Online magic

How do you set up your own online shop? For Becky Knapp it has all been about the research. Becky’s background is in art and web production so setting up her Yeti Magic website was not too hard. However, she had no retail or marketing experience.

How do you set up your own online shop? For Becky Knapp it has all been about the research. Becky’s background is in art and web production so setting up her Yeti Magic website was not too hard. However, she had no retail or marketing experience.

She researched different products before hitting on a site selling “cool” kids stuff. First of all, she was going to sell unique vintage posters, mainly from Eastern Europe. However, she soon discovered these were a nightmare to ship and stock. “It was scary because if I crushed a corner that could be 75 pounds down the pan,” she said.

Next she looked at kids merchandise – not books and t-shirts since she says those are more easily available on Amazon. “I wanted to do kids stuff that was different from Ben 10 and Rory the racing car. Something from overseas that was unique,” she says. She looked at French characters like Asterix, but found there was limited merchandise available and what there was was aimed at young children when the demand, which she ascertained by trying to sell products on e-Bay, was from older children and adults. “The product did not fit the market,” she said. She also tried other characters, but people did not buy the products. “You have to be realistic if people won’t buy it. You have to think is it just me. You cannot just stock things for yourself,” she says.

She hit on characters such as Miffy, the Moomins and Elph, unique characters from Japan, the US and Europe.

She got a lot of help from Business Link and went on several courses, though she still hasn’t quite finished her business plan.

Setting up her online shop has proved easier. Becky’s background in web production means she knows how to design, code, write and produce a website.

Media experience

Becky decided to set up her own business after years working in kids or parenting media. She graduated in illustration and went on to do a postgraduate course in creative multimedia. This opened up a wide range of jobs to her – she worked freelance as a designer for several years for Emap and then for the Mirror Group before taking up a web producer job at CNBC. She proceeded to work on a number of “really exciting kids brands”, including Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Nickelodeon. However, after having her first child, Audrey, who is nearly four, she says she needed to find more work life balance. She took a job as web producer at Workingmums.co.uk and worked mainly from home,

As Audrey is about to start school and Becky is expecting her second child, she decided the time was right for another change. Audrey currently goes to preschool in the afternoons which frees Becky up to do some work. She then catches up on orders in the evenings. She hopes that when the baby comes she will be able to work around it and Audrey’s school day, aided by her partner Chris.

Becky says she has “been very brave” and invested her savings in stock. However, apart from the stock her expenses are low since she has designed the site herself. As well as e-Bay she has also taken out a stall at a festival to see if people liked the products she is selling. She says: “Some really liked it. It was quite encouraging.”





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