The Print House

From a spare bedroom business to £1million turnover

Ed Snelson and his girlfriend Hannah Benson, started their eBay business in 2014 out of a spare bedroom. Fast forward four years and the company is now on track to achieve sales of £1million this year, with ambitious plans to hit £1.5million turnover in 2019.

Their shop, The Print House, offers a wide range of unique gifts that can be personalised, including items of clothing, homewares and accessories. 

Operating out of two retail units and currently employing six full time employees, the pair plan to grow the business rapidly, doubling their staff and moving to larger premises within the next two years. 

Named Career Change Award winners in the eBay for Business Awards 2017, we spoke to Ed to see what the future holds for the inspiring entrepreneurs.

Ed and Hannah with Paolo Levoni, COO, eBay UK (left) and Rob Hattrell, Vice President eBay UK

How did you end up launching your own eBay shop?

“Myself and Hannah were completing apprenticeships when we met. We both had a massive wish to be self-employed one day and so started thinking about ways we could launch our own business.

“I had always liked the idea of selling online and had various goes at it in my teenage years. This included working on a school project to create a printed clothing business. It went on to be very successful and even won an award. 

“We decided eBay could be a great launch pad” 
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“We decided eBay could be a great launch pad, so in 2014, working out of my bedroom at my parent’s house, we launched our own shop. 

“We started off selling a variety of clothing and fashion-based products, which was a natural starting point, due to my retail experience. However, it’s quite a saturated market, so we quickly moved away from just offering clothing and started looked at alternatives.

“We kept expanding the range and made sure we were keeping up with changing trends. And the shop has grown from there.”

How did you grow the business?

“As we were both working full time in the beginning, we could only focus on our eBay business in the evenings and at weekends. However, after a year we decided to pack in the day jobs and took the plunge into full time online selling! It was the best decision we ever made.

“It wasn’t long before we moved into our first office space. It was just me and Hannah for 18 months in a small office, but as soon as we’d built up some profit we reinvested it in a larger office and employed our first member of staff.

“It’s four years since we opened our eBay shop and we now operate out of two production units, with plans to expand our business premises again this autumn. We also employ a team of six full time members of staff and will be doubling this number by Christmas 2018, and expanding it yet further in 2019.

“The growth of our business has been driven organically and we continue to reinvest a large portion of our profits. We firmly believe that eBay has played a pivotal role in our success, allowing us to showcase new products to millions of customers with ease. It has also taught us to put customer service first and we work hard to ensure that our reputation and how we treat customers, remains second to none. 

“We pride ourselves on providing fantastic customer service and great products – making sure that every customer is overjoyed with their purchase. We carry this ethos through to every part of our business, from how we treat our staff, to hiring local talent and offering apprenticeship-based training to younger staff members, in association with a local college.” 

“We kept expanding the range and made sure we were keeping up with changing trends. And the shop has grown from there.”
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What’s the best thing about running your own business?

“Running our own business is fantastic. It’s given us a sense of freedom but also a sense of responsibility. It’s nice to be in the position we are now, but it took a lot of hard work to get here!

“It’s great to be able to manage our own time and to have a strong team of staff supporting us. In turn, we take our responsibilities towards them very seriously, as they depend on us for their livelihood and that is very motivating, keeping us on track and always looking to move forward.”

What does the future hold?

“We are incredibly proud of our success and we’re also excited to see what the future holds. Thanks to the tools and support offered by eBay for business sellers, we have grown from a tiny bedroom project into a company that forecasts more than £1million in sales this year, and £1.5million in sales in 2019. 

“Our sales grew at a rate of 20-45% per month, every month throughout 2017 and we plan to maintain this growth over the course of the next three years. Now that we have a solid infrastructure in place, in terms of our staff and production equipment, we feel that we can achieve our ambitious growth targets for the coming years – and we are incredibly excited to do so!” 

“We’re really pleased we entered and would highly recommend entering to others.”
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What has the impact of winning an eBay for Business Award been?

“We came across some information about the eBay for Business awards and read through it, to see what they were about and why they’d been introduced. We thought our experiences ticked a lot of the boxes, so we decided to put our story forward. 

“It’s been brilliant to get such high-profile recognition for the business and what we have achieved. It was also great to meet the team at eBay face-to-face and we feel closer to the company as a result.

“The impact of winning has opened new doors for us. As well as getting to meet the team, the best part of the experience for us, was receiving a year’s free access to the concierge service. This has been invaluable. You simply can’t get the level and speed of service we’ve received from any other online marketplace.

Established
2014
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In four years, moved from working in a bedroom to two retail units and hiring six employees
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