The award winning creators of stylish and affordable baby products have secured their third investment from the Development Bank of Wales to help fund their relocation to Swansea Enterprise Park.
Established in 2013 by husband and wife team Fran and Veronica Vaughan, Ickle Bubba has achieved consecutive triple digit growth for each of the last four years. The latest support from the Development Bank follows two earlier investments made in 2017 and 2019. These loans complemented existing facilities and were used to boost the growth of the business and the creation of 56 jobs over the last four years.
The fast growing company has now made the move from Ponthenry, Llanelli to Atlantic House, a 45,000 square foot distribution centre that is home to 64 staff including Paul Thomas, who has recently been appointed as Customer Operations Director.
Ickle Bubba’s product range includes car seats, pushchairs, nursery furniture and most recently, nursery interiors. The best-selling travel system range includes various ‘all in one’ packages suitable from birth up to three years. Products are manufactured in China then shipped directly to customer distribution centres and Ickle Bubba’s warehouse before being sold via a UK wide network of stockists including Smyths, Asda and independent retailers.
Ickle Bubba’s array of awards includes gold for Loved by Parents 2021 best pushchair over £300, best travel system under £500 and best lightweight stroller. The company also collected the platinum award for best multi-stage car seat.
Managing Director Fran Vaughan said: “Our research shows that parents are looking for stylish contemporary products at realistic and affordable prices. As parents ourselves, we can directly relate to what our customers are looking for and have made it the focus of our business model.
“Great product design and aftercare support is the winning combination behind our success. This is a very competitive market, with some well-established household names, so we’ve had to work hard to penetrate the market with a new product range.
“Having the Development Bank of Wales as one of our funding partners, we’ve been able to transform our start-up business into a successful international brand in just four years. Having the additional working capital has meant we’ve been able to invest where it matters and grow exponentially. Importantly, we are safe in the knowledge that we now have room to expand into our new flagship HQ as we further develop our product range and sales channels across the UK.”
Dave Perez, Senior Portfolio Executive of the Development Bank of Wales added: “Ickle Bubba is quickly building a reputation as an award winning, affordable and stylish brand that is making parenting easier by understanding the needs of new parents. Sitting in the low-mid priced end of the market, the business has grown rapidly in a very competitive market that is worth about $50 billion annually.
“We were delighted to first support Ickle Bubba in 2018 as a small start-up. Our follow-on loans from the Wales Business Fund have supported long-term sustainable growth at a time when we must do all that we can to support our homegrown businesses. The success of ambitious and innovative SMEs like Ickle Bubba will play a vital role in our ability to recover from Covid-19. Now more than ever it is vital that these businesses can benefit from long-term support and quick access to the funding that they need to capitalise on growth opportunities; creating and safeguarding jobs in our local communities.”
The funding for Ickle Bubba came from the Wales Business Fund which is part-funded by the ERDF through the Welsh Government It was created specifically to support businesses with fewer than 250 employees based in Wales and those willing to move to Wales with loans and equity packages from £50,000 up to £2 million.