Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We live in the UK where basketball isn't the most popular sport, but it's growing and has a really strong core of fans and players. The was a huge gap in the UK market for a basketball store that did a good job at offering a decent range of basketball goods that catered for the performance AND lifestyle side of the game. We knew that from playing and supporting basketball ourselves and from feedback from the community. We source a lot of our products from established brands like Mitchell & Ness, Spalding, Molten, Stance and K1X, but we also have a built-in edge of searching for and giving space to smaller, independent brands that may not have ever featured in the UK market place, such as Hoop Culture and Pure Hoop from the US.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
As with a lot of start ups, some of our first sales were from friends, but we also seemed to do quite well from social media and rumours that there was a new player on the scene when it came to basketball in the UK. Instagram does a lot in terms of building support, increasing awareness of our brand and allowing us to reach out to our customer base. We also get a lot of traffic and sales via word of mouth referrals, especially after opening our first city-centre bricks and mortar retail space in March 2015. We're the only city-centre based basketball store in the whole of the UK, which has been a huge thing for us.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
The introduction of the Shopify POS as an app has helped us tremendously. Without it, everything about growing our business and opening a retail space would have been so much harder to do. Whereas now it's felt pretty effortless in terms of the stock management and retail software side of things. We handle everything internally at the moment, taking care of the entire process from our base in Newcastle.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Our biggest recommendation to new store owners is, no matter how tough it gets, stick with it. We've had some truly awful months sales wise, and come across some seemingly impassable barriers, but we're still here, we're still growing and still hitting milestones on our way to success.