Cosatto recently announced their new initiative to give the high street a much-needed boost. This week we caught up CEO, Andrew Kluge, to find out how the popular, colour-driven baby brand has weathered the pandemic – and what it has planned for the future…
It’s a challenging time for retail – how do you think the next 12 months will be across the sector as a whole? And for the nursery sector in particular?
I am really positive overall. I believe that once the general public regain their freedom, they will spend, spend, spend, and hopefully some of that will be spent in the nursery industry. I think we are heading for a bumper few years. Challenging times always encourage some great innovation and creativity, and those are essential in today’s retail environment. The days when we could all do business the same way are long gone. During this pandemic we have seen many retailers in our industry doing things they would never have dreamt of doing – even a couple of years ago: live facebook demos, one-on-one virtual personal shopping etc. All these ideas will help retailers gain an edge going forward too. They came through necessity but will potentially help them prosper down the line too.
What can independent retailers do to help the High Street to recover?
Give their customers a good reason to spend their time and money with them. Give them amazing service, valuable advice and lots of the personal touch – stuff that the internet (and the majors) can never ever do! Perhaps work with other none competing local retailers to create events or incentives to get folks to come down and visit the high street. Create a ‘Welcome Back’ strategy to really show consumers the advantages and benefits of shopping with independent retailers. Make shopping fun again because, let’s face it, we haven’t had much of that recently.
How has Cosatto reacted to the Coronavirus pandemic and how have you had to adapt the way you operate?
Apart from a few of the team, we have all been working from home for almost a year. We are a very close team and I was worried about this at first, but it has worked out pretty well and everyone has supported each other through the tough times. We have also tried to support our retailers as much as we can. We have offered free drop shipping for most of the past year allowing retailers to get our products to the consumers very quickly. We have also put on a series of retailer webinars with world class experts on selling, customer service and recently, marketing, to try and help everyone get even better at these things.
We have recently promoted a ‘Shop Local’ campaign where we provided digital banner and artwork for our retailers to adapt and use as well as promoting the campaign on our social channels. We’ve done live new product previews on Zoom, demos on a dedicated facebook group and lots of other stuff to try and keep all our partners in the loop and stay connected. We can’t wait for the time when we all can meet again at Harrogate and Cologne, or visit in store.
What tips would you give anyone currently setting up a brand in the parenting industry?
It’s not as easy as it looks! We always hear the phrase – ‘ It must be a great business – people are always having babies!’ Well, yes they are, but there is also an awful lot of competition too. They also say, ‘It’s a lovely ‘cute’ industry working with babies’ etc etc – which it is, but it isn’t so cute when someone is screaming at you because their wheel has fallen off! It’s a tough industry but seeing as I have been in it since I was 5, I guess I must like it really.
Why should a retailer stock Cosatto’s products?
We provide something a bit different – colour, pattern, interest and fun. We believe that babies should have bright, stimulating stuff around them and our stated mission is to ‘Save The World From Boring Baby Stuff’! It’s a bit tongue in cheek, but through our work collaborating with the Baby Lab at Sussex University, we know that babies love our designs. We know that our products can be a bit ‘Marmite’, but we believe that that there are still plenty of people out there that don’t want a plain black or grey pram. We are here to fill that need. By offering Cosatto, I believe that a retailer is bringing in an extra customer that probably wouldn’t buy their other ranges. Not everyone wants to walk down the street with a banana covered pram, but thankfully there are enough of them to keep us very busy!
What are your top best-selling products – and why?
Our travel systems are flying at the moment. Our TS range is the widest and best it has ever been, offering something for every lifestyle. The latest newbies – the easy fold Wowee and mega stylish Wow Continental are really starting to move but the Giggle 3, Quad, Wow 2 and award winning Wow XL all continue to sell very well. As well as looking fabulous adorned with all our great designs, they are great quality too, have fab functionality and offer real value for money. They also all team up with our fab matching Port Isize infant carrier too to make it a brilliant travel system range – something for everyone.
Can you share any specific plans or developments for the year ahead?
Top secret I’m afraid (!) – but rest assured, the fact that we have been unable to travel to our factories has not stopped the new product development work and there will be a few exciting new products coming out later this year. Plus of course lots of amazing new colours and patterns from our fabulously creative and crazy design team.