Clicks and Mortar Cardiff opens for business: Meet the first group of sellers

Clicks and Mortar Cardiff opens for business: Meet the first group of sellers

Posted: Mon 22nd Jul 2019

The doors to the second pop-up shop in Enterprise Nation's pioneering Clicks and Mortar initiative open for business in Cardiff today.

Supported by Amazon, Square and Direct Line for Business, it's the second of 10 pop-up stores across the UK that give customers the opportunity to discover and buy directly from small online-only businesses.

The Cardiff store, located in the heart of the city at the St David's shopping centre, is the second outlet to open following a successful launch in Manchester. It will trade for six weeks.

The store will also partner with the Welsh government's Food Division which will see the final two weeks championing nine regional Welsh food and drink brands starting on 19 August.

In addition, there will be business advisers offering an all-round experience for traders as well as local firms that want to take part.

Meet the first Clicks and Mortar Cardiff sellers

As the Cardiff doors open for the first time, we are delighted to introduce the first set of sellers who will trade until 4 August. Do pop by and visit them!

Dayle Parfitt, Activemen Clothing

Retailer selling quality, fashion-focused sportswear for men.

How did you come up the idea for your business?

I was shopping for track pants and went to a few sports retailers on the high street. Each retailer offered three well known sporting brands making cotton track pants and all offered the track pants in just three colours.

They all offered grey, navy and black. I thought that this was silly, I wanted more Latino colouring and a more tailored fit. The only place I could find what I wanted was online and scattered.

Surfing the web, I came across some fantastic sports brands offering something different with brighter colours, more relaxed materials, strong patterns and a passion evident in the final product.

Realising that there is no obvious online retailer for fashion-focused sportswear for men, I decided to create a home for these undiscovered, quality brands and this is where we started.

How will you encourage people to buy your products in the shop?

Vel-oh cycling bags sell well at these sort of events so will get their own display amongst the shelving. I am also running a promotion. Buy any Bjorn Borg swim short and get a Bjorn Borg beach towel free. I will have the free beach towels prominently displayed alongside these swim shorts.

To the rear will be displayed a few piles of T-shirts in various colours and a focus on track pants and hoodies and yoga gear for men as these are our core products.

There will be sales on products and discounts only offered to customers of the pop-up store.

What are your tips for business success?

Don't be too trusting! Just because you are not an expert doesn't mean that they are experts. Social media is a minefield. Two companies may be social media experts but one may focus on Instagram, the other Facebook.

You must keep an eye on the firms, question everything and trust your instinct. Get involved, hashtag yourself and question who they are targeting, make sure you are singing from the same song sheet!

Tom Anderson Dixon, Squash Stix & Vit Stix

Single portion sachets that simply tear and pour into water to make a refreshing vitamin and squash drink.

How did you come up with your business idea?

Whilst working at Marks and Spencer on a placement year from UWE Bristol, I noticed lots of people, of all ages, bringing in bottles of squash, and taking them to the water cooler to make a drink of squash. Making a coffee with a single portion jigger pot of milk.

I suggested to my boss that someone should put squash into the pots, 'squash pots' to allow people to flavour their water at the watercooler without having to bring in their own bottles.

After being shot down, I thought about the idea, coming across the stix for milk, and decided to launch Squash Stix single portions of liquid squash concentrate in a stick.

We pioneered the concentrated squash that you now see in Robinsons Squash'd squeezy bottles, and have since launched a vitamin product. These products are supplied direct to consumers, alongside hotels, hospitals, airlines, watercooler/coffee firms and even prisons and the police.

What start-up challenges have you faced?

Selling a concept was very difficult in the beginning, as we were changing the way people thought about soft drinks. Through demonstrating the key benefits and convenience of the product, we have been able to grow awareness of the products and gather excellent reviews.

What are your tips for business success?

You need to be determined and have the end goal as clear as possible in your head, to allow you to stay focused when others may knock your idea/business

If you don't enjoy what you do, then there is only so long you can continue before giving up.

Contrary to what you see a lot of the Instagram business gurus talking about, I think taking a bit of time out from the business allows you to think about what you are doing and where you are going and helps you to grow.

Mari Thomas, MAAREE

Revolutionising the sports bra.

How did you come up with your business idea?

I'm a keen sportswoman and I also used to be a sports bra tester. However, despite my profession,​ I could never find my perfect sports bra. So I decided to make it myself by starting with some home-made prototypes.

Why did you decide to sell in Clicks and Mortar?

When I read about Clicks and Mortar it seemed like the perfect opportunity for MAAREE. You often see advertisements out there for pop-up shops, which are ideal for small start-ups. However, we are often the ones to lose out as we still cannot afford the costs. It's great to see a programme which fully understands our situation.

It's sometimes the case that women don't like to buy sports bras before they try them as there can be such an issue with getting the correct size.  With Clicks & Mortar, I can finally bring my audience this experience.

What's your strategy for encouraging people to buy your products?

To be authentic. I feel that my current customers have enjoyed watching my experience of starting a business, yet really value my background in this area. I am not a salesperson, and I want to be approachable.

My sole purpose won't be to push sales but more to engage customers. I want to discuss their sports bra needs, as I am also learning on this experience and want to ensure I am bringing my audience what they want.

Victoria Isaac, Little Bit Different

Candles that are pretty, quirky and a little bit different.

How did you come up with your business idea?

Eleven years ago I was unable to find candles I liked for my wedding reception. I sourced some vintage gold striped shot glasses, bought some wax and fragrance oils and made my own. They worked! Our guests loved them.

Two years later while on maternity leave, I began making them to sell at local markets. I still use the fragrance oil I bought for that very first batch, fresh cut roses, and have added lots of others. I gave up my day job in the civil service four years ago and now run the business full time from my lovely studio on the banks of the Loughor Estuary.

Why did you decide to sell in Clicks and Mortar?

The chance to be involved in a pop-up shop in such a busy shopping centre is not something that is normally accessible to small independent businesses so I jumped at the chance.

I hope to increase my local customer base and also meet other small business owners and share experiences and advice.

What are your tips for business success?

  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

  • Do what you believe to be right.

  • Make sure you have friends who get what you do. Running your own business can be lonely.

Alexander Davis, Bear Hug

Sport supports created from unique bamboo charcoal yarn, providing unrivalled comfort and superior warmth.

How did you come up with your business idea?

In 2014 my co-founder Gareth was battling with a long-standing ankle injury that was threatening to put an end to his competitive rugby playing days. Not one to lie down and accept defeat this kicked off a worldwide search until he found a support that could get him back out there.

Fast forward two years and along with Rhys and Dan the pack was formed and Bearhug was born. The pack continues to grow as Bearhug is now worn by athletes across the entire sport playing spectrum. From amateur to elite, junior to veteran, men and women alike.

What's your strategy for encouraging people to buy your products?

Every purchase comes with a free hug - that's hard to decline!

What are your top tips for business success?

  • Be ballsy: Take risks and enjoy the learning curves they present you.

  • Have a great product: This is important. You have to truly believe you have something good in what you are selling. The passion for your products should shine through.

  • Be authentic. That one's pretty self explanatory!

Tim Rundle-Wood, Twoodle Co

Home fragrances with unique essential oil blends.

How did you come up with business idea?

When my dog Henry almost died from toxic shock after sniffing a reed diffuser, I couldn't find a natural alternative from a brand that was transparent with their ingredients. So I created my own.

Why did you decide to sell in Clicks and Mortar?

My main objective is to learn how customers interact with my products so I can improve the shopping experience and learning the differences of between what words online vs what works in a shop.

What are your top tips for business success?

  • Always show up and never give up.

  • Look after yourself. You are the most important asset of the business.

  • There's no such thing as failure, only failure to learn.

Claire Taylor, Radiant Glo

Professional tanning products and retail tanning range.​​​​​​​

How did you come up with your business idea?

Being a beauty trainer for over 20 years, I always felt a passion to create my own tanning product that was reflective of my life ethos. It had to be natural, organic and vegan, but it also had to be a fantastic product.

What start-up challenges have you faced?

Bringing a beauty/cosmetic brand to market and get awareness of it has been a hard but rewarding task.

The idea of what I wanted to create was one thing, finding a supplier who could match the passion I had for my dreams of these new products was again challenging, compounded by the fact that you have never done this before and suppliers are wary of this.

Registering on the EU Portal, brand design, getting frustrated working with label and website designers, shipping our product from Australia, packaging design, information leaflets, web content...the list goes on, but it's a labour of love.

What are your top tips for business success?

  • Without doubt, you have to start with a great product and as unique to you as possible.

  • Secondly, great customer service gives your customers trust to purchase from you continually.

  • The third is you have to get your product and message out there. Whilst advertising is a bottom line killer you have to find a way for it to be as cost effective as possible but always visible.

Ryan Chamberlain, Dust and Things

Designers and makers of one-of-a-kind, personalised gifts for special occasions.​​​​​​​

How did you come up with your business idea?

The business was originally a very small wedding stationery business. We would use our laser engraving machine to cut paper for wedding invitations. One day leading up to Christmas we engraved some chopping boards and sold them on Facebook and the rest is history.

What start-up challenges have you faced?

Growing at the right speed has been one of our biggest challenges. Managing cashflow when you have your sights set high and have a clear path to growth is a real challenge. We have always wanted to avoid borrowing as a business so to this date we are entirely self funded.

What are your top tips for business success?

  • Cash is king. Save your money for the first few years of trading. Creating a business that sustains a reliable monthly income for you personally will require more growth than you probably imagined.

  • Sell your soul (a bit). Too many businesses I see are not comfortable with commercialising their business and as a result end up being busy fools, running around like headless chickens to try to pay the bills.

    Focus on bringing in a regular, reliable foundation of income and profit before exploring your passions and creating high risk, innovative products. If you don't get paid, the business will die and then nobody gets to experience the products of your passion.

  • Make the 'image' of your business perfect. If there's one element of your business you should heavily invest in it's the presentation of your brand and products. Hire a professional photographer, pay the extra money for a great looking Shopify template, pay a content writer to write your product descriptions.

    Business is all smoke and mirrors, don't post photographs of your warehouse on social media, there is a perception of your business (think of it as the clothes that your business is wearing) which is how you present to your customers. Don't show your business without its clothes on.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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