• Where in the world do you currently operate?
We currently operate in the UK and Ireland and one licensee is launching in Australia in February.
We are looking to expand into New Zealand, Canada and the UAE. Typically, we target countries that are culturally similar to the UK or that have a high expat population. However, we are also now actively pursuing China as well, as we see a real gap in the market there.
China embryonic compared to the UK in the baby toddler swimming classes front; there are a few small companies doing what we do, but there’s not much competition and no national brand. When you add to this the fact that lots of people are moving to the cities in China and there is a huge and growing middle class population, plus 20,000 babies are born there every day, we see plenty of opportunities.
• You were one of the companies chosen by HP Go Global for the trip to China – what did you learn from it?
The trip to China was amazing. It was organised by Enterprise Nation and included talks on PayPal and digital and website issues when exporting. We heard from some really inspirational people – we were there with 40 different companies, so it was an excellent opportunity to network; we gained a lot of direction for our own exporting plans from that trip.
One of the interesting things we learned was about adapting your product for cultural differences. For example, we met a lady who opened a cupcake shop in China just as the height of the cupcake craze was hitting a few years back – but people in China have less of a sweet tooth than we do in western countries, so she had to adapt the recipes to suit. It’s this kind of thing you need to be aware of when launching your business overseas, it is so important to do thorough research.