The cup that cheers

News Posted 11/02/19
Lucrative deals with China and the Canadian government have boosted Guildford-based Sara Keel’s 2019 business prospects.

Sara founded Babycup when she was a full-time mum and could not find the type of cup she wanted for her young children. Since then, the product has gone worldwide, with 80% of its sales overseas. The latest deals will see 60,000 cups going to China in the next year and 30,000 to be distributed through a health programme to indigenous Canadians.

Sara said: “Exporting was an obvious extension to the business. Families the world over want what’s best for baby. The potential audience for Babycup First Cups is universal and the market is as big as the birth rate.

“We’ve secured a lot of our overseas business, including the deal with the Canadian Government, through our website. The Chinese deal was aided by us being active on social media and talking about our cup and the issues it addressed.

“Understanding cultural differences presents its own challenges when you export. For example, in Japan, nurseries are very popular, and often include a tea ritual at the end of the day, so it makes sense to market our cups to this industry. But in China, young children are looked after by extended family during the day, so that’s a whole different audience.”

Sara said exporting was a challenge, but had proved very important to her business. She encouraged other companies to investigate the possibilities saying: “We are doing it and you can, too.”

Head of South East at the Department of International Trade, Ben Raby said: “Babycup is a shining example of a business that has committed itself to getting a British-made product out there on a global scale. Sara recognised that her product had international appeal and acted on it, something that will make her business more profitable and more resilient.”

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