60 second start-up: LeShopUK.com

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

An internet retailer of original photographs of beautiful British places.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

An online company selling various products including prints, mugs and t-shirts featuring landscape and street photography taken around the UK.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

There are various services – both on and offline - that allow customers to add their own photos to mugs and t-shirts.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

We go off the beaten track and travel around Britain to capture the images that we sell in the shop for our travel, food and culture blog LifestyleDistrict.co.uk

This means that our shop tells a story. You know who we are and where we’ve been. Customers can relate to us. We’re not an anonymous corporate brand.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

We have self-funded the business so far with a little bit of help from family. We run the business from home which keeps cost down and we’ve got very good at seeking out the best offers in our local supermarket. When running a small business, every penny counts!

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

Virginia: I worked in advertising for 11 years; first in Paris, where I was born, and then in Bristol. 

Dan: I’ve been a journalist writing about small businesses for 12 years and know all there is to know about running a company (in theory!).

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

Virginia: I’ve always been obsessed with taking pictures of everything around me.

Dan: I love telling stories. We thought we could combine both.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

Starting a retail business before Christmas. Or so we think. Ask us the same question in January!

We also entered 24 Hours in Bristol, a competition that saw photographers capturing a day in the life of the city. One of our photos has been included among 70 picked from the 1,000 submitted to feature in a high profile public exhibition which will go a long way to raising awareness of our brand and expertise.

If we could offer one piece of advice to other entrepreneurs, it would be enter competitions. They are great way to gain valuable PR for your company.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Including the word ‘sorry’ in the subject line of our first email newsletter and thinking it was a good idea. How British!

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Virginia: Being a Franco-British company, we’re still arguing over this one! On the one hand, I think we’d be a speculoos (a biscuit popular in Northern France) with its spicy energy or a madeleine with its classic chic.

Dan: Rubbish! We’d clearly be a Chocolate Hobnob, the king of all biscuits.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

Only one? Facebook, Twitter, Google – we could go on!

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

Hopefully realising our dream of a week away lost in the Lake District in front of a log fire celebrating a year of massive sales. It doesn’t take much to make us happy!

To find out more about LeShopUK.com, click here, or follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.

Catch up with last week's 60 Second Start-Up here.


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