"Nick and Karen are a great fit for the business and bring significant experience of working with growing companies"
An online retailer of baby products and accessories which has seen sales soar during the pandemic is on track to post record revenues of £40m for 2021.
Online4baby, which has its headquarters in Greater Manchester, has grown turnover from £14m in 2019 and £31.5m in 2020, benefiting from the shift to internet shopping during the coronavirus crisis.
The company, founded in 2005 by sisters Christy Foster and Cheryl Blayds with their husbands Darren and Warren, is now aiming to become a £100m-turnover business within three years.
It currently employs over 50 staff across its offices in Hollinwood, near Oldham, and its warehouse and customer services operations in Chadderton.
To support its expansion, Online4baby has recruited 13 staff to its head office this year alone, including Nick Cooling and Karen Miah to the newly created roles of chief financial officer and e-commerce manager respectively.
Rowan Executive Search, which works with fast-growing SMEs across the north west, teamed up with Christy to clarify and shape a leadership structure aligned to the next phase of growth for Online4baby.
This led to Rowan appointing Nick and Karen in the business along with the latest arrival Tom Fotheringham, who joins in early 2022 as chief marketing officer, which is also a new role.
Nick joined Online4baby from boohooMAN, where he was head of finance. He previously worked at Warburtons, where he progressed through the ranks to commercial financial controller.
Karen moved from The Very Group and is spearheading the implementation of a new bespoke web platform alongside new data and analytics software.
Tom is joining Online4baby from Allbeauty.com, where he is customer experience director. Before that he held senior e-commerce roles at Specsavers and home furnishings retailer ScS.
Rowan director Peter Holt said: “Online4baby has experienced impressive growth with its original systems and processes, which is testament to the quality of both its products and people.
“Nick and the other appointees have been building and professionalising the company’s systems and processes, and this has allowed Online4baby to expand its operations and increase its pace of growth.
“Nick’s commercial focus and extensive industry experience has enabled the business to flourish and avoid the issues often associated with step-change growth.”
Online4baby sells items ranging from prams, buggies and car seats to cots, high chairs, nursery furniture, baby walkers, swings and playpens. It has its own brands, Puggle and 4Baby, and sells leading brands such as Joie.
Managing director Christy said the company has begun expanding its product range to include more brands, and continues to seek others to add to its offering.
She added: “The shift to online shopping and increased awareness of our platform have helped us achieve strong organic growth over the past few years.
“As we don’t have bricks and mortar sites, we are able to offer extremely good value to consumers. As a result, we have seen revenues grow substantially and, with our investment in key staff, our infrastructure and product ranges, we believe a target of reaching £100m in revenues within the next three years is realistic.
“To help us manage our recent growth and our future plans, we have brought in professionals of an extremely high calibre to fill a variety of new roles.
“Nick and Karen are a great fit for the business and bring significant experience of working with growing companies. We are confident Tom will also be a great addition to the team as we develop the business over the coming years and transition to the next level, while continuing to provide the best possible customer experience.
“Working with Rowan has been a refreshing experience. Its team are playing a key role in helping us to grow, by enabling us to bring top-quality people into the business. The team’s high standards of research and due diligence make them stand out from the crowd in terms of sourcing the right candidates.”
Paul Waite, managing director of Rowan, said: “Working with Christy and her adviser Ed Hunter to support Online4baby in creating a leadership team matched to the company’s ambitions has been a pleasure.
“Appointing an impressive leadership team with the experience aligned to their international growth plans and with the Online4baby DNA to complement the current team underpins the Rowan philosophy. I look forward to seeing the continued success of the expanded team over the coming years giving further proof to our mantra of people-powered growth.”