As an iCandy Brand Ambassador, Baby B is an invaluable advocate for the iCandy brand and proudly showcases the full iCandy product range via bespoke displays. We caught up with store owner Karen - she kindly took the time to explain to us not only her industry insights but also what it means to be an iCandy Brand Ambassador.
Tell us about Baby B Store – when did you open the store and what inspired you to do so?
Baby B is modern independent store that opened its doors in June 2020.
Karen Bridle, the founder of the store who, despite being a mum to four growing boys, has always had a passion for nursery products and gifts.
She always had a dream to own her own baby shop offering a personal shopping experience with exceptional customer service and from that vision BabyB was born.
Since launching Baby B Store, how has it grown and developed?
We are a small team who offer a big service. Within the first 9 months of trading we were overwhelmed by customer demand and needed to extend our retail space to accommodate more stock, as well as launch our very own online store.
Tell us about your business set-up?
We welcome our customers into store both with and without appointments and boast free parking outside too! We offer bespoke payment plans instore or Klarna payments online. We offer click & collect and even have our very own Baby B van for local customer deliveries. We always strive to go above and beyond to exceed our customers’ expectations and tailor our service to meet their individual needs.
How about your staff?
We have a small instore team so we can build a relationship with our customers. Full time staff are IOSH trained for car seat fitting advise free of charge and all staff can advise and demonstrate our product range here in store. All online and social media questions are answered by our team, it’s a truly personal service.
How long have you been trading with iCandy – why did you decide to stock iCandy products?
iCandy were the very first brand to accept our business proposal so iCandy has been with us from the very beginning.
What is your bestselling iCandy product?
Our bestselling iCandy product has to be the Peach. It ticks so many of our customers boxes from the 10kg basket to the luxurious bassinet that can be used for overnight sleeping and with so many accessories included in the bundle deal, it’s a firm favourite for our expectant parents.
What have been your biggest challenges to date?
Opening our store at the end of the first lockdown was a risk but it paid off as customers wanted to shop small & support local businesses. We thought the second lockdown would be a disaster for us, however our customers were amazing and continued to support us by using our click & collect and delivery service. We are so blessed that our customers appreciate our personal touch and recommend us to all their friends so we continue to flourish.
The industry is very competitive – how do you stay one step ahead? How do you drive traffic and awareness to your store and website?
Social media is an important tool in all retail sectors now and the nursery industry is no exception. We work hard to maintain brand awareness and regular content across all our platforms and listen to our customers to provide the products and brands they want right now.
What does it mean to you as a retailer to be an iCandy Brand Ambassador?
Wow! Well we were truly blown away when we were offered the chance to be an iCandy Brand Ambassador! We adore and believe wholeheartedly in the brand and its ethos and are humbled that iCandy feels the same way about us too! iCandy’s products are not only beautiful to look at but they are functional and intuitive. iCandy is forward thinking as a company and always striving to provide exactly what today’s parents want out of a travel system. It’s not hard to see why they have two queens’ awards for design and innovation!
Do you feel that your customers research products prior to making a purchase?
Today’s parents want to know how and why a product is right for them. They don’t just want something that looks good (although looks are still important) it has to work hard for them too. A travel system that fits in with their lifestyle not just for the first 6 months but for years to come.
Is there a must-have product for your customers at the moment?
The iCandy Peach Designer Collection Cerium is really giving the iCandy Peach a run for its money at the moment. Stylish sleek and practical in its all black finish with stunning accessories included, it’s really a popular choice right now. The iCandy MiChair is also creating lots of interest in-store, we just love the way it brings baby up to parent level and evolves like nothing else from newborn to child! It’s a stunning modern furniture piece as well as a functional item, what’s not to love!
When buying for your store, what features stand out to you within a pushchair?
We try to stock what our customers want in our area at this time.
We live close to the sea as well as the Southdown, plus we are just outside a city so our customer demands are for a stylish pushchair that has wheels that can handle a woodland pathway, fabric that keeps little ones snug on a windy seafront and looks stylish about town.
What is your pushchair trend forecast for the next year in terms of design features and functionality?
It needs to be stylish and intuitive, sturdy yet light to manoeuvre and carry with ease.
On-trend colour palettes like grey, black, green and taupe.
Do you think parents have a greater focus on sustainability when it comes to their purchasing decisions?
We are definitely seeing a shift towards a more eco-friendly and sustainability minded customer and we totally support this way of thinking. We stock lots of eco products instore and will continue to support and expand this in the future.
The nursery industry is constantly evolving with new products coming to market all the time – how do you know if a brand is right for your store and customers? What are the key features you look out for?
We are constantly monitoring social media for the latest influencer and product trends and asking if this is something our customers here would want. It’s so important to keep ahead and in touch with what our customers want and need not just fads, so they keep coming back and recommending our shop and brands to their friends.