Shnuggle has its overseas business all wrapped up
The Co Down company behind a Moses basket with a difference is celebrating lucrative new business deals across Europe and the Far East.
Sales of Shnuggle Ltd's baby basket have increased by 40% following a £60,000 investment aimed at boosting its customer base and marketing capabilities.
Husband and wife team Adam and Sinead Murphy, who started designing and manufacturing the basket in 2011, are set to expand their product range and have managed to break into markets in Greece, Spain and Japan.
Now Shnuggle, which is based in Newtownards, aims to quadruple its sales across Britain and Europe by 2016 after securing the export business at Harrogate Nursery Fair last month.
The innovative Shnuggle Moses Basket is stronger than the traditional basket and quieter because it is made of a fine, plastic-like shell and not wicker or palm leaves.
Designs are already being created for a Shnuggle baby bath as well as a number of other "innovative baby products", Sinead Murphy told the Business Telegraph.
Invest NI has offered Shnuggle Ltd £10,850 of support towards its £67,000 development plans which include recruiting a business development manager and exhibiting at a number of trade shows across Great Britain and Europe.
Mrs Murphy explained why she and her husband decided to create a Moses basket in an already busy market.
"It all started when our daughter was born. She was in a traditional creaky wicker basket and very time she moved it creaked and the hood would never stay up and we didn't really see a use for it.
"It was hard to clean and the other ones use chemicals to protect it. I complained about it to my husband, who is in product design and manufacture, so he designed a new one."
Sales began online and soon "it started to become more and more popular and we started to win awards".
A considerable boost was then secured when the Murphys got the chance, through a competition, to pitch to a buyer for the high-end baby product firm Jojo Maman Bebe.
It soon joined the firm's product range and hopes are high that it will soon be on sale at John Lewis after the company said they wanted to stock it when they saw the product at a recent trade fair.
The basket has a semi-rigid hypoallergenic body. It can be placed in the bath or washed and can even be sterilised, unlike the natural fibre varieties.
The Shnuggle Moses Basket was recently named best In Home product by The Baby Products Association at Baby and Nursery Trade Awards (BANTA).
Oonagh Hinds, manager of Invest NI's eastern regional office, added: "Shnuggle Ltd has significant export potential and its investment will give Shnuggle Ltd the capability and resources it needs to secure further contracts with retailers and wholesalers in its target markets."