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For Hannah Saunders from Toddle Born Wild, receiving a DIA ‘health check’ was a simple way to get an insight into the range of benefits that data innovation can bring to her new company.

Hannah Saunders set up her skin care company Toddle when she realised the need for natural skin care products for the under 3s.

She was working full time in the RAF as well as being a very active mother, taking her son out hill walking and skiing, amongst other outdoor pursuits. She needed skincare products gentle enough for her son’s sensitive skin and realised that there was nothing available containing natural ingredients and suitable for the under 3’s. It was this that spurred Hannah on to make her own.

Other parents soon noticed that she was using these products and became interested. Hannah then began producing them for her friends and family, and this was the start of a successful business.

Hannah identified that there could be a market for these products and therefore good potential for a business, so she began spending her spare time researching the market in the British Library. She quickly homed in on the real potential for a business making natural skin care products for young children, resigned from the RAF, and obtained capital to start her company.

The company, Toddle, launched its products in March 2020. She now has a thriving business with five employees, and its own website and premises, and she sells her products on Amazon and via fifteen different retailers. Hannah sources all her own natural vegan ingredients and the products are made to her own formulae.

It was through an event about data run by the Wrexham Enterprise Hub that Hannah first discovered the Data Innovation Accelerator (DIA). Running her own business with two young children and a husband away at work meant that she welcomed the offer of some funded assistance. The DIA is part-funded by the Welsh Government through the European Regional Development Fund.

Via its data innovation health check, the DIA offered her help to look at her business data and see how she could make better use of it. The DIA data science team made a thorough inventory of Toddle’s data and looked at how the company was already collecting and using it. The health check led to a report that gave Hannah an overall picture of her data and detailed possible ways to use and gain value from it. The DIA team pointed out how she could use particular software packages to send out and track newsletters and advertising, and how they generated sales. They also showed her how the company could share data with its team of staff and could keep track of finances, objectives and work plans, and keep on top of what everyone was doing. They offered suggestions on how to make the Toddle website more robust and easier to use, and analysed its social media channels to see how they could be made more effective.

After implementing some of these changes, Hannah has found that the Toddle social media following has expanded and conversion of ‘browser’ to paying customer on its website has improved by 10% so far. Staff output has also improved and the team are clearer and happier in their roles.

Hannah says that the business is growing and she is looking to expand exports and retail outlets and include new products as part of her line.

“I could not have afforded the kind of help provided through the DIA at the time, and in addition, I would not have known what needed changing”, she said. “The real benefit though was being able to take a step back from being a busy manager and look at your business strategy with the support and expertise of the DIA.”