British children’s book start-up Lost My Name is planning to expand into several new territories in 2015 after claiming it outsold Julia Donaldson’s Superworm in 2015.
The company sells personalised picture books via its website www.lostmy.name. Customers create a book by entering the name and sex of a child online, and a set of special algorithms puts together a personalised picture book for that child with illustrations from Pedro Serapicus.
Lost My Name is currently available in English, German, French and Spanish but co-founder Asi Sharabi is this year rolling out the product in Russian, Dutch, Swedish and Danish. He also wants to grow sales in the US, which is currently the company’s largest market after the UK, Canada and Australia.
Sharabi said sales of Lost My Name have been driven by word-of-mouth. “We don’t have any retail space so had to grow the customer base from scratch, and we’ve done this with a fairly small marketing spend," he said. "People tell us they really like the fact they feel like they discovered us. Maybe because we’re not in every Waterstones or supermarket, and we’re not on Amazon, it means it’s a bit more unique.”
He added: “We are talking to a few key retailers but because we are print on demand, every title is personalised. The challenge is to be able to print in situ, which is more likely to be in a place like a John Lewis or Hamleys simply because of the scale – we would need a lot of space!”
Sales of the Lost My Name totalled 132,616 in the UK last year, while sales of Julia Donaldson’s Superworm, the highest ranking picture book, according to Nielsen BookScan, totted up at 115,996.
“We don’t show up in Nielsen because we sell directly to the customers, so we don’t have ISBN numbers, but Lost My Name sold 20,000 more than the official topseller,” he said.
While the company currently only has one product, Sharabi hopes to launch a new one in May.
“We might look to raise some capital for R&D (research and development) to prototype more innovative concepts of combining the power of stories with the possibilities of technology,” he said.