The UK business shining a light on retail stores

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Sat, 19 May 2018) London, Uk – –

With LEDs widely regarded as the modern lighting solution of choice, one family-run company is looking to enlighten the masses
How is the Internet of Things changing the way we shop? We might expect inventory or the supply chain to be affected by changes in technology, but there is one aspect of the shopscape that is hiding in plain sight: lighting.

Modern lighting systems have undergone a transformation. Incandescent bulbs are hot, wasteful, don’t last long and many countries have restricted their sale. Fluorescent lighting is cheaper but harsh, difficult to control and less attractive. Both types of lighting have given way to LEDs, which offer more flexible lighting solutions, but not all retailers have caught up yet.

Shoplight, founded in 2014 by Mark and Melanie Shortland, puts the power of LEDs into the hands of stores. “Shops have always been about creating an experience for the customer,” says Ms Shortland, “and with the threat from online shopping, customer experience is only becoming more important.”

Thinking about the customer experience is what kickstarted the business in the first place, she notes: “Mark felt after 20 years of working with large manufacturers in the lighting business that there was a gap in the market. As the offer was getting more high-tech, old fashioned customer service was missing and that’s where we stepped in with Shoplight.”

Mr Shortland decided to differentiate the business by demonstrating to clients that the business understood the fast-paced nature of store opening programmes and the dynamic requirements of the retail sector that often drive down costs and force more nuanced competition through product and service.

“Early on, we secured an order from Skechers,” he says. “Although it was a small order it led to us supplying Skechers with their lighting solutions across the UK, Europe and in Africa and certainly allowed us to gain confidence and momentum with other clients.”

Today, their client list includes Moss Bros, Selfridges, T2, Waterstones, Jigsaw and Lush. Mr Shortland says: “Some of these clients have moved from long-established relationships with our larger competitors, which really reinforces our belief that great service matters now more than ever and that we are definitely doing many things right.”

Looking ahead, he predicts that flexible lighting will become more responsive to customers, with IoT-enabled luminaires allowing shopping environments to adapt to new moods and settings at the flick of a switch – or increasingly a tablet. “This will help retailers put the customer at the centre of retail experiences, encouraging people to visit, stay and buy,” he says, “and Shoplight are playing a leading part in this evolution.”

Parlez Media

 

 

Midtown Manhattan where old New York charm joins Williamsburg cool

 

If when you think of Midtown Manhattan you think of traffic congestion and tourist traps, then it might be time for a re-visit. This part of New York has seen a boom in new restaurants and bars, especially from Brooklyn. Welcome to Midtown, where old New York charm is being joined by Williamsburg cool.

 

 

John Paul DeJoria : Overcoming Homelessness Twice to Become a Billionaire

John Paul Dejoria has had a rough ride to the top. Yet being homeless twice and being abandoned by his wife early on didn’t shake his drive to make it in this word, and he’s managed to turn an admittedly difficult hand into a royal flush. These days he’s a billionaire several times over with a successful Paul Mitchell haircare line and even a founding stake in Patron tequila brand. So how did he maintain motivation? He remembered giving two dimes to the Salvation Army as a boy, and how his mother told him that those dimes add up and can really help people. This lesson directly helped him overcome a period early in his career where he was collecting bottle caps to get money to eat.

 

Enterprising SMEs garnering the power of social media to become local hotspots


Jorge Quinteros/Flickr

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Sun, 22 Apr 2018) London, Uk – –

How small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to become local hotspots.

‘We reach people who don’t know we exist’
Paula Milner, founder, The Crafty Lass

For every workshop that we hold, we set up a Facebook event and post that link to local Northamptonshire Facebook groups.

It means that we can keep track of people interested in our events
(they can click the “interested” button) and reach locals who may not even know that we exist, but are only a few clicks away from purchasing a ticket.

Facebook reviews are also key, because people check these when they visit your profile page, the star rating of which is visible when your page appears in Google search, so a poor score can put someone
off before they have even clicked through.

Encourage customers who have a good experience with you to give
a high-star rating and leave some positive words, which are vital if you want to improve word-of-mouth recommendations.

‘I use hashtags to stand out’
Pragya Agarwal, founder, The Art Tiffin

Across all my craft company’s social media, I use location-specific hashtags, such as #lancashirehour and #liverpoolhour, which are used by locals during specific time periods to find out what’s going on in their area.

I do this on a regular basis and during specific times; for example, #liverpoolhour takes place every Thursday from 8-9pm.

The local hashtags create a real sense of community. This especially works with social enterprises like ours, because people are particularly keen to chat with and retweet businesses that are engaging with the community and have a sense of social responsibility.

I also use location tags in Instagram’s live “Stories” feature,
which is good for attracting followers and messages. I recently posted an Easter-themed short video of my kids painting eggs, which was viewed more than 500 times – and thanks to the local hashtag, half the views were from Formby, Merseyside.

I have also made quite a few sales to locals who have seen my Instagram or Twitter posts.

I once posted images of a red squirrel linocut that I made on Twitter, so tagged the local Formby National Trust Red Squirrel reserve and the location hashtag. It resulted in quite a few sales of the linocut print.

As a small firm operating primarily online, it’s difficult to be found in Google keyword searches, but with customers more conscious about supporting their local businesses, social media offers an opportunity to be seen in a crowded marketplace.

It’s also good for offering attractive discounts such as free delivery, because local people will likely be able to pick the goods up in person.

‘It’s powerful marketing on a budget’
Russell Jenkins, managing director, Thomson’s Coffee Roasters

We make sure that our social media posts are tailored to our local Glasgow customers. We will also use hashtags such as #glasgowcentral and #glasgowcafe to reach local people who want to find out what’s going on in their area.

Don’t forget to use your local knowledge and include directions for those who don’t know how to find you.

Social media also means that we can engage directly with the locals.
For example, a post about our policy of welcoming dogs, which featured pictures of canines sitting in the café, was our most successful to date; we got 50 shares and 568 likes within 24 hours. People commented about how excited they were to come to visit with their pups.

Across the three main social media websites, we have built up a community of more than 5,500 followers, which is increasing daily.

If you think of social media as a digital version of word of mouth – and local social media followers as a community group who make recommendations to each other about where to go – then it’s a really powerful tool, especially on a
budget.

We make sure to target messages to the most relevant consumers by location, demographic and interest – and we respond to reviews
and feedback, whether they’re positive or negative. It shows customers that we’re actually listening.

‘We tap into people’s interest in buying local’
Charlotte Mitchell, co-founder, Charlotte’s Butchery

People are more interested in buying local meat and social media enables us to tap into that.

We use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to encourage people to
place orders for big events and we share little bits of information about the meat to garner interest. We recently started “did you know” Mondays, where we write about different cuts and share recipe ideas.

It shows that we provide a service, rather than just sell meat.

Customers have also become accustomed to using the messenger service on Facebook and Instagram. When they watch cooking shows that feature unusual cuts of meat that the supermarkets don’t
provide, such as lamb neck fillet or marrow, they send us messages straight away to order the ingredients.

It means that we can do business 24/7, even when the physical shop is shut.

By The Telegraph Small Business Connect community

 

 

The senior letting older entrepreneurs know It’s never too late to reinvent yourself

 

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Take it from Paul Tasner — after working continuously for other people for 40 years, he founded his own start-up at age 66, pairing his idea for a business with his experience and passion. And he’s not alone. As he shares in this short, funny and inspirational talk, seniors are increasingly indulging their entrepreneurial instincts — and seeing great success.

 

 

 

The business startup making wine that’s naturally blue

 

Spanish startup Gik Live! make wine that’s naturally neon blue. They extract a pigment from the skin of the red grape (called anthocyanin) which gives the neon blue hue. Some winemakers have called Gik “blasphemous,” but the founders say the wine is safe to drink. “This is not something that’s done in a lab at all,” said founder Taig Mac Carthy. “This is all pigments, they come from nature, and so do the grapes. The making of this is 100% natural.” Grapes are sourced from vineyards in Spain and France. It took two years of testing to get the recipe right. The founders are all in their twenties. They raised £26,000 between them to start their business with help from The University of the Basque Country. The wine has a very sweet taste and it’s similar to white wine. It’s sold in over 25 countries at a shelf price of £12. They have sold around 400,000 bottles so far.

 

How Greg Cox sports injury led to a successful business career

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Sat, 17 Feb 2018) London, Uk – –

When a serious injury ended Greg Cox’s hopes of making it as a professional rugby player, little did he know that it would set him on the path to making a fortune in business.

On the books of top English club Wasps back in 1999, the then 18-year-old was playing regularly for the second team, and had been called up by the England Under 19s squad.

Then one rainy evening training session Mr Cox says he twisted his knee ligaments “and that was that”.

“I had a full knee operation, and I did return to Wasps the next year,” he says. “But still recovering from the injury I couldn’t apply myself as much when I came back. And you have to be 100% committed [to be successful at rugby].”

So realising that his contract was not going to be renewed he left the club, swapping rugby for working on building sites.

“I was earning £300 a week cash in hand, which when you are living at home isn’t bad, but I was looking for something else to do, and thinking ‘how can I earn more money?’.”

Soon Mr Cox swapped being a bricklayer for the life of a serial entrepreneur, moving from importing cars, to property investments, and then into the world of finance.

Since 2009 he has been the founder and chief executive of Quint Group, which owns a number of financial technology or “fintech” businesses, and today has an annual turnover of £42m.

“I think I have always been entrepreneurial, I was always selling things to other pupils at school… and I’ve always had a real drive,” says Mr Cox, now 36.

Educated at a private school in the south west of England, he had gained good enough A-levels to go to university, but instead chose to try a career in rugby.

When things didn’t work out at Wasps, he didn’t think of making a late arrival at college. Instead while working on those building sites he came up with his first big moneymaking idea – importing cars.

“There was an article in the Sunday Times all about how to import a car from Europe and save money,” he says. “At the time there was a big hoo-ha in the press about cars in Europe being 20% cheaper than in the UK.

“So I thought that this was a really good idea for a business, so I created a company to help people import cars from Europe.”

Remembering how to program computers from his school days Mr Cox quickly built a website and started to import up to 400 cars a month, even handling work for much larger firms such as Virgin Cars.

“What many people didn’t realise is that you could simply go to a car dealer in Germany or Belgium and they’d be quite happy to sell you a right hand drive car. It wasn’t as if people would have to put up with a left hand drive vehicle.”

For the next two to three years business boomed for Mr Cox and his company Coszt Imports “despite the terrible name”.

But then a combination of the dotcom bubble bursting in 2001, and the pound going up in value meant that the business went bust.

“I felt dented pride and a bit stupid, I guess,” he says. “I had dived into it, and I didn’t know how to run a business at that age.

“Obviously you think you are invincible at 21, but I learned a lot from it. I had racked up quite a bit of debt as a result of it all, so I just had to go straight back to work.”

So licking his wounds, Mr Cox moved to South Africa, and thanks to the weakness of that country’s currency, he started to once again export cars to the UK. He then expanded into property investments.

By 2008 Mr Cox was back in the UK and investing in the fintech sector when together with a friend and business partner called Paul Naden they launched Quint Group in January of the following year.

Both investing £12,500, Mr Cox says that he saw a big opportunity to set up a number of consumer finance websites. Brands owned by Quint include Monevo, an online marketplace that connects lenders with consumers that wish to borrow money, and price comparison website Moneyguru.

Based in Macclesfield, in Cheshire in the north of England, Quint makes most of its money by charging lenders a commission, and it also has a data business called Infinian.

Mr Cox today owns 90% of Quint after buying out his co-founder last year. The company now has 100 employees, and overseas offices in Poland, China, South Africa, and the US, as it continues with its international expansion plans.

Richard Bell, north west editor of business news publisher Bdaily, says that “given the level of growth that Quint has achieved over the past couple of years… I’m keen to see where they are headed. Exciting business with switched-on leadership.”

Mr Cox is, however, happy to admit that it hasn’t all been plain sailing at Quint, with an unsuccessful insurance business being closed down.

“When something doesn’t work we stop it and do something else,” he says.

“My advice to anyone wanting to start a business is: Focus on what you are good at, work relentlessly at it, make considered decisions, don’t be too emotive, and with a bit of luck you’ll have some success.”

By Will Smale

 

 

The Entrepreneur Making Tantalizing Hand-crafted Food Inspired beauty products

 

A food-inspired range of beauty products is tantalizing senses across the country. BathKandy’s skincare range of products are hand-crafted using only natural, organic ingredients. And as an added bonus, they look and smell delicious.

 

 

Moorea Seal: A Female Entrepreneur’s Journey

 

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day,  sharing about inspiring everyday women

Helping to amplify the voices of females—filmmakers, photographers, foodies, architects, and brand makers. Let’s inspire more women to share their work with more people to support one another.

 

 

The Process of Making the World Famous Carnival Masks of Venice

 

Masks are made for the world famous Carnival of Venice.

The traditional masks are made in papier maché and are decorated with things like gold leaf, feathers, or gems.

The Carnival of Venice began in the 12th century, it bloomed during the Renaissance period but was disbanded during the late 18th century.

The festival was restored in 1979 and has grown in popularity since then.

Watch the video to see how the masks are made.

 

Successful Shark Tank Businesses That Went on to Make Millions

 

Budding entrepreneurs get the chance to bring their dreams to fruition in this reality show from executive producer Mark Burnett. They present their ideas to the sharks in the tank — five titans of industry who made their own dreams a reality and turned their ideas into lucrative empires. The contestants try to convince any one of the sharks to invest money in their idea. When more than one of the sharks decide they want a piece of the action, a bidding war can erupt, driving up the price of the investment.

 

London’s first capsule hostel opens in Borough

When was the last time you stayed in a youth hostel? It probably didn’t look like this one – London’s first ‘capsule hostel’. It’s a dormitory with just enough room for a bed and everything you need inside a self-contained pod. They’ve been popular in Japan for years – reporter Thomas Magill goes to Borough to see if they’ll take off here.