We are just in the process of moving premises to a new large warehouse and new offices. Same industrial estate to minimize the pain, but shiny new buildings. We have completely grown out of the existing premises, so all staff are currently sitting on boxes.
We are also in the process of launching a new catalogue, which will highlight key new product ranges including pillow boxes and bags.
The company is still growing hugely year on year and we have increased by close on 1000% since Dragons Den.
This has meant an ever expanding team of Tiny Box specialists and the phones are so worn out our profits are having to be spent on a new technical phone system.
Our printing department (to print customer logos) now has its very own factory due to the volumes of boxes being printed.
We never thought we would be selling outside the UK but we now sell Tiny Boxes worldwide! We have customers in America, Iceland, Lapland (big Christmas orders, very suspicious), Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe. We also supply most of the packaging in the local High Street.
We now get over 100,000 hits a month on our website – who knew there were so many people needing tiny boxes ?!
Tiny Box was launched in November 2007. It started in a tiny office which was also the warehouse, the picking department, the meeting rooms and the cafeteria. After only 4 months of trading we had to take on a warehouse, which did unfortunately catch fire and flood in the space of a couple of months (but not at the same time). The stock that survived sold rapidly and soon we took on yet another warehouse.
In September 2008 we gained funding from Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones and unfortunately Christian Richardson, a founder member, left the business to go back into broadcasting.
The airing of Dragons Den was like a sledge hammer and our website crashed within one minute of the show. The phone subsequently rang every 10 seconds and the frazzled 2 staff tried their best to field the huge volume of calls. We had no choice but to move premises completely in our busiest time of year as we were having to do the dispatches outside (not good with cardboard and rain!) and we had literally no room for the stock.
We continued to grow throughout 2009 and then in 2010 we won the National Award as Small Business Recycler of the Year. A very prestigious award, which sits proudly in our entrance hall.
We now have over 18,000 customers (fortunately they don’t all order every day yet) and we foolishly thought that our new warehouse would last some years. Imagine our horror when Theo’s Warehouse Manager popped down to our premises last week and said we had three years tops before we would need to move again if we carried on growing at the same speed – more likely 2 years. More profits eaten up.
It hasn’t all been roses though. In Tiny Boxes life, the warehouse has now flooded twice, we have had one warehouse fire, our website hacked so badly it was banned from Google (this literally nearly killed our business), our bank account hacked and emptied (including our overdraft facility), phone systems down for a week due to a slight BT mishap, snowed out and requiring helicopters for parcel delivery, and urgent Christmas stock accidentally being sent on holiday to Belgium by our carriers – this was for perishable Christmas food.
1. Cashflow – lack of it kills the business instantly!
2. The business is nothing without a good team.
3. Good Supplier relations are vital.
4. Recognise both your weaknesses as well as your strengths – if you can’t do something in the business then find someone who can.
5. Direction – how can you get where you want to be if you don’t know where that is? (business plan). But be prepared to change route if necessary.