Lancashire children’s gift retailer grows international presence with help of Rosebud loan
A retailer of children’s gift boxes is looking to launch a European arm to its business, after growing in a host of new international markets with the support of a business loan from Rosebud.
BOE House, which trades as Baby Box Shop, is based in Thornton and sells a range of gift boxes for babies’ and young children’s special occasions which include items such as clothing and soft toys. The company is led by Kim and Owen Burrows.
Baby Box Shop sells its products through Amazon and had grown steadily until June 2020. However, due to the time it was taking to order products, often from China, then ship to customers, Baby Box Shop did not have enough surplus funds to grow at the speed Kim and Owen desired.
The company also needed to develop its warehouse and employ additional staff to facilitate this growth ambition.
Owen Burrows, director, said:
“We can often be looking at a five-month cycle from when we place an order for items with factories and distributors to when we receive payment.
“This includes manufacturing, transit time to our production studio, product assembly and packaging before dispatch to Amazon warehouses in the US or EU, before finally being listed for sale to customers.”
“We needed more goods and capacity to allow us to create a stronger flow of income and develop our own production facilities.”
Baby Box Shop was introduced to Rosebud by Caroline Turley at Access to Finance Lancashire. The company secured a £160,000 loan from Rosebud to support its expansion.
It was already operating in the US, Germany, France, Spain and Italy and has now entered Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Turkey and the Netherlands with interest growing in other markets including United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
Rosebud is owned by Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lancashire County Council. It aims to support the growth of Lancashire businesses and the local economy, offering loans between £10,000 and £300,000 as well as high-quality business support.
Rosebud’s support has helped Baby Box Shop increase staff numbers from 6 to 15 and the firm is continuing to recruit as part of its aim to employ 22 by the end of the loan’s five year term. Rosebud’s support has also facilitated improvements to the company’s production studio, machinery, computer hardware as well as marketing investments including to its website.
“Following Brexit, we were able to compensate for delays in Europe with US and UK sales.
“We are expecting Europe to have better lines of delivery going forward and we’re in the process of opening up an EU branch of the company. We want to get physical representation in Europe to make the process smoother and reduce our freight costs.”
County councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, Lancashire County Council, said:
“Owen and Kim have a strong ambition to grow internationally and a clear strategy to match this.
“I’m proud that as a County Council we are able to provide funds to help Lancashire businesses like Baby Box Shop achieve these goals, while growing employment and prosperity in Lancashire.”
Jonathan Nelson, senior loan manager, Rosebud, said:
“In order to reach their ambitions, businesses often need additional support. Baby Box Shop is a brilliant example of how a Rosebud loan, in addition to our ongoing advice, can unlock sustained growth for a Lancashire company I look forward to continuing to support the company as they expand further in the international market.”
Rosebud is delivered by GC Business Finance. Businesses in Lancashire’s 12 local authority areas are eligible for the funding: Burnley; Chorley; Fylde; Hyndburn; Lancaster; Pendle; Preston; Ribble Valley; Rossendale; South Ribble; West Lancashire; Wyre.