Live Forum Q&A – How to Start your Own Online Brand

Lace

Retired Moderator
Mar 21, 2011
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599
925
London, UK.
On Wednesday, 20th March at exactly 12pm – we are opening this discussion thread for a Live Forum Q&A on How to Start your own Online Brand. Think Twitter Live Q&A but using our community forum.

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This is in response to a growing number of discussions around this topic, both from new and long standing community members. This activity is also part of the Business in You campaign, a partnership between private enterprise and Government to highlight support for start-ups and growing businesses.

£50 worth of Amazon Vouchers to be given away!

In true TSC fashion, our team is sponsoring a fun giveaway at the end of the session. To get the chance to win, simply participate in the discussion by asking a question to our expert panelists or sharing your own advice on the topic. Two (2) £25 Amazon Vouchers will be up for grabs to lucky participants!

A few guidelines:

- Only related questions will be allowed on this thread
- Community members are free to take on answers and share relevant experience
- To keep our Q&A organized, kindly use the reply button to quote the content you are responding to
- Kindly follow proper forum decorum. Please read our forum terms of use
- Questions can be submitted ahead of the session, please get in touch with Lace via PM

Our expert panelists (in alphabetical order)

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Amanda O’Brien - eBay expert, Director at Broadway Publishing Management Ltd
Amanda is an eBay expert, Top Rated Powerseller, skilled product sourcer and author of home study courses to help you people successfully online. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of The Source Report and regularly contributes to our community blog.

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Dave Furness – eCommerce expert and blogger
Dave Furness is an eCommerce expert and blogger from davefurness.co.uk. He has taken a consumer electronics seller from a small eBay shop up to Enterprise account status with over £1 Million turnover purely on eBay. He also took a small fashion seller from selling on eBay to opening them up to multiple channels and tripling their turnover. Dave now works as an E-commerce consultant helping businesses make the most of multi channel online selling

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John Hayes Marketing Strategist, Author of Becoming the Expert: Enhancing Your Business Reputation through Thought Leadership Marketing
John is a Marketing Strategist and Contributing Author at Vocus, where he specializes in Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing for Small and Medium-sized businesses using iContact. He is also the author of Becoming THE Expert: Enhancing Your Business Reputation through Thought Leadership Marketing.

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Linda Cheung – CEO of CubeSocial, Business in You representative
Linda is CEO of CubeSocial, a social CRM start-up and recognised thought leader on the topic of social media for business. A former Executive Director at Morgan Stanley, Linda’s 13-year career in
highly regulated markets gives her a unique drive for tangible results, whilst avoiding the hype often associated with social media.

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Mike Tinmouth - Founder of TheSocialPro
Mike is a journalist and entrepreneur who has worked with a range of dynamic businesses to build, engage and monetise online communities. His publishing credits include Your Better Business, Fresh Business Thinking, Business Matter Magazine, LUX Worldwide and Entrepreneur Country Magazine, while writing regularly across the b2b press and worked with the BBC on a series of reports on the transparency of Facebook.

He founded TheSocialPro to help SMEs navigate the journey between content, social media and community and continues to advise some of the UK’s most exciting growth businesses including award-winning social money transfer startup Azimo.com and image digitisation specialists Photo Legacy.

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Oliver Lawrence - Managing Director of OJS (UK) LTD
Oliver has been in business for a number of years and acquired lots of information regarding business and startups from his own experience. He initially gained experience in online marketplace selling (eBay/Amazon/Play), this gave him a thirst for business and OJS (UK) now operates retail/wholesale/import/export divisions as well as clearing liquidation/clearance stocks. Oliver has real passion for online selling and growing his business ventures!

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Paul Brown - Owner, Anthony & Brown Clothing
Paul has a financial background working within the retail industry for several years, he began self-employment in July 2010 with a budget of £1000 trading on ebay, he went full time by December 2010. Using his contacts from his days working in the retail industry he began developing his own menswear brand Anthony & Brown in September 2011. He recorded his development of the clothing brand on The Supplier Central from November 2011.

He has gained considerable knowledge throughout building his brand and is happy to share his knowledge with others considering starting up their own clothing brand.

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Robin Jones – Account Manager at iwoca
Rob has been selling on eBay for over 10 years is the account manager at iwoca, a limited London based startup that provides instant working capital to commercial eBay sellers.


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Tracey Johnson - Barnsley Development Agency
Tracey Johnson has over 15 years experience of the creative and technology sectors and currently works for Barnsley Development Agency helping creative and digital businesses to grow and diversify. Her expertise covers brand development, social media, community building, design and event management.

See you all here on 20 March, 12PM-1PM and please help us spread the word! :)
 

Lace

Retired Moderator
Mar 21, 2011
2,057
599
925
London, UK.
Hi! Everyone, welcome to our Live Forum Q&A. Thanks for joining us! Thread is now open for your questions :)

Today we have our expert panelists to answer your questions about Starting Your Own Online Brand. Please welcome Paul, Oliver, Dave, Mike, Amanda , Tracey, John, and Rob.

Linda won’t be able to join us today but has provided us with valuable references from CubeSocial. We’ll post this at the end of the session.

To kick start this discussion, here's the first Q for all our panelists: When should businesses start their own brand? Is there a wrong & right time for this?
 
From my opinion I would say there is no time like the present. The more you keep putting something off, the easier it becomes to keep putting it off. Saying that I would perhaps avoid times like Christmas etc when the vast majority of people become pre-occupied in the Christmas hype.
 
Building a brand is very different from selling products. If you have a limited budget to start with you need to focus on getting the right products at the right price first and then start building your reputation via the various marketplaces, your own site, etc. Get this right first and your brand will follow
 
Mar 19, 2013
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what are the main three factors we need to consider before starting Online business?
 
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From my opinion I would say there is no time like the present. The more you keep putting something off, the easier it becomes to keep putting it off. Saying that I would perhaps avoid times like Christmas etc when the vast majority of people become pre-occupied in the Christmas hype.
Too add a little more to that, I think the key when launching a mew brand is all about the planning and execution over the timing.
 
Jul 8, 2010
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Personally I think you should have a backup job to run alongside a new brand, you should have enough money so your not relying on selling vast amounts of products straight away to cover costs. Its not something that is likely to be a huge success over night, it will take time and hard work to take off.
 
Hi! Everyone, welcome to our Live Forum Q&A. Thanks for joining us! Thread is now open for your questions :)

Today we have our expert panelists to answer your questions about Starting Your Own Online Brand. Please welcome Paul, Oliver, Dave, Mike, Amanda , Tracey, John, and Rob.

Linda won’t be able to join us today but has provided us with valuable references from CubeSocial. We’ll post this at the end of the session.

To kick start this discussion, here's the first Q for all our panelists: When should businesses start their own brand? Is there a wrong & right time for this?

Hi everyone - I'm delighted to be joining you all today and look forward to a great discussion!

It's important to have some experience of online selling before starting a brand. It helps if you know that a product is a hot seller before taking that product and branding it yourself rather than jumping straight in with no experience at all.
 
Clothing brands are a niche area within the whole scheme of things. How do you / How did you recognise an area of opportunity within this area - How do you identify a niche within this niche if you like? Also is there more competition within Mens/Womens Kids or baby clothing?
 
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I feel that businesses should have something to inform their brand before they start it - a well researched idea, an existing customer base, something distinct about them and what they do and a professional level of service. Once you have this then it's a good time to build a brand. A brand isn't something you can create overnight - it's about what sits behind the logo in terms of customer experience, services, products, community and personality!
 
May 18, 2008
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To kick start this discussion, here's the first Q for all our panelists: When should businesses start their own brand? Is there a wrong & right time for this?

There's never a 'wrong time' to start (but do take into consideration seasonality if starting a Christmas themed brand!) but the entrepreneur behind the brand needs to feel that they have the relevant backing (enough time and money) at the time to begin with. The wrong time to start would be if you feel unprepared and have to compromise your setup.
 
Hi everyone. I am not an expert but in my opinion time matter but it depends what product you are launching.
 
Personally I think you should have a backup job to run alongside a new brand, you should have enough money so your not relying on selling vast amounts of products straight away to cover costs. Its not something that is likely to be a huge success over night, it will take time and hard work to take off.

I agree - if you are selling an unbranded product on ebay or Amazon for example then it's sensible to keep that unbranded product running whilst you get your branded version up and running properly.
 

Lace

Retired Moderator
Mar 21, 2011
2,057
599
925
London, UK.
Clothing brands are a niche area within the whole scheme of things. How do you / How did you recognise an area of opportunity within this area - How do you identify a niche within this niche if you like? Also is there more competition within Mens/Womens Kids or baby clothing?

Interesting question Darren, I agree when it comes to branding - tshirts always come to mind first. Regularly talked about in the community too.
 
May 18, 2008
4,411
88
730
UK
Clothing brands are a niche area within the whole scheme of things. How do you / How did you recognise an area of opportunity within this area - How do you identify a niche within this niche if you like? Also is there more competition within Mens/Womens Kids or baby clothing?


I can't speak from experience with regards to clothing brands, but what I would say is that the best way to recognise an area of opportunity is research. Engage with people to find out what they really want, rather than what you think or feel they want.
 
Being an entrepreneur can be both a liberating but also very lonely experience. You have to understand your product/ service and potential market before starting out on the journey and be prepared to spend months or years researching before launching- don't rush into anything. Increasingly I'm seeing more and more 'part-time entrepreneurs' who start off with the security of a full-time job while launching their startup venture. This is also supported by the fact that 70% of startup ideas come directly from the individuals employment experience.
 
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Jul 8, 2010
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what are the main three factors we need to consider before starting Online business?

Selling online you need to make sure that you are buying products that will sell, that you are purchasing at the right price to make a decent profit after all expenses, and that you have the time and drive to make it a success.
 
From my opinion I would say there is no time like the present. The more you keep putting something off, the easier it becomes to keep putting it off. Saying that I would perhaps avoid times like Christmas etc when the vast majority of people become pre-occupied in the Christmas hype.

I agree if you keep putting it off it becomes easier to never start - and also to avoid the Christmas hype. I wouldn't suggest that there is a wrong or right time to start a brand but it is important to think ahead and plan for when you want to launch a brand, for example there is not point launching your own swimwear brand at around november time it would be much better for a spring launch ready for summer holidays.
 
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Reactions: Dave Furness
Sep 19, 2012
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Hi! Everyone, welcome to our Live Forum Q&A. Thanks for joining us! Thread is now open for your questions :)

Today we have our expert panelists to answer your questions about Starting Your Own Online Brand. Please welcome Paul, Oliver, Dave, Mike, Amanda , Tracey, John, and Rob.

Linda won’t be able to join us today but has provided us with valuable references from CubeSocial. We’ll post this at the end of the session.

To kick start this discussion, here's the first Q for all our panelists: When should businesses start their own brand? Is there a wrong & right time for this?

Afternoon everyone. If the business is seasonal then give yourself some prep time to iron out any issues before your high season. Planning is essential and your are starting a business within a business.