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The British cloth diaper brand Bambino Mio has just been placed on the Business Excellence list by the editors of the European Business Awards. We spoke to the owner and founder of the brand, Guy Schanschieff, about the award, the production of cloth diapers and sustainability.
Luna Journal: Bambino Mio was placed on the Business Excellence List by the editors of the European Business Awards. The nomination of Europe’s largest cross-industry business competition means that the company has remarkable innovations, ethics and achievements. What does this recognition mean for Bambino Mio and against which companies have you prevailed?
Guy Schanschieff: We are proud to have been recently named „One to Watch“ in a list of business excellence published by the European Business Awards. We are the UK’s most widely used reusable nappy brand, but recogitions such as this prove that our sales, distribution and marketing strategies are allowing us to replicate our homegrown success across Europe. This accolade means that the company has been recognised by Europe’s largest cross-sector business competition as one of the best in Europe. We are competing in The Business of the Year Award with Turnover €0-25M; at this stage, we are competing against 19 other British businesses. We are honoured to be the only reusable nappy brand to be featured, alongside other big players such as Just Eat and PhotoBox.
How can Bambino Mio qualify for the award and how many winners will ultimately emerge from the competition?
The qualifcations for the next round of judging remain similar. Each company must give strong evidence for excellent leadership and values, key innovations in product and strategy, and scale and scope of future opportunities. Those national winners then selected from the UK will have the chance to compete at the finals in May. There will be 12 final winners. Being awarded in the European Business Awards provides companies with international exposure, as well as unique networking opportunities.
Last year (2017) Bambino Mio celebrated its 20th anniversary. How is the long-term existence of the company reflected in the development? To what extent has the production of your reusable cloth diapers been optimised?
Bambino Mio was founded by my wife Jo and I over 20 years ago, and is still rooted in core family values today. Our product range has expanded significantly over the years thanks to our in-house product development team to offer parents a wide range of change time products. We work with manufacturers in the UK, Europe and around the world to ensure our customers are getting the best product on the market and work with the best retailers to distribute. Our success lies in our ability to see what’s working in markets and using this knowledge in others. We also work directly with all of our retailers – big and small – building strong relationships and providing bespoke marketing support to help them see success with Bambino Mio.
Which wholesalers and retailers do you work with? Which ones would you like to win on top of that?
We work across a wide range of retailers, from small family businesses, to national supermarkets, pharmacies and major baby chains and each one of them is really important to us. We have learned over the years that different retail strategies complement each other and have adapted our retail strategy accordingly by implementing direct and personalised support to all partners. We are working with a wide range of national and independent retailers around the world including Amazon, Boots, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Mothercare, Aldi dm-drogerie markt, Rossmann, windeln.de, El Corte Inglés, Carrefour, Walmart.com and many more. While gaining this experience we have never forgotten how important it is to build with independent retailers and to grow their businesses.
Which countries do you already produce for and in which markets would you like to expand in the future?
We sell to over 50 countries and are selling directly to our key markets including UK, D-A-CH region, France, Spain, the U.S., Canada, Australia and others. Bambino Mio has seen significant success in these markets by employing nationals from these countries in our offices in the UK and as well as languages these team members can provide insights into these markets can relate to the cultures. This year we’re looking to expand into other European markets including Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and more.
As the market leader in the cloth diaper industry, Bambino Mio has won more than 50 prestigious awards from consumers and industry experts. What do cloth diaper companies need to be aware of in order to be successful and satisfy their customers?
Our job is to provide products that are better for babies, better for parents and better for the environment. We offer a reusable nappy that’s as easy to use as disposable nappies with all the benefits of a reusable product. To be a successful reusable nappy brand, we must create the best product, show parents why our products are the best and provide good customer support. We have seen significant success by developing a strong digital marketing strategy during the last four years and by working very closely with our retailers supporting them and helping drive their sales. After implementing this strategy in the UK we have replicated this across other markets and have seen similar success in the U.S., France, Spain and Australia and are expecting that the D-A-CH Region potentially is going to be a biggest market for our brand in 2019.
10 percent of the residual waste in Germany is caused by disposable diapers. To what extent is your product good for the environment?
The average parent uses around 3000 disposable nappies per year, versus approximately 15 reusable nappies. Whilst parents are arguing that when using reusable products the environmental impact is very high because of the usage of water and electricity, we are giving the decision back to the customer to choose if they would like to keep using single-use plastic products which impact the environment for over 500 years or a more sustainable solution such as our reusable nappies. Significantly less waste is produced when using our nappies.
How did you get the idea to produce cloth diapers?
My wife and I were travelling and met an American at the Taj Mahal who turned us onto the idea of a reusable nappy laundry service. When we arrived home, we started our own laundry service which eventually evolved into Bambino Mio in 1997.
In 2003 you founded the Nappy Alliance. What would you like to achieve with the Nappy Alliance?
We have noticed that the demand for cloth nappies has increased and we noticed the importance of playing part in public policy. We started the program of a political lobbying in the UK and met with government ministers, members of the parliament, NGO’s and various stakeholders.
What innovations are planned for 2018?
We’re already off to an exciting start to 2018 with the launch of clothing especially designed for reusable nappies and our range of gift sets. We have much more planned for the rest of the year including other new products and designs, launches with significant retailers and more chances for parents around the world to get to know Bambino Mio. We are expecting that 2018 is going to be another exciting year for Bambino Mio and predicting our turnover to double again this year.
Images: Bambino Mio