsg_indies@hotmail.com

Indies now is our time! Now more than ever your floor space is incredibly valuable.

YAS’S PERSONAL 2020 SUPPLIER SHOUT OUTS!

These suppliers show support, and have some fab things coming this year! 1. Mee-go 2. Bebylux 3. Baby Gaia—Hi Karl! 4. Tutti Bambini 5. Mamas & Papas 6. Venicci 7. Our new Babyland Bestie Mandy from Rainbow Designs. Sometimes you meet someone who just clicks with you—this lady has become a crew member! 8. Bebecar nursery today

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09/01/2020 16:44


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Get in touch via enquiries@acornbusinessconsultancy.co.uk or +44(0) 203 070 3868 and/or visit them at www.acornbusinessconsultancy.co.uk to find out about their services and what clients say about them.

Preparing businesses for the future Acorn Business Consultancy offers practical, hands-on advice for small businesses. What separates them from other consultants is their passion and drive for excellence. At Acorn they take on projects where they believe their skills and expertise can make a difference; they make your business their business. Furthermore, their ability to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in, to work with you to make your business as profitable as it can, sets them apart from other consultants. They work with clients on business strategy, planning and problem solving, utilising coaching techniques within the services they offer, be it time management, self-sabotaging behaviour (distraction and procrastination), finding clarity, setting and executing goals. Their clients benefit from both consulting

Extension to your Sales team

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and coaching skills in order to be effective and provide real business value. Ultimately, they give you the know-how so you can go on to thrive without them. Are you too close to a problem to identify it? A good consultant provides an objective, fresh viewpoint so your business stays relevant and competitive. Let’s face it, change can be daunting but sometimes change is needed, and Acorn can be brought in to “get the ball rolling.” Take the leap in 2020 and grow your business with Acorn Business Consultancy.

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10/01/2020 11:29


social media ROSS HEWITT

More focus on what matters! Happy New Year to you all…let’s get down to business.

W an ag in g R os s H ew itt, M ie an d tP D irec to r of S ec re ia l M ed ia ’. S oc auth or of ‘S avvy ital m arketin g ig R os s be gan hi s d h ad hi s fi rst d an 8 ca reer in 19 9 rsery in dustry fo ra y into th e nu ketin g & as H ea d of M ar C ro ss in S ilver E co m mer ce fo r S ec ret Pie in 2 0 0 8 . H e set up en he lp in g 2 0 10 an d h as be d lo ve d an cl ients get foun d ce . si on line ever n o. uk w w w.sec retp ie .c uk .c o. | R os s@ secretp ie 7 | 0 19 0 4 4 10 0 2 ie ret_ P | Tw itter: @ S ec

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ith social media dominating the ‘noise’ in recent years around digital marketing there aare re a few core staples that appear to be getting neglected by a number of retailers and brands in our own industry and across others. This can be indicative of the time and energy that gets spent on social media. We all have a finite amount of time each week that we can spend on our marketing and if most of that is being pointed at Instagram or Facebook then other vital components such as search engine optimisation, email marketing, website usability, content management can fall by the wayside. These, however, are the consistent big hitters that genuinely drive traffic to your websites and into stores… …if you don’t believe me, then here’s a little exercise. Log into your Google Analytics account (and if you don’t have this on your website then stop reading and go and sort that out straight away!), then look in the ‘Acquisition’ tab in the left hand menu, click ‘All Traffic’ and then click ‘Source/Medium’. Change the date range (top right-hand side of the page) to Oct 1st 2019 – Dec 31st 2019. OK, retailers and brands alike, now you can see where your website traffic has really been coming from. I’ll bet it’s not what you expected if you don’t look at this stuff very often? You are probably seeing around 70 to 80% of your traffic coming from Google. This will either be wholly from Google search or a blended figure from search and Adwords campaigns if you run those. Another 10 to 15% will be shown as ‘Direct/None’ – this is traffic that is harder to determine, but includes people typing your address into the browser direct, clicking from bookmarks, clicking links to your site that don’t have any tracking in them such as normal emails, etc. Anyway, there is 80-95% of the source of your website traffic right there. Doesn’t leave much room for the rest of the stuff you spend so much time on does it? If you’re lucky, Facebook will be driving more than 1.5% of your traffic and if you are very, very active with adverts on there then it might even hit 3-6% but it won’t be more and this

won’t apply to 95% of you reading this right now.

Where is Instagram? Have you hit 1% yet?

Soooo…how important is all of that fluffy stuff on social media in the grand scheme of things? Well, it is actually still very important as it is where your brand personality can live and have fun, and it is also where a chunk of your customer service happens, quickly and efficiently hopefully. It is also where a local person can find out about your business without actually having to visit your website, or they might learn enough to know your name and then search for you in Google another time…so keep doing all of that good posting and chatting. Just don’t ignore where the lion’s share of your business and website traffic is coming from as that is the lifeblood of your business. People use social media to either chill or complain, rarely to search. Search happens on Google and people who are pregnant for the first time know very little about what is happening to them and they turn to friends and family for advice and support but most importantly they turn to Google for ANSWERS. To start a journey with a potential customer you need to be found in their search results. If you have Google feeding you with 75% of your website visitors then you need to be looking after them when they arrive. Is your website easy to navigate? Can they see good quality images of products you sell? Is there any content on the site that helps them to answer their questions and learn, or are you just running a cold ecommerce site?

Take some time to read up on what the latest trends are for search engine optimisation to make sure you are up to date. Important changes within the last 18 months revolve around being mobile friendly and running off a secure URL (https instead of http). It’s more than that though, way more. You need to get up on YouTube already…videos from there are always appearing high up in search engine results, and once you have a video then it also feeds your social media content too. Remember, people watch YouTube videos about baby products to LEARN something, so be informative and make sure people can easily click from your videos and channel to your website. Dwell time is becoming more and more important too. Google is tracking how long people spend on your webpage when they send traffic through and this helps your ranking. So, make sure you have good quality content that keeps a visitor hooked. Give them something useful to read, again remembering that your audience is primarily made up of people who want to learn. Jeez…there’s loads to this and I am barely scratching the surface but the formula is simple…make your website search engine friendly to get found. Make your website interesting to linger on when people arrive. Use social media and email marketing to drive traffic to your newly compelling content. Keep doing those things and you’ll find the elements begin to feed each other and traffic, enquiries and hopefully sales will start to climb north. Data isn’t sexy, but it can teach you how to be…

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10/01/2020 11:45


retail TECHNOLOGY

Why you need to blog This month David Fairhurst runs us through the benefits of blogging and how to drive awareness.

T

he easiest products to sell online are the ones which have limited availability, are perhaps more ‘niche’ and related to areas which people can really engage in. To this end, anything to do with sports, lifestyle or interests generally do very well whereas products which are easily available and are perhaps a bit utilitarian are heavily price sensitive to potential purchasers, leading to lower conversion rates for these types of retailers. Taking this into consideration, you may think that the way to really corner a marketplace would be to go ultra-niche. As a nursery retailer, perhaps you should find a range of collectables that nobody else sells and focus on that? In a way you would be right. Going niche is a great strategy for any online retailer and works well. You basically get a bigger slice of a smaller pie. Rankings in Google, eBay and Amazon become much easier, with resulting uplift in click-through from search results. The only problem with this strategy is that going niche really does restrict the amount of possible traffic that your eCommerce website can gain from each channel, which restricts your potential sales. There are other issues as well. Going niche in your product catalogue and website focus works, but only if you are selling products which people can engage with. Anything which is ‘craze’ driven or is a real ‘want it’ product is going to sell well, but if you sell something like soft baby toys what can you do? This is where blogging comes in.

What Google Wants

Google loves websites which are focussed on one particular subject area. If you have a niche focussed eCommerce website then this will generally mean (all other factors being the same) your website will out-rank all competing websites because the focussed nature of the content on your website will give the impression of

being an expert in that particular trading area. This is fantastic, however as previously stated, having a bigger slice of a small pie is not really what you want as an eCommerce retailer if you have any ambition! What you really want is to either have a larger slice of a large pie or access to many small pies! If your eCommerce website really is focussed on one particularly niche area then what you need to do is expand the keyphrase potential of your website with an on-site blog.

Expanding the Keyphrase Pool

Blogs give you the ability to go slightly off-subject and expand the amount of keyphrases search engines can find your website for. Normally, going off-subject is a particularly bad idea for search engines such as Google because what Google is looking for is closely related content, however if you do your research first you can find subjects that skirt around the area that you are trading in but provide much larger pools of potential search engine traffic for your blog and hence your eCommerce website. The key is to think about what potential purchasers of your products may search for, so put your selling head to one side for a moment and think like a consumer. If for example you have a fantastic range of ‘microwavable soft toys’ in your eCommerce store, you would obviously optimise product and perhaps category pages for terms around this trading area, but on your blog you can get a lot more creative. Try this search in Google http://tiny.cc/8c5iiz - this search gives 687,000 results and the first page is dominated by links to the big players’ websites like Ebay and Amazon as well as specialist retailers (which of course, you would aim to be one of !) However, try a search for ‘are microwavable soft toys any good?’

– suddenly you are presented with 1.7 Million results, made up (outside of the first few pages) by links to forums and blogs on the first page of results. The amount of page results cached in Google’s servers generally increases alongside the number of searches for any particular keyphrase, which tells us a lot more people search to find out if microwavable soft toys are any good rather than to find these toys in an online shop. Expanding the potential keyphrase pool of your website like this with a well optimised and researched blog post on these related subjects can seriously increase the amount of traffic that your website gets. Even if people don’t come directly to the product pages of your website, you should see an uplift in conversion rate and revenue because of course you will be linking some of the blog posts you write directly to your product pages!

David Fairhurst

Head of Creative Online Marketing - Intelligent Retail

Long Term Strategy

Blogging isn’t a quick and easy fix for a poorly optimised eCommerce website and should be considered a long-term optimisation strategy, however the effectiveness of blogging if you really put the effort in should not be under estimated. Many of our clients employ daily blogging into their Online Marketing strategies with great effect and have the increased revenues to prove the effectiveness of regularly expanding the on-site keyphrase pool. Bear in mind that blogging is a real commitment. Any blog posts you write must be genuinely interesting and useful to potential website visitors and should be researched well. Lengthy blog posts work well, but even if you can only write the odd 800 word post every couple of days you will find the number of keyphrases your website comes up for in Google will increase rapidly, giving many more routes into your eCommerce site directly from Google’s search results. Happy blogging!

David Fairhurst Head of eCommerce, Intelligent Retail, www.intelligentretail.co.uk

David has been involved with Search Engine Optimisation and web development since 1999 and has spoken at many different retail and SEO conferences including Spring Fair and SES London

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10/01/2020 11:13


focus KIDS’ TIME

KIDS’ TIME 2020 - where market leaders meet

Check out KIDS’ TIME this February for the 11th Fair of Toys and Products for Mother and Child from 19th-21st February and become a part of the business-sector’s one-stop-shop.

K

IDS’ TIME is ranked among the child products and services business sector’s largest, global-scale events. More than 25% of the companies which have registered to showcase at the expo are the ones which will mark their presence at the Kielce exhibition for the first time - e.g Mattel. The expo will therefore be more diverse than last year. The three-day expo is a full house - the eight exhibition halls are packed with the latest product and developments crafted around mothers’ and children’s needs. KIDS’ TIME is a one-stop-shop for world-leading brands, producers and distributors showcasing prams and strollers, car seats, toys, furniture, textiles and baby products. Last year’s expo was the showcase for over 560 exhibitors representing 20 counties from all corners of the world. The number of exhibitors from outside Poland has been constantly growing - stands have representatives from countries such as Russia, Italy, Spain and Germany. The trade show will be graced with the presence of official delegations from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Kazakhstan and guests from 18 countries. Following the previous editions’ tradition, the most innovative products win the KIDS’ TIME STAR statuettes. In the 2019 statuette presented to 4Kraft, Avionaut, GRANATOVO, Scandinavian Baby, G3, MARIOINEX.

Meetings and presentations

During the fair there will be meetings with Polish and foreign specialists from the children’s sector and marketing. The exhibition will be accompanied by training for salesmen and management, as well as the opportunity to take part in lectures given by professionals. The industry’s top authorities have 44

already confirmed their presence, including Reyne Rice from Toy Trend Expert from the USA and Szymon Niestryjewski from the UK. They will talk about how to develop your company and how to successfully enter products on European markets.

for companies - the business-sector leaders have already confirmed their presence at the upcoming KIDS’ TIME. “The exhibitor list includes representatives of top brands from Poland and abroad. And there is much more. There is probably no better place to make a market début than KIDS’ TIME,” says Project Manager Mrs. Aldona Matla. The KIDS’TIME Fair is the only one in this industry in Poland which has the prestigious UFI certificate - the World Association of the Exhibition Industry. If you want to know more go to www.kidstime.pl for event details. Save the date and plan your visit at Targi Kielce. Web: www.kidstime.pl

The Polish market of products for children has reported positive forecasts; this has been correlated with positive predictions concerning the entire economy. The market stable condition is perfectly reflected with KIDS’ TIME’s excellent standing. The expo was graced with the presence of the international authorities and foreign delegations. This is further proof that the Kielce event has excelled to enjoy a strong and stable position among global child-product business sector expos. Over 20,000 meters and nine exhibition halls were used as the showcase for last year’s trade show which hosted more than 8,200 guests. “KIDS’ TIME Fair serves as perfect proof of child products and services business sector’s rapid development, not only in Poland but in global perspective.” Andrzej Mochoń, Targi Kielce President of the Management Board explains. The expo has advanced to become a focal point

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09/01/2020 16:20


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In a spin

Joie’s new car seat Spin Safe is one of a select number to be Swedish Plus Test certified – this crash test is the toughest in the world combining high travel speeds with rapid deceleration, to create the greatest g-forces of any car seat test. – the multi position

This rearward only, 90-degree rotational car seat is loaded with safety technology whilst the headrest with Top Shield provides extra head protection by keeping passengers securely in place, body head, the for security additional adding , throughout seat car the strengthens extra reinforced steel and and hips. The side impact Guard Surround Safety panels and adjustable support leg also help slow protectstandards, safety highest the exceeds Safe absorb the force of impact in the event of a crash. Spin 5 different ing little ones from birth up to 18kg (approx. 4 years). With the integrated ISOFIX base it offers available. seats ed certifi Test Plus Swedish lightest the of one is it 13kg, just at and positions recline Tel: 01889 808 900 Email: uksales@joiebaby.com

Spot the celebrations Rainbow Designs, the Home of Classic Characters, will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the adventurous little dog Spot in 2020 with the new ‘Fun with Spot’ infant preschool toy range.

Following the successful launch of the That’s Not My… collection of infant preschool toys in 2019, new additions will be launched this summer. Based on Usborne’s best-selling series of touchy-feely board books, the collection will feature many best-selling characters from the picture books including Puppy, Flamingo, Monkey and Dinosaur and includes developmental attachable comforters and soft toys. The collection includes attachable and developmental activity toys as well as super soft Spot plush. Web: www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk

Travel with TRIV Nuna launches the new compact and lightweight TRIV pushchair – your everyday travel companion

Nuna has launched the new lightweight TRIV pushchair – perfect for everyday adventurers. Perfect for city living or jet-setting travellers this fully-featured compact stroller has an easy-to-fold flat design, oversized storage basket and easy to flip fold seat – making it the perfect travel companion. All of TRIV’s features are designed to ensure a smooth ride for little ones – even on bumpy roads – as well as easy manoeuvrability for parents. From its one-hand adjustable push bar and quick-release, five point no-rethread harness to its all wheel suspension, one-touch brake and front swivel wheel locks – Nuna’s TRIV is ready for every journey. Equipped with Nuna’s Ring Adapter, the TRIV is also travel system ready – in just one quick click it can switch from pushchair to car seat mode. The Ring Adapter even folds easily down with the pushchair so there’s no need to spend time removing it. Rain or shine, the TRIV is ready to go – it includes a rain cover, extendable UPF 50+ canopy, flip out eyeshade and an all-season seat with a Merino wool insert which can be removed to keep them cool in Summer. TRIV is styled with a luxe leatherette push bar and is available in a choice of for colours – Caviar (available from January 2020), Frost (available from January 2020), Mocha (available from January 2020) and Ebony (available from February 2020). Web: www.nunababy.com

The brand that parents trust www.clippasafe.co.uk New Products.indd 3

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09/01/2020 16:11


BPA notice board Eco-conscious couples staying childless

Robert Anslow M anaging Director If you r company is a me mb er of the Bab y Pro duc ts Ass ocia tion and you are not cur rently receivin g me mb ers ’ e-bulletins wit h industry upd ates , but would like to, ple ase em ail juli e@ b-p -a. org wh o will add you to the databa se.

www.thebpa.eu

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Environmental issues have been high on the worldwide news agenda over the last decade - and particularly prominent in the last year with a high-profile campaign by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, supported by youngsters across the globe. However, according to an article in the Sunday Times last week, climate change fears are also putting young couples off having children. In fact, In August last year following the birth of his son Archie, Prince Harry made a statement that he intends to have a maximum of two children for the sake of the planet. This stance appears heartfelt across the word with an article in Australia’s Sydney Herald in September highlighting the growing trend for many young couples to remain childless; with 36 year old Morgan, who is married to Adam, stating: “I have a lot of love to give and would love to raise a child, but it doesn’t feel justifiable. The world is heading blindfolded towards catastrophe.” According to a YouGov poll, one in seven adults under 35 who don’t want children say they believe the world has too many people, with one in 10 saying that children

would add to climate change pressures. The birth rate is already at a record low in England and Wales due to an ageing population, with many women delaying childbirth and having fewer children to focus on their careers. The average number of children born to women in the UK dropped to 1.7 last year, compared to an average of 2.9 in the early 1960s: whilst one in five women in their early 40s remain childless – the third highest figure in the developing world. Among the 18-24 age group 23 percent of those surveyed cited the cost of having children as too high, followed closely by the impact they would have on a lifestyle they enjoyed. Alistair Currie, head of campaigns at Population Matters, said: “Unless things change, we will be consuming three planets’ worth of resources by 2050 and have two billion more people than we do today on a planet less able to sustain the human population. “Young people are clear-eyed about the future they face unless they make better choices than previous generations. They don’t have the luxury of hoping the environment and resource problems we face are going to go away. Whatever people’s reasons, the choice to have fewer or no children benefits people and the planet.”

New location for the 2020 UK Pavilion The UK Pavilion at Kind + Jugend, which takes place in Cologne from 17th to 20th September 2020, will be moving to a new location for this year’s show, offering better footfall and greater opportunities for Baby Products Association members participating. Robert Anslow, managing director of the Association advised of a letter received from Vice president of Koelnmesse, Markus Oster, detailing changes to the show format, including the closure of Hall 4.1 (previous location of the UK Pavilion) and the utilisation of Halls 2 and 3 instead. He explained that the relocation will ensure better visitor flow, still connecting directly to the West Entrance of Koelnmesse for access and offering closer links into the three levels of Hall 11. The Association awaits confirmation of the precise location for the new UK Pavilion and will inform the industry as soon as possible (probably towards the end of January). The Association also advises that whilst there will be an increase in space hire costs and in the mandatory media charge for next year’s show, it has negotiated a 25% discount in

the media charge for participants in the UK Pavilion which will also include unlimited free visitor vouchers to distribute to current and potential customers. Those wishing to participate in the UK Pavilion next year should register interest with Adrian Sneyd adrian@ nurseryfair.com – and booking will be open (with priority given to previous exhibitors) as soon as the new UK Pavilion location is confirmed.

Don’t miss out on membership benefits

The Baby Products Association introduced a number of new benefits last year, designed to help and support companies at all levels of business in the Baby Products Industry from new starts ups wanting help and advice with PR and marketing, to larger companies requiring HR support and tax advice. Providers offering free and discounted services include Quest offering a free 24 hour helpline to members in all aspects of HR, legal issues, health & safety and tax queries; Ethos Broking with a specially tailored insurance package for baby products companies; GovGrant with information on how to claim back R&D tax relief and Nottingham Trading Standards which provides members with an Assured Advice Scheme. For more information visit the website at www.b-p-a.org

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09/01/2020 16:46


Buyersdirectory Coordinated Bedding

Textiles

Ambassador Textiles are a major supplier to the Nursery manufacturing industry, we stock an extensive range of top quality Baby Care fabrics in popular pastel colours:-

Baby Clothes • Caroline Jane International ltd • Dandelion baby clothing • Spanish design pastel babywear • Designed in the UK • Manufactured in Portugal. • Garments essential for all seasons • Made from 100% Cotton and gorgeous Knitwear.

Telephone: 01908-690726 / 01455-844469 Email: sales@dandelionclothing.co.uk Website: www.dandelionclothing.co.uk

• Soft & Cuddly – Velboa, Dimple, Stars and Coral Fleece Circles • Cotton Waffle & Cotton Interlock • Moisture Absorbing – Bamboo Towelling & Woven Towelling • Lightweight & Pretty – Dobby Spot Polycotton & Brodierie Anglaise • Warm & versatile – Anti Pil Fleece Our Anti Pil fleece range has over 50 colours and 20 prints which can be made to order into Fleece Blankets in Cot, Pram and Picnic Blanket size (minimums apply) Visit our website to view the full range at www.ambassador-textiles.co.uk Or contact our experienced helpful team on 0161 624 4167 info@ambassador-textiles.co.uk

Wholesale

Reserve this advertisement space now in the UK’s only monthly nursery trade magazine, features as follows: February 2020 – copy deadline :

Editorial – 20th January Creative – 24th January Features and show previews as follows: Nappies, Toilet Training & Changing Equipment Bath time & Bath Accessories Swaddling Eco-Friendly products Kids time Poland preview “ Meet the Newbies “ (Harrogate Nursery Fair)

Call Christine on 01442 289936 or email christine@lemapublishing.co.uk for more information.


Profile for Lema Publishing

Nursery Today January 2020  

Nursery Today January 2020