As an iCandy Brand Ambassador, Bumpstart is an invaluable advocate for the iCandy brand and proudly showcases the full iCandy product range via bespoke displays. We caught up with the team to find out all about their store and to get their industry insights...
Tell us about Bumpstart – when did you open the store and what inspired you to do so?
Bumpstart Baby Shop is an independent destination store for baby and nursery equipment, based in Whaddon, just 10 minutes outside of Milton Keynes in a lovely rural setting.
The idea to open the shop stemmed from my mum’s own experiences as a young mother. When she was shopping for her own baby equipment, there were only one or two options available. She also had to drive miles to buy them and wait months for them to be delivered! She felt new parents deserved better! With that idea in mind, she also wanted to build a career that could be flexible, near home and work around family life. The family farm was looking to diversify, and the opportunity came up to develop the barn into a retail premises – so she went for it! Fast forward and we’re still here, celebrating a huge milestone with our 30th anniversary!
Since launching Bump Start, how has it grown and developed?
Over our 30 years of trade, we have grown exponentially, expanding in both in physical size and product offer, and also developed an online business. We believe the secret to our success, however, is that we have always held tightly onto our core values. You just can’t beat great customer service, specialist experience, quality products and value for money.
How about your staff?
We are so proud of our dedicated Bumpstart team, they are so passionate, knowledgeable, and caring! Collectively we now have over 100 years of experience between us! In fact, a couple of members of our team have been part of the family for over 25 years and counting. Everyone at Bumpstart has a passion for what they do and are testament to the Bumpstart ethos.
How long have you been trading with iCandy – why did you decide to stock iCandy products?
We first stocked iCandy around 15 years ago when Martin arrived in store with the iconic iCandy Apple. We love with the iCandy brand, its designs and innovative products – as do our customers!
What is your bestselling iCandy product?
The Peach 7, for sure. That classic combination of style and substance is a winner for our customers. The latest colours are just delectable too! Cookie, Biscotti and now Coco – it’s tricky to choose a favourite!
What have been your biggest challenges to date?
There are always challenges to face, ever-evolving consumer trends, supply chain issues, economic factors etc. it’s all a bit of a balancing act! But probably the biggest challenge for us as a small business is building and maintaining our presence online. It’s a continuous effort to stand out in a crowded market and we are always striving to stay competitive and offer more to our customers.
The industry is very competitive – how do you stay one step ahead? How do you drive traffic and awareness to your store and website?
This is when being a small(ish) business comes in to its own, we can flex and adapt quickly to consumer trends. It’s true that the market is competitive, but we pride ourselves on offering those little extras that go miles to improve a customer’s experience. We are very fortunate to have lots of ‘word of mouth’ referrals from our happy customers, but we do also actively engage in digital marketing, social media and SEO to reach a broader audience.
What does it mean to you as a retailer to be an iCandy Brand Ambassador?
We are so proud to be one of iCandy’s Brand Ambassadors. Our beautiful bespoke iCandy area really showcases the product and helps to elevate Bumpstart beyond our competitors. We are privileged to collaborate with and have support from iCandy’s teams too, even occasionally getting an insider’s view on new product launches!
Do you feel that your customers research products prior to making a purchase?
They certainly do! We like to keep abreast of test scores, reviews, and ratings, making sure we can answer any question a parent may pose. On the other hand, we do find that with the numerous channels of information available, opinions and recommendations of well-meaning friends and family can create a sense of overwhelm for new parents. This is where we step in and help navigate the world of baby equipment and help find the best fit products for each family’s lifestyle and budget.
Is there a must-have product for your customers at the moment?
Our customers just love an accessory for their prams, so bundles are super popular. The Peach 7 accessories are particularly good as you really are covered for all seasons (and of course it includes the parents’ fave; the cupholder!). With the launch of the new iCandy Cocoon Child Car Safety Seat, buying a complete iCandy travel system couldn’t be simpler.
When buying for your store, what features stand out to you within a pushchair?
We love an innovative design, if it solves a problem, fills a gap, has a feature that will make parenting that little bit easier we are all for it.
What is your pushchair trend forecast for the next year in terms of design features and functionality?
In terms of colours, neutral and natural tones are the way forward (hello, Coco!) Functionality-wise, an easy, compact fold, and lightweight chassis is always key.
Do you think parents have a greater focus on sustainability when it comes to their purchasing decisions?
Yes, we do find more and more that parents are conscientious when it comes to sustainability, and the impact that their choices may have on the planet and future generations.
We are pleased to see the brands we work with introducing more sustainably sourced and recycled materials in their products. Concepts such as reduced and recyclable packaging and product recycling and servicing schemes are also a great step forward for the industry.