Hello! It has been a while since I last wrote and there is so much to tell you! Firstly, a snapshot of the numbers:
We can happily report that we have now sold more than 425,000 mifold boosters seats in over 140 countries around the world with sales exceeding $20 million at retail!
This translates into someone buying a mifold every 80 seconds! We are extremely proud of these feats and it's only 18 months since we shipped the very first mifold.
What is more, I can officially tell you that we are moving away from being a single product company with the imminent launch of three new products and we have just hired our 11th employee! A huge welcome to Jacqui Hyde, mifold Operations Manager.
The biggest single event since I last wrote was our attendance at the Kind and Jugend tradeshow, Cologne: the largest in Europe for kids’ first years – it was a triumph for us! The primary aim of the show was for us to launch our new products and confirm our place as leader in the ultra-compact car seat category. In addition, we had the opportunity to meet with many of our lovely distributors and review their businesses as well as educate both them and the many visitors to our snazzy booth, about the ultra-compact car seat category.
In short for those of you who don’t already know about our new product range, let me explain. hifold by mifold is the next revolution in child passenger safety – a highback booster that folds to the size of a backless booster. It is easy to store and great when on the go. It is advanced, compact and portable and is the most adjustable high back booster ever invented. It will be available from next summer in a dazzling array of trendy colors.
mifold One is the most advanced, compact and storable booster seat ever invented. It is the first ever non-folding Grab-and-Go Booster and it is so thin and flat making it so easy to store in the car when not being used. It is aimed at everyday use when kids don’t need to move their booster seat from car to car.
Finally, we are launching mifold Sport - the most luxurious, compact and portable booster seat ever invented. In the finest tradition of the luxury motor industry, mifold Sport incorporates high-end performance materials and artisan craftsmanship with excellence in design , engineering, coach-building and trim.
Besides the official launch of our new products, the pinnacle of the K & J show for us, was the first ever mifold Gala Evening and the much coveted mifold Distributor Awards. Held in an elegant and uber cool club overlooking the river Rhine and Cologne Cathedral, we celebrated the successes of our distributors over that past year and proudly named winners in the following categories:
1) Distributor of the Year: Maqui Trading (Chile)
2) Best Launch Event: Optima Kids (Russia)
3) Best Marketing Campaign: EI Brand Management Inc. (Canada)
4) Best In Store Merchandising: Baby Smart Ltd. (Israel)
5) Best Online Merchandising: Lyceem (China)
6) Best PR & Social Media: Whitestep Ltd. (UK) – Joint Winner
7) Best PR & Social Media: Joywood Asia Ltd. (Hong Kong) - Joint Winner
8) Manufacturer of the Year: Tetro Ltd. (China)
9) Industrial Designer of the Year: JMDA Ltd. (UK)
A big well done to our winners and particularly to Maqui Trading, our Distributor of the Year, for their never-ending work, innovation and enthusiasm.
In addition to the K & J show, mifold has also been present at the Kidz in Motion show in Colorado and the ABC show in Las Vegas devoted to specialty stores. Matt, our VP of Sales North America, has done a storming job at these shows getting the mifold story told in the industry. He has been particularly pleased with the new mifold portable booth which he is able to pop up in just a few minutes – apparently, it’s even easier than assembling an Ikea book shelf! Since July he has signed up 10 new specialty retail stores to stock mifold and along with Mark, our CMO, has signed a deal with Target in the US who will put mifold nationwide in 1, 750 stores from January. This launch will be supported with video monitors in many stores showing the mifold “how it works” videos. Other new mifold outlets in the US include Pottery Barn and Kohls. Buy Buy Baby will be the first store to feature mifold at its checkouts and Zulily, the promotional website, ran our first flash sale successfully selling 600 mifold seats in only 72 hours! Kudos to Matt and Mark!
Ken, our VP Sales has been his usual supersonic self, conversing with distributors (literally holding back to back meetings from 8am to 8pm at the K & J show) and securing new distribution agreements in Uruguay, Panama, Greece, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Croatia and France. He had a whirlwind trip to Korea where he provided training to the Korean team and met with buyers from leading Korean retail chains. He also went to the biggest baby and juvenile show in Russia where he helped our Russian Distributors in their promotion of mifold. We think he had a good time judging from the photo….
We are thrilled that a special project of Ken’s is coming to fruition. He has been working on a limited edition Dragon Red version of mifold manufactured specifically for our Chinese Distributor who is running a campaign starting in November to coincide with an 11/11 promotion. (think Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined...and double it). We have a sweepstake running in the office to guess how many of these Dragon Reds will be sold in one day – estimates range from 3,100 to 6,856. Fingers crossed we reach the top end of the range!
Ken is also the proud owner of a new (and rather expensive) drone. He insisted that all the team needed to down tools and come outside of the office to watch its performance in the skies (we didn’t need that much persuading actually…)
Davide and Rachel our brand managers, have had a lot of fun managing the design and roll out of new packaging for mifold and with the packaging design for all three of our new products as well as facilitating all the artwork for the booth at the K& J show. There really was very little stress on their side of the office in the lead up to K & J and everything was delivered in time for the September deadline with grace and ease (well almost!) In addition to packaging design, they also produced new sales sheets for each product and a sleek new mifold brochure. (We won’t mention how these brochures were left on the baggage carousel at Frankfurt airport and arrived just in time for us to bring them home again!) They continue to maintain our presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest with snappy headlines, content and photos. We are particularly proud of Rachel in her new role as Miss mifold…….
Robert and Gaynor continue to hold the fort on the Operations and Finance front. Robert spent a month with us at corporate HQ in order to whip us all into shape – everyone’s google sheet skills drastically improved and many gigabytes of memory on our computers was taken up with new procedures and processes. Thankyou Robert! Seriously though, without wishing to tempt fate, both our fulfilment processes and financial procedures thanks to these guys seem to be running smoothly and seamlessly.
Rayna our Financial Controller celebrated completion of her first year in the company. Well done Rayna! You lived to tell the tale! She has proved to be a whizz at conjuring up weekly sales reports and has proved herself to be a dab hand with Adobe Acrobat. If you need to know how to amalgamate a multi-paged document at the touch of a button, Rayna is your girl!
Jon, our mighty leader has been here, there and everywhere, meeting with distributors, regulatory bodies and in fact anyone who offers him a good quality glass of whiskey! He has been devoting most of his time to new product development and we hope that you will all love the fruits of his labour when they are launched over the next few months.
As for me, I carry on in my multi-faceted position wearing many different hats every day. I was delighted to oversee our first ever intern at mifold. Zoe who spent a couple of weeks with us over the summer brought with her a sunny disposition and a willingness to turn her hand to any project. She will be a great asset to any future employer.
In addition, You may find me organizing the mifold participation in an international conference, advising a customer on how they can install their mifold in in the middle seat back row of a blue Mazda 3, 1994 model, updating the company handbook regarding holiday policies or changing the ink again in the printer.
With that I will sign off, thanks for reading!