Business

Somerset baby company Hippychick moves manufacturing to UK

A 22-year-old Somerset baby company has moved some of its manufacturing back to the UK amid issues associated with Brexit, it said.

Hippychick, which was founded by Julia Minchin in 1999 and is based in Bridgwater, said the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union had “severely disrupted” its supply chain with imported goods.

The business has now outsourced production to Somerset-based baby accessories specialist Thimble.

Managing director Ms Minchin said: “Customers are so used to ordering and getting next-day delivery. No one wants to have to wait weeks and even months, particularly with baby products which are outgrown at such a pace.

“Working with Thimble has been really refreshing. Not only have they produced on time – a huge rarity in these challenging times, but it’s been so easy for us to work with a business that’s not just UK based but is literally on our doorstep.”

Hippychick’s products are currently manufactured in India, but Ms Minchin said there had been a limited supply of stock in the warehouse for more than three months as a result of container shortages, border control and a lack of lorry drivers.

She said the firm had been inundated with work since Brexit, but admitted there were also “downsides” to manufacturing in Britain. She said pricing was “an issue” and it was “considerably more expensive” than in Asia.

She said: “However, the upside is being able to fulfil orders without delays which in themselves can be costly. As demand grows prices will hopefully start to level out, making it feasible to produce more of our goods in this country going forwards.”

Hippychick is most famous for its Hipseat baby carrier, the founding product in the portfolio, as well as its all-in-one waterproofs.

“We sell 5,000 retail pieces per annum and bringing these to UK would be quite a sizeable piece of business for a manufacturer,” Ms Minchin added.

“We’re delighted to hear from any businesses on our shores who might have the capacity to work with us.”

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