iCandy is delighted to be stocked in Baby B, a Portsmouth-based retailer which opened its doors for the first time in June 2020, not letting a global pandemic stop them from launching! The modern, bright store showcases iCandy’s product range, with friendly and knowledgeable staff on hand to help parents make the right choice for them and their baby. We spoke to owner Karen Bridle to find out what it’s like to open a store during a pandemic. Here’s what she had to say…
Tell us a bit about you and your store
I’ve always dreamed of opening my own, independent baby store but with a young family the timing was never right. In our area we recently lost Mothercare and the Mamas and Papas store so there was a big hole in the market for something new. While we were in the middle of a global pandemic, I had more time at home to put my business plan together and reach out to brands to see if becoming a baby and nursery retailer was truly viable.
What are the foundations on which Baby B has been built and how does this translate into everyday business?
We have a strong ethos to give the customer the best possible experience, both pre- and post-sale.
What do you love about being in baby retail?
We love the fact it’s a joyous time for all involved. This means every day is a positive experience and we are truly honoured to be sharing such a special time in people’s lives.
What are your greatest achievements since you opened?
We have only been open for four months, but so far we have achieved more than we thought possible. Our top achievement was being recognised as Best Newcomer at the iCandy Annual Sales Summit.
We know 2020 has been a challenging year so far, but what positive opportunities do you see for the market in the rest of 2020 into 2021?
Even in these current times, we feel more people want to shop locally, to support small businesses and to spend more money on family members and loved ones.
How have you continued selling and how is this working for you?
As a brand new business we opened once the lockdown restrictions had eased. We follow government guidelines in-store and we are currently having a website built in addition to our physical store to showcase our small items. We regularly use social media to help promote ourselves and the brands we represent.
What has the response been from customers and brands?
Customer response has been overwhelming and we have had so much support. We have an excellent relationship with our brand representatives who have all gone above and beyond with their help and advice.
What top tips would you give an independent retailer setting up in the parenting industry, particularly with the current challenges?
Don’t be afraid, believe in your vision and go for it. Dreams really can come true.
What do you look for in the brands you stock, and what tips can you give brands hoping to work with independents in the future?
We look for a mix of excellent quality and value for money for our customers. Good communication and after sales support is key too. We love brands who fully support independents.
What exciting plans do you have for the year ahead into 2021 (if you are happy to reveal them!)?