BRAND INTERVIEW: Amy Sellers at Central Medical Supplies (CMS)
Central Medical Supplies (CMS) was founded in 1989 and has a long heritage within the nursery industry, both as a retail division (supplying to retailers) and as a medical division (supplying medical grade products to hospitals). CMS is the UK’s exclusive distributor of Dr Brown’s Options anti-colic baby bottles and feeding accessories and also owns the multi-award winning Dreamgenii brand (which was purchased by CMS in 2015) and other brands, including Ameda, CareFix and Steri-Bottle.
We had a chat with CMS’s marketing manager, Amy Sellers, to find out more about the foundations on which CMS has been built, and why retailers should stock their products:
What does being part of the CMS team mean to you:
“We are still essentially a small team, headed up by our CEO, Philip Champ, and we pull together with us all having and pooling knowledge across all areas of the business. We are extremely proud of the reputation that our products have with both consumers and health professionals and the core of all our business goals is to bring to market products that can be used at hospital grade level and in the home.”
What do you enjoy about being involved in the baby/nursery business?
“It’s a lovely industry to be in – babies? What’s not to love? But seriously, the nursery sector has got to be one of the most fast-moving, creative sectors to be in, and it’s an exciting place to be. Finding and developing products that become a must-have for mums has to be the holy grail for anybody within the industry and it’s great to be at the forefront of that working for a company like CMS. I also must add that it’s also such a supportive sector and we enjoy collaborating with companies from all sorts of categories.”
What is CMS’s best-selling product – and why?
“Dr Brown’s is an iconic brand and one that not only parents trust but healthcare professionals too, thanks to the anti-colic benefits of the bottles. The brand has been constantly refreshed and parents are not just turning to the brand when colic occurs but they’re choosing the feeding system from birth as a preventative method for colic/reflux. The new breast-shaped teat has also strengthened its USP, making it a great choice for parents wanting to combine breast and bottle feeding. Of course the bottles are hugely popular but since its launch last year, the Dr Brown’s Clean Steam Bottle Steriliser and Dryer has sold exceptionally well as it’s not only really efficient at killing 99.9% of bacteria, but fits up to 6 bottles and all the anti-colic parts easily too.”
Why should a retailer stock your products?
“All of our products are solutions-based so if a parent or mum-to-be is having a problem with feeding or sleeping for example, our products will provide not only a high-quality but an effective solution that engenders brand loyalty. The Dr Brown’s range in particular has been extended in such a way to incorporate a child’s first feeding journey from baby to toddler. Many retailers may assume Dr Brown’s just manufacture anti-colic baby bottles when in fact we offer innovative products including sterilisers, warmers, transition cups and more so retailers can offer complete ranges.”
How has CMS reacted to the Coronavirus pandemic and have you had to change the way you do business?
“We are very lucky in that our warehouse has remained efficient, with the introduction of COVID safe measures, throughout the pandemic as we also supply products to hospitals. Our robust systems have been designed to ensure that all deliveries run smoothly from our central based HQ and we have supported retailers by driving brand awareness via our growing social channels.”
What three top tips would you give someone considering setting up a brand in the parenting industry, particularly with the current challenges?
“As I have said, innovation is key in our sector and when setting up a brand that should mean starting with the problem rather than the solution and developing the brand from there. Create a loyal social media audience – in the grand scheme of all things pregnancy and the first years that are so fleeting, parents want to devour as much information as they can in a relatively short space of time and then they will ultimately move on. Therefore, keeping content not only current but credible is key so that people rely on your brand for trusted information. Once the brand has built a loyal following, line extensions are of course a great way to add longevity and build more revenue streams.”
What exciting plans does CMS have for the year ahead?
“We are focusing on our social channels in particular the Dr Brown’s and Dreamgenii pages on Facebook and Instagram. We have plans to create more imagery (social distancing allowing) and video content for our brands. Supporting our brands with digital marketing initiatives will be our priority to sustain and drive further brand awareness.”