No Teething Troubles for Cornish Company
Gummee Glove has already sold 30,000 of its unique products, designed to help young babies soothe themselves from the pain of cutting their first teeth.
Babies cannot grasp a teething ring or toy until they are around five months old, but as parents know, teething symptoms can begin much earlier.
Jodine Boothby of Calstock, South East Cornwall, first came up with the concept in June 2011 when her son began teething. Being so young, he could not yet grasp a traditional teething toy but Jodine noticed he was sucking and teething on his anti-scratch mittens. She saw the need for a teething mitten but found nothing available on the market.
After designing the Gummee Glove, Jodine sourced a manufacturer and began selling the product online and through a number of independent children’s shops.
After launching Gummee Glove and unsure where to take the business next, Jodine heard about the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded Oxford Innovation. In June 2013 she had her first meeting with business coach Rachel Woods.
Working with her husband and a recently-employed business secretary, she still runs the business from the family home but her outlook is now global, with distribution networks in Australia, South Africa, Ireland and China and plans to break into the American market. In October 2013 Gummee Glove won the Best New Product award in the Nursery Industry National Awards, alongside big-hitters like Britax, John Lewis and Babies R Us.
Jodine Boothby said: “When I first heard about Oxford Innovation it sounded too good to be true. It is an amazing resource – especially for someone like me who was new to the business world. The coaching made me realise that the company was on the right track but that we needed to be clearer on where we wanted to go. My coach, Rachel Woods, has helped me plan and prioritise. We had a rather scattergun approach when we were starting out but I no longer waste time on things that won’t directly benefit the business.
“Our two main priorities are now to grow our UK market by signing-up with a major distributor who can take us into some of the country’s biggest retail outlets and to enter the American market. We are talking to US distributors at the moment and are planning to fly out there next year.
“It is fantastic to have someone as experienced as Rachel as a sounding board for new ideas. I would recommend Oxford Innovation to any businesses but particularly to anyone who is, like I was, starting out as an amateur. My coach has given me a massive confidence boost.”
Oxford Innovation coach Rachel Woods added: “Gummee Glove is a fantastic company to work with and Jodine is a natural entrepreneur: she is just full of ideas and so resourceful. What she has achieved so far is amazing but since Oxford Innovation started working with her she has become much more ambitious.
“I see my role as broadening her horizons and challenging her to stretch her ambitions. I think I have helped to open her eyes to what she can achieve.”