Moonpig founder Nick Jenkins on naming your business, achieving viral growth and plans for expansion

The digital entrepreneur behind the leading personalised greetings card company shares his business insights with from Sir Richard Branson’s home...

As the founder of one of the UK’s leading personalised greetings card companies, Moonpig’s Nick Jenkins is well versed in the world of business and digital.

Having established Moonpig in July 2000; at the peak of the collapse of the dotcom bubble, Jenkins has successfully scaled the online platform to multi-million revenues and launched in both the US and Australia with further growth in the pipeline.

We caught up with the digital entrepreneur at Sir Richard Branson’s house for the Pitch to Rich 2014 competition where he shared his advice on naming your business, his “admiration” for viral growth, and what’s next for Moonpig…

Naming your business

Jenkins outlined five key requirements that he felt were essential when choosing your business name but explained that, when it came to naming his own business, Moonpig wasn't his ideal choice as it stemmed from a nickname at school.

Despite the nickname, the entrepreneur reflected that it ultimately “made a better brand than a nickname”:

“What I was looking for was a name that had to be as few syllables as possible, it had to be unique on Google, it had to be phonetic, easily represented by a graphic logo […] and it had to be available as a domain name. I spent four days searching for a word that was unique on Google […and that was available as a domain name] that I could use for this and I couldn’t find anything. I was throwing all sorts of things into it.

“I spent four days looking for something that would satisfy those criteria and I came up with a couple. One of which was my old nickname at school, Moonpig, it just so happened that it ticked all the boxes and it worked very well. It was sort of despite the nickname thing; I would rather not have used my nickname at school but it worked.”

Business inspiration and going viral

When it comes to business inspiration, Jenkins is spurred on by the activity of digital and social businesses that have ability to “grow virally” as he explains:

“I look at some of the social businesses like Facebook that have changed the way that we behave and have been able to grow virally very, very quickly. They’ve grown virally because they provide something that people really want and that’s the crucial thing. Viral growth happens because people want it.”

On his own experience of becoming somewhat of a viral sensation, Jenkins added:

“Moonpig, to some extent, was viral – I buy a card, I send it to you, you like it, you come online and you buy one. So a lot of our growth in the early years was viral. The businesses that I do admire are the ones that have grown spectacularly in the last five years – in particular the likes of Facebook, Twitter and so on. I’m in awe of those [businesses].”

Plans for expansion

Over the last 14 years, Moonpig has expanded its offering to include a range of flowers, custom mug designs, wall art and even t-shirts, but Jenkins believes that there is still the potential to capitalise upon other opportunities:

“We’re starting to make in-roads [internationally]; there are other countries that we’d like to do and [we’re also looking] at a range of gifts. We’ve realised that we’ve got a lot of people who love our cards but people are generally buying gifts as well. I think Moonpig is now the third largest online florist in the UK so we have a very big business there.

“I think probably over time the gifts will start to become as important a part of the business as cards.”

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