Mummy bloggers can be thanked for a New Zealand entrepreneur's business success as his ''cute'' baby nappies fly off supermarket shelves.
Grant Taylor and his sister Louise Stainthorpe, a mother of four, founded Hamilton-based nappy firm Rascal and Friends last year but did not expect their product would so popular with New Zealand parents.
The business launched in September, was already profitable and had exceeded expectations, selling four or five times more stock than forecast, Taylor said.
He would not reveal figures on sales, revenue or turnover.
"We've been scrambling for stock and it is Foodstuffs' biggest private label [controlled label] launch ever," he said. "Mothers and fathers are a really captive audience; they really like to engage with us."
Taylor, 33, began looking for a recession-proof business idea three years ago. His first idea was for toilet paper, but he settled on Rascal and Friends.
The company, which first started as an e-commerce venture, is using "millennial marketing" to leverage its success.
"Parents like to post on Instagram and Facebook because [our products] have that visual look to them ... and that's created a conversation online which has had that viral affect, and it's rolled on from there."
Taylor's sister, Stainthorpe, had been heavily involved in developing the products, he said, testing prototypes and designs on her sons.
Taylor recently enlisted his school friend, Nick Mowbray, founder of $500m toy company Zuru to help with the business. Mowbray had invested "thousands" into Rascal and friends and was working on stocking products in Australia and the US.
The biggest lesson Taylor had learnt from Mowbray was: "Keep it simple."
Social media had been paramount for the company, Taylor said.
"When we first launched in September we had 4,000 followers on Facebook and now we're at 23,000 - in three months," he said.
It had also been running competitions to boost engagement, such as a $200 supermarket voucher giveaway a month ago.
"That had 25 or 30,000 comments on that post, but virtually double that as it was engaging someone else [through comment and tag a friend], and that's how we've had our spread in terms of engagement with the actual product," he said.
The company had recently started working with NZ Herald Focus and Sky TV presenter Laura McGoldrick, among other social media influencers and bloggers.
Rascal and friends' long-term goal is to be available in international markets.
Taylor's father takes care of importing and back-end operations.
"It's surprising how well it has gone off the mark. As we were trading a year online before we launched [in bricks and mortar], we knew the reception to the product was great, we just didn't have the outlet and that's where Foodstuffs came in."
The nappies are sold in Pak'nSave, New World and Four Square stores.
Foodstuffs own brands general manager Rod Gibson said its exclusive partnership with Rascal and Friends had been successful.
"The launch has been extremely successful, with consumers responding very enthusiastically to an innovative and great quality nappy," Gibson said.
Taylor said his company had done the reverse of what many product start-ups did.
"We've gone e-commerce back to retail whereas most people go retail to e-commerce," he said.
"In New Zealand you need to have high margins to make e-commerce work. E-commerce is a lot more time consuming that everyone thinks."