Debbie Dyke and her sister Trish Maggs started The Bump Company on-line six years ago and they have just moved to their first store in Southampton.
Coming from sales and marketing backgrounds Debbie and Trish found themselves both wanting a new challenge and with Trish locating nearer to Debbie they both felt that is was time to do something together.
Timing seems to have been key as to the launch of the new store as Debbie explained,
“It feels fantastic to have a dedicated space for the business after 6 years of having it occupy my house! Whilst it's great to have the business at your fingertips it also makes it quite difficult to switch off so it's good to have a bit of separation. We had always planned to move the business out of my home at some point and have looked at other premises over the years but this one was just perfect. Also, both my children are now at an age where I don't need to be at home with them as much so it's good timing too.”
Coming from an online retail background and being an independent retailer Debbie also talked about what she feels are the biggest benefits of now having a bricks and mortar store, “One of the best things about having a bricks and mortar store is being able to display all of our lovely products so that customers can actually touch and feel them. Also we are able to get instant feedback from customers on what they like and would like to see stocked in the store which is invaluable feedback.”
The Bump Company is well known for its distinctive and creative ‘Baby Bouquet’ range and where possible Debbie and Trish source their products from UK producers.
Debbie told us that there are a ‘few factors’ they are guided by when looking for new products, she went on to say,
“We like to support British businesses so will always look at companies who are making their products in the UK. We also like to know that our suppliers are ethical so, for example, the organic cotton baby clothes we use are sourced from a company which has a rigorous social responsibility policy such as strict guidelines on fair pay and child labour. We like to stock environmentally friendly products so, where possible, we source organic and natural products, these can include clothing, soft toys and toiletries. We do try and give our customers as much information as possible about the sourcing of our products and we know from feedback that many have chosen to buy from us because we use organic cotton in our baby bouquets.”
Starting a new chapter of any business is exciting and with Debbie and Trish’s sales and marketing background it is quite clear that the duo understand the road ahead and there are no illusions that it will be easy as Debbie explains,
“I think as an independent retailer you have to be able to offer something different from the big chain stores. We always try and source products that may not be seen on the high street and our baby bouquets are our signature product only available through us. Building a strong brand is also vital so that customers remember your name and will return for repeat business. Being independent also means you can respond quickly to opportunities and perhaps steal a march on bigger rivals in responding to buying trends.”
Identifying trends and securing opportunities has become easier for some businesses with the influx of social media platforms and Debbie reflected on this when talking about the biggest changes she has witnessed since starting the online retail business,
“Without a doubt the biggest change to the business has been the rise of social media as a means to attract and retain business. When we started most businesses weren't using Facebook or Twitter as a serious marketing tool but now if you don't engage with your customers on these platforms I think you are really missing out. The other thing we have noticed is the number of newcomers to the on-line marketplace, the barriers to entry for getting up and running online are low but we have also seen many come and go - the reality of actually keeping a business going - whether online or bricks and mortar can be very different from the fantasy!”
Having been introduced to the GBE, Debbie has opened a retailer account and we at GBE are excited to be working with The Bump Company to help them source British made products, “I have just registered for a retailer account. I am very interested in discovering new British suppliers so this is a great place to start.”