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TotsBots prepares for fund injection to aid expansion

A SCOTTISH nappy-making company is planning to add up to 10 jobs as well as investing in systems and processes to get itself ready to look for a funding injection.

SUCCESS: TotBots founder Fiona Smyth said she wanted the firm to have a bigger impact in the future and was preparing the business investment.
SUCCESS: TotBots founder Fiona Smyth said she wanted the firm to have a bigger impact in the future and was preparing the business investment.

Glasgow based TotsBots, which makes all of its re-usable and eco-friendly products in Glasgow, has spent heavily on revamping its online presence.

That has given it a website which is adaptable for mobile devices and easily customisable into foreign language portals to help attract more customers from abroad.

The brand, which is stocked in Boots and Tesco as well as a number of independent retailers in the UK, currently employs 58 people.

Fiona Smyth, who set up TotsBots with husband Marcus shortly after the birth of their second child in 2000, said the website development was ongoing as the business supplied more and more countries.

She said: "We are making it a global website with portals for the various different territories we sell into like France and Germany.

"It is multi-lingual and every time we bring on a new territory we add a new portal.

"We still have a few more to bring on yet as it just takes a bit of time. It has been a big project."

While North America, where TotsBots has a long-standing relationship with US reusable nappy firm Bummis, remains the biggest export market, Mrs Smyth has plans to grow further in Europe in the coming months.

She said: "We are expanding our presence in Europe and particularly into Scandinavia.

"We know there is a market there. In the past a few folk have sold for us but we are really just ramping things up now.

"We have dabbled over there before but want to do more."

While Mrs Smyth declined to reveal turnover figures for the business, a 40% rise in turnover has been pencilled in for the current financial year.

New product launches, using innovative manufacturing techniques developed in Glasgow, are also in the pipeline for early in 2014.

She said: "We are looking for growth across all of our channels and activities. We have direct consumers, independent retailers and the multiples.

"My particular area is the direct consumer, which is interacting with the customers and the bit I love most. If you keep those guys happy then everything else follows.

"Word of mouth is our biggest referral and is at the heart of everything we do."

The activity and investment is part of the company's strategy to look for external funding at some point over the next two years.

Mrs Smyth said: "All cloth nappy companies are quite small compared to the likes of [Pampers maker] Procter & Gamble.

"We are getting our business investment ready as we will be looking for investment at some point in the future. There are big changes afoot I think. Until we have a bigger voice and pot of money we won't be able to have that bigger impact we need to have." Up to eight million disposable nappies are estimated to be thrown away every day in the UK.

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