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Aaron

Setting up a bussiness - shopify? Ecommerce? DGZ please help!

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Aaron    2058

Hey guys. 

 

I'll do the short story.

 

My parents own a semi precious/granite/marble business. We have a premium product line which is the semi precious stone. This includes £2,000 fruit bowls and £20,000 dining tables. The bulk of their work is manufacturing: bars, buildings, football clubs, kitchens, dining rooms. 

 

Anyway the actual stone which we use to create the luxury items is readily available for myself. They're close to retiring in the next 5-10 years because simply enough age and the mental stress is finally catching up on them. 

 

I want to shift their business from manufacturing to something where they can sell a product and mail it to someone instead. 

 

I've identified a few product lines we could make with the products. I know their are competitor products for some of the stuff we're offering. I've checked them out (heck I own a few of them) and honestly the product I'm planning to put into place after some diligent QA and prototype testing in the next 6 months will be MUCH more superior to the competition in every single way. 

 

Where competition like to spend mone on the band mechanism, we will prioritise the quality and finish of the actual semi precious stone. We can also offer a plethora of different types of stones (some exclusive to our plant as we own the naturally occuring rock its coming from and theres not THAT much left).  I will be customising the size, thickness et al to ensure its JUST right. Its not going to be some cheap out-sourced chinese knock off type item. 

 

 

 

I've been youtubing about and learnt about shopify, instagram advertising and facebook advertising. I was wondering if anyone can further help me with this?

The thing is a lot of these shopify programs work towards basically identifying a supplier like aliexpress and just marketting their products at a higher premium with a buy it now click button.

 

My situation is slightly different in that I'm investing in the QA and development of a product I actually believe in. We're based in the UK and I'm happy to ship anywhere but I'm very foriegn to the whole idea of shipping a product (our business usually involved us coming and installing our products). 

 

Any help would be MUCH appreciated. 

 

We've been a basically offline business in terms of gaining revenue as our scope has been where we can install to but at last, I'm hoping we launch a globally accessible product. 

 

 

Packaging/Storage/manpower for anything physical is MORE than in hand. Our weaknesses are everything else behind it; namely the online presence and actually pulling sales. As a business, we've always been used to people coming to us as we are a niche product.. but I understand the shift to a more consumer ready product will mean we need to start coming to people. 

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Aaron    2058

Also I want to run a strong affiliate program for the first 3 months at least, where affiliates get £5 cash for a referral purchase and potentially buyers get a £5 discount .I have no idea how to do this. 

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+rei+    34998

at the end of the day shopify can just be your storefront, plenty of legit businesses use their services for exactly that 

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There was a person I know who got her storefront a little famous last year by giving small items to well known Youtubers. They reviewed it and had the shop link in the video description. Not sure if your thing is something that goes with the Youtube, but its a thought. I used to sell things online; one thing that got sales was having web accounts in the niche groups which was being sold to, getting the name out there. If you can really have a competitive advantage, people will quickly take notice. Generally, higher quality=less sales, more profitability. Amazon is the big market here, so if you can be competitive there, I expect you can do big business. I'm not quite sure what kind of things it is though; Etsy-esque? You can also do B2B to sell greater quantity. 

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+Urthor    10235

You need to take a deep dive into their business and understand the margins/revenue/turnover of the business and *break that down over types of products*

 

I know basically two things about the rocks for fancy homes business. 

 

One is that breathing silicate dust potentially gets you asbetos-like symptoms, the other is that a *lot* of the money is in kitchen and bathroom bench tops.  Idk how mailing those works.

 

Make sure everything stacks up before going online.  Because the construction and interior design industries are extremely analog for very good reasons.  It's not FMCG where the channels are online for earphones, it is done through builders, architects, designers and retail shops that manage customers who make one of these purchases in their entire lifetime.  

 

Going direct to consumer does not seem like a successful strategy in my mind. 

 

Idk I could be wrong and you know all the details but in terms of storefront you have to think about *who* you are targeting and why. 

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Aaron    2058

We already have the kitchen worktops/bathrooms/construction/interior design covered. We actually have TOO much work. The problem with manufacturing is my parents are getting old now and its to a degree, stressful and manual work. I have a bit of foresight to see that although they are smashing it, in 5 years time they'll be 60 and not have the physical strength to do it. Our manual labor force (employees) are just not reliable enough over a 10-20 year period to manage themselves so its easier in the next 5 years transition out of that side of things.  And finally sadly me and my sister are doctors and haven't learnt the trade nearly well enough. also I much prefer the idea of a more passive income approach where  I open up my phone and fulfill orders than measure up, template, go to the factories etc. 

 

 

 

My plan is to try and diversify the business by making normal house hold items and jewerelly out of the semi precious stone. 

I'd be targetting younger generations (18-35) who would like a nice looking diamond bracelet but can't afford one basically. I've seen the competition and they use very cheap crap, fake stone. 

We can basically make ANYTHING out of the stone.

 

I saw a few clocks for example made that look 100x better than the clocks available on amazon (IMO)... you name it, we can make it. 

 

The youtube marketting idea is where I was thinking of going. Idk how to get their contact details etc but i'lll look into it.

 

 

Are there any products as general consumers you guys think you'd like to see where there is a potential gap in the market? 

Edited by Aaron

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When trying a new venture, if it fails, 'fail cheap and fast'. That is, avoid any large time and capital requirements. The thing is, the current business is already established. I wonder if it would be possible to hire more people and thus keep running it, and how long it would take to learn how the business runs. Perhaps your parents could slowly step away as you slowly step in. It is less risk because you already know the current business works. For the online venture, I imagine you would need a way to gauge online demand. It would take like 75 stone clocks to equal a single tabletop or some such thing. Cost:effort ratio. Also, diversification would require some degree of new set-up. Also consider online margins vs current margins. 

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