With more people going online to get their shopping done, we thought we'd take a look at the individuals who have made their name through their websites. We aren’t talking about tech moguls like Zuckerberg or Bezos - the superstar CEO’s of giant companies. But instead, we will focus on everyday people, who had interesting ideas that developed into outstanding websites and businesses. And we aren’t talking about highly complex ideas that changed the world, but more about people's passions that turned into genuine ‘money makers’.
Let’s take a look at our 3 e-commerce stars starting with…
Nick Jenkins (Moonpig)
Let’s go back in time (not that far back) to the year 2000. We discovered that the millennium bug wasn’t going to crash all our computers, and that “wonderful thing” known as reality TV was born - with the first series of Big Brother airing that summer. Something you may not recall, is that this was also the year that Moonpig.com was launched. Founder, Nick Jenkins created his personalised card greeting site that year during the peak of the ‘dot-com boom’. This iconic name came out of his own personal experience, where his classmates give him the title “Moonpig” at school.
Jenkins had some interesting experiences in his early life working in Moscow for 8 years as a commodity trader after he graduated from university. When Jenkins returned to the UK, he studied for an MBA and developed a strong commercial and marketing acumen which created the basis for his big idea. Moonpig.com became a huge success during the mid-late 00s. High Street shops simply couldn’t offer the depth of card customisation that Moonpig could. And it was the famous jingle (don’t pretend you don’t know it) which became so strongly associated with the brand. Jenkins now stands as one of the UK’s most well known entrepreneurs’ and one of the BBC’s Dragons - well deserved indeed.
Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella)
In 2011, fresh faced student Ella Woodward, was struck with a rare illness which left her bed bound and unable to live the quality of life that she wanted. But instead of accepting her situation, she took action. Ella radically changed her diet, swapping the typical student eating habits of processed rubbish for a plant based Vegan diet. The results were remarkable, and she soon started living normally again.
She tracked her incredible recovery via her blog - this went viral across social media platforms such as Instagram - which brilliantly showcased her clean eating lifestyle. She then created her own healthy living app (containing all her recipes) which went to number one in the food and drinks category in the US and UK on iTunes. Her enormous online success lead to the creation of a Deliciously Ella Cafe in Central London. Her story should be an inspiration to any entrepreneur that however tough things get, there is always a solution to most problems.
James Brown (Beer52)
No, this isn’t the world famous Motown soul star of the 60s: instead, we are going to cover his less famous namesake, but this one is slightly more applicable to the world of e-commerce. This James took advantage of the craft beer revolution and created a website which allows subscribers to try new beers from all over the world every month.
James got inspiration on a Harley Davidson road trip from Edinburgh to Portugal. During this journey of discovery, he sampled a wide array of lesser known craft beers. He decided to partner up with several microbreweries to create his subscription service and in 2013, the business was born. The company is now considered to be be one the UK’s most popular craft beer clubs, with thousands of subscribers to the service.
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