We recently spoke with Andrew Crowe, a This Side Up employee who recently launched his own business: Uncle Andy – a site that sells child safety locks and products.
We work with a lot of different businesses at This Side Up, from large corporate companies and house-hold brands, to smaller businesses, a few not-for-profits and the odd start-up.
We know that start-ups have a lot of decisions to make, and it’s important to try and get as many of them right from the start. Given that Uncle Andy is a new venture, we thought we’d ask Andrew some questions about the process.
TSU: Can you tell us a bit about your website and the platform you used?
Andrew: When it comes to selling online, there are a huge amount of choices available to use these days. Many people recommended the self-hosted e-commerce route or to get a bespoke build, and this can be great, especially for advanced applications and intelligent inventory handling for example, but it can be tricky if you don’t have a technical background or the capital to invest in such a site. I wanted to start out simple and at low cost before scaling up, so went with Shopify in the end and put a basic and easy to navigate site together.
TSU: What factors made you choose Shopify as your web platform?
Andrew: Well it wasn’t like I immediately decided that was the platform I wanted to use for launch, it took me a while to get to that decision. There are so many e-commerce platforms out there to choose from and they are all pretty similar. I wanted something that wasn’t limited with limited design options, was able to easily integrate with lots of other systems and plug-ins, and didn’t charge anything too ridiculous. Ultimately though it was that I was familiar with the Shopify platform already and could get a site live pretty quick and was prepared to sacrifice some functionality and lower hosting costs that I may have got from other platforms, in return for reduced time and effort required to get the site live due to my familiarity with Shopify so that I could focus on other aspects of the business.
TSU: How does the online world fit in with Uncle Andy?
Andrew: At this stage it is entirely online based while I establish the brand and systems. I intend to move things a bit more offline in the future as the lock products are best demonstrated in person so people can understand how it works and play around with it themselves. Getting the word out online is still a work in progress as the company is quite young, but when it comes to child safety the experience of someone who has already tried the product and vouches for it is essential, so social media is a big focus. Whilst I do work at This Side Up which is an online marketing agency, myself and our team still recognise the value of the offline world for a business’s marketing mix so I definitely won’t be ignoring it!
TSU: What are the biggest obstacles you have had to overcome as a business owner?
Andrew: In terms of obstacles, these are pretty much a constant! Whether it be that your inventory doesn’t ship as soon as you thought it would, unexpected costs popping up or having to edit your website to meet advertising policies they just keep coming, but I just keep pushing through them and persevering to get to the other side, always trying to improve and get the best outcome and experience for the customer.
There are always, always things to do and tasks to tick off – this requires you to change your mindset and really be serious about your venture because if you still have a day job, most of your evenings are going to include spending time on your side business. As many people following this interview would know, a lot of these tasks are pretty mundane i.e filling out a tax return or building a terms of service agreement but they are all necessary for the greater whole and success of the business. On the surface Uncle Andy may appear to have been created pretty quickly, but in actual fact I spent almost a year chipping away and getting things sorted behind the scenes before pushing the website live.
So that’s that then – our 5 minutes are up! Thanks Andrew for the 5 minute chat and we wish you all the best with your business venture!
You can check out Uncle Andy here: www.uncle-andy.co.nz