Rhys Davies – Your Jigsaw Puzzles
Business Name and Description
YourJigsawPuzzles.co.uk – We sell jigsaws puzzles for both adults and children.
How long has it been running?
We actually bought the domain on 16’th January 2012 but didn’t launch for a few weeks after that date.
When did you first come up with the idea?
I remember sitting down and just writing out a whole list of ideas for an eCommerce site. Lamps, office equipment, wedding gifts etc. Problem being is that all my ideas where either expensive to buy, too large to stock in the house or had about 1 million competitors. A brainwave come over me when thinking what would be a great seller during Christmas while at the same time be a good seller all year round… jigsaw puzzles was a no brainer.
How did you put your ideas into practice?
Starting an online story isn’t as hard as you think. We use a dedicated server at Hostgator for our hosting and they have a utility that allows you to one-click install most of the major scripts that companies need nowadays. Shopping carts, support desks, blogging platforms… you name it, you can install it with one click. Signup with Paypal and you can instantly start taking payments. After that we sent in a small order to Jumbo Games for some Wasgij jigsaw puzzles and simply added them to our shopping cart software. From installing the shopping cart to receiving the products and being able to sell products took a maximum of a week.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is one that I suppose a lot of eCommerce start-ups go through… stock. You start a business to pay the bills, right? At the same time, when starting out, stock has to be expanded and new products brought in.
When was the best moment?
The best moment for me actually happens more than once. Puzzles are obviously a great birthday present and also Christmas present. We get emails all the time to let us know how much a brother/spouse/mother loved their present.
And the worst?
The worst thing to happen was when we recently re-designed the whole site. As our new theme used custom scripts on the backend we had to backup the product data, install the new files and the reimport the product data. While this was easy enough, we soon found out that Magento (our shopping cart software) didn’t correctly backup product information like how many pieces a puzzle has etc. Going back through over 200 products re-entering piece count, brand, size etc… wasn’t fun!
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give yourself?
Be more personal with customers from the start. Although I’ve had other businesses in the past, none of them required 1-on-1 customer conversations. We have people emailing us all the time and initially we would just answer what they needed and that’s it. We’ve now have a much more personal service where if anyone buys a dog jigsaw puzzle for example we will mention about how we grew up around dogs and the conversation just starts flowing. When you get to know your customers on a personal level, you really get to know and understand what they want/need. The days of “corporate speak” are over and now it’s about personal, friendly service.
What jobs did you have before you went into business?
I actually left school when I was roughly 14 and started a business. I’ve been self-employed ever since.
How many children do you have?
I have two beautiful children. Ruby & Dylan. They love a good jigsaw puzzle just as much as me!
How do you manage childcare with running your business?
This is a tough problem to get through for most people but my businesses have always been setup so that I can work when I want to. If the kids need picking up from school on short notice I will just drop what I’m doing and finish off when they go to bed. It also helps that I’ve had an extremely supportive partner behind me since day one!
What are the main challenges with running your business around your family?
I work from an office in the family home and while I’m blessed to be able to do that, it can bring its own series of “problems”. You’re sitting down with a nice cup of tea, replying to customers, doing SEO/Marketing when all of a sudden the children feel like playing the worlds loudest game in the room next-door. Oh… and you have to fight the urge to give yourself a five-minute break all the time.
What is your favourite family activity?
We live within 2 miles of two beaches and a massive woodland. Going out for long walks is something that we love doing and helps us relax a little.
If anyone wants to contact me for any reason you can email me personally: firstname.lastname@example.org