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Happy, bouncing baby business

15/12/2016

Since new owners took over the nationwide BabyCity brand in May 2012, the Whangarei store in particular is nurturing a fantastic success story. The rejuvenated retailer has avoided growing pains by focusing on giving new parents the best possible service for their beautiful baby, and on-job training for its talented staff.


Branch Manager Estella Walding’s role involves the day-to-day running of the busy operation, training and coaching a team of five. She provides direction, implements plans and motivates her team to achieve sales targets.

Estella knows the secret of the business’s early success. Although it’s just a few years-old, a focus on training for excellent customer service is driving outstanding profitable growth.

Before joining BabyCity almost three years ago, Estella was holding down several part-time jobs: retail assistant, rest home cook, and domestic cleaner. She’d also spent over seven years working in child care. But achieving a management qualification at BabyCity is the best training of all because it has given her the confidence to step up, boost the service offer and the bottom line.

ServiceIQ’s New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Team Leadership) Level 3 training programme is compulsory for each manager at BabyCity’s sixteen branches.

Estella gained her qualification in April 2016. It took her just over a year and she was able to apply the new skills and knowledge to the business as she learned on the job.

She credits her training for the store’s massive performance over the last year.

“The whole course hasn’t just helped the business, it’s helped me too,” says Estella. “It sharpens your purpose and shows you ways to improve. It gave me the skills to lead and motivate a team. It also helped me understand the big picture of how the whole company works, from the business plan to the expectations of our executive team.”

What also sets BabyCity apart is that it’s not all about sales. It’s about the personal care that keeps customers coming back.

“I’ve got a great team who really listens to our customers and finds out what they need. A lot of people who come in are first time parents and they have no idea what to get. We give them a checklist to help them make a start and sign them up to BabyCity’s Bub Club,” says Estella.

Estella Walden heroAs with any modern retailer, keeping up with the latest technology is vitally important – especially when it comes to taking care of precious new arrivals. So Estella’s team train with brand reps on a wide range of products such as car seats, prams and push chairs, and keep up with new developments in research and design.

As for the business side of this baby business, the Whangarei branch is reporting extra healthy profits which have increased over 30 percent on last year.

“We have increased profits, and by exceeding targets our team have been able to enjoy the benefit of incentive payments,” says Estella.

The New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Team Leadership) Level 3 is ideal for retail supervisors or employees who have what it takes to move into team leader or supervisor roles. They'll gain skills and knowledge vital for business success, including effective communication, reporting, performance management, health and safety practices, problem-solving, staff workplace training and more.