Hello Baby is an online baby and nursery retailer based in sunny Brick Lane, East London.
In my previous job I met a lot of online retailers and I was surprised at how unsophisticated they were.
We are a multi-channel online retailer selling through eBay, Amazon and our own website. The site offers a wide range of products at competitive prices and focuses on providing customers with an excellent online and offline shopping experience.
Online our biggest competitor is Kiddicare and Mothercare.
We view our expertise in online marketing as our competitive advantage. Being very good at online marketing, particularly search engine optimisation, has enabled us to keep our marketing costs very low. Currently our site attracts around 1,000 unique visitors a day.
So far we are self-funded. We have kept our start-up costs very low by choosing very cheap office space and drop shipping a large proportion of our stock.
Previously I worked for Auctioning4u who were the UK's largest eBay trading assistant. I was head of consulting, helping businesses to use eBay as a sales channel. Auctioning4u helped companies such as Dixons, John Lewis and Fujitsu dispose of the surplus stock on eBay and other online channels.
At Auctioning4u I met a lot of online retailers and I was surprised at how unsophisticated they were. Many retailers seemed to be selling in volume from badly designed websites with poor user experiences. I was sure I could do better. I choose the nursery market after my first daughter was born when I realised quite how much money parents spend on their newborns!
Our iPhone app has been a huge success, with 5,000 downloads and national press coverage, all for a mere £500. We outsourced the development to India using a developer I found on eLance.
I didn't feel terribly clever when we lost £3,500 to online fraud. Online payments are distinctly less secure than I initially realised and it has been a steep learning curve. The good news is that we managed to claim all the money back from our payment gateway.
A high-bake waterbiscuit. Crunchy, reliable and excellent in all situations.
I often wish I had started my business about five years ago and I daydream that by now we would be a market leader. That said, hindsight is a wonderful thing and five years ago the online market was much smaller. Furthermore, the open source software which has made setting up very cost-effective was also much less available.
Sales have been growing by about 10% per month and so I 12 months time I expect we will have doubled our sales. We are looking for new premises at the moment and taking on more staff. In 12 months, Hello Baby will be a much more established business.
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