Ongar Business Centre tenant BabyChum celebrate their first year in business with the news that they are now supplying luxury store Harrods…
Friends who launched a gifting marketplace for children and parents just weeks into the first lockdown are now turning over £41,000 a month thanks to support from fans including Ferne McCann and Stacey Solomon.
Laura McBride, 30, and Laura Boswell, 31, from Essex, launched BabyChum, an online marketplace for mother and baby gifts, on 12 April 2020, three weeks into the government lockdown.
They’ve seen their business go from strength to strength, gaining a host of celebrity fans including Stacey Solomon, Danielle Armstrong and Charley Webb.
The entrepreneurs who are celebrating turning over £41,000 in a ‘milestone’ month, have helped more than 450 sellers throughout the pandemic – including mothers who have been furloughed -and have now secured a deal with Harrods.
Laura McBride, 30, and Laura Boswell, 30, (pictured) from Essex, launched BabyChum as a marketplace for parents and children.
Laura and Laura saw their Instagram following grow after collaborating with Ferne McCann on a kids’ clothing collection that also led to items from the TOWIE star’s range selling out.
As their business continues to thrive, the business owners have announced BabyChum will now be supplying Harrods with the London store’s first luxury gold leaf toy box, costing £2,199.
‘It’s been such a roller coaster year for us and we’ve been working every hour under the sun,’ Laura Boswell said.
‘There have been huge emotional highs and lows! We decided to go ahead with launching BabyChum in April 2020, just weeks after lockdown had been announced – and it was definitely the right decision.
‘We launched with just 300 products and just a handful of sellers. Now, just one year on, we’re up to more than 2,400 products and more than 463 sellers.
‘Not only does BabyChum sell personalised gifts, nursery furniture and decor, but we also provide baby essentials like eco-friendly cloth nappies and weaning plates.’
Laura McBride spotted a gap in the baby products market after setting up a Facebook support page following the birth of her daughter Rosie.
‘Every time a person orders from us, they are not only supporting BabyChum but lots of independent sellers who started their business during a pandemic; who juggle parenthood on top of processing and packaging orders; who wanted to start a little side business to find their sense of fulfilment in this crazy world. They are supporting people’s livelihood and dreams and there is so much to be said for that.’
After having her daughter Rosie in 2017, Laura McBride set up a Facebook support page called ParentChum for other mothers to share practical parenting advice as well as a ‘shoulder to cry on’.
She noticed a gap in the baby products market, especially with the closure of ‘outdated physical stores’ such as Mothercare and Mamas & Papas.
Laura and Laura, who have been friends for 10 years, were both working as virtual PAs when they started working towards the launch of BabyChum in early 2020, with just £2,000 investment each from their personal savings.
The money was spent on web design and social media posts, while they both worked hard to find quality independent sellers who would make BabyChum stand out against giants such as Etsy and Not On The High Street.
Laura McBride said their Instagram following went from 2,000 to 26,000 after collaborating with Ferne McCann (pictured) on a kids’ clothing collection.
In June 2020, the pair approached TOWIE star Ferne McCann about collaborating on a kids’ clothing collection. When it launched in November, their orders and social media accounts spiraled into a frenzy.
‘The Ferne collection was a huge success for our first ever celebrity collection, we had about 2,000 followers on Instagram which then flew up to 26,000, as well as selling thousands of units across the whole range.
‘Sam Faiers took a photo of her little girl Rosie wearing one of our pink ‘HAPPY’ tracksuits from the Ferne collection and posted it on her Instagram grid and we pretty much sold out.
‘Working with Ferne was a huge step forward for the business and one that got us seen on a large scale.’
Charley Webb is also a big fan of the brand, and they have well-known followers including Stacey Solomon, Amy Neville, Emma McVey and Danielle Armstrong. Laura and Laura are set to launch an exclusive collection with another high-profile influencer this April.
Since appearing on ITV’s This Morning and Ferne McCann’s TV show First Time Mum, their social media following for Baby Chum has soared to 29,400 on Instagram and 6,600 on TikTok.
The pair also worked hard for six months to secure an exclusive arrangement with Harrods, which has just launched. BabyChum will now be exclusively supplying the department store’s first over-sized gold leaf luxury toy box – a £2,199 design that has been handcrafted using timber and engraved with words in authentic gold or silver leaf.
‘The aim for BabyChum is for it to eventually become a complete one stop shop for gifts as well as practical items like prams, bottles, nappies.’
‘So the next time you think about going to Amazon for your next gift, come and shop with us. Admittedly, you won’t get your order on your doorstep within 24 hours but you will have supported a working mum or dad, a start up finding their feet in business, or you’ll just be fulfilling someone’s dream of becoming a successful online store owner.’