Cover-Up (Bridgend)

Origins

Cover-Up was established by Jonathan Ling in 2009 when he spotted a gap in the market for providing accessories for the newly released Kindle. After initially starting with three products for various eReaders, the company soon expanded into providing accessories for tablets and smartphones and now has over 1500 products available for over 200 different mobile devices. At first, Jonathan’s intention was to run the business as a secondary source of income but due to strong demand and increasing sales the company quickly grew from him alone in his bedroom to a warehouse with 11 staff. As is common among start-ups, cashflow was an issue with any excess cash being invested in new stock. Getting to grips with the legalities of importing, exporting, reporting and employing staff were also hurdles that needed to be overcome.

Success Factor

Timing! The mobile electronics market is extremely fast paced and has experienced high growth over the past five years, with new smartphones and tablets released on a weekly basis. Since day one, Cover-Up has reacted quickly to new device releases and anticipated customer demand by developing cases and accessories and making them available to customers often within days of a new device being launched by a manufacturer. Selling products through online third party websites such as Amazon has allowed Cover-Up to access millions of potential customers that it would otherwise not have access to. It also allowed Cover-Up to benefit from Amazon’s brand equity which gives customers extra confidence when purchasing from a small company. Exporting outside the UK at the earliest opportunity also paid dividends and having products translated into a number of languages including French, German, Spanish and Italian gave the business an instant presence in a number of different markets with low set up costs and minimal risk.

The Future

Over the next five years, Cover-Up aims to continue its growth by investing in and creating new and innovative product lines that appeal to new customer groups, such as women’s fashion and accessories for children. A new and improved website will offer customers an easy solution to personalise their cases and accessories whilst strengthening the Cover-Up brand. Almost 90 per cent of existing sales are via third party online marketplaces so there will be a focus on working with resellers and distributors to develop an extensive physical presence in major high street and online retailers, both in the UK and internationally. Increasing B2B relationships with schools, colleges and other potential partners will also be high on the agenda.