At the helm of a successful business of 50 years, Joe Rushton stops by to give us some insight into how he manages his successful online business, The Yorkshire Jigsaw Store.
Introduce yourself and The Yorkshire Jigsaw Store.
The Yorkshire Jigsaw Store was set up in 2014 to add a new dimension to our family gift store in the market town of Easingwold, York. We had always sold a small range of jigsaws through our stores over the last 50 years and decided to increase the range and become a specialist store.
Tell us more about your products.
With over 1200 different jigsaw designs in stock, our range offers something for everyone. We stock all the major brands but also try to find smaller companies to work with.
Did you have any experience selling online before starting your business?
I had no online selling experience before starting the business but had worked in IT 15 years ago before joining the family business. It was [a] huge learning curve over the first 18 months with lots of late nights! Social media was a great help at that time for raising awareness of the brand.
How did you earn your first sale?
After making the website live our first sale came through within a day. It was a real buzz to get our first order through. Launching in summer it was a slow start but it gave us time to sort out our processes before things took off in the winter months.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting your business?
I think that it has been raising awareness of the brand. There are some well-established competitors and it was a tough balance of spending money on marketing against the returns. I decided early on to focus on organic traffic and word of mouth. This has probably led to slower growth but we have [a] really good customer base which is growing at a constant level.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business? How have you managed to cope with the changes?
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our business. Overnight the order numbers jumped significantly and with limited team members, this created lots of challenges. We did 18 months’ worth of orders in a single month which impacted hugely on the logistics side of the business.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
Create a clear realistic plan of what objectives you would like to obtain over the first 12 months. It’s going to be hard work and having a plan to work to help keep you focused. Research your market and work out which customers you want to attract to your website.
What do you love most about running your own business?
The challenge! No two days are the same and I like [being] in an environment where we can react immediately and implement things.
What EKM products or services do you believe have helped your business to succeed and grow over the past 7 years with EKM?
The ease setting up the website and payment systems through EKM when I first started. The templates [were] easy to use and adapt and as the company has grown EKM has worked with me to help. [My account manager] Dom has provided huge support over the last six months and is always at the end of the phone when I have a quick query. Working with Olivia through the Evolution Mode they have both helped to create the new website which is working brilliantly.
What plans do you have for your business in the future?
We have recently re-launched both our physical store and the website and the aim over the next couple of years is to increase the awareness of The Yorkshire Jigsaw Store worldwide.
Do you have a favourite jigsaw? What is it?
I love the WASGIJ range which is where the jigsaw inside the box is different to the image on the box. Always a challenge.