iCandy is delighted to be stocked in Baby Moon Baby Shop, an Ireland-based retailer which opened its doors for the first time earlier this year. The modern, bright store showcases iCandy’s product range, with Barry and Grace Mooney on hand to share their knowledge and expertise to help parents make the right choice for them and their baby.
Tell us a bit about you and your store…
We moved to the UK, where Barry started to work for a leading nursery brand and he fell in love with the industry. For family reasons we decided to move home. We spotted an opening in the market for a nursery store in our home-town of Tullamore, which is conveniently located in the centre of Ireland. We had a vision in mind, and it has been a passionate journey ever since.
What are the foundations on which Baby Moon Baby Shop has been built and how does this translate into everyday business?
Our philosophy from the beginning has been that we only stock brands that we trust and believe in. Having a newborn baby has helped us in understanding some of these brands. We also believe in open, honest and impartial advice to our customers. Finally, our customer service is at the heart of everything we do here at Baby Moon Baby Shop, we are very responsive to our customers’ queries via our social media channels.
What do you love about being in baby retail?
What’s not to love?! It’s such a happy industry. We love being on a journey with parents and hearing the exciting news when baby or babies have been born. The excitement of parents picking out their pushchair is very infectious, and we just love it!
What are your greatest achievements since you opened?
In our five short months of being open there is lots that we are proud of:
• We are extremely proud of our website and the feedback we get from our customers in relation to how easy it is to navigate and shop has been lovely to receive.
• Adapting our business model to survive three lock downs.
• Attracting customers from all corners of Ireland and in some cases, people have travelled over two and a half hours to shop in our store.
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?
Being able to shop online is a major factor for expecting parents and we can see for ourselves that our online side of the business is getting busier all the time. We will shortly need to employ more staff to keep up! We also think in the current climate there has been a big surge in people exercising and enjoying the outdoors. We feel parents-to-be will invest in premium brands to enjoy this experience more. We have also heard whispers of a ‘Baby Boom!’
How have you continued selling and how is this working for you?
We have a great website and we also offer in store appointments. Alongside this, our most popular choice with our customers is our virtual nursery demonstrations. This service gives parents-to-be the full experience from the comfort of their homes.
What has the response been from customers since March and since reopening and what has the response been from brands?
People are so supportive and will support you in any way they can. We feel if you are genuine and work hard in response to your customer’s needs and wishes you will gain their trust and in turn their business. We did a week of positivity giveaways during one of our localised lock downs which we thoroughly enjoyed and it was so nice to give back to our customers.
Brands have been very flexible and accommodating in terms of credit terms, promotions and forecasting and the majority of brands have been very transparent in their delivery times.
What top tips would you give any independent retailer setting up in the parenting industry, particularly with the current challenges?
Always expect the unexpected – this has never been more apparent than in the year of 2020!
Having your own business is hard but no one said it was going to be easy. Work like someone is trying to take it away from you 24/7!
Enjoy it and always be thinking outside the box. If you have an idea – run with it. Things might not always work out but at least you have tried. In other words, be comfortable making mistakes as you won’t always get it right!
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?
Be responsive – we are so lucky in the sense that all the brands we work with are so supportive and engaging. As an independent store you are competing with the bigger stores and chains but having a constant dialogue with the brands we stock allows us to deliver the same service but in a more intimate setting.
What exciting plans do you have for the year ahead into 2021 (if you are happy to reveal them!)?