Back in 2008, Kareen Buttle was searching for glitter cosmetic products online. Her daughter had an upcoming dance show she was performing in, and Kareen needed some specific makeup for her to wear on stage. Struggling to find the precise product she needed, Kareen hit upon an idea. If she was having a tough time, other parents must be too. And once she’d sourced the right products after a meticulous search, she decided to buy up some additional stock and resell it on eBay. She made some space in the kitchen cupboards for boxes of glitter pots, and when the orders started rolling in online, she realised she’d struck a little bit of gold – and ‘Glitterstore’ was born.
Glitter gets everywhere
Already a successful mortgage adviser, Kareen was hit hard by the financial crisis, but just six months after starting her eBay business selling glitter products on the side, she was able to quit work in financial services to concentrate solely on her new business venture. ‘It was exciting to see sales pick up speed. The stock soon took over every spare cupboard we had,the space in the hallway and even the loft. When it started taking over the garden and our outbuildings eighteen months ago we realised we had to expand, and we moved into our own commercial premises.’
Local business with a global reach
Based in Dumbarton, Kareen now employs her own staff and all live in the local area, and are mostly parents like herself who need part-time work while their children are in school. And Glitterstore is a family affair too, with Kareen’s son taking professional stock photography during his breaks from his studies at Uni, and her daughter, the dancer who inspired the business in the first place, is now 18 years old and advises Kareen on which products are popular with her peers.
Worth its weight in gold
From the beginning, Kareen realised she needed to have technology on her side if she was to keep up with demand. ‘Linnworks has been worth its weight in gold for Glitterstore. We’ve used this particular eCommerce software since the very beginning eight years ago. And as the business has grown, we’ve adapted the system to suit us.’
With Glitterstore now selling a huge range of everyday cosmetics, hair apparel, and specialist products for stage, Kareen’s business turns over in excess of £350k per annum. Her success? Kareen has used Linnworks to trade on multiple marketplaces and manage her sales from one system, and has even used the software to take her glittery business global.
Kareen’s top tips for running a sparkling eBay business:
1. Make a sound business plan and work out where you want to go. We did this just a couple of months after starting out, as soon as we saw the potential for growth.
2. Good technology is key to business success. Don’t think you can keep track of everything you sell on pieces of paper and spreadsheets.
3. Keeping control of your inventory on multi-channels is of paramount importance. Glitterworks has built its reputation on sending out orders immediately, so knowing your stock situation is imperative to keep our customers happy.
4. Remember the bottom line. Selling your products at rock bottom prices can make you look cheap, and marketplaces have fees. If people want quality they won’t mind paying a bit extra, and your bottom line will thank you too.
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