Design in Business Awards
Finalist in the 2008 Design in Business Awards
Amie Design Group / MERINO KIDS
"Design to go go"
In just a few short years, Amie Design Group has grown from a small home-based business run out of founder Amie Nilsson’s spare bedroom in Auckland, into a booming New Zealand export success story.
The company, which makes 100% natural merino sleepwear for newborn babies and infants under the brands Merino Kids, Pure Cotton Kids, Hum and Merino Pure, was established after mother of three Amie Nilsson had her first child, Lily, in 2003.
Lily would wake up cold in the middle of the night after wriggling her way out of her blankets, so Nilsson, a former graphic designer, set out to find an infant sleeping bag to keep Lily warm during the night. Though successful in her search, all of the products on the market at the time contained polyester, a synthetic material which gave baby Lily a rash. Unable to find a natural fibre alternative, Nilsson set out to make her own, and, voilà, the Go Go Bag, the world’s first merino sleeping bag for babies, was born.
When friends and family began asking for similar gear for their young ones, Nilsson soon realised that there was real potential for a business - a business that would fit perfectly into her new lifestyle as a mother. After extensive research and guidance from experts including NZTE, and having secured a modest bank loan, Nilsson set up a website to sell her range of natural merino fibre baby gear and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 2007 Amie Design Group won its first international product design award with its Go Go Bag, at the prestigious International Forum (iF) Product Design Awards in Hanover, Germany. Further accolades were to come, and, in 2008, the company won a further iF award for their Merino Kids Cocooi Babywrap, just a few months after its launch.
From humble beginnings just four years ago, the company has gone from just one staff member to 13 based throughout New Zealand, Australia and the UK. Today the company has a strong international following, and while it still sells its products through the internet, it is now stocked in over 50 boutique baby stores throughout Europe, Australasia and the UK.
Group revenue has increased 750 per cent over the past two years, and Nilsson expects turnover to exceed $30 million in the next four to five years. She also envisages that the company will be exporting 90 per cent of its products within three years, with growth focussed on the United Kingdom, European and North American markets.
Right from the company’s inception and throughout all facets of the business, design has been a central focus and one of the key factors contributing to its success as strong international brand.
Nilsson’s ongoing commitment to product development and innovation looks set to ensure this booming baby business, like the babies it clothes, continues to rapidly grow from strength to strength.