How to Start an Ecommerce Business? First-Hand Tips from Andrew Hassard
How to start an Ecommerce business? What better way to learn about identifying a niche market and building your business than to hear directly from Ecommerce entrepreneur Andrew Hassard.
Andrew, who is Managing Director of Northern Ireland-based company Mango Bikes, talked Ecommerce and business start-up during a fascinating ProfileTree video interview.
He began by explaining the story behind his business: “We have been set up for around a year…we make leisure bikes, recreational bikes, single speeds, fixies, hybrid bikes. A lot of our customers are students and commuters, also leisure and recreational cyclists.
“The way I’d explain it is this: if you go to a cycling club and you said to someone ‘what’s that bike you’ve got’ they might say ‘it’s a Trek Madone 3.0’ yadda yadda and quite quickly you are bamboozled.
“With our customer base it’s ‘what bike have you got?’ and they’ll say ‘I’ve got a Mango’…and that’s it. We’re happy in our skin that that’s our customer base.”
Andrew also talked through his own path to becoming Mango Bikes managing director: “It’s 20 years ago this year I finished university. I went to University of Leeds and did Food Science as my undergraduate degree and a couple of post-grads in Management and Marketing from Queens and Dublin Institute of Technology.
“I worked in the food industry for a few years in a number of roles, in manufacturing, operations, supply chain, project and process management. Then I moved into the bike industry about 10 years ago, starting off with Chain Reaction Cycles as a Supply Chain Manager…then moved into the Commercial Trading Team and managed one of the categories within it.
“I was with Chain Reaction for about five years and was approached to be part of a management buy-out team of another online bike retailer in England. Then, I worked for Go Outdoors…helping them introduce both branded and their own brand of bikes.”
Andrew always had a desire to set up and run his own business so, as he progressed his career, he found himself saying “if I ran this business, I would do x, y and z”.
“I realised I was going to have to make a big decision between shutting up and doing what I’m told, or don’t shut up and actually go and do it myself.
“I had been working for myself doing a bit of consultancy, doing a bit of buying and selling and trading myself. Working in the bike industry myself I had seen a few sectors I thought were emerging markets.
“I started to develop a range of urban, recreational bikes myself and I had a few people who’d said ‘if you ever set up on your own we’d like to back you’. I was at the point where I had a range of bikes developed, I had the proposal…and all the usual stuff.
“We were getting ready to press the big red button and say go, and in September/ October time 2017 Mango Bikes went into administration. I had looked at that as the kind of business model I was lookiing to emulate and the bikes weren’t quite the same but similar to it, so I contacted the administrator.
“I genuinely had no interest…in taking it on, I just wanted to see the books and get an idea with what was happening with it and see if my forecasts and budgets were there or thereabouts or complete nonsense.
“What I saw was a business which had the top line going in the right direction and had just let it’s cost base and bottom line go a little astray.”
To discover more insights from Andrew’s industry expertise, including brand strategy, marketing strategy, Ecommerce and more, see our full ProfileTree Business Leaders series video interview.
Mango Bikes – www.mangobikes.com
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