Ahead of Weaning Week next week, Fiona Brown of Bibetta chats to us about what retailers and parents love about Bibetta’s range of award-winning baby bibs and feeding accessories!
It’s been 17 years since you and Paul set up Bibetta. How has the market changed, and how do you think the next 12 months will be across the sector as a whole?
“Where do I start?! It’s been an immensely exciting ride for Bibetta – but the past year certainly was a challenge for the wider retail market. It’s been amazing to see how resilient many companies have been by adapting quickly to the changes, but sadly, others have shown have vulnerable they were. Online sales will continue to grow, of course, but the pandemic has shown how much more investment is needed in this area.
We all know customers love to see, touch, feel and try out baby products before purchasing them – you must feel excited to be able to offer that again in stores?
Of course! We’ve now got a great opportunity for high street stores to entice customers back for that friendly face to face physical service which everyone loves. And for the nursery sector, it’s the perfect time for brands to unveil and showcase new products to new and expectant parents. Online baby shows have been a good way to see new products and brands in one place during the pandemic, and hopefully by the end of the year physical shows will be back up and running.”
What steps can independent retailers take to boost footfall now?
“We all love to go into shops that offer something a bit different in terms of product, layout and customer service. People want a bit of pampering – starting with decent hand sanitiser! Offering incentives to entice customers to go physically in store is a good idea – maybe by teaming up with other local companies to encourage people to visit the High Street, e.g. free coffees from a next door café – or a discount voucher for another local store. It’s about thinking outside the box and offering something different to mainstream retailers and online shops”.
As we emerge from lockdown, how can you reflect on the impact it had on your business?
“Like many other companies we have concentrated our efforts on online sales and baby events – so huge thanks goes to all those people who arranged them to help keep the industry visible and active. One side effect of the pandemic and Brexit is the delay of stock coming into the UK, so we’ve had to keep a close eye on stock levels. But I’m pleased to say we maintained a consistently high level of customer service and contact throughout the lockdowns.”
Bibetta is a well-loved, award-winning brand: what do you think has helped drive its success?
“I think it comes down to various things: We’ve won numerous awards for our products and receive fantastic reviews from customers who love our products and are repeat purchasers. Parents love our bibs as they wash and last so well – which is good for the environment (something which is very important to us ethically) but also means excellent value for parents. Our neoprene UltraBibs, in particular, are so soft, stretchy and comfortable to wear, and have a fabulously large, flip-out pocket to catch food! Kids are happier so mealtimes become less of a stress and more of a pleasurable experience for all the family.
And, for retailers, we offer excellent margins, low MOVs and mixed SKUs, so even small, independent shops can offer our products with ease.”
What are your top best-selling products – and why?
“Our new, gold award winning, Wipeezee XL Coverall, which fits over the entire highchair table for maximum protection, is proving extremely popular as it solves the mess problem with an all-in-one solution and can simply be wiped clean after use. It has a gender neutral, warm grey colour scheme with multi-coloured, fun, fruit characters.
We create all our print designs in-house – kids love the bright, on-trend colourways and friendly characters – and we’re always expanding our ranges and updating our products to keep everything fresh.
The beautiful new Forest Green Owls and Scandi Fox UltraBibs and Bibs with Sleeves are bestsellers in our neoprene bib range”
Can you share any specific plans or developments for the year ahead?
“We are extending all of our current ranges with new contemporary print designs and exploring lots of new complementary products – so watch this space!”
Finally, any top tips for anyone currently setting up a brand in the nursery industry?
“Yes! Do lots of research and testing of your products with the public first to get feedback. Make sure you have a USP for your product(s). Also, patent and design register as much as possible, get a fantastic team to work with and create a stunning website and social media to help establish your brand.”