“If you worry about everything being perfect to begin with then you’ll never start” Trevor from Hello Baby

Hello Baby  was founded by Trevor Ginn in 2007 in London’s East End, Truman Brewery. Trevor had started Hello Baby as he had just became a father, and only then had he realised how much there was out there that he actually had to buy! HelloBabyDirect has since moved to St Albans in 2011 and currently operate out of a 2000 sq ft warehouse and handle over 200 orders every day.

Hi everyone, Trevor from Hello Baby shares her incredible journey on SellingOnlineToday! Download Link

HelloBaby

Some thoughts from the interview

“We’re based in a place called St. Albans which is just outside London. We have been going for about 7 years now, started in 2008. We turn over about 1 million pounds a year. We sell mainly though eBay and Amazon but we are very international, we sell on eBay in seven countries and Amazon in seven countries. “

“Our big focus at the moment is to get our website up and running as another channel. We do mainly baby and nursery stuff, we have also moved into other stuff. We have moved into fancy dress as well using a drop shipper, we were doing books but that didn’t really work out for us.”

“We started on eBay and did Amazon quite soon afterwards. We have always been very multi-channel. I mean eBay and Amazon is an easy way to start. The more we try to sell other things the more we end up selling on eBay and amazon basically is my experience.”

“We have done very well selling on Amazon internationally less so on eBay international but it still works quite well.”

“We do create our own listing international. We started doing Amazon Japan recently which has worked quite well actually. We have about 15,000 odd items to list internationally and we have managed to list about two thirds of those just for the catalogue.”

“We get interns from Europe to translate our products into different languages. With the Japanese stuff we are going pay to get some of those translated. I am about to get 250 items translated into Japanese which is going to cost me about £1000 I think something like that, going through Elance to get that done.”

“It is a massive constant amazement to me that people want to buy stuff internationally from us really. It’s not like there is no baby stuff in Japan or the USA.”

“Once you set it up, it’s just showing the postage available and putting it in the right bag.”

“You have got to try these things.”

“We do our translations mainly through google translate which seems to do the trick. It works surprisingly well. We did get booted off Amazon Japan recently because they said our Japanese was rubbish and they had a point. We have got a translation company to do that now.”

“You have got to try these things until you screw up really. If you worry about getting everything perfect to begin with then you will never start.”

“I am looking at some other markets, there is one called bol.com in the Netherlands, there is allegro in Poland. There are very easy ways of getting sales.”

“We use ESeller Pro which is a system, channel aggregater, who are pretty good if one of the more expensive ones.”

“We have got a website based on Magento and there are so many extensions for Magento we can just edit until the cows come home. In our case make changes until the whole thing collapses in on itself.”

“We don’t do the development ourselves. It’s a difficult beast. I think websites are just quite difficult. Talking as someone who likes websites, and likes techy things I find Magento quite a struggle getting everything to work together. We are almost there but it has taken a very long time, years really.”

“I think that it’s important to diversify as much as possible because I think we see a lot of variation in the sales of one channel over another. The more channels you have the less the changes in any one particular channel will affect you. It is not impossible to get kicked off a channel, it certainly has happened.”

“Take amazon for example, Amazon are always I don’t want to say working against you but maybe that is right thing to do. Amazon is always improving its functionality and getting new sellers on the site.  For example, if you take we are in the nursery sector I have noticed recently that they have started doing subscription based thing where you can subscribe to get nappies and stuff like that which would certainly be very hard for us to do. To a certain extent they are working against you all the time, they’re a separate company you buy a service and from then they are not on your side.”

“We do very well with amazon and the various channels we sell but they have got a very active marketing team which when they have got these new services they are always trying to push them. For example, with their FBA service I suspect it becomes very easy for manufacturers to go directly to the public and I suspect very strongly that is very appealing to certain companies. We have had it in the past these suppliers have rung us up and said we have decided that we are going to be the only people selling on Amazon and you can’t sell our stuff on Amazon anymore, at which point we basically stop selling it. They have got various service that they push quite aggressively. We have seen at various points our sales drop off a lot so I think it is important to try and diversify.”

“If we can get our website to work it is going to be an extra channel and will help us approach the 50% odd of people. I would say marketplaces are about 50% of the market but there is the other 50% of the market we don’t touch.”

“In the point of the value of your business, if you have your own website it is perceived as being much more valuable.”

“The FBA European fulfilment is a good service.”

“We have a small shop at the front of our warehouse that people can visit because some our suppliers require us to have a store but we have very few people come into it.”

“What I have been working on recently is a more streamlined upload technique to the system to get the data into the system correctly.”

“As time goes on we have complicated things, and complicated things and complicated things and it is important that we get all the right fields filled in. It occurred to me that if we could actually streamline the upload process, because in a lot of things you have some certain settings and those settings can actually derive from the same source.”

“I think that e seller pro manages our slightly complex set up quite well. I think that people are slightly harsh on these systems saying that they are all rubbish. I think the problem is that everything is rubbish, all software is rubbish is the first problem because none of it is perfect and I think that they are trying to integrate systems that themselves are deeply imperfect.”

“The last time I seriously looked at it, because I was thinking of moving from e seller pro because they were really annoying me, just one or two problems they hadn’t fixed for years. They found it quite hard to support international address so people in Norway we sent things to were finding quite hard to get their stuff. Anyway, they have fixed that now quite a long time ago but it didn’t half take them a long time. It’s all sewage under the bridge.”

“I did look at some other tools at that point and I actually concluded that e seller pro is pretty good and that a lot of things that they didn’t do very well other bit of software didn’t do at all.”

“I have got much better things to do that change my software system which would be the most epic amount of work.”

“The struggle is my life to quote Nelson Mandela.”

“You have just got to keep going, have tenacity to push through.”

“I need to understand the financial side of things more I find that hard. Like everyone I focus on the things I find interesting.”

“The worse thing we have done is that we managed to sell about 70 cots at half price, so we just cancelled them all and there was some quite annoyed people.”

“Our feedback is very good on Amazon UK.”

“Our marketing, we have obviously have our eBay and we do it all ourselves in that we set up all the channels. We are going to start doing a more classic marketing thing we are going to be running out own google ad campaigns.”

“We are going to start having a look at product ads (in Amazon) I don’t have an awful lot of faith in it working.”

“Free postage fundamentally means the price of the postage is included in the overall price”

“I had a kid and decided it seemed like a good idea. Nursey stuff has certain advantages, you can sell it everywhere, it’s fairly non-seasonal and it is something that sells quite well online.”

“It needs to be manned properly to do it.”

Best advice: “You have got to become an expert in what you do. So if you’re not interested in playing with spreadsheets and the different channels, it is an awful lot of work getting the stuff live, keeping it live and updating it if you’re not prepared for it. You have got to love it.”

What do they offer?

Hello Baby stock an impressive selection of baby, toddler and nursery products in their online shop – including clothes, furniture, feeding equipment, toys, activities, safety and travel stuff, all at tremendous prices.

How to contact Hello Baby!

Twitter      Website      Facebook    Or email: customerservice@hellobabydirect.co.uk

Resources 

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