Velocity Outlet

From side hustle to creating a £30million electronics business in just 6 years

PJ Scott and Eddie Latham started selling laptop bags from a garage while they were both working full time, but it wasn’t long before they spotted a big opportunity.

The pair opened their eBay shop, Velocity Outlet, in 2014, and the popular store has since grown to offer a wide range of DAB radio's, dashcams, iPhone speaker docks and other electronics. 

Named winner of The Grassroots Award at the eBay for Business Awards 2018, Velocity products can now be found in more than a million homes across the UK and the business is expected to turnover a whopping £30million this year.

We caught up with PJ to find out more.

How did you end up launching your own eBay shop?

Eddie and I met while working together for a high street retailer. We were both feeling pretty disillusioned with corporate life at the time and decided to have a go at starting our own thing.

We spotted a gap in the market for clearance electrical stock.
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We knew brands often found themselves stuck with a lot of excess stock, which would cost money for them to keep. Instead of discarding it to landfill or cutting prices prematurely, we offered to take it all off their hands – meaning we had an exclusive offer and weren’t competing against any other sellers.

Using eBay meant we were able to access a large potential market and that was how we were able to turn the stock back into something profitable.

When did you sell your first item on eBay?

We founded Velocity after investing £1.5k each to buy some laptop rucksacks. Much to our surprise they quickly sold out and we were able to reinvest what we’d made into buying more stock.

For two years we ran the business from my house, while working full time.
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Eddie would get up at 5am and pick and pack the items, then in our lunch breaks we’d take them to the post office, and we’d spend our evenings responding to emails, sourcing products and adding more and more listings.

When we were offered voluntary redundancy, things really took off. Sales started increasing by 60% month on month, as we were able to commit so much more time to growing the business.

When we started, we envisaged our sales would go up by £100 or £200 a time, but for our first Christmas – and while still working other jobs alongside our eBay business - we turned over around £140,000! 

We reached £1m turnover within just two years and expect to achieve sales of £30 million this financial year.  

How did you grow the business?

We continued to add more and more products and the business rapidly grew, to the point where we’re now receiving around 3,000 orders per day.

We’ve since created our own range of radios and other household audio devices too, under the brand name ‘Majority Radios’, with individual items named after places in Cambridge where the business is based. We’re proud to say that Majority Radio is now the second largest digital radio brand in the UK by volume sold and the products can be found in more than a million homes.

The great thing about selling on eBay is its reach.
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People from all over the world have ordered DAB radios from us and we’re adding new customers all the time. Germany has proven to be a very strong market and we recently started selling in the US for the first time too.

We’re on track to turnover £30M this financial year, have 25 members of staff and are about to move to new larger offices. One of our proudest moments to date has been the business appearing in the Sunday Times Fastrack listings and to be recognised by the Sunday Times as one of the Fastest Growing Companies in Europe.

What’s the best thing about running your own business?

Having the flexibility to work anywhere is a huge thing for me and I also love the excitement of it all! People said it couldn’t be done, but in just 6 years and with only an initial £1.5k investment each, we’ve built a global, multi-million pound business.

We get to spend a lot of time with some amazing people and like that we get to give something back too.
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For example, one of our largest UK customers is Brita and they work very closely with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which inspired us to launch a UK exclusive, whereby 10% of the sale value goes directly to the MCS.

We also work closely with Global’s Make Some Noise charity. It supports small but brilliant charities across the UK, who are helping youngsters and their families living with illness, disability or lack of opportunity.

What does the future hold?

We are always looking for new products to stock and one of our key strengths is our ability to identifying products in China that meet a need not currently being serviced in the UK.

Our own brand range now makes up 50% of our sales and we are aiming to grow this area even further.
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We are also forging strong relationships with major retailers and introducing them to eBay, helping educate them on the potential market then helping them carve out a market share as a supply vehicle. We manage everything for them, and this is opening the door to new revenue streams for both them and us.

Why did you enter the eBay for Business Awards?

We entered the awards because we are huge advocates of eBay and wanted to show others what could be achieved. eBay takes the time to understand your business and they are a partner that wants to help you succeed. It’s a two-way conversation and they are always looking at ways to help sellers grow their sales.

Our own brand products are now in 1.5 million homes, which is just incredibly, so eBay is close to our hearts as the platform has enabled us to create a brand from nothing.

Top tips


1.

Don’t fixate on what’s gone wrong

Focus on moving forward, never focus on things outside of your control. When you make a mistake, be honest, revisit it and think how you can stop it from happening again. See what positives you can take from it and move forward stronger.

2.

Focus on progression not perfection

Too many people aim for perfection and don’t end up trying anything or making any mistakes they might learn from. At Velocity we are always implementing new systems and looking at the pros and cons, to learn and progress. This helps us improve the business. If you focus on perfection you end up overthinking things and waiting too long to act. Even if you only aim to improve by 1% a week, over time that quickly adds up.

3.

Avoid getting caught in the race to zero

If you’re selling the same products as others, then price and reputation is all you really have to entice customers. This can end up in a price war and margins being lost. At Velocity, we would buy the whole set of clearance items available, so no one else was in competition with us. By offering them exclusively, we were able to make a healthy margin and not lose money on the stock.

Be inspired by PJ and Eddie’s products

Want to be an eBay for Business award winner just like PJ and Eddie? You could win an all-expenses-paid trip to the USA, as well as up to £5,000 in prize money, plus much more. You’ll find loads more information about the awards and how to enter, here.

Meet PJ & Eddie – From side hustle to creating a £30million electronics business in just 6 years #ebayawardsuk via @eBayUK_News
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Established
2014
Did you know
They turned over around £140,000 for their first Christmas
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The eBay for
Business Awards are here

We’re offering one lucky winner up to £20,000 to boost their business, along with a fantastic bundle of marketing support. There will also be a £5,000 cash prize for each of our category winners, who will also receive a free year-long Anchor Store Subscription with access to eBay’s Concierge – our gold-plated private customer service team.

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