Industry experts under the wholesalers spotlight
This week on the series, we’re bringing you two brands for the price of one; Lindam and Munchkin’s Sales Order Processing & Customer Support Team Leader, Richard Thompson. With such a varied, dual brand job role, Richard’s involvement is hands on and his passion for the products and ethos is infectious. We discuss company turnover, the impact ecommerce has had on the baby retail sector and of course, Richards favourite product – the duck bath.
What makes Munchkin a valued supplier?
Munchkin has an excellent team in our Wetherby facility who manage and supply all customer orders from our warehouse on site. We pride ourselves on our serviceability, punctuality and sales support.
What is your favourite product from the Munchkin product range and why?
Without a doubt the inflatable safety bath duck, making bath time fun and my Godson loves his.
What ‘special something’ does Munchkin have that sets it apart from its major industry competitors?
First and foremost it is our products. Munchkin’s strapline is ‘It’s the little things’ and this is what we pride ourselves on. Each product is thoughtfully designed with a clever twist and is only brought to the market with careful consideration, research and final approval from our founder and owner Steve Dunn.
Do you know how many awards the company and its products have won globally?
Globally we have won over 180 awards in our history for innovative products. In the UK we have many key awards with multiple Mother and Baby, Prima Baby and Practical Pre-School Gold Awards across both Munchkin and Lindam. Lindam has also recently been awarded ‘Best Safety Brand’ by Nursery Industry. We are proud of every award as it recognises excellence in product, design and also customer support.
Can you tell us your company turnover, % growth or market share?
Since Munchkin was founded in 1991 we have grown globally to a $300m company with products leading the market in many categories in nursery. In the UK, our safety brand Lindam is the leading brand in safety which includes gates and accessories. Munchkin has grown significantly and is a leading brand in feeding, bathing and nursery essentials.
How many Facebook fans/Twitter followers do Munchkin have?
Social media is a really key part of our strategy and allows us to talk directly to parents on a day to day basis, not only about our products but engaging with them in a fun and personal way. Munchkin has over 150,000 followers on Facebook and Lindam has over 85,000 and we also have active Twitter pages.
Do your products have any medical authority, endorsement or research behind them?
We research new lines extensively; our new Latch™ bottles are a perfect example. Globally we invested heavily in research with midwives, mums and lactation specialists before the product was launched. Lindam safety gates now come with a Lifetime Guarantee as we are so proud of the quality of the gates. We test above and beyond standards with our own impact tests.
Have any Munchkin products been spotted in use by celebs?
We do spot the odd celebrity with our products! Katie Piper was recently posting pictures of my favourite product the White Hot Inflatable Duck on Instagram!
What is exciting you the most about the industry right now in 2014?
This time of year is always exciting with the hustle and bustle of Christmas promotions landing and end of year but also looking forward to all the new 2015 lines getting ready to launch!
How long have you been working in the industry?
How have the developments in the ecommerce industry impacted the baby retail sector in your opinion?
From a consumer point of view, it opens up a much wider range and choice for parents; this is great as it ensures innovative and clever products are more accessible than ever. It also allows products to be much more visible when it comes to sharing reviews and opinions, so it ensures a high quality of product and innovation, as a poorly reviewed product won’t stay around long!
What is it that keeps you driven and sparks your interest in the nursery industry?
There is a constant stream of new products and ideas, and items are always in high demand. We are busy all year round and all our tasks are varied so it’s impossible to get bored. There are always new customers to meet and get to know and it also helps that I believe people genuinely like our products and appreciate the work we put in to get them out there.
It’s all about Richard!
Coca Cola or Pepsi?
Diet Coca Cola – ice and a slice!
The classic desert island: you can only take three things with you – what will they be?
My best friend Joanna
An iPod to keep me slightly more sane just until the battery runs down!
What is the strangest thing you believed in as a child?
That the ‘olden days’ were actually in black and white and couldn’t understand why old black and white photos were not actually black and white in real life!
If you got to have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Invisibility without a doubt – the reasons are endless!!
If you could own your own brand, what would you call it and why?
I have had the same nickname for around 30 years so I just have to go with ‘RICH T’s’ – (not to be confused with a particular snack to dunk in your morning coffee!)