‘Have genuine passion for your business idea,’ says International Director of the Year 2019

Director of the Year Awards Guy Schanschieff

Every day in the approach to Christmas, we’ll speak to winners from the recent finals of IoD Director of the Year Awards. Today it’s Guy Schanschieff MBE, co-founder and MD of Bambino Mio, who won the International – in partnership with Corporate Traveller – category

Since Schanschieff set up Bambino Mio in 1997 with his wife Jo, the couple have built it into the world’s largest brand of reusable nappies, distributed in more than 50 countries. Schanschieff also founded the Nappy Alliance in 2003 as the UK trade association for reusable-nappy suppliers.

Who has inspired you the most in your career? “The American whom Jo and I met when we were travelling through India in 1991. He talked to us about a cloth-diaper laundry service that was being offered in New York. That sowed the seed of an idea.”

What has been the most pivotal moment for your business? “It came when we forced ourselves to move on from the mentality of a small start-up. We had to prove that we could scale up the business on an international level.”

What’s the toughest challenge you’ve had to surmount? “The economic downturn in 2010-11 was a tough time for us. In one month our two biggest international distributors stopped ordering from us and our turnover dropped by a third. But ultimately we emerged stronger, because we were able to reassess the business and respond confidently with a new and improved sales and digital marketing strategy, which remains at the heart of our enterprise to this day.”

What’s the key to great leadership? “Purpose before profit. If you have genuine passion and drive for your business idea, which you can instil in those around you, that will make you a great leader.”



Andy Hegley, general manager, Corporate Traveller: “We were delighted to sponsor the International category of this year’s awards. Our purpose is to help businesses grow their international operations by making their travel faster, easier and safer. It’s fantastic to see such talent in an area that resonates with us.”

Entries are now open for the 2020 IoD Director of the Year Awards – click here for more info and to nominate


About author

Director magazine

Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

No comments

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.