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DEFYING THE CREDIT CRUNCH: Aston’s male graduates take organic baby market by storm

4 September 2008 – for immediate release

Two male graduates from Aston University are beating the credit crunch as their organic baby product business celebrates a successful first year.

The Little Green Sheep owners Mark Nicholls (Bromsgrove, 24) and Paul Maurice (24) have taken a traditionally female-led market by storm, with their exclusive range of organic bedtime baby products. The business was born from the duo’s interest in organics and their awareness of a lack of ‘emotional input’ in the baby retail market. The Little Green Sheep products – including luxury organic mattresses, bedding and an organic skincare range – sell in exclusive baby stores across the UK, by mail order and online.

Armed with a degree in marketing and a desire for his own business, Aston graduate Mark kick-started the venture and product design graduate, Paul, joined forces a few months later.

Mark Nicholls, The Little Green Sheep Director and Aston University marketing graduate, said:

“I spotted a gap in the baby market a few years ago. It struck me as obvious – babies are the most precious human beings, they sleep 18 hours a day, they’re often at their happiest when they’re asleep, they are their parents pride and joy - but the retail industry didn’t seem to pull on these emotional ties. I had an interest and some experience in the organic retail sector already – mainly acquired during my placement year at Aston University. So I thought, why not combine luxurious, high-end baby bedtime products with organic and chemical free materials? I did and I haven’t looked back since.

“Paul and I wouldn’t be in the positions we’re in today without our studies at Aston University. The placement year, in particular was invaluable for both of us - we got to take on real product development and brand management projects and learn from the retail experts.”

 

 

Mark Nicholls (left) and Paul Maurice celebrate year one of business success with their organic baby product company, The Little Green Sheep.

Mark and Paul conducted extensive market research before the company was launched. They attended a series of baby shows and spoke to retailers, pregnant mothers and parents before developing the Little Green Sheep brand and deciding on their suite of products.

The high-flying pair plans to extend their product line from 30 to 100 within the next twelve months and open a series of upmarket high street stores across the UK within five years.

Aston University run a range of undergraduate programmes in the fields of business and product design, all with built-in placement years. Visit www.aston.ac.uk for more information. To find out more about The Little Green Sheep visit www.thelittlegreensheep.co.uk.

Notes to editors

For more information on Aston University contact Laura Plotnek, University Communications Team, Aston University on 0121 204 4549 or l.plotnek@aston.ac.uk.

For more information on The Little Green Sheep contact Mark Nicholls on 01527 577 544 or mark@thelittlegreensheep.co.uk.

Photo caption

Mark Nicholls (left) and Paul Maurice celebrate year one of business success with their organic baby product company, The Little Green Sheep.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research