Introducing Beautiful Bambino, a new and esteemed iCandy Brand Ambassador that passionately represents and promotes the entire range of iCandy pushchairs and highchair through carefully curated displays. Recently, we had the pleasure of connecting with their team, uncovering fascinating details about their store and gaining valuable insights from their expertise in the industry.
Tell us about Beautiful Bambino – when did you open the store and what inspired you to do so?
We actually started online, as a small idea to offer expectant parents unique and unusual nursery interiors which are more in line with the interior of their house, whilst still creating the perfect nursery for their new baby. Shortly afterwards our website was launched. This was a huge milestone for us as we saw our ideas come to life, and the beautiful brands that we had hand selected from across Europe now available to order from us.
After high demand, 2017 saw us open the door to our first high street store, a 1200 square foot space where we could showcase our products to our lovely customers, so they could see in person how stunning they really are. At this point we decided to also take on some more brands (some of the best in the industry including iCandy, which was one of our first!), so we could provide everything that discerning expectant parents might be looking for. During our time here we also welcomed our little boy Reuben into the world so gained first-hand experience having a baby of our own!
Since launching Beautiful Bambino, how has it grown and developed?
Towards the end of 2018 we made the huge decision to expand our little high street store into a new 5000 square foot showroom based inside Pear Mill. With our 6 month old in tow, we very proudly opened our new state of the art showroom featuring over 30 brands, 10 nursery furniture sets, a coffee area and our very own shop-in-shop display. Our new, much larger store has given expectant parents more space to browse and test our products, as well as bigger displays and choice. We also welcomed Becky, Natalie, Katie and Harrison to our team, with over 40 years’ experience and a huge amount of knowledge, to provide you with the best service possible.
Then we hit the dreaded COVID! This meant we focused our efforts heavily on the online side of our business, we launched a new website, took on a warehouse and employed Tom to look after this side of the business. Since reopening our store after COVID, we made the decision to extend the store to again offer larger displays. Our store now sits at around 7000 square feet with a 10,000 square foot adjoining warehouse.
How about your staff?
We started off with just Joe, who sat in our little store doing almost everything, and myself helping out in between a full-time job, at evenings and weekends. At the time of moving stores, our local Mothercare shut down, so we were lucky to employ our first two members of staff, who were already super experienced, Becky and Natalie. We then employed Tom to look after the online side of the business and Katie (ex-Mothercare), who proudly has over 15 years’ nursery experience.
How long have you been trading with iCandy – why did you decide to stock iCandy products?
We have been trading with iCandy for the full six years that we have been open! They were actually one of the first brands on the day we opened our doors. We initially decided to stock iCandy due to the reputation of the brand, especially in the North of England. Their products also have a beautiful, premium design and we feel the brand fit in perfectly with the direction we wanted the store to go.
What is your bestselling iCandy product?
Throughout the time we have stocked iCandy, the Peach is the most popular model in terms of wheeled goods and as the variations have progressed from 5, to 6 to 7, it has consistently remained one of our most popular wheeled products, not just within iCandy, but across all brands.
We also do very well with the iCandy MiChair, as we find the design fits perfectly with what our customers are looking for.
What have been your biggest challenges to date?
I’d say our biggest challenge has been trying to grow whilst still maintaining the boutique feel with the high customer service focus that we set out to achieve.
The industry is very competitive – how do you stay one step ahead? How do you drive traffic and awareness to your store and website?
We have a strong social media presence, which we have always focused on from initially launching the website. However, we also try to stock and display a range of unusual products and furniture, that customers can only see in our store. We find this attracts customers into store and then allows us to show them the other items on their lists.
What does it mean to you as a retailer to be an iCandy Brand Ambassador?
It means a lot to us to be an iCandy Brand Ambassador, it is one of the first brands we ever sold and iCandy have supported us in many ways from the start, both personally and professionally. As we have grown as a business, iCandy has grown as a brand with us, from two pushchairs on display to now showing every colour and all products. It is also one of our most popular brands amongst customers and with all of our staff.
Do you feel that your customers research products prior to making a purchase?
Definitely! I think with the information so readily available online lots of customers are able to make more informed choices and research reviews etc. prior to purchasing. I think this is even more the case with car seat choices.
Is there a must-have product for your customers at the moment?
Lots of customers are looking for a good quality, cabin-approved travel pushchairs such as the iCandy Core.
When buying for your store, what features stand out to you within a pushchair?
The key features that stand out would probably be an easy one-handed fold, lightweight, good reputable warranty and the overall aesthetic of the pushchair. The option to turn into a double is also a good feature to have, but not always a deciding factor.
What is your pushchair trend forecast for the next year in terms of design features and functionality?
Customers seem to have become more fashion conscious, probably because of the prevalence of social media! I can see the beige/neutral tones continuing to be popular options.
As customers are moving back into normal life following COVID, I think the normal functionality of everyday life will become increasingly more important. Therefore, as well as looking nice, the ease of use will become extremely important as people are out and about more.
Do you think parents have a greater focus on sustainability when it comes to their purchasing decisions?
I would say this has become more at the forefront of customers minds, and I can see this becoming more and more of a focus for customers in the future.