Exclusive Interview: Marc Hardenberg, New Chair of the Baby Products Association
The Baby Products Association welcomed Marc Hardenberg of Majuma Ltd as its new Chair, to take the helm until 2025 steering the direction of the industry’s trade body. Nursery Online caught up with Marc this week, to find out more…
Congratulations on being appointed Chair of the Baby Products Association. Tell us a bit about how that happened and what it means to you.
“Thank you very much! I have been active in the baby products industry for more than 20 years now (first at Johnson & Johnson in the Netherlands, followed by MAM in Austria and Tommee Tippee in UK before we established Hardenberg&Co as the Angelcare distributor). I have been a member of the Executive Committee since 2014 and have been the vice chairperson for the last three years, so it was a logical move to step up when the position became available.
It is extremely important to have an organisation like the Baby Products Association to look after the industry’s interest with regards to global product quality standards, but also to assist members with International business development. There is a huge amount of experience in the organisation and I am very excited to work together with the executive committee and members to build an even more safer and successful nursery industry!”
What are you looking forward to achieving in your three year tenure?
“The Baby Products Association is doing very important work in representing the industry on all the technical and European product standard committees. This ensures we remain informed, relevant and most of all, compliant. Obviously, we will continue this amazing effort, but I feel it would be beneficial to make the Association more visible and accessible to new members, possibly even from outside the UK, by having a clear value-add proposition. We should also consider our position towards the general public and perhaps become more consumer-facing too.”
How has the pandemic affected the baby industry as a whole?
“We are very fortunate that we are in a perpetual industry, babies are born every day, so there will always be demand. However, with many stores having had to close and business quickly moved online, there have been winners and losers. And now we have our next challenges with high inflation, supply chain challenges and the war in the Ukraine.”
What are the main trends you see parents embracing today?
“This industry never sits still and we see huge developments in smart technology across the nursery sector, but I also see a strong drive for brands to become more environmentally friendly by using natural or recyclable materials.”
Why should retailers and brands join the Baby Products Association?
“The support from the Association allows the industry to be competitive and fair, with safe product development at the forefront of what we do. Without this support I am pretty sure we all would not be as successful as we are!”
The Association is known for its Concept and Innovation Awards. What have been your favourite innovations in the past few years?
“I am always very excited to see the high level of entrepreneurialism in our industry. Many brands and products are developed by parents, as they could not find the exact product for their needs. There are too many great ideas to choose from, but it’s amazing to see that it is still possible to redevelop and improve classics like soothers and feeding bottles!”
It’s a crowded market, what does a NEW nursery brand need to do, to get noticed?
“Added value, an engaging story and the ability to create significant noise.”
Through your own nursery distribution company (Hardenberg&Co) and your work with Majuma Ltd, what do you enjoy most about being connected to the baby business?
“I really love the idea that there’s always an opportunity for a new product in this market. We get new customers every day who are embarking on a rollercoaster journey. It’s a privilege to assist brands on their mission to help these parents (and parents-to-be) to take care of their precious little one with useful and well-designed products.”
For more information about joining the Baby Products Association and getting involved in its important work, contact Julie Milne – firstname.lastname@example.org