Alan Halsall The surprising potential in old prams – MoneyWeek

Hisfirstmovewastoupdatetheproductrangeandbringinadesignertoworkonanewpram。

HealsowantednewproductsmadeinChina,wherehehadbuiltupgoodmanufacturingcontactsthroughhisexperienceinthetoyindustry。

However,HalsallalsousedtheequipmenthehadboughttosetupasmallproductionfacilityinYorkshiretomakeSilverCross’s“heritageproduct”,theBalmoralPram。

Whilethenewproductswerebeingreadied,HalsalldashedaroundvisitingindependentretailerstopersuadethemtokeepfaithinSilverCross。

“Thebusinesshadexperiencedavolatilecoupleofyearsandmanyretailerswerescepticalwhentheyheardthatithadbeensold。

”YetindependentretailerswereakeypartofHalsall’sstrategybecause“ourcustomerswouldn’texpecttofindourproductsinasupermarket”。

By2003,SilverCross’sfirstnewproduct,theSleepover,hittheshops。

“Intheearlyyearswedidn’thavethemoneyforbigadvertisingcampaignssoweusedword-of-mouthPRasitwasmorecost-effective。

”Salesreceivedaboostwhencelebrities,suchasLiverpudlianactressJenniferEllison,werespottedusingit。

Withsalesrising,HalsallfeltconfidentenoughtolaunchanadvertisingcampaigninBritishbabymagazines。

HealsoestablishedaqualitycontrolofficeinChina。

“By2006wewereproducingsomuchthatitmadesensetohaveafull-timeChineseoffice。



AsbusinesspickedupHalsallfeltreadytoriskabreakintoothermarkets。

“SilverCrosswastrustedbyparentstomakeprams,soIthoughtthey’dtrustustoprovideotherpartsofthenursery。

”Thefirstnewproductrangein2008waschildcarseats。

Therangewasasuccessandwasfollowedbyaselectionofgiftsandnurseryfurniture。

Thediversificationhaspaidoff:non-wheeledproductsnowaccountfor20%ofoverallsales。

PartofHalsall’sabilitytogrowsaleswasdowntoremainingselectiveaboutretailers。

“Itisimportanttobuildupabrandcarefully。

Someshopsareagoodfitforourproducts,somearen’t。

”OnceHarrodsandJohnLewisagreedtostockhisproducts,heknewhewasonaroll。

Inthelasttwoyears,HalsallhaslookedtobuildSilverCross’sinternationalbusiness。

In2010heopenedasalesofficeinHongKong。

“Ourteamtheremanagerelationshipswithourdistributorsinvariouscountriesthroughouttheregion。

”Lastyear,saleshit£15m,butHalsallstillhas“somenewdealsinthepipeline”,whichshouldaddalotofgrowth。

“Ican’trevealwhattheyareatthemoment,butSilverCrossisdefinitelynotsittingstill。



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