Our Story

How did it all start?

In 2007, I opened an eBay account (the same account that I still have and operate today) whilst working full-time as a television engineer. I started out selling replacement instrument dial-kits for MG-Rover cars that I would design myself, print, and fit for other MG car enthusiasts, at home. I actually owned a convertible MG TF soft-top myself at that time and wanted to replace the instrument dials with something a little more snazzy. So I decided to make my own. I showcased what I had created on various online enthusiast forums and began realising there was actual demand for what I had created. So I started selling these kits on eBay.

Fast forward to 2010 and my eBay business had grown into a thriving entrepreneurship. The money I was making as a side-income (in my spare time) had surpassed what I was making at my full-time job. The time had come for me to make a BIG decision. And so I did exactly that.

Going full-time

As soon as I went full time on eBay I immediately branched out in to other things, including selling on both Amazon and Etsy. I started selling decals and other car accessories that I could reasonably make at home with a basic die-cutting machine, and although my equiment has significantly improved over the years -- we still sell some of these products today in 2024 -- 14 years later. A true testament to the entrepreneurial innovation that I was showing at that time. This continued successfully until 2014, by which time I had a sizeable office, employed multiple full-time staff and had very real bills to pay. Then things changed.

By mid-2014 we were experiencing a significant slump in sales likely brought about by increased competition as selling on online marketplaces became ever more popular with each passing year. This ongoing slump was significant enough that I had to take immediate action, which is when we split the business in two. The decals and car accessory business became what is now JCM® Graphics.

Around the same time we launched a new innovative program. We called it our "Official Merchant Programme" -- which opened up our product range to other sellers and allowed them to sell our products for a profit through the means of dropshipping. But more on this later...

Becoming an eBay Trading Assistant

Meanwhile, we also started an entirely new business as an eBay Trading Assistant -- an idea I had sitting around for a number of years. We began offering consignment services on eBay where clients entrusted us with their items for sale.

By 2017 we had grown into one of the largest operating eBay Trading Assistant's in the UK with more than 30,000 items listed for sale on our eBay store, most of which, was used clothing. The program proved to be incredibly popular and our services were sought by hundreds of individuals and businesses across the UK.

While successful, this consignment model proved laborious, with slim margins and complex storage logistics due to our wide acceptance criteria. This forced us eventually to hone into just selling used clothing which enabled us to streamline our operations and become significantly more efficient in the process.

Introducing Instant Buy Offers'

Later that year we introduced Instant Buy Offers' a new service for our eBay Trading Assistant clients where we would offer to purchase items upfront. This proved to be extremely popular with our clients who simply loved the fact that they would be paid upfront, rather than having to wait for their items to sell to be paid. This was a key pivotal moment for our business as we discovered exactly what the supply side of our market wanted -- instant cash.

We went on to double our net profit margin, and sell over 100,000 pre-loved items on eBay, worth over £1M in sales

By 2018 we had completely niched down to pre-loved clothing and were selling 80-100 items every day, 7 days a week. It was relentless.

Our then two-person processing team were hard at work just keeping up with what we we're selling, averaging around 120 new listings per day, 5 days a week -- just to ensure that our store wasn't shrinking. By this time we were selling almost exclusively pre-loved womenswear -- buying everything upfront with our Instant Buy Offers' program. This had a postive impact on our overall profitability and we doubled our net profit margins as a result. It was a great position to be in at that time.

However, things were about to change once more!

At the start of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit us hard and prompted us to adapt within a relatively short period of time. And so we did exactly that, once again.

Downscaling our eBay operations

Having recently purchased a new home in 2019, conveniently we had plenty of space available at home. With Covid restrictions and stay-at-home orders constantly in place around that time, we decided to move out of our warehouse. We downsized our team to just myself, my partner and one-employee, and completely scaled back our eBay operations.

We ended our eBay Trading Assistant program -- though by this time we had very few clients remaining on consignment since we were already buying everything upfront with our Instant Buy Offers', and owned more than 90% of the stock that we were selling at that time.

We decided to put the majority of our eBay stock temporarily into storage units but chose to completely overhaul our eBay operations at the same time. We downscaled the total number of listings on eBay to no more than just a few hundred by selecting only the best brands that we had at that time, and sold off the remaining stock to a single indivdual.

For those that remember, Covid-19 actually started in 2019 (hence the -19 part) and it really became known to us by Christmas time that year, that there was potential for this to become a real problem for our business next year.

So what did we do?

Well, just weeks shy of Christmas 2019, we made a very important decision for our business. We pivoted and launched a printing business, paying homage to our roots which became WinsterCreations®, our home decor brand that offers unique and personalised wall art. The brainchild of this new brand was in fact that of my now fiancee, Kayley -- so I won't take too much credit here.

Moving away from marketplaces with WinsterCreations® and Shopify

Up until this point we had always primarily focused our efforts on marketplaces. Intuitively we knew this was a bad strategy long term since marketplaces were becoming more and more saturated with new sellers' every day -- and it was only going to get worse from here. So we opted to launch WinsterCreations® on the Shopify platform instead.

We were so invested in what we were doing that we worked day and night readying the new store for launch on the Shopify platform and launched within less than two weeks. Between myself, Kayley and our single remaining employee, who just so happened to be a talented graphic designer by her own right -- we built a catalog of more than 3000 products and made £46,088.43 in 2020 as a result of our hard work and dedication. Oh and I forgot to mention we did this with zero ad-spend.

How did we do it?

We generated all of our traffic organically through social media promoting the WinsterCreations® brand and amassing an enagaged following of more than 18,000 loyal followers on Instagram.

We launched the WinsterCreations Brand Rep' program that same year and built and impressive team of more than 50 ambassadors who helped to promote our brand on Instagram -- in exchange for a monthly free £20 voucher to spend on at the WinsterCreations® store -- a program that we still run today. It was simple, effective and fast.

But wait, it gets better...

Remember that "Official Merchant Programme" we setup way back in 2014 which allowed for other sellers to sell our products for a profit through the means of dropshipping? Aptly renamed by this time to just our Retailer Program -- it was now well established and boasting a team of resellers in it's sixth consecutive year of operation.

Well, in 2020 we also made £53,401,54 from other sellers who actively sold our products on marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy.

An increase of 89% on the previous year, and a direct result of the WinsterCreation brand that we had launched that year.

More impressively, that figure represents only the wholesale price that our sellers paid to us throughout 2020. The total value of their actual sales in that year far exceeded more than double that figure.

Fast forward to 2024 - where are we today?

We are now only a two-person team, with extremely efficient operations and run our entire operation from home. It's just myself, and my fiancee, Kayley, who has continued her efforts relentlessly year-after-year to grow and expand the WinsterCreations® brand as much as possible. We continue to launch new products every year expanding our product range and offering more and more opportunities for our resellers (i.e. those in our Retailer Program) who continue to thrive by working with us year after year.

What have we been doing since 2021?

Since diversifying in 2020 we have also launched a number of new programs for a growing number of resellers who now work directly with us. Starting in 2021, we began significantly broadening our range of products and services by developing new and innovative programs, extending more opportunities for others to thrive and succeed. Here's an overview of what we've built over the last couple of years.

SellMyClothes.co.uk

Throughout 2021 and 2022, the economy experienced a gradual weakening attributable to the lingering impact of Covid-19, escalating expenses, and a decline in disposable income. Given our prior experience in pre-loved clothing, we knew that people would begin to find new ways to make extra cash -- and selling your old unwanted clothes is one of the easiest and simplest ways of doing just that. So we went ahead an launched SellMyClothes.co.uk -- essentially an improved version of what used to be our Instant Buy Offers back in the day -- when we were operating as a trading assistant.

FBA Enrolment Program

In 2021 we launched our FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) Enrolment Program providing wholesale access to our entire catalog for outside retailers, and this operates in tandem with our Passive FBA Enrolment Program -- which provides opportunities for anyone around the world to invest in our product range, and make a passive a income through FBA.

Pre-loved Womenswear Dropshipping Program

In 2022 we launched our Pre-loved Womenswear Dropshipping Program which deeply leans on our expertise in this field and provides direct access to our entire catalog of pre-loved womenswear which can be resold on marketplaces such as eBay, Vinted and Depop through the means of dropshipping.

Dropship Launch Accelerator Program

During the latter part of 2023 we also launched our Dropship Launch Accelerator. This program stems from our unique ability to build and grow successful eBay, Etsy and Shopify stores, whilst also supplying the products needed to build and grow those stores. Through this new program, sellers pay zero-product-related costs until they reach £1000 in sales, whilst we take the reins, manage their stores, process their orders, manage their promotions and optimise their daily operations every day, for up to one-year -- all whilst they retain all profits made.

If you'd like to work with us

Book a free call with us today and we'll help you get started. Don't like video calls? No problem. Join our Retailer Portal and we'll be happy to answer any queries via text-based-chat instead.

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