Englishman Richard Walker made himself a multi-millionaire in just over 14 years by founding Bumps to Babes, now open in Sai Kung.
Richard has grown the chain to four stores — the newest one is at Wan King Path. Just over three months ago he sold 75 per cent of the business to a mainland firm for $44.9 million. Richard, retaining 25 per cent, now operates the company for his new bosses, Baioo Family Interactive Ltd. They did an IPO in Hongkong last year raising US$196 million.
The Sai Kung Bumps to Babe has a 700 sq ft ground floor, stuffed nearly to the ceiling with merchandise, and a 300ft mezzanine. Richard describes it as a “convenience store”. Two of his other shops are much bigger, up to 12,000 sq ft. The fitout at Wan King Path cost about $600,000, he said. Products range from maternity needs to kids’ clothes and toys with the biggest movers, babyfood, milk, diapers, sun creams and toiletries.
Richard said he will continue to run the baby products chain on behalf of his new owners. “The bigger picture is on line in China.” This fits with Baioo’s business model, online children’s games.
The manager of Bumps to Babes in Sai Kung is Shirley Parayno. Richard noted the store sells products from two Sai Kung sources, Doll’s World by Simon Blacker’s Peterkin Ltd and Total Eclipse swim suits. He said he was disappointed by the closure of toy shop Treasure Island, because the clustering of similar stores can be good for business.