Traditional wooden toy business gears up for solid growth
A Cornish toy firm which sells traditional and educational products to 2,000 UK retailers including Selfridges and John Lewis is gearing up for further growth.
Bodmin-based Marbel was started by Christoph and Rebecca Bettin in 2003 after they noticed that the sort of classic, wooden toys that were widely available in Munich, where they were then living, were not generally sold in the UK.
After moving back to Rebecca's home county of Cornwall to start a family, they launched the business, initially setting it up as a mail order venture. Since then, it has evolved into a toy supplier, importing a total of 12 brands that it sells to 2,000 retailers across the UK.
It has grown to employ 30 people, including six new staff in the last year, with a client base that includes Amazon, John Lewis and Selfridges as well as independent toy shops around the UK.
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Marketing manager Phil Nelson said: "It's a young, dynamic business that is going forward and investing in people to help facilitate that growth."
Some of this recruitment has come from the European Social Fund Convergence-funded Unlocking Potential graduate jobs programme, including the appointment of Falmouth University graduate Kristien Harris who has focused on making the firm's branding more cohesive.
Mr Nelson added: "It is a huge achievement and frees the rest of the marketing team up to do more pro active things. Kristien can now do in half the time something it would take the whole team to do before."
Mark Yeoman, head of ESF Convergence communication, said: "Kristien is a great example of the benefits of the ESF Convergence supported graduate placement programme that is part of Unlocking Potential. He has learned a whole set of new skills in marketing and gained real-life business experience, which are important building blocks for his future career."