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In Pictures: Canada's exclusive vendor of Sophie the Giraffe toys

Jane Wood faces a cash crunch in selling the popular teething toys to stores

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Jane Wood is the owner of Bug in a Rug Canada Inc., a baby-products importer and the country’s exclusive distributor of Sophie the Giraffe, a wildly popular eco-friendly teething toy made in France. Her problem is with cash flow. The manufacturer of Sophie, Vulli SA, gives Ms. Wood 60 days to pay for the toys, but it takes her longer than that to sell them.

J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail

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Made with natural rubber and non-toxic paint, Sophie is a hit with the teething set.

Handout

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A box of Sophies wait to be shipped from the Bug in a Rug warehouse in Milton, Ont. Ms. Wood has enough orders to fill the shipping containers used by Vulli, but she doesn’t always have the cash to get things started. A shipping container holds about 120,000 euros ($168,000 Canadian) worth of stock, and Vulli gives her 60 days to pay. “It takes four to five weeks to get here [by boat], and the invoice clock starts ticking the day it leaves France,” Ms. Wood says.

J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail

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Bug in A Rug owner Jane Wood, right, and employee Ryan Gagnon chat in the warehouse. To cope with her cash flow problem, Ms. Wood places smaller orders more frequently and has them shipped via FedEx, which costs two to three times more. But even with a faster ship time, her company finds itself struggling to find the cash to fill new orders.

J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail

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Bug in A Rug employee Elicia Treasure prepares boxes for shipping.

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Ms. Wood says, “It’s like we’re always just squeaking through. The growth rate is going through the roof, so how come we never have any money?”

J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail

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