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Eastern promise

IRISH firm Clevamama has broken into the Russian market, supplying its products to the Mothercare franchise there. The firm, which creates and supplies baby-care products, has seen its exports grow significantly in the last year.

Suzanne Browne, co-owner of Clevamama, says its entry into Russia has gone extremely well so far, as it plans to host an official launch in late April. Clevamama received support from the Enterprise Ireland office in Moscow, which assisted with store visits, translations and more.

In order to enter the market, Clevamama had to modify some of its products to comply with Russian laws around fabric in children's clothing.

"In some cases we had to redesign our products, but it has been worthwhile because the market presents us with good business opportunities going forward," says Browne.

At home, Clevamama now employs 11 people but is set to take on a person who speaks Russian very shortly.

Some 80pc of the firm's sales is through exports at present, up from 72pc last year. It now sells into more than 30 countries worldwide.

Now, Clevamama has other markets in its sights, as it plans to expand its presence in the Middle East and into India. It has just started to sell its products in Mothercare India, and while it already has some presence in the Middle East, Browne says there is potential to grow this further.

"From our point of view the export route we're taking is very structured. We're following the franchise groups such as Mothercare and Amazon and using our association with them to break ground in new markets. For example, we do quite a lot of business with Amazon in Europe, so now supply Amazon India and Amazon China," she says.

R&D

Since its inception in 2003, innovation has been the foundation of Clevamama's business; it has invested heavily in research and development and continuously brings new products to market.

Since the launch of its first product in 2005, it has grown its range from one to in excess of 80 items. Products include the Splash and Wrap Baby Towel, the Clevamama soother tree, ClevaScoop and the ClevaFoam range.

It holds two product launches each year, releasing several products at each one; from an R&D perspective, the cycle never stops.

"Innovation is an integral part of our growth," says Browne.

The firm's online presence continues to grow, as it expands its audience through social media pages like Facebook. Its Facebook likes are up to just under 38,000, a jump of 10,000 from last year.

"We've always said from day one that we want Clevamama to be the brand of choice. From our point of view, it really is about building the brand that people know all over the world," says Browne.

Check out Clevamama at www.clevamama.com

Irish Independent