My 1st Years

Former Moonpig chief to drive My 1st Years growth

My 1st Years, the personalised baby and child gift brand, has appointed ex-Moonpig chief Iain Martin as chairman. He has been appointed to the role of chairman by best friends and founding team Daniel Price and Jonny Sitton.

Since starting the business in 2010, the pair have created an impressive range of personalised products for babies and children, winning celebrity fans including HRH Prince George (who wore his very own personalised bathrobe and slippers when he met Barack Obama), Luna Legend, Elijah and Zachary John and Jessica Simpson’s four-year-old son Ace.

The company received early backing from Lord David Alliance, co-founder of Coats Viyella and co-owner of N Brown Group which includes Jacamo and Simply Be in its catalogue, and went on to secure a £5m Series A led by growth capital investor Beringea, in partnership with Hargreave Hale. It has also secured retail partnerships with the likes of, John Lewis, and Selfridges.

The pair are now hoping that the expertise of Martin, who headed up Moonpig for almost a decade, will help them scale the business in the UK as well as the US. “I was drawn to the business because it has such an excellent product range and a team that really seem to care about its customers,” said Martin.

“Whilst the personalisation technology that has been developed is interesting, a visit to the factory to see the care and attention that the staff put into making the product and the beautiful way the gifts are packaged demonstrated to me the very essence of the business and brand.”

Martin, who has recently become a Dad for the first time, added: “From a customer perspective, it’s very difficult to find distinct, high quality and thoughtful gifts for children. Personalisation of a towel or a bathrobe turns an everyday item into something that extra bit special for your little one.

“In terms of market potential, the addressable market for both gifting and self-purchase is significant. There is a very exciting opportunity for growth and if I can bring some of my experience in scaling all aspects of the business then I’m thrilled to be part of it.”

Co-founder Daniel Price said: “Founding a business straight out of university, we always knew the importance of surrounding ourselves with the right people to advise us at the right time.

“After getting our Series A, big and rapid growth was our goal, and we recognised we needed to bring in someone to help us with this next stage.

“We have hailed Moonpig as a bit of a hero business when it comes to personalisation for a while, so we had our sights firmly set on Iain and managed to get an introduction via one of our investors.

“The chemistry was there instantly - what was supposed to be a 15-minute coffee turned into a five-hour meeting talking about brand positioning, customer acquisition, personalisation technology - but also about protecting our culture as we grow and so on.

“We couldn’t have picked a better chairman for My 1st Years as we enter the next chapter - it’s going to be an exciting time.”

Published: 07 September 2017

Article by Bryce Wilcock
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