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Facing COVID-19: The babywear business taking first steps into global e-commerce

A 50-year old babywear company has seen a new international demand for its products after going digital for the first time due to COVID-19.

Jack and Jill Babywear, which has units in two of the North East’s main markets, has welcomed customers from across the globe after launching an online store.

Catering for newborns to two-year-olds, Jack and Jill Babywear is part of Sunderland’s InSunderland initiative run by the city’s BID to support independent businesses.

The firm, which operates stalls in Sunderland’s Jacky Whites Market and The Grainger Market in Newcastle, opened an e-commerce platform after the COVID-19 outbreak forced the closure of its physical stores.

Jack and Jill Babywear owner and founder, Caroline Whittaker, commented: “It’s been unbelievable. Before this we just had our loyal North East customers and never thought about selling online, now people have heard of us from as far away as Scotland to Cornwall to Manchester and are ordering.

“We’ve also had inquiries from Denmark, Norway and even the USA, so we are now looking at ways that we can start shipping internationally.”

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, added: “It’s great news that during these very difficult times a local company is able not only to maintain its business but also to grow it.”

Caroline continued: “I know now that really we should have got online years ago, but this shows it’s never too late.

“And hopefully this should give some hope to businesses that have been forced to close that they should definitely look at new ways to sell.”