We are delighted to announce the launch of our new and improved website. We are also looking to rebrand with a new name in the very near future but are undecided on a name.
This will be the third time our Bournemouth store has changed its name and each name change has marked a new development in our family businesses’s journey to becoming one of the largest resellers of Britain’s best loved baby brands in the UK.
I want to share with you the history of our store, so you can see how far we have come, because I am very proud of what my family and staff have achieved to get us to this exciting milestone.
So let’s start by going back 39 years’ to when my mum and dad opened our first family shop, back in 1981. My mum, Jean was the one who came up with the idea when she was pregnant with my brother Jon. She was looking for baby goods and couldn’t find anywhere locally to buy what she needed, so she talked to my dad, Rod, and they decided to set up their own baby shop in Charminster Road called Discount Baby Equipment.
The store got off to a great start and after 7 years we had outgrown our premises on Charminster Road, so mum and dad opened a new store alongside that one in Parkstone, Poole in 1983. The demand for baby goods in the area was high and our Parkstone store was open until 2016. It was a deceptively big store - to passers by it may have looked small from the outside, but inside was a treasure trove of precious baby goods, which is why our customers referred to it as ‘Aladdin’s Cave!’
Parkstone was big enough for our Poole customer base, but the shop in Charminster was too small for the growing demand, so my mum and dad bought a new, bigger store in Moordown in 1988. We decided to sell the store in Moordown after 10 years’ of successful trading and concentrate on our Parkstone store. However, in 2009 the store on Holdenhurst Road came on the market and we knew it would be the perfect location for a new baby store, with its central location and transport links. And we have been there ever since.
We decided to change our name from Discount Baby Equipment to Bournemouth Baby Centre in 2016 because we felt localisation would be key to growing our business and improving our image.
The rise of the internet began in the 90’s but we didn't launch our online store until 2007. This was a huge step for us, but we knew we had to do it in order to compete with bigger brands and grow our market. Back then, we didn’t realise the power of Google and how big Ecommerce sites would become. The website quickly took off and I would say 2015 was the year we really started ramping things up online, and I am so glad we did as the majority of our business now comes from our website, as it has allowed us to ship to locations all over Great Britain, which is why in 2020 we have decided to rebrand to ......' ? '
Our product offering has also changed over the decades, but some of the big brands, such as Silver Cross (renowned for their contemporary prams) and Mamas & Papas have been with us since the start and they remain amongst our bestsellers today. When we opened our doors back in 1981 everyone wanted a big and bouncy baby stroller that looked like Cinderella's carriage, but when Maclaren came on the scene things started to change and pushchairs started to become more lightweight and compact. In the mid 80’s Max Cosi, who created the first infant car seat, entered the market and more recently we have seen new players such as Cybex and iCandy joining the baby race. From baby strollers to car seats, nursery furniture, travel systems, highchairs, baby bouncers, baby carriers and more, the growth in our product range is why we opened our warehouse in 2016, because we were simply running out of space!
You will see from the photos of our store fronts and vans, how much things have changed over the years. Gone are the days of bright orange and candy stripes and we have now opted for what we hope you’ll agree is a more contemporary, fresh design.
I am one of four children and family has always been at the heart of our business. Two years after Discount Baby Equipment opened, my other brother Martin joined my Mum and Dad. My sister Melanie started working at the store in 1986 and Jon joined them straight from school. I have been working for the family business since I was 16 when I used to help out after school doing repairs, but I didn’t join properly until 2005 after trying my hand at numerous jobs. I think I always knew that I wanted to end up running the family business. It is what I had been brought up with and it felt like home. And I hope one day my children and my brothers and sisters children join too, because I want our family legacy to live on.
I am very proud of what we have achieved so far, but it’s not all down to our family’s hard work. We are truly thankful for our loyal customer base, who have been with us since their little ones were a bump, to baby and beyond. At times like these, supporting local businesses is so important and we have big plans for the future, so watch this space!
Thank you for the continued support