Following a review of the ongoing and future needs of the award winning nursery brand, Ieuan Rowell has been appointed as Managing Director of Ickle Bubba. 

With more than a decade’s experience in both large corporates and SMEs, Ieuan carved out his career as a global financier at Deloitte before working within business consultancy and as a freelance Finance Director for several years. In 2018, he joined Ickle Bubba’s Board of Directors and quickly secured the role of Group Chief Financial Officer in August 2021.

Having worked alongside founder, Fran Vaughan, for five years, Ieuan will now lead the business with the rest of the senior leadership team as they focus on continued growth and expansion within key territories.

We asked Ieuan what’s involved in the day-to-day management of a large nursery brand like Ickle Bubba:

“I spend about 75% of my time focussed on people, working both with direct reports and the wider business to make sure everyone is aligned in delivering our strategic vision. The remaining 25% is split between speaking to people externally; working on projects like new products and gaining internal and market insights.”

How important is your background in finance to the new role?

“It’s really helpful. It’s a bit like a second language to me so this allows me to fully immerse myself in other parts of the business, whether that’s talking about end-to-end customer experience, digital marketing strategy or new products.”

How concerned are you about reduced consumer spending this Christmas within the nursery sector – and how are you able to support staff as the cost of living continues to rise?

“I think the next few months are undoubtedly going to be a challenge for many. At Ickle Bubba, we believe in offering exceptional value in our product range and I hope the work that has gone into the latest product launches demonstrate that even more so. Seeing such a range of newness launch at this time means that we are well placed to offer consumers an affordable stylish solution, given the squeeze on spending power I expect we’ll all be feeling this winter.”

Why should a retailer stock Ickle Bubba products?

“We continue to invest heavily in brand across all relevant channels, it’s something I know continues to drive traffic to retailers (I was at a store just yesterday where the staff were discussing this). Within the new range, there is a clearer channel strategy which should again really help retailers in selling Ickle Bubba.”

Can you share any exciting plans for the brand as we head into 2023?

“We’ve got a few new products in the pipeline and have big plans to expand on the parent-focussed content that we have become known for this year. Building trust with our customers is key to success and we hope to continue to help support parents on their parenting journey; both with expert advice and quality products that are stylish and affordable. International growth also continues to be a focus as we look to expand within key territories.”

Ickle Bubba Founder, Fran Vaughan commented on the new appointment:

“Back in 2011, my wife, Veronica, and I had this crazy idea to create an all in one travel system for new parents that offered great value and style. Fast forward to 2022, the journey from then to where we are now has been incredible. Having propelled a business from the ground up, I feel it is the right time to handover my vision to Ieuan, who I know will bring fresh energy, new leadership and be pivotal to Ickle Bubba’s succession plan.”


Reflecting on his next career move, Fran Vaughan explains that his departure will now allow him to focus on helping other entrepreneurs start or grow their own business.

Commenting on his own appointment to Managing Director, Ieuan Rowell, said:

“It’s been great working with Fran over the past few years, helping Ickle Bubba become such a successful brand in the Nursery market. Whilst leading the finance function has been part of this, I’ve already built some great relationships with our suppliers and customers, as well as being involved in the digital and marketing arena. I’m so proud of where the team has already got us to and am really energised to now lead the business into the next phase of delivery of our strategic vision.”

International growth

Having grown exponentially in just over a decade, Ickle Bubba now has 55 staff across three sites in the UK and China. Sales have more than doubled every year between 2013 and 2021, with the company estimating revenue will reach £18.6 million in the year to the end of March 2023.

Ickle Bubba continues to be recognised for its success despite the tough few years all businesses have faced. The company has recently been named ‘Fastest Growing Business’ in the Manufacturing and Engineering category at the 2022 Wales Fast Growth 50 awards as well as being profiled by The Times as part of their ‘Rising Stars: three fast growing companies in Wales’ series.

Having recently launched seven new travel systems and a ‘sit and grow’ highchair into their product range, the brand are set to continue their mission to provide stylish and affordable products for parents.

Share your story

Want to share your news story through Nursery Online? Drop us a line using our news form or send us an email.