Hello Baby: Trevor Ginn
The Hello Baby founder on his plans for £5m within five years
Company name: Hello Baby Website:www.hellobabydirect.co.uk Founder: Trevor Ginn Based: London Staff Numbers: 3 Date started: August 2007
Tell us what your business does Hello Baby is an online nursery business which sells a wide range of baby products such as prams, cars seats and nursery furniture. As well as our own website we also sell through eBay and Amazon.
How did you know there was a market for it? The nursery marketplace is well established and there is no reason to believe that people are going to stop having babies! Many of the online shops in this space are poor and I believe that our advantage is in our expertise in online marketing. We sell across multiple online channels and we have worked hard to ensure that our website is properly optimised and receives a high volume of natural search traffic. We are also great believers in social media and we have our own blog, social network, twitter account and iPhone app.
Where did the idea for your business come from? Previously to starting Hello Baby I was working as an eCommerce consultant. With eCommerce growing at around 20% per year, my clients were doing very well and this frustrated me as I felt that I knew much more about online marketing they did. So I decided to put my money where my mouth was and launch my own online business.
Have you always wanted to run your own business? After working for three companies which went bust, I concluded that I could do a much better job myself and was itching to give it a try. I enjoy the freedom of being my own boss and being a master of my own destiny. However, the money is not great and the responsibility can be a bit wearing at times.
What has your growth been like? Growth has been very healthy, typically around 10% per month for the last year, despite the recession. Our turnover is currently around £25K a month and we making a small profit. I expect our profitability to improve as our volumes grow and we can benefit from economies of scale and better prices from our suppliers.
What's the impact on your home life been like? I started the business two weeks after my first daughter was born so I have had to balance two demanding roles from the beginning. Luckily, I work very close to home and so I am able to work from home regularly.
What would you say the greatest difficulty has been in starting up?Building a retailing website involves the creation of a huge amount of content. This has been very time consuming. Also, as no one in the company had a background in the nursery industry, there has been a steep learning curve to get up to speed with the products and who the major players are in the market.
What would you do differently? When I first started the business I was trying to economise on everything. Whilst keeping costs low is wise, it can slow things down. I should have employed staff earlier as to start with I was doing everything on my own. I also got friends to build my website at ‘mates rates' which was very cheap but took forever.
Where do you want to be in five years' time? We expect to continue growing and our plan is to be a £5m turnover company within five years. At the moment we are focusing on growing the company and are not thinking about an exit.