TotsUp looks to bright future in New Zealand

TotsUp took centre stage at The Baby Show in New Zealand with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

TotsUp, a Banwell-based company that makes engaging toys to help children develop positive behaviour, took centre stage at The Baby Show in New Zealand in September, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).  

The company was launched in 2016 by Sally Marks, a graphic designer, lecturer and mum of two, after she discovered that there was a gap in the market for an engaging toy that reinforces good behaviour in young children.

After raising more than £6,000 through crowdfunding in less than 90 days, Sally worked with an educational psychologist, teachers and parents to create a first-of-its-kind reward chart. On the chart, children’s behaviours and habits are logged on a 3D magnetic bus that can be customised with different cartoon passengers, letters and behavioural goals. The reward system is also supported by an interactive app. 

Sally took her TotsUp range, which is made in the South West, to Auckland, New Zealand for this year’s Baby Show, the country’s biggest parenting exhibition. Sally worked with International Trade Advisers at DIT who guided her on how to use digital marketing to appeal to buyers in New Zealand ahead of the trade show.

TotsUp has also now started selling its products in the Republic of Ireland and Germany, as well as to customers on Amazon. 

Sally Marks, Founder, TotsUp, said:

“Encouraging good behaviour and positive habits is a journey for any child, which is why it’s so important to promote positive reinforcement. The product was inspired by my own experiences as a mother and was launched at my kitchen table. It is mind-blowing to see my small business making waves around the world.

“While I knew that exporting would be a part of our long-term plans, I had no idea we’d be able to do it so soon. I attended a free one-day course hosted by DIT in Somerset called Export for Growth and was astonished at just how much support is out there.

“With DIT’s help and guidance, I knew how to start contacting potential buyers overseas and identifying new markets for growth. We’re in talks to secure our first contracts in New Zealand since the Baby Show, and DIT has identified Sweden and the Netherlands as potential new markets for us too. If a business like mine can find success overseas, yours can too.” 

Paul Shand, DIT’s Head of Exports in the South West, said:

“TotsUp is a great example of a business that’s already found huge success domestically since its launch two years ago, with its products being sold in landmark tourist destinations like the London Transport Museum. 

“British-stamped goods continue to hold a reputation for excellence around the world, so an international venture was the logical next step for Sally and her brand. TotsUp’s success is proof that you don’t need to have a big team or endless resources to export successfully. 

“We know that exporting isn’t without its challenges. Differing tax and regulations, as well as language barriers and time zones all must be considered. However, businesses don’t have to go through this process alone. That’s why we have a dedicated team of International Trade Advisers based across the South West, and market and sector specialists in 108 countries, to help firms either begin their exporting venture or grow their international footprint.

“I would urge companies considering starting or growing their exporting journey to get in touch today.”

  • How to get started

    To gain access to an experienced International Trade Adviser, who will act as your export guide and give you the confidence to explore or expand in overseas markets, simply contact our International Trade Centre today.

    Call us on 01275 370 944

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