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‘Mumpreneur’ is happiest making profits on nappies
MOTHER-of-four Christine McRitchie is up to her elbows in nappies, even though her youngest child is 11.
A successful entrepreneur, she runs four washable nappy online businesses and has just moved into offices in Didcot.
But until now the 42-year-old has worked from home in Long Wittenham.
She said: “It was a bit bananas. I would clear away the dirty cereal bowls after breakfast, flip the lid on my cooker down, lay out the products on that and start packing nappies to be mailed out to customers.
“The garage was full of boxes and we had products all over our conservatory. The nappies were taking over the house.”
In March she and husband Iain, 47, snapped up a major washable nappy firm, wonderoos.com, to add to her empire.
She redesigned the nappies to be brightly coloured, with a choice of orange, green, yellow, blue, purple, fuchsia and red.
She explained: “If parents go for something other than disposable nappies, they want to have nappies to match different coloured outfits.”
Before becoming a businesswoman, Mrs McRitchie worked in customer services for an insurance claims firm.
It was nine years ago when she took over her first nappy firm, http://plushpants.co.uk
She said: “I was a customer of a Plushpants and received an email saying that they were closing down.
“I made an offer and went from a customer to the owner in three weeks.
“At the time I had four children under seven-and-a-half and our house had been knocked down to build an extension.”
Four years on the credit crunch was making parents cost-conscious, so they launched a second website, terrynappies.co.uk, offering a budget range.
All the businesses operate under the Earthwise Trading umbrella.
The eco-friendly aspect is close to Mrs McRitchie’s heart and she also works with Oxfordshire County Council offering advice on how to reduce landfill waste from disposable nappies.
She set up a nappy trial scheme, which encourages parents to borrow washable nappies.
According to Christine, 80 per cent of those parents who take part convert from disposable nappies.
She said: “People still think of a terry square when you say washable nappy, but the technology and the fabrics have come on in leaps and bounds.
“Now they’re made from breathable, brightly-coloured fabrics and shaped like a disposable nappy.”
Although a single nappy can cost £7 to £8, she points out that they are cost-effective, since parents can expect to spend £1,000 per child on disposables.
Named a Top 100 Mumpreneur in December last year, she has also been nominated for next week’s Didcot First Business and Community Awards (BACAs).
As the operation has expanded to reach 8,000 customers, Mrs McRitchie has become more organised.
“We had to have a better ordering system than ‘oh heck, there’s none left in the box’,” she said.
“It was all a huge learning curve.”
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