When Prince George wore a bath robe to meet Barack Obama in 2016, the world’s media went into a frenzy.
The Blue Gingham Robe had been sent to Buckingham Palace by eCommerce firm My 1st Years as part of its gifting strategy – and the cute interaction between George and the then-US President saw the personalised item instantly sell out.
London-based My 1st Years realised the pulling power of the Royal Family was a huge opportunity for growth. When Prince Louis was born last year it introduced a 20 per cent site-wide discount and launched a Royal Range which drove £100,000 sales in just two days.
Following the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first child, a boy, at the weekend, it is now hoping Baby Sussex will drive international growth.
“We were absolutely thrilled to see the Blue Gingham Robe on Prince George,” co-founder Daniel Price told BusinessCloud.
“The demand for it was 30 times higher the week Prince Louis was born and our sales rose 83 per cent compared to the same week the previous year.
“We are hoping for similar growth this year and have predicted to take £130,000 in sales this week following the birth.”
My 1st Years was built up from scratch by young entrepreneurs Price and Jonny Sitton in 2010 and has become the UK’s biggest personalised baby and children’s gifting website, with fans including music icons Elton John and Beyoncé, TV star Khloe Kardashian, power couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, and legendary British long-distance runner Mo Farah.
After a tough initial two years, the company has enjoyed an average growth rate of 100 per cent year-on-year since and turned over £15m last year.
It launched a US website towards the end of 2017 which has already acquired 15,000 loyal customers, according to Price. He says that, given Markle’s American nationality, there is a “huge opportunity” for My 1st Years in the US.
“The US market is 15 times the size of the UK, so naturally has such huge opportunities for growth and this is particularly apparent with the ‘royal fever’,” he said.
“Since we launched in the US, the best-selling product is the Blue Gingham Robe, as seen on Prince George. We predict this growth has in part been due to Meghan Markle and this will only continue with the birth of Baby Sussex.
“Our American market is hugely important to us, and something we’ve seen grown immensely with our royal-connection. It’s something we’re going to focus more on in 2020 – expansion across the Atlantic is very important to both of us.
“Alongside this, technology remains at the forefront of our success so development of our factories and technology are key.”
The firm’s new Royal Range includes sleepsuits, blankets, robes and backpacks, all adorned with a crown, adding a royal touch. All products include free personalisation.
It won a Queen’s Award for Innovation this year – which Price says was “a fantastic surprise and incredible honour”.
“If you’d told us (Jonny and I) ten years ago, when we were best mates at university, that we’d be heading to the Palace to receive an award, we wouldn’t have believed you!” he laughs.