Somehow, it has crept up on me, but it’s actually ten years since we started SnM Stuff !
It all started when I bought some Vallejo Game Color at a show. I couldn’t get any locally, so I looked on eBay and found someone selling a job lot of several hundred bottles. Driving down to Somerset, I picked up the lot. The plan was to keep one of each and re-sell the rest on eBay to cover the cost of petrol. I never did get to keep any ! They sold so well that I knew we were on to something. Finding the Vallejo importer, we started buying it in as stock, and the rest (as they say) is history.
It’s come a long way since then; one house move, then a move into our tiny Farnborough shop, and most recently moving again to our new shop in Camberley.
We’ve come a long way in terms of technology as well. Initially we were just as an eBay seller, but even then knew that having our own website was the best way forward. Now, we sell on Amazon and eBay, as well as though our shop and own website. We’ve changed website platform twice so far, with each change giving us fabulous new functionality. Behind the scenes, we use Linnworks to manage and synchonise all our inventory across the various channels, print and manifest post and courier labels, and a host of other tasks.
But technology isn’t our real focus. I believe the most important thing is our determination to be professional and focused on our customers. Selling modelling and gaming supplies is a remarkably tough and competitive field. It’s impossible to please everyone all the time, but I like to think we do our best. Still being around after ten years suggests that we must be doing something right !
There are a lot of people along the way who have helped us get to where we have. I can’t possibly name all of them there are so many, it would make this look like some kind of Oscars acceptance speech ! But here are a few…
My lovely wife Mel (the “M” in SnM), who has kept my feet on the floor and stopped me when I’ve thought about doing some really daft ideas. The staff who have worked for us (and mostly still do) – a good bunch of guys, all of them modellers and gamers, experts in the field. Hayley our accountant, who puts up with my ramblings as I bounce ideas off her and always gets our returns in on time. Our suppliers, most of whom are genuinely good to deal with and do their best to help us find exciting products to offer. Surprisingly, our competitors; they keep us on our toes, the better ones give us something to aspire to, and the local ones are people we can co-operate with as often as we compete with them.
But most of all, I definitely owe a big “thank you !” to our customers. The level of customer loyalty we see is wonderful. There are many both online and who we see in our shop who I consider friends as well as customers. It makes me glad we aren’t just selling “ordinary” products. Modelling and gaming attracts some of the most amazing, interesting, and often pleasantly eccentric people.
Who knows what the next ten years will bring, but so far, it’s been a fun roller-coaster ride !