Cherry Glaze: Michael Reynolds

Online cards, gifts and handmade wedding stationery store

Name: Michael Reynolds
Age: 22
Company: Cherry Glaze
Staff numbers: 2
Company description: Online cards, gifts and handmade wedding stationery store
Tell us what your business does:

Cherry Glaze sells cards, gifts and handmade wedding stationery via our online store and various shows and events. We like to think that we offer the best customer service around and highly competitive prices.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

It started as a hobby, making handmade cards for friends and family. It wasn’t until last year when i was made redundant that I wanted to do something for myself.

I looked into all sorts, i knew i wanted to do something low risk and that i could run from my home office, (my mum’s dining room!).  I turned to things I was good at, and my younger sister said why don’t you make cards again?

So Cherry Glaze was born.

How did you know there was a market for it?

I knew there was a market because of the success of the other major online cards and gifts websites. I said to myself if I could capture just 1% of the market I could make a real success of my business.

I started with market research via online surveys and got a great response. The research showed that customers want a highly competitive price as well as that high level of customer service you get in an actual physical store.

I think we have nailed that.

What were you doing before starting up?

I worked in marketing. I ran the direct mail campaigns for a local cleaning company and at the time we were mailing out 500 pieces a week. It may not sound like a lot but I was hand folding them and sticking the stamps on myself!

I got a great response for my efforts and then unfortunately I was made redundant.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

I think from a young age I knew I wanted to eventually run my own business. I used to sell raspberries and blackberries that me and my brother had picked from some wasteland at the back of our house!

How did you raise the money?

With this being quite a low risk business I used my own money to finance it. I have applied for some funding via The Start Up Loans Company. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that is thinking about taking the plunge, they give great advice and support.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

My major challenge has been finding the time to actually work on this! I do have another full-time job, so after finishing 12 hours shifts in the day, I’d then spend another few hours working on the website.

Then luck would have it I got a promotion at my full-time job and my shifts changed, so now I have the time to work on this more or less full-time.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We sell cards gifts and wedding stationery at very competitive prices. 90% of the time we are far cheaper than our competitors. It isn’t a new idea, but it is proven to make good profits.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Making our first sale was a massive breakthrough and this was before the start of our marketing campaigns so it was a big ego boost.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

When it gets hard to find motivation, look back at why you wanted to start your business in the first place.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I’d like to think that we could capture a bigger market share and take on the bigger companies. This would be a great position to be in.

 

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