Brand manager Kelly Linthorne explains why price matters more than customer service to Kiddimoto
According to brand manager Kelly Linthorne, Kiddimoto is “the UK’s original balance bike brand, with over 15 years’ experience producing top quality balance bikes, helmets and accessories for children aged 18 months and up”. It started as a one-man band with the founder Simon Booth hand-making each bike and is now, says Kelly, a globally regarded brand that operates out of Cheddar in Somerset. The company uses a variety of branded staff garments to suit all employee tastes and their work environment. “For example, office- based staff have comfy hooded jumpers and polo shirts, and the more customer-facing sales team have smarter crew necks and dress shirts,” explains Kelly. Both Kelly and Simon are responsible for the branded garment purchasing decisions.
“For us, it is a correlation between quality and cost,” she says. “We, of course, do not want to compromise on quality as these garments are worn often, but we don’t want to pay the world for them as our focus is always on exciting new product development.” Kiddimoto has an unusual approach in that the company doesn’t tend to stick to one supplier for its decorated garments. While they do tend to use local firms, so those in the Cheddar, Highbridge and Weston-super-Mare region, the emphasis is more on finding the garments that “feel right” for each use and also the cost.
Simon Booth set up Kiddimoto in 2003
“A big stickler for us is price, so if we can save on delivery or have one of us collect the items on our way past then that’s great,” says Kelly. “Customer service is not paramount as long as the job is done quickly and correctly. We have had suppliers who charge more on our second order, or quoted more at least!” They tend to opt for well-known garment brands such as Fruit of the Loom as “we know, without going into full research, these will stand the test of time”. The decoration choice is straightforward: “All of our branded material so far has been embroidered. For us, I suppose, we have always had the impression that this is of a more high quality than printing onto the garments.”
Branded clothes are a key part of Kiddimoto’s marketing strategy. “Especially in the early days of Kiddimoto, Simon would attend any motorbike, cycling or toy show to promote the brand as we were the only company in the UK building balance bikes. It was important that not only did he look professional when meeting with clients, but that the brand name became more recognised. Kelly points out, however, that garment decorators approaching companies similar to Kiddimoto need to look at the bigger picture. “Appreciate that although a vital tool, no brand’s marketing plan is solely branded clothing,” she warns. “It is more often than not an additional cost onto another element such as events or PR packages. Do not price yourself out of the market and provide good quality and your customers will stay loyal as new businesses and new employees start within the company.”