Share:
POST
TWEET
SHARE
SHARE
EMAIL

eBay to High Street – The Personalised Party Co.

By Chris Dawson January 4, 2013 - 4:08 am


My best friend Shazina started off selling on eBay four year ago and this week she opened her first retail outlet. Four years ago she’d just left a full time career in accounting and having two pre-school children needed an income which could work around the school runs.

November 2008 was when she put her first listing up on eBay. Having picked my brains she proved remarkably resourceful figuring out most of how to use the site on her own. I remember a few times she asked a favour like creating a banner for her eBay shop, but in the main she did all the right things on her own initiative and grew her business until it became a major source of income.

Some years later in 2011 it was time for a revamp of her , and Shazina engaged dZine-Hub to create a custom shop front and listing template. Shazina was delighted with the results and certainly the new design lifted her business to new heights. By now her business, Invite Designs Ltd, was growing fast, so much so that employees were needed to manage the workload.

I remember seeing her home office in the early days with just a couple of desks around the outside walls, but by this stage racking was appearing in the middle of the room and by the time she launched her Party Supplies website powered by ekmPowershop in 2009, the garage had been commandeered and racked out to hold stock too.

2012 saw Shazina branch out onto Amazon, and after jumping through the initial hurdles of learning a new marketplace that too has been a massive success. Shazina told me today that “Amazon is much better than I thought and it is proving to be as good as ebay for sales!

Just four years from starting a bedroom business to bolster the family income, Invite Designs trading as The Personalised Party Company opened the doors to their first retail shop in Farnborough on the 2nd of January 2013.

If you visit you’ll find everything from children’s party bag fillers, personalised photo balloons, toys, fancy dress and of course personalised invitations and thank you cards for every occasion, from birthdays, weddings, hen and stag dos, Christenings, parties and of course Christmas.

It’s always good to hear of success stories, but doubly so when it’s a friend of mine. I have to say I’m really chuffed at what she’s achieved and the income she’s generating, not only for herself but for her employees too. Well done Shaz x

If you’re in the Farnborough area you’ll find Shazina in her new shop at 3 Camp Road, Farnborough, GU14 6EN. You can also contact her via The Personalised Party Company, party supplies website or inquiries can be made by telephone (9am-5pm) on 01252 522015.

  • puddleglums rest
    4 years ago

    just has to work. because in todays culture there is a party if the dog farts

    • 4 years ago

      When I was five if I wanted a party my mum asked your mum if you could come and that was that. These day’s it’s a major production with personalised invites, party bags, personalised thank you cards, personalised greetings cards and god knows what else!

    • It’s surprising how many Christmas Cards we did this year with a picture of the pet dog on, it seems pets are treated like family now.

    • puddleglums rest
      4 years ago

      if I treat my dog like I treat my family it would report me to the RSPCA LOL

    • 4 years ago

      I am confused. Is it the dog or the family that would report you to the RSPCA?

    • Gary
      4 years ago

      I read it as the dog reporting its owner to the RSPCA for cruelty to families! Are we saying that dogs now get Xmas cards with dogs on? I get Xmas cards with steam trains on but we won’t go there! :-)

    • Gary
      4 years ago

      From the follow up here Shazina may have the idea of branching into the animal party market! That may require a few hoops to jump through…

    • 4 years ago

      One of the funniest Christmas Cards I ever received(years ago) had an old time Stagecoach and Santas Sleigh racing in the way of a Roman Chariot Race. It was hilarious.

  • Lee Pearce
    4 years ago

    Nice to see a new shop in North Camp, its only called Farnborough when your selling your house!!

    I will pop in later today to say hello.

    Lee

    • Thanks Chris for the write-up! It’s a very exciting new challenge for me and is always great to have a network of support from friends.
      Thanks for popping in Lee, it was great to meet you – I’ll come and see you next week.

      Shazina.

  • Rich
    4 years ago

    You have to take your hat off to hard working and creative people. I do my best but realise I have marked limitations. Good luck to her and thanks for the inspirational story.

  • 4 years ago

    Great stuff.

    Nice to see success stories like this, fed up to the back teeth with all the doom mongers banging on about recessions and the state of the economy, it’s not great but it’s not as bad as they want us to believe.

    Well done and good luck with the new store.

  • 4 years ago

    I agree Whirly, the one thing we do know for sure is that if you don’t have a go, you won’t succeed. And even in the bad times clever people can reap the prizes.

    Good luck and best wishes Shazina.

    • puddleglums rest
      4 years ago

      ruthless is better than clever when it comes to business

    • 4 years ago

      Surely its a combination of Clever and Ruthless. After all Ruthless on its own just gives us American Gangsters. Clever on its own possibly just academic. But a combination of both plus perhaps a few other qualities would be unstoppable.

  • 4 years ago

    I don’t think that business people need to be ruthless. No.

    • Gerry007
      4 years ago

      .
      When you end up succeeding, it is always nice to look back @ how you achieved it, being clever puts a nice smile on your face.
      But achieving it by being ruthless, is not really winning a tall.

      We can all win battles by deceit & lies.

    • puddleglums rest
      4 years ago

      ruthless is not deceit and lies, its being able to take hard decisions being able to compete against bigger and better, being able to walk away from complicated and involved situations, putting your business and your lively hood first , dealing with those trying to use you or your business only for their own gain ,

      were not running a social service or a charity we dont delude ourselves were special or wonderful were doing it for the money , with ethics and decency and conscience, but the money is first, or what would the point be?

    • puddleglums rest
      4 years ago

      they do if they want to suceed in todays market place

  • Gary
    4 years ago

    Decisive and persistent maybe. An eye for detail yes. Knowing when to cut a loss and move on definitely. You can be nice and still have these qualities.

    • puddleglums rest
      4 years ago

      nice has nothing to do with it, were in business we need to make the right decisions to protect our business and our employees , in a shark infested sea, being nice gets you eaten

  • Lee Pearce
    4 years ago

    It’s all about perception.

    When you do something in your business to someone else, you see it as being busineslike & decisive.

    When someone does the same to you, you call it being Ruthless.

    JMHO

    Lee

    • puddlegulms rest
      4 years ago

      good point ,we agree, ruthless decisive call it what you will. but its as essential as stock when you run a business

  • Gary
    4 years ago

    Clearly Shazina has had some success. It would be interesting to hear her take on this ruthless/decisive thing.

    I’m not convinced stock is important. What about those who offer services? What is important for those in a retail environment as I guess most of us are is stock management.

    If you can operate a just in time system then it keeps the value of stock down which is dead money. The ideal business I would guess is one in which stock turns over in 4 weeks or less.

    Having stock in storage provides a comfort factor but this comes at a price. What if you get it wrong and some new lines simply don’t move?

    Or Royal Mail double their prices which makes a lot of your low value stock unsalable? Outside factors can impact any business.

    Ebay constantly changing its rules and fee structure can have a serious impact on a business.

  • puddleglums rest
    4 years ago

    stock not important? eh!

  • Gary
    4 years ago

    Maybe I’m confused. Are we talking stock levels or stock turnover?

    HMV for example have high levels of stock (DVD’s, CD’s, etc) much of which will never turn over and remain on the shelf forever. They are perceived as a “zombie” company. Market traders work with stock bought in daily that has to be sold that day.

    The most efficient ebay businesses surely are the ones that follow the market trader model and not the HMV model. Am I right or wrong?

    (PS sadly I rank as an inefficient business stock wise but that is another story. Definitely not a zombie business though! One day I’ll whittle the stock down to market trader status but it might take a few years! Still buying stock as it is hard to resist when the £££££ signs start rolling in front of my eyes! I guess many of us suffer from this same syndrome. I am slowly but surely beginning to resist those urges to buy stock but it is a habit that is hard to give up!)

    • Gerry007
      4 years ago

      .
      One of the things about stock is it rarely goes down in value [Unless it is sort of time related, ie: HMV, with 1 hit wonders, etc].

      It also depends on how & where you buy stock & the margins you are able to work with.
      Us, being in Ironmongery/Hardware most stock is reasonable timeless, so if bought right sells eventually.

      Selling online regretfully isn’t quite like Market traders who sell on a daily basis, as whilst a listing is ‘live’ we must carry the back up stock.

      We buy quite a lot of parcels [also from importers/Manufacturers direct], but this requires buying in larger quantities, but the margins are usually quite good, be it we sit on a few item of stock by necessary sometimes.

    • 4 years ago

      While I was thinking about the Market Traders I found myself thinking about their stock. On the average Market there are Traders selling a very wide range of items. They are not all Fruit and Veg or Fresh Meat where I will agree they try to sell out each day. There is the Lady with the Sweet Stall, the bloke selling mobile phone accessories; the Lady selling Costume Jewelry etc. In fact for every shop there could be a market stall selling similar goods. Indeed even Book Stalls(although I used to limit my activities to Specialist Events).

      Apart from the Fruit and Veg and the Fresh Meat most Stall Holders probably hold stocks. After all if you sell out each day you have to restock over night and for most that is probably not possible.

  • 4 years ago

    When I was taking a Sales Stand around the Traction Engine Rallies I would often take about 800 books with me. When I stopped attending Traction Engine Rallies I had bought a lot of the stock for that season. So on Garry’s model I am grossly overstocked. Like Gary I still am buying stock. In fact I have a New Year Resolution not to buy any more stock in 2013(and I am confident to break it as soon as the Warehouse I use has some new stock in).

    I am trying to get my stock down to the Market Traders Ideal as per Gary(but I have rarely known any Market Traders who work to those ideals).

    After all I am trying to Retire. I do intend to Retire just not certain when so I can try to sort out my Health.

    Trouble is as well as Selling Books I also collect Books. So I am often buying for my own collection and I need to pad out the order to reach Minimum Order Values. Trouble is I am Weak Willed in regard to Books.

    But some of my stock is now very collectible so selling for much(and I mean a great deal more) than I bought it for.

  • puddleglums rest
    4 years ago

    without stock you dont have a business, unless of course your in the service sector then its your customer list that in effect is your stock, you can never have to much stock if you have bought it with a profit left in it

    • 4 years ago

      I beg to differ. You can have too much stock and I am the living proof of that. If I was 40 years old and expected to be in business for years I might agree with puddleglums rest but I am 62 years old and trying to retire. Surely the appropriate level of stock is partly dependant on circumstances. Such as my age and of course the fact that I cannot get it all into my Store-room.

  • Steve
    4 years ago

    Good for Shazina. always fascinates me how the same old stuff can be failure or success, depending on that little sparkle of magic the likes of Shazina bring to the table. Party planning has been around for years; and yet here we have a success story . Lets hope the Retail Shop works (but I bet she got a short term lease, with an option to extend and fixed rent reviews tied to the inflation rate-Accountants are good people to know!)

  • johnC
    4 years ago

    This looks like a great on-line business, but why open a B&M shop with much higher overheads and only serving a small geographical area?

    • Gary
      4 years ago

      I’m guessing that the business has got to the point where increased storage for stock is required. And given the option of renting a lockup or a shop the small additional costs of a shop made sense. Don’t know how you would stand on business rates though but some local authorities give rate reductions for new business start ups. Staff can always be packaging the online sales if the footfall is low. And a bricks and mortar presence can increase online sales within the local geographic area.

      Next stop Dragons Den maybe?

    • puddleglums rest
      4 years ago

      the worm has turned what with amazon /ebay fees, paypal fees, google fees, web hosting fees, third party management fees, postage fees, topped with ebay buyer worldwide24/7 arrogance stress and insults, a nice quite shop with a beggar in the doorway and a few shoplifters that you can shut the door behind you in the evening becomes quite attractive

    • 4 years ago

      For the shop you forgot the Business Rates, Rent, Traffic Wardens every time you wanted to stop to unload stock, The Local Council complaining about your new sign etc but of course there’s always the pretty young girl you can employ wearing that fetching uniform you designed to brighten up your day.

    • 4 years ago

      Are you advocating sexist hiring policies? :o

    • 4 years ago

      Almost forgot.Somebody has to be the keyholder of this shop. So when the burglar alarm goes off in the middle of the night the Police can contact the keyholder to go and switch the alarm off. So you get used to being called at 2am because the alarm reacts to insects, warmth, cold, etc although it seems to ignore anybody actually trying to break in.

    • Lee Pearce
      4 years ago

      I bought my business in 2007 as an ongoing B&M business with the intent of taking it online.

      Prior to our lease coming to an end last year, we looked around and found that a warehouse was just as expensive including rates, than our current location.

      Back in the beginning, i introduced myself as a High Street Retailer with an Online presence, i now introduce myself as an Online Retailer with a High Street Presence.

      I refer to the shop floor area as the Posh Storeroom.

      We find having a B&M shop enhances our Online side.

      It also helps when negotiating with suppliers as we provide a visable platform for their “wares”.

      The shop sales cover the premises costs & staff wages, the online sales are my profit.

      JMHO

      Lee

    • Jimbo
      4 years ago

      Maybe one day her shops will be dotted all around the country.