Elevate - Insight & Case Studies
Pink Box Boutique
Kerry Gover, founder of PinkBox Boutique Ltd, says the support she has received from WBH has been invaluable. Pink Box Boutique has no physical shop,and instead sells gifts online, at markets, and at home parties, where customers can feel, smell and taste the selection of bags, scarves, candles,skin care and food, which come from small producers who make natural products. And just over two years after she set up the company in Coate, near Devizes, Kerry is already looking to expand. The second year of business has seen orders and revenues double compared to the first 12 months, which means the business owner is now set to open a dedicated showroom in a converted barn, where customers can check out the goods and host shopping parties for their friends.
She said: ‘I always wanted to run my own business, and had the idea of running a different kind of boutique. ‘I'm an all or nothing girl, and I wanted to give up my day job and get started.' Kerry got stuck into her research and then looked to WBH's business support service who sent an advisor to give her an assessment.
She recalls: ‘The business advisor challenged me on some things,and encouraged me on other aspects, and together we honed the plan, and he said it was great. ‘I felt like I had really good support and really good advice. And they have held my hands all along the way. ‘I've also received useful feedback from WBH on my plans to expand the business.'
She added: ‘If I need advice on marketing, or sales coaching, or networking, or even something like business rates, I can give them a call for some help. I've had lots of free training and strategy planning. It's been brilliant.'
Kerry, who is 45, and spent years in marketing helping other people to run their businesses, says she is delighted she took the leap herself. ‘I was worried when I started out that there were lots of things I didn't know, but thanks to the support I've had,I've got a much better chance of being successful. ‘I work more hours than I ever did, but I love what I do, and that's important.'
Claire Barker, who runs Hive Originals from a converted shed at her home in Devizes, Wiltshire, is convinced she would not have had as much success selling natural skin care products made from her own honey and beeswax without the ability to communicate on social media. After doubling her turnover in the second year of business, Claire continues to use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to communicate - and create a buzz - with her growing number of customers.
She explained: "It's a real time engagement with my customer base.Social media means I can connect with my customers and have a conversation with them which wouldn't be possible otherwise. I can tell them about new products,they can tell me what they like, and it means I can show the personality behind the business. A good picture posted on social media tells a thousand word story. I can post pictures of the changing seasons, of Wiltshire and what we are doing here. It's a very useful tool."
Claire, who started out as an amateur beekeeper and took the leap after being made redundant from her job as a retail director, says she has been assisted by the Wiltshire Business Hub right from the start. She said: "I attended a course on how to start a business, and they've been supporting me ever since. It's very comforting to know that their expertise is only ever a phone call away."
Claire added that as the owner of a micro-business, social media has meant she is able to engage with customers across the UK, from South Wales to the Scottish Highlands, in a way that wouldn't be possible otherwise. Now in sole charge of production, design,marketing, web design and everything else associated with the business, she said: "I have never worked so hard in my life. But I wouldn't change it for the world. It's good to be the master of your own destiny."