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Green Sheep Group on the past year, the importance of sleep and the power of the independent sector

Established in 2006, Green Sheep Group specialises in the design and manufacture of nursery baby products. Progressive Preschool spoke to commercial director Donna Storey to find out more.

Green Sheep Group’s commercial director Donna Storey.

Green Sheep Group started when university friends Paul Maurice and Mark Nicholls launched a range of organic mattresses (The Little Green Sheep), based on the simple idea of providing babies with the most natural sleep environment possible.

The introduction of the multi award-winning SnüzPod bedside crib in 2015 really saw things taking off, as the new brand – Snüz – quickly established itself in the market.

“Since then, our focus has been on increasing the product offer across the board and establishing our global distribution – but most importantly, on continuing to engage with and dedicate time to the independent trade,” Donna explains. “When I first joined the business it was made abundantly clear to me that the independents were our first supporters; there is a huge amount of loyalty to them that runs right through our entire company culture.”

Donna joined the Green Sheep Group in January 2020, to focus on the brand’s online offering – just as Covid was first becoming an issue. “We could never have known what was going to happen just a few weeks later,” she says, “but ultimately it was perfect timing.”

Green Sheep Group is the parent company od The Little Green Sheep and Snüz.

Of course, the past year has been a time of change for everyone in the nursery industry, but Donna has been able to turn that to her advantage, focusing on making sure that Green Sheep Group’s website and e-commerce offering was as efficient and effective as possible.

Green Sheep Group has made a number of other changes over the past year as well, with a restructured sales team now headed up by sales manager Sam Tyack, who previously looked after the independent sector. Hannah Cammock has also joined the Green Sheep Group team to work alongside Shaun Windsor-Turner looking after the independent sector, while Keiran Thompson has taken on the role of export and country manager for Ireland.

“We have massively strengthened that team, specifically so we can better look after the independent sector,” says Donna, “and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. When the team did the online launch for the SnüzPod 4 it was amazing to see so many genuinely heartfelt messages coming in on the chat. There was genuine comaraderie there which was really touching.”

The Green Sheep Group won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2018.

Green Sheep Group’s unique relationship with the independent sector has seen the business look for ways to support them even further; investing in point of sale, creating exclusive bundles and giving them the opportunity to do something different.

“I do love the agility of being a small company and how entreprenurial the team are allowed to be,” adds Donna. “The ability to be reactive and respond to what the independent sector need from us is exciting, but it does also mean that we don’t have huge cash reserves or other back-up when things start getting difficult.”

Moving on from the difficulties of the past year, it is always a challenge to stand out in the nursery sector, but for Green Sheep Group it’s all about product differentiation and delivery for customers.

“We offer products that customers want to buy – and the money we invest goes into making sure those products are of a great standard, look fantastic and are best in class for their product sector. Really, the beauty of our two brands is that the overall perception of them in the marketplace is much bigger than we actually are.”

“One of the things I love so much about Green Sheep Group is the way we approach things,” Donna continued. “When the new safety standard was announced, we did a complete grassroots redesign, focusing on breathability and airflow, which ultimately helps baby sleep. And of course, if baby sleeps better, everyone sleeps better!

This is a truncated version of an article which has been previously published in Progressive Preschool and can be seen here.

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