Carter Collectables: Brian Carter
Tell us what your business does:
Carter Collectables is an online shop selling ‘old stuff’.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It’s been a lifelong dream. I’ve always been a keen collector (my wife would say ‘obsessive’). I figured that there must be other people like me out there. But I’ve never come across a similar business with as much enthusiasm as they should have.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Everyone feels nostalgia from time to time. It’s a universal human emotion. And if you look around you, you’ll see that retro’s in, right now. The past is the future!
What were you doing before starting up?
Wasting away in local government, getting ever more frustrated at having to take ‘no’ for an answer. There are too many
people only thinking of reasons NOT to do something.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Hasn’t everyone, deep down?
How did you raise the money?
There’s been very little capital outlay. I haven’t had to raise any money from anyone else.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge of all is marketing a website which no one has heard of. I don’t think there’s any magic solution – you just have to keep chipping away.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Like any retail business, it’s really just about selling things for more than you bought them for. But no one buys collectables out of necessity. Our unique selling point is to make sure potential customers perfectly understand the link between their special interest and the products we’re selling.
What was your first big breakthrough?
To be honest, I’m still waiting for a BIG breakthrough. In the meantime, as mentioned above, I’ll keep chipping away. If that produces a lot of small breakthroughs instead, then that’s OK.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Make sure you’re doing something you like doing. If you’re in it just to make money, then you probably won’t. And even if you do, you’ll wish you’d spent your life doing something you enjoyed. The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
This is where I should probably say I want a chain of shops, etc., etc. The truth is, I just want to be still doing something I love doing.