Clifton Vaughan and his partner Victoria Hampson at the opening of their Natural Baby Shower shop in Bagshot, Surrey
Natural Baby Shower has grown sales by 75% to £28 million as more parents seek eco-friendly nursery goods.
Business is booming for the Surrey-based family firm founded by Clifton Vaughan and his partner Victoria Hampson who have three children together.
The couple set up Natural Baby Shower 18 years ago because they could not source the sustainable natural baby products they wanted for their children in the UK.
Staff numbers have more than doubled from 35 to 75 at their Bracknell headquarters to cope with the sales rush.
Turn-over has shot up from £16 million in 2020 to £28 million last year and it is expected to exceed £30 million this year.
Vaughan said: “We got the idea for the business after we had our first child Dylan and could not find the natural, sustainable baby products in the UK which were readily available in New Zealand where we had been living before when Dylan was born.
“We wanted to house the very best products for parents, babies and the planet all under one roof.
“We have grown from just the two of us at the kitchen table at home to a team of over 75 employees and have just moved into a new warehouse in Bracknell that is big enough for us to triple our sales and still not move.
“We carefully choose the very best products from more than 130+ brands and pride ourselves on the very best customer service.
“We understand that running a business can have an impact on the natural environment so we ship in as few deliveries as possible, only use sustainable materials and source products with lifespans that go the distance.”
As well as their successful website which generates 95% of their sales, the couple also run a babycare shop in Bagshot.
They live in Ottershaw, Surrey, with children Dylan, 19, who has just started university, Marley, 17, and Lola 12.
They strive to create work patterns that are as family-friendly as possible for the majority of their staff, with most employees working three days in the office and two days from home.
Customer service is open to 8pm each night because they found they got a glut of calls between 6.30pm and 8pm after the baby has gone to bed.
A key part of their success has been bringing in software automation for their ordering and stock control from specialists Brightpearl and Inventory Planner.
Vaughan explained: “We have a pick-and-pack warehouse which uses Brightpearl software to handle all our orders. It is so efficient that we can deliver most items the next day if they are ordered by up to 4pm.
“I am really pleased with our warehouse and distribution – it is top notch and we have lots of capability.
“I have been with Brightpearl for ten years and it is right in the middle of my tech stack giving me accurate figures on my orders, financials and stock.
“We then push all that data into the Inventory Planner software so that we can generate accurate information on the stock we require in future.
“It means our whole sales process is automated through these two key pieces of software.
“Prior to this kind of automation we would be selling products which we hadn’t yet ordered, so customers were waiting longer than we would have liked for their orders.
“Our purchasing team works really closely with Inventory Planner and it is crucial to running an efficient and accurate stock forecasting operation.
“That is where you can quickly come stuck as a business – by over ordering and not having close control on stock.
“We feel we have our fingers on the pulse on our inventory that improved forecasting has really added to our efficiency.”
Running a business and bringing up three children has been a struggle at times.
Vaughan said: “Our journey into parenthood not only led us to discover some of the best products, but also having our kids at home kept our energy levels high!”