Lancashire toy box firm eyes European expansion

A Fylde coast-based children’s gifts service is set to expand in Europe after help from a Lancashire support service.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 4:55 am

Thornton-based BOE House, which trades as Baby Box Shop, 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, led by Kim and Owen Burrows, sells via 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. They also needed to develop the warehouse and employ more staff.

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Left to right, Aidy Riggott, LCC, Owen and Kim Burrows and Jonathan Nelson, Rosebud.

Owen 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.”

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 the county council’s Lancashire County Developments and aims to support the growth of county businesses and the economy, offering loans between £10,000 and £300,000.

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.

The support has also aided improvements to the production studio, machinery and website.

Owen added: “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.”

County councillor Aidy Riggott 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.”

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