Birmingham based start-up toy shop Togademus has seen monthly sales up by 20% compared to last year (averaging a £1000 a month increase).
Togademus was launched in August 2015 by Helen Earp, a mum of four-year-old twins and was born out of her craft business, selling wooden products, bunting and nursery décor from a rented space within the shop.
With the help of a £14,000 loan from government-backed Start Up Loans Company, she was then able to purchase the shop for her own use and add in some extra workshop space. The funding also contributed to creating a website and advertising to drive brand awareness in the local area.
It’s a family-run shop – she currently employs two members of staff including her father and aims to sell toys which are as eco-friendly as possible.
The family-run business supports other small firms in the community. Through the ShareOURshop scheme, 22 local designers have space within the shop to sell their handmade goods ranging from baby & children’s clothing, jewellery, handmade felt and textile items, cushions and soft furnishings, home decor and nursery items, handmade bags and stationery. The locally made toys are showcased on Togademus’ social media channels. Helen also stocks books from small publishers and greeting cards from local stationers.
Helen says that this year’s festive sales have been boosted due to the top five festive bestsellers: wooden Noah’s Ark toys, science kits, wooden tea sets, train sets and finally Lottie Dolls – which have won numerous awards as a positive role model for children.
In the run up to Christmas, Togademus will be running a series of Christmas craft sessions for local children, from making homemade Christmas decorations to reindeer ‘food’, on top of its monthly workshops. These will run every day from the 21st December up until Christmas Eve.
Helen Earp, Founder of Togademus said: “Togademus has always been about bringing the community together – and this is especially important at Christmas. It’s great to see that our popularity as a business has grown this year. I started the shop because I love making new and exciting creations for children, which is especially rewarding at this time of year. I really enjoy being my own boss and making all the decisions about the shop, from window displays, to the workshops we run.
“Buying my own shop has always been a dream come true, and the money from the Start Up Loans Company helped this happen. The support and mentoring I received from them has inspired me to help other small businesses like myself by stocking their products. It’s great to have a local support network in place. There’s a real community feel within the shop which has always been important to me.”
Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans Company, said: “It’s fantastic to see Togademus wrap up its first full year of trading on such a positive note, and bringing children together at Christmas to enjoy some festive craft workshops in the shop is a nice added touch. Small businesses should be at the heart of every community spreading cheer.
“Helen is a great example of someone who just needed some extra help to buy a premises and get her business off the ground. Not every budding business owner is looking to conquer the world, they may just want to play a part in their community. Now, Togademus can also help other local designers. That’s why we’re keen to not only provide funding but also mentoring to make sure that the leap to shop owner goes smoothly.”