Starting Out in E-Commerce By Ayshea Elliott Ayshea Elliott February 01 2014, 2 Comments
Hi, I’m Ayshea and I can’t believe you’re actually taking the time to read this blog so thanks from me!
I wanted to take the chance to give you an insight into me and my business, why I’ve started and my road to getting started.
Making The Decision
I finally decided to take the leap and set up my new e-commerce site Time To Dress Up over Christmas 2013. I had just struggled through a particularly stressful Christmas trading period in my job at Kitbag Ltd where I was Head of E-Commerce for 11 football and sports clubs online.
Christmas was always busy at Kitbag as in any e-commerce business, but Christmas 2013 was particularly hard as I was under pressure both in and outside work. My beloved Father-in-Law Peter had become increasingly poorly as he battled with Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure. He had been diagnosed 18 months before and had so far been incredibly strong and resilient to the disease, managing to enjoy lots of holidays and continuing to live life to the full. A trip to Florida in September was a turning point for him though and he came back in pain and unwell and we realised that the Mesothelioma had finally started to get the better of him.
So, struggling with an incredibly busy job, a young family and a very ill family member, I felt it was time for a change. My fantastic husband Elliott saw the toll it was taking on me and we had a frank heart to heart where we agreed that something needed to change. I felt like I hardly saw him and my 3 year old son Jimmy and when I did, my head was stuck in my work emails or I was trying so hard to enjoy my time with them that we rushed around trying to do everything, all balance had gone from our lives and I felt unhappy and stretched. The problem was, what to do next…
Coming Up With the ‘Big Idea’
Since leaving university I had dreamt of running my own business and being my own boss. I had been working online for my whole career so an online business was the obvious choice. Being a Mum and being constantly surrounded by children, a kid’s e-commerce site felt like the way to go so I started to research the market and spot gaps that weren’t being well catered for online.
I came up with a list of ideas after researching online and asking every parent I know but then wasn’t sure how to choose which idea to pursue. I decided to speak to a few other local small business owners for advice on how they came up with their ‘big idea’ and they pointed me in the direction of the Spring Fair at the NEC. The Spring Fair is the biggest buying event of the year, over 300,000 products across 13 sectors are exhibited every year and it is a fantastic way to meet new suppliers. Best of all it’s completely free, so anyone starting a new business should definitely make a visit.
It was at the Spring Fair that I started to get excited about selling high-quality kids dress up costumes. I met up with some fantastic suppliers and was so impressed with the products they had on offer. I remembered all the times I’d been disappointed and had to compromise when buying dress up costumes for my son in the past and realised I could make the company to fill that gap.
Coming away from the show I felt really inspired and excited to research the idea further. All my research showed me that this was a great opportunity so I made a huge decision, I was going to hand in my notice at work and set up an online business selling kids dress up costumes. GULP!!!