ImpossibleToBuyFor.com: Louise Croft
The Amazon addict tells us how she self-taught to build her own online gift business
Name: Louise Croft
Company Name: ImpossibleToBuyFor.com
Location: South East
Date Launched: 01/10/2015
No. of employees: 1
Tell us what your business does:
It’s a curated gift list shop for people to get great Christmas/occasion presents. The difference is that everything is supplied and shipped by Amazon so you get it super quick, and as cheap as possible. I don’t add any mark-up, and I’ve personally chosen every item on the site for quality, value for money and fun factor.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I am a total Amazon addict but I find it useless for buying presents. It’s great if you know exactly what you want, but if you’re looking to browse for inspiration it doesn’t work at all. So, I’m a big believer in building things you yourself would use. This is something I’ve been wanting to exist for a long time, so I knew there’d be a market for it.
How did you know there was a market for it?
There’s a very successful proven model of gift shopping sites in general, and so I knew if I could do one better than them I’d be onto something great. The fact that my range is cheaper, better, more reliable, and has faster delivery seems like a no brainer. I’ve had things not arrive in time for Christmas before because there’s been a problem with the supplier, but with Amazon you know you’re in safe hands.
What were you doing before starting up?
I’ve been working online for a couple of months now, mostly teaching through e-learning, and running my fashion blog. I was ready for a new challenge, and with Christmas approaching, everything came together perfectly.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Absolutely. My family are almost all entrepreneurs, throughout multiple generations, so it’s always been a goal for me. I studied Business at Bath University to get my grounding, and then I immediately started trying out new ideas. I ran a social enterprise for a while working with charity shops to revamp their interior design, and then I started working online to make my time and lifestyle more flexible.
How did you raise the money?
The whole site only cost me £100 because I didn’t hire a developer, so thankfully I haven’t had to do any fundraising. Amazon own all the stock and do all the shipping so I haven’t had to invest in stock, all I needed was a premium WordPress theme, my site hosting, and a few paid plugins. And voila!
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
I built the whole site without being able to code, and no one thought it would be possible. At first, I seriously doubted it too, but once I started researching tools and plugins (I use WooZone integrated with WordPress) I realised other people had already done the coding for me. I read a lot of reviews and blogs from other e-commerce entrepreneurs to find out what worked for them and used that to choose my route.
What was your first big breakthrough?
My first ever sale – it was only a tiny one but it really spurred me on that this was going to be possible. From that point on I knew this was going to be something worth throwing myself into.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t underestimate what you’re capable of! If you set your mind to something and just deal with each obstacle as it comes, before you know it you’ll have achieved your goal. Who knew someone could build a successful e-commerce site without being able to code?
I’ve also been really big on asking for advice. I used a lot of existing tools to build my site, and I’m really not one for reinventing the wheel. I used the online support teams a lot and a bunch of forums. People are so willing to help, you just have to ask.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I’d love to be dominating the gift shopping scene. I am really passionate about making sure people get presents they love, and use for years, instead of things that are fun for a few hours and then taking up space.
I’d also like to have brands approaching me to feature their products, and if that involved a bit of travel too that’d be ideal. Being a ‘buyer’ has always been a fall back corporate job for me, so doing it on my own terms would be amazing.