Once upon a mat…
The story of Munchkin & Bear all began when the creator of the brand, Alana, had her second little one. Alana felt frustrated at the lack of practical and aesthetically beautiful baby play mats that were on offer. Instead, the market was completely saturated with bright, creche-like primary colours that were not only completely over-stimulating her babies and children, but overwhelmed her interiors and created a mis-matched environment in her home.
Alana’s friend and mother of 3 Sophie visited her in Brisbane when she shared her idea for Munchkin & Bear - which Sophie thought was ingenious and that a stylish play mat would be very much wanted by mums and dads in the market, as there was nothing else like it.
This is how the concept for Munchkin & Bear was born and later launched in 2016 in Australia - a brand that houses stunning, safe and practical play mats for your babies, without compromising the visual lines in your home. In 2017, after Sophie gave birth to twins, they began to have discussions about launching into Europe and the UK in particular - which started to come to fruition a year later in 2018 when they launched Munchkin & Bear in the UK.
Just keep growing…
From there, Munchkin & Bear have gone from strength to strength and so their fulfilment needs had to meet this growth, as well as sustain the brand’s reputation within the Australian markets. Initially, their operations model for fulfilling orders was going to be the same as they had in Brisbane, whereby they run their own warehouse space, fulfilling orders themselves with their own pickers and packers.
However, after looking at Munchkin & Bear’s growth numbers and the difference in terms of space, style and cost of things in the UK, they realised they needed to find a sensible third party provider who could take it on. Sophie then began to proactively look at all sorts of different 3PL options available to Munchkin & Bear - and ended up having positive conversations with fulfilmentcrowd, as we had made their shortlist!
It’s a huge deal to put that amount of faith into a third party logistics partner for an embryonic growing company like Munchkin & Bear. Trusting in us to ensure that stock is dispatched on time, that orders are packed with care and exquisite attention to detail - whilst Sophie runs the business from South West London and all of Munchkin & Bear’s stock would be (and is to this day) fulfilled out of our Wigan warehouse - was a big decision. Luckily for us, Sophie had weighed up the practicalities of choosing us to be her fulfilment partner and did decide to join the Crowd!
Munchkin & Bear at fulfilmentcrowd
Since Munchkin & Bear came to us from the very start of their expansion into the UK market, they began with a weekly order rate of 0 to a business that sold nearly 10,000 units last year alone. With a little help from fulfilmentcrowd, of course.
When we chatted about how, even though she cannot logistically go up to our Martland Park Warehouse from her base in London to check that everything is going smoothly all the time, having regular contact with our Martland warehouse manager Jamie and his team gave her reassurance - with the direct visibility and insight into how we at fulfilmentcrowd are working hard to make sure we get her orders to mums and dads across the country. Sophie expressed how the logistical elements of Munchkin & Bear’s operations have been managed “phenomenally well” by everyone at Martland Park which, of course, we felt so proud to hear! Yes, we do the ‘heavy lifting’ when taking care of pick, pack and dispatch - however, we want it to feel as though we are in partnership rather than a cold outsourced service. Where, like Sophie, you can build a rapport with those managing your orders day in, day out.
During peak or promotional moments whereby orders are coming in 10 to the dozen, making it a rather intense time, Sophie commented how there were very few bumps in the road when it came to being partnered with fulfilmentcrowd. Continuing to know that her stock is safely stored and their Munchkin & Bear customer’s orders would be dispatched on time, every time allows her to focus her time and energy on scaling up the business and managing customer services.
Over time, now the team have streamlined their unload days (when over 1200 mats arrive in one go), Sophie can reliably open for pre orders and be safe in the knowledge that once they arrive at the warehouse, they will be out the door within 24-48 hours. Thousands of mums and dads who have purchased a Munchkin & Bear play mat have marvelled at the unbelievably quick delivery speeds - with some customers ordering their play mat the day before it arrived at their doorstep ready for play time!
What's next for Munchkin & Bear?
What does the future hold? With phenomenal growth over the past 3 ½ years, we can only expect exceptional things from this incredible brand. A brand that puts both parents and their little ones first! Towards the end of our conversation with Sophie, she could not divulge all of what is next to come from Munchkin & Bear - but she did say that we should all be very excited about the direction Munchkin & Bear are taking in the near future - perhaps even some new products as well as more unique designs!? We cannot wait!
Fulfilmentcrowd are so proud to be a small part of delivering stylish play time, cuddle time and down time for babies and parents up and down the country, but it really is all down to Munchkin & Bear.