Magic Word Media

Baby blanket business a Suffolk success

Meg Quinton (Photo: Anthony Cullen)

With hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, The Cuddle Company and its gorgeous bespoke blankets have taken the baby world by storm. Meet the woman who has grown the brand from humble beginnings to a thriving business.

Growing up surrounded by eye-catching fabrics and brightly coloured swatches, it’s no surprise that Meg Quinton would become crafty with a needle and thread.

Her mother taught her to sew from a young age, and Meg would help out at her fabric shop when she came home to Suffolk from studying fine art at Winchester School of Art.

But what could have remained a hobby has been transformed into a thriving business – thanks to Meg’s creativity and insight into what her customers want.

The Cuddle Company produces luxury personalised baby gifts made from a super soft fabric, with products handmade in Suffolk by Meg’s talented team.

The business currently has a turnover of £800,000 and produces 35,000 pieces per year.

However, the brand had humble beginnings – in Meg’s mother’s living room.

Meg, 35, said: “My mum taught me to sew and our house was always filled with fabric, so I have always been around textiles.

“When I came home after university, my Mum had a shop selling fabric and I would help her out.

“There were lot of scraps of fabric around the house, so I started to make bibs and decided to try selling them on eBay.

“My mum encouraged me to go down the baby blanket route as lots of people were requesting them, and it took off from there.

“We had a tiny embroidery machine at home, so I started to personalise them as well, after a few months I realised I might have some kind of business here.

“We turned my mum’s living room into a sewing room and invested in an industrial sewing machine and embroidery machine. I worked from there for a year until we rented an office.

“I’m not a mum myself, I just managed to tap into the baby market and produce something people wanted.”

Meg Quinton at work (Photo: Anthony Cullen)

Meg went on to rent office space, and was able to employ someone to help out.

“That was seven years ago,” she said. “We’ve moved premises three times since then and we’ve now grown to have a team of eight people. There was no strict business plan, I have no idea how I did it – I just realised people really liked the product and listened to what they wanted.”

The products use a very soft fabric, which Meg found was perfect for baby blankets. Her customers also value the ability to personalise the products by choosing colours, fabrics and an embroidered name.

“The baby market is a nice one to be in,” said Meg. “There is a big mum community on social media who have been a great support in recommending our products and tagging friends who might be interested.

“I set up our Facebook page and would post on there with product updates, then figure out what worked and didn’t work. We get lots of nice feedback on our social media pages and repeat customers will often comment on there. We have built a nice community.”

Meg aims to offer customers as many different fabrics as possible, so they can choose a truly bespoke design.

“Our customers love to be able to choose the exact shades of the fabric, or style of embroidery. We love being able to help people who have a vision of exactly what they want.

“Some will send over photos of their pram or nursery so they can choose the exact colours to compliment them. As everything is made by us, it does take slightly longer to make and we can’t dispatch it ‘next day’ like Amazon. We try to work to a seven to 10 day turnaround and our customers really understand that. They appreciate that it is bespoke and takes a little longer.”

During the pandemic restrictions, demand soared for Cuddle Company products.

“When Covid first hit, we were able to carry on and work in separate rooms,” said Meg.

“We couldn’t keep up with the demand. There is a lot of issues with stock control, and this has continued due to ongoing supply chain issues globally.

“The last six months have been really challenging in terms of the stock, so I am now looking at ways to get the fabric more quickly. So, at the moment, our focus is keeping up with demand.

“There are lots of exciting things on the horizon when it comes to our products. Over the last few years, we have started printing our own fabric – which we can then offer to customers who want a unique design, for example with a name as part of the print.

“As we’re expanding the print section, we need more space, and the team on our business park are converting another building so we can expand.”

Despite all their success, Meg is still happiest when she is doing what she loves best – creating.

“My favourite part is the design or sourcing the designs,” she said. “I love the creative side, and really enjoy working with local designers.

“I started on the sewing machine, and I do miss that. I absolutely love it on the occasions when I get to help.”

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