GIFTWISE: Dan Stevens

A billion pound sector, the UK gift market is approaching its busiest period of the year. Meet the new start-up looking to crack this lucrative industry

Name: Dan Stevens
Company Name: GIFTWISE
Location:  South West
Date Launched: 02/10/17
Twitter handle: @shopgiftwise

Tell us what your business does:

We sell gifts! More importantly though, we sell gifts that have a purpose along with gift guides and recommendations. Some are useful, some are unusual and some are novel. There is also an emphasis on how they are sold, gift wrap options, and personalisation.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Having spent a decade in e-commerce. I wanted to start something alongside my current business (Case Hut) where I could apply everything I have learnt. The idea for gifts came as I often to struggle to find gifts for others.

How did you know there was a market for it?

A simple search. Once I settled on the gift market, I researched the market size for the UK. Although there was quite a variation in figures, all of them started with “£” and ended with “bn” so that was the market research concluded.

What were you doing before starting up?

I was in employment for the last five years. Although I was happy and had some of my best years employed, I felt I wanted to regain the reigns on my life and start calling some shots, outside of my comfort zone. Now I feel I'm in a strong position to pursue e-commerce with some great support.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

100% Yes. I actually started out this way. I had a business at a young age which has been fundamental in where I am today.

Although I was unable to make a success of it all those years ago, it laid the foundations and allowed me gain an understanding of what I do need to know in order to give a business its best chance of success.

How did you raise the money?

Its self-financed. Nowadays, it doesn't cost the earth to start an e-commerce business. With the availability of some impressive tools, you can actually start on a shoestring budget with some good money management.

The biggest expense is stock, the rest I have experience with, from web design to paid campaigns.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

It’s a straight forward ecommerce model. Where we add value is the services/add-ons that GIFTWISE provide.

We want to facilitate the gift buying process with some great content and some handy tools such as our gift “Randomiser”.

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

The biggest challenge was finding high quality content that would set us apart from the general noise. Utilising freelancer websites such as Upwork enabled us to overcome this pretty easily.

A great tool for the lonely entrepreneur who is cash strapped.

What was your first big breakthrough?

It’s always the first sale when its e-commerce. It’s a validation of everything you have set out to do. That first sale then becomes a motivational tool fuelling you to grow the business.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

My advice would be to make sure that whatever you set out to do brings value in some form.

The main purpose of business is to make money and the best way to do that is by facilitating a transaction where the customer/client sees value.

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

I recently read an article on Matt Moudling and his astonishing accomplishment. What stood out from it was the amount of jobs he had created and how that offered more to him than simply selling up.

So, in five years’ time, I would like to have created a team so we can achieve a vision I have for the future of ecommerce.