Character.com (Swansea)

Origins

The major motivation for Stephen Hewitt in starting the business was looking for a way to combine my online marketing skills gained while being a marketing manager at a bank, alongside his wife and business partners’ love of children’s fashion. As with any new business the early years were tough. Despite initial success, it took two years of hard work and determination to be able to develop enough knowledge of the market and economies of scale to develop a profitable range of products that were exclusive to Character.com. As growth has continued, finding and managing a superb team of people to help grow the business has been key. But perhaps the hardest challenge is managing cash flow in a growing business. Character.com has been a fully self funded business since the outset with all growth funded by sales, and its revenue is heavily slanted toward the Christmas period but long lead times for garment production has often meant extremely careful management of cashflow.

Success Factor

The biggest factor in its success is the great team of staff, all the way from the warehouse team fulfilling orders to the buying team, customer services and marketing teams. Their hard work and dedication has made the desire to drive the business forward a reality. The business has also been focused on having superb customer service because as an online business, you are only as good as your reputation and the directors are extremely proud of its simple philosophy, the delivery of great products on time and the offer of a first class no quibble return and exchange policy. The benefits of this can be seen in the 5 star excellent rating from an independent review site. Character.com also strives to make sure that in a competitive market, its range is some of the best designed, highest quality and value for money products that a customer can find.

The Future

The business will continue to expand the range of products it sells and are looking at multiple different sectors for further growth. Export sales have grown well and it plans further pushes into other overseas markets where it thinks its products will be well received. The driver of this will be in making www.character.com a more recognised brand, by increasing advertising and PR activities with the aim of making Character.com the go-to destination for character wear in the UK.