Nursery furniture maker MOKEE finds room for squeezed parents | City & Business | Finance

The business newcomer disrupted the market a couple of years ago when it introduced its £79 baby bed “that’s neither dull and cheap nor premium designer”, says London-based Frenchman Samuel Serra, 37, the co-founder of the company with his partner Karolina Lagoda. 

The intention was more than to hit just the affordability and compact flat-pack spots, he explains. 

“Karolina and I were bringing up our two young children Alexander and Amelie so we knew what was missing.

“As well as a fair price parents, especially those lacking room in towns and cities, wanted a contemporary and stylish design, a product that was an easy fit, quick to set up and not tied to the old stereotypes of blue for a boy and pink for girls.   

“We also saw the online sales opportunities. E-commerce for furniture, such as sofas, was getting very popular, only no one was doing it in the baby category.”

moKee’s 250 trial run on eBay sold out in six weeks. “It confirmed we had a potential winner so I quit my job in e-commerce retail to concentrate on the business full-time,” adds Serra.

Online retailing made product flexibility and customisation possible. “Customers can choose from our add-ons – if they want storage there’s an extra drawer, caster wheels for those with hard floors and a top up cot that doubles up as a changing mat. Different iterations require retests of course, but it is still cost-effective because we’re online,” he says.

“Then Instagram changed possibilities too, we could reach so many more people than just through our own website.”

Parents’ forums have also helped with their reviews which have hailed the cot’s adjustable heights that extend its use from newborn to toddler, its “solid” feel and the 15-minute assembly time.  

Alongside that core product and its £99 carry cot Wool Nest version, Serra has built an 80-strong range of accessories, including pillows and a mini-gym. 

Production is an international affair, with manufacture in the Balkans, textiles from Asia, an office in Krakow, Poland, and a head team of three in the UK plus a pool of freelancers. 

Serra still works from a home office in London and drew on crowd power through an online survey of 8,000 parents and individual interviews to design the high chair, with contributors awarded with a sales discount for their efforts. 

The company, which doubled revenues last year, is now looking to beat its £1million turnover.

But operating in two countries and transporting bulky items across Europe in a less-certain post-Brexit world has got Serra thinking hard.

The importer has already seen the impact of a weak pound push up costs by over 10 per cent.

“Our focus is evolving as we invest more in research and development and become an affordable, good value company that is sustainable,” he says. 

“Driving volumes here in the UK is our priority, we have at least five per cent of the market in some areas, especially London.”

Angel investors, including Rohan Blacker founder of, supplied start up finance and so far it has taken £300,000 to get moKee to its current stage. 

Serra is now working on a further £500,000 raise, again through angels – “we need expertise as much as money” he explains. 

Investment could also pay for warehousing, a new and inevitable move for the company.  

“Holding more stock in the UK provides more certainty,” says Serra. “We could also see some of our ranges available on the high street. When you have traded through fast-changing times like us, you realise everything is possible.” 

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