UK ECON DATA

For happy babies

One mother’s colourful journey to success

Previously she worked as a company employee. Today she is a successful independent children’s clothing designer.

Six years ago, Barbara Schüsselbauer made the decision to change her life. The mother-of-two didn’t want to return to her old job. Instead, she was looking for a way to combine working with looking after her children. So, she developed a plan based on the skills she had gained after 14 years working as a designer in the sports-gear sector. Barbara had an excellent knowledge of fabrics, shapes and colours. Additionally, she realised that there were very few clothes for babies available on the market that were made from organic cotton - and the business concept for loud+proud was born.

If I have an idea, I put it into action - Barbara Schüsselbauer, loud+proud

Loud and Proud

Here “loud” stands for loud children and “proud” for proud parents. “Initially, I was unsure whether everything would work out,” Barbara explains, “but I was also confident I had found a niche with potential.”

Loud+proud now offers a large range of children and babies clothing made from organic cotton. A new collection appears each summer and winter. The romper suits, baby grows, sweaters and other items are instantly recognisable. They all feature prints of animals like birds, hippos or elephants. “I always look for animals which suit children and look good,” Barbara says. First, she draws the animals and creates a draft of the products, then her production partner produces a sample collection. Finally, the items are manufactured in large quantities and made available for sale on the Amazon.de marketplace or in children’s clothes shops throughout Europe.

Amazon was one of the first businesses to purchase her collection: the online retailer began adding her children’s clothes to its own selection. “Amazon has made a huge contribution to loud+proud’s volume of sales and publicity,” Barbara says. The business grew very quickly. “But I never would have expected it to develop so fast,” she reflects. She was able to employ five staff members, then adding a further two members to the team soon afterwards.

Only fair and sustainable products “made in Europe”

The 45-year-old is often travelling, as she places a high value not only on organically produced cotton but also on ensuring the clothes are produced in fair working conditions – and she makes stringent checks. “For me it makes sense to produce in Europe.” Consequently, she works together with a long-standing business partner in Portugal. The colourful baby items also receive finishing touches in Hungary and Germany. The German stitching in particular is very special to Barbara: “It’s very important for me to provide the seamstresses there with orders.”

The entrepreneur, who is originally from Hersbruck, near Nuremberg in Germany, is particularly proud of loud+proud’s GOTS certification. The ‘Global Organic Textile Standard’ eco-stamp ensures that each individual step of the production process is sustainable. Furthermore, each business Barbara collaborates with must also be GOTS-certified. “Our customers place just as much value on fair conditions as I do, so I am very particular with regard to compliance,” Barbara explains.

From Hersbruck out into the world

Barbara has a lot more in store with loud+proud. “I see a lot of potential in other European countries outside of Germany.” She has already received requests from Arabic countries and Canada. Over and above this, she would also like to offer new products – thick overalls for winter, swimming costumes for summer. “If I have an idea, I put it into action.” She is delighted by the success and by the fact that the clothes have proved so popular. “We also get a lot of praise about the design.”

Both her daughters are thrilled by their mother’s job, even though she is away from home a lot. Her 10-year-old loves telling friends when Mum is attending yet another fashion show, and her 7-year-old is also a fashion fan. Their mother’s enthusiasm for clothes is clearly infectious.

HIGHLIGHTS

Hersbruck, Germany

After 14 years working as a sports gear designer, Barbara Schüsselbauer decided to reinvent her career, looking for ways to spend more time with her children.

Today she is an entrepreneur and designer of colourful children’s clothing under her own label ‘Loud + proud’.

Amazon helped Barbara rapidly increase her volume of sales. 7 staff members are now employed in her company, and she ships her products all over the world.

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