Posted: 20 Dec. 2021

2019 Rising Star winner: Rascal + Friends

It’s always exciting for our Deloitte Fast 50 judges to take on the Rising Star category, as it’s an opportunity to recognise younger businesses already showing fantastic results. This year’s national winner was no exception – nappy brand Rascal + Friends is an entrepreneurial success, flying off shelves in New Zealand and beyond. Following their win, we spoke to co-founder and Director of Product Development, Louise Stainthorpe, to find out more about the company’s history and future plans…

Congratulations on winning the National Rising Star award! Can you tell us a little about Rascal + Friends’ journey so far?

We're initially a family company based in Hamilton and we started out online in 2016 with our nappies. After we brokered a deal with Foodstuffs, we launched into supermarkets in 2017 and during that time we continued to develop our products before expanding to Coles in Australia in October 2018. Now we will be entering our 12th country, which is really exciting!

So quite a lot of rapid international expansion?

Yes, and so much of that is down to our initial success in New Zealand. It helped to show that we had a proven market and we had really great data from our customers, so when we approached retailers in new countries, we had a proven success story already. Then it was just a case of showing how we would adapt our offering to their country’s market.  

What was the inspiration for starting the business?

The CEO (and my brother), Grant Taylor, was originally looking at recession-proof businesses and the nappy industry was one that came up in his research. We studied up on it and thought there was an opportunity to take quite a different marketing approach to what had been done previously - approaching the parents through our marketing rather than the children because they're the decision-makers. Then, as we were developing the product, Grant and I spoke to one supermarket chain who said we were absolutely crazy and not to do it. That actually turned out to be a good incentive to keep going!

What size is your team?

Since we started, it's still the same core family members leading the business in New Zealand and Australia, and there’s six people based here in total. We’ve got team members internationally too - about nine of them.

What is Rascal + Friends’ plan for the year ahead?

We're planning to launch in another eight countries early next year, so our international sales team are continuing to drive and reach out to new retailers. We've also got a real focus on new product development that we’re hoping to finalise around the same time.  

Have you got any plans to celebrate your Rising Star win?

Grant just had his first baby so we're all celebrating that arrival at the moment! I think when we get to the end of the year, we'll organise a team event to celebrate together. 

Go behind the scenes at the Deloitte Fast 50 Festival of Growth, when we spoke to Rascal + Friends co-founder Grant Taylor about the company's win...

Our 2019 Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Star winner: Rascal + Friends