MailingBags.ie: Online packaging firm has it all wrapped up
Based in Ardagh Co Longford, MailingBags.ie was set up by Robert English is a SME that we set up in November 2012. Here he tells his set-up story and shares his tips for other entrepreneurs looking to branch out.
Our main business Robert English Designs - handmade bespoke furniture - was hit very badly by the slowdown in the economy.
Like so many other SMEs, with time on our hands and bills mounting, we had to look for alternative ways of improving our income.
We started to look at online selling. We began by selling golf equipment, accessories and golf trolley parts on eBay.
Naturally, we had to purchase packaging and dispatch materials for the golf sales, but soon realised how difficult it was to source. The cost of the packaging material was driving up the cost of our products.
We just could not get value for money unless we were buying large quantities. If that was an issue for our small online business, we believed it was as an issue for other SMEs. We immediately saw this as an opportunity to stock and supply dispatch packaging material to other SMEs.
We did some research, completed several Internet Marketing courses in Athlone IT and Longford CEB. These courses covered areas of Social Media, Blogging, Google Tools and most importantly SEO and the value these virtually free resources could add to my online businesses.
This gave me the knowledge and courage to build my own e-commerce website - www.mailingbags.ie.
We then heard about the #irishbizparty on Twitter, and joined in every Wednesday night.
WOW, it opened my eyes to the real power of Twitter and Social Media. Literally overnight, my small Longford based business was visible nationwide.
We at MailingBags.ie believe we can provide the dispatch packaging needs for any SME. We are a small family run business, and if we do not have the desired product displayed on our website we are willing to source goods.
We carry a range of sizes, colours and quantities of plastic mailingbags, padded envelopes, boxes, bubble wrapping, tissue paper and tape. We have just included an ECO BIO degradable mailing bag which is proving very popular.
Business Aims for the Future
Extending our product range will be a priority as we move forward. We have established a loyal customer base of small Irish based SMEs, and it is growing steadily all the time.
Our main aim for the business going forward is to expand into the UK and the wider European based market of SMEs.
We are currently working on .co.uk and .com website.
Here are our 5 RAPID tips we would give to anyone thinking of starting a SME
1. RESEARCH: Do lots of research to see what is out there, then target an area perhaps not too populated with the same products, as there is no point in competing with the bigger more established companies
2. ASK FOR HELP: Don’t be afraid to ask for help, seek expert advice, you cannot do it all yourself. Join lots of Networking Groups - we have found these very beneficial.
3. PACE YOURSELF: Setting up a business is hardwork, make sure you take time out for yourself, a mistake many small businesses make.
4. INVEST: Invest time in learning how to use Social media as this is one of the main Keys to marketing, this form of marketing is time consuming, but with some effort it will pay dividends
5. DON’T FORGET YOUR CUSTOMERS: Getting customers is difficult, keeping them is harder, so look after your customers and don’t be afraid to try new ways to get seen, if it doesn’t work, try something else, as what works for one Business may not work for yours..