Company: Tidy Books, London, United Kingdom
Company Description: Tidy Books makes innovative children’s bookcases - that get kids reading – and other award-winning storage designs for children. Tidy Books founded 2004 by CEO Geraldine Grandidier, and operates in the UK, US, Australia and Europe, & sold through major retailers like John Lewis and Amazon US. Won many awards for product design and business innovation and is poised for further global growth.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa
Nomination Title: Geraldine Grandidier, Founder and CEO
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
Geraldine Grandidier, Tidy Books’ CEO is a great example of how you don’t have to be big to have viable global ambitions and with a unique idea; you can take your own, unconventional path to business success.
Not many women make the leap from violin making to manufacturing for a global market, but Geraldine found an untapped niche in the market for her innovative front – facing children’s bookcase for the home, and in doing so struck a chord with parents who wanted their children to curl up with a book, just like they did as children.
Using her ‘can-do’ approach, careful research and inventive ways of doing business, Geraldine started Tidy Books with just $750 and no business experience, to an international brand with a range of original kid’s storage products that are scalable to mass production.
Sales are on track to increase by 30% this year, and profits up 32%, and new staff joined this year, boosting the team from 3 to 5 full time employees, and plans to hire more this year to facilitate expansion.
With the goal of reaching $7.5m in sales in 5 years, Geraldine began an expansion strategy in 2012: She has given the business solid footings with reinvestment of profits into a new e-commerce platform and digital marketing this year, which has driven sales up by 21% four months into launch, and won a Mumpreneur Website Award on the way.
In September 2012, driven by the lack of suitable stock forecasting systems for small businesses, Geraldine commissioned her own, resulting in efficiency savings and holding stock reduced by 50%.
When Geraldine moved production from Romania to China, she made it a success through careful research of Chinese culture to build excellent relationships with suppliers and producers, and manufacturing innovation has reduced product faults to 1% this year, enabling Tidy Books, which prides itself on great and personal customer service to create even more, happier customers!
Doing business ethically has always been important to Geraldine, and after a visit to the factory, she developed a pioneering water lacquer finish for Tidy Books products. Water lacquer does not give off the toxic fumes of industry standard lacquers and is better for the environment and the health of the producers.
Developing water lacquer was costly and time consuming, but Geraldine is proud to do business ethically. She also gives 10% of Tidy Books’ profits to charity ; last year donating to Save the Children.
The company is now poised for fast growth, and to facilitate development, Geraldine was selected for the Goldman Sachs UCL business development programme, 10,000 Small Businesses. This continues Geraldine’s practice of learning and developing through mentoring and training rather than parachuting in high flying executives.
Recognition from your peers is satisfying, and Tidy Books was awarded the London European Development Fund (ERDF) medal for Most Innovating Business in Oct 2012, as well as winning the prestigious Mother and Baby Award for Tidy Books products.
Winning a Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur would be fantastic recognition of Geraldine’s innovative approach to business, her determination and her ambition to put a Tidy Books Bookcase in every child’s bedroom!
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):
Geraldine Grandidier began Tidy Books in 2004 when she discovered a gap in the market for a practical children’s bookcase, and designed her own. The Tidy Books Children’s Bookcase displays books front facing because kids do judge a book by its cover. More children’s storage designs have since joined the Tidy Books family, winning numerous awards for design and innovation.
Geraldine started her career as a violin maker, joining the Royal Academy of Music in London as violin maker and restorer.
Tidy Books has expanded into the global market, operating in the UK, US, Australia and Europe and through major retailers such as John Lewis and Amazon US. The company is poised for faster growth to become a global brand and is looking for investors.