Owner: Janie Reader & Tracey Banga – Owners
Number of outlets: online only
Location: Kempston, Bedfordshire
Markets: Children’s Bedroom & Nursery Accessories, homeware, soft furnishings
Modern Retail talks to Janie Reader and Tracey Banga, owners of online store Little Ragamuffin – specialists in children’s bedroom and nursery accessories.
MR: How does Little Ragamuffin aim to stand out as a brand?
LR: First and foremost Little Ragamuffin offers a warm, personal service of the highest standard to ensure customer satisfaction when purchasing from our online store. We are passionate about ensuring we give customers an exciting and uniquely different range of quality children’s bedroom and nursery accessories in addition to our very personal shopping experience.
MR: How would you sum up your target customer?
LR: We have a very diverse range of customers. We consider our main target audience to be mothers with young children. We also attract many dads and grandparents too!
MR: Why should people shop with you?
LR: We source and stock carefully-selected products from the UK and overseas which are that little bit different to those that customers might normally expect to see when they shop on the high street or online. We like to ensure our products are of a high quality, child friendly and retail at affordable prices. And of course customers can expect to receive our very personal service.
MR: What do you want to do differently to your competitors?
LR: To stay ahead of our competitors we also continually review our product range to ensure it reflects customer demand, removing and/or adding new categories and products as necessary. We ensure that our range includes products that are either not available or easy to come by in the UK. As the business expands, we aim to build an online store where customers can buy all their children’s bedroom and nursery accessories from a single source.
MR: What challenges do you face as a business, and how do you aim to overcome them?
LR: As a relatively new SME, a continual challenge we face is to find the right financial balance between expenditure on stock to fulfill demand and that allocated to marketing and advertising to promote sales. Additionally, the importance we place on providing and maintaining an excellent customer service requires us to undertake regular reviews of our position in the market.
MR: How do you use technology/media/ecommerce to improve your offering?
LR: From the beginning of Little Ragamuffin we ensured that we allocated a significant amount of time and energy to enhance our social media presence across a variety of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Both to promote our business and engage in a dialogue with potential customers. Furthermore, we have gone on to win awards from Theo Paphitis’s #sbs and Jacqueline Gold’s #wow on twitter. This has helped enormously in promoting our name and product range. With technology and the role of ecommerce changing so quickly, we are always looking for new methods of promoting and improving our business. This is in addition to more traditional media, such as advertising in appropriate lifestyle magazines.
MR: What do you love about your business?
LR: Owning and operating our own business is an amazing opportunity and achievement. We love being able to be personally involved with customers’ choices for their children’s happiness and enjoy the prospect of taking the business from strength to strength. We adore market research, finding new products from global suppliers to bring something new and exciting to our store.
MR: What advantages does being solely-online bring?
LR: As an online business we are not constrained by our location. Technology provides the vital link between potential customers and the products we offer. We use a variety of regional and national organisations and various methods to fulfill our distribution requirements from our base in Bedfordshire. In fact it is beneficial to us to be able to operate 24/7. We want to be available to customers all over the world.
MR: What are your growth aims for the next 12 months?
LR: Over the next year we are also looking to extend our product range substantially to offer a wider choice to customers. We also want to move towards the aim of Little Ragamuffin becoming a one-stop shop for children’s accessories. We hope to continue our revenue growth, establish other avenues for attracting new customers and, above all, keep moving forward.
Also, we would like to continue to develop our range of own-branded products. After having produced our own ‘Little Ragamuffin’ door knob earlier this year.
MR: What advice would you give to a new retail start-up based on your experience?
LR: First and foremost, be clear and focused about what your business is,. Its aims, and how it will operate and progress. With all the challenges, ups and downs you will experience, be determined to succeed and accomplish what you started out to achieve.