Forgetting an important anniversary can often get you into trouble. However, for Jignesh Ghaghada it provided the inspiration he needed to take that entrepreneurial leap. He reveals how he set up his gift website TreatHer.com.
Company name: TreatHer
Founder: Jignesh Ghaghada
Staff Numbers: 5 plus contract staff
Date started: Company created in Nov 2005, site launched in July 2006
Tell us what your business does:
Treat Her is a wonderful new gift service that specialises in delivering unusual and exciting gifts for women directly to her door. We have a wide range of gift ideas including everything from jewellery and homewares, to pampering days out and flying lessons.
Where did the idea come from?
I actually came up with the idea when I was working in the city. We typically worked long hours and didn’t get much time to pop out during the day. One day it suddenly struck me that I’d forgotten to buy something for my girlfriend, Serina, for the second anniversary of the day we’d met and I only had until that evening to get something. I ended up not being able to get a gift that day – and this planted the seed for the concept.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Ever since I left university I knew I would eventually run my own business. However, I also knew there was a lot I wanted to learn first and directed my career more towards gaining exactly the right skills I thought I would need, rather than worrying too much about climbing the career ladder.
The most appealing thing about working for yourself is knowing that every ounce of energy you put into your business will translate into something tangible - either growth of the business, or learning something new.
What planning did you do before starting up?
I researched the existing online gift market thoroughly and discovered that although there was a very competitive market already in place, there were good opportunities for niche players. I attended several trade shows and travelled to the Far East to meet gift manufacturers and exporters.
I also spoke to many people already involved in e-commerce to understand how they had started up – on reflection this was invaluable and probably saved me from a number of potential pitfalls, especially in setting up the infrastructure for the site.
What challenges have you faced how have you overcome them?
A major challenge when we started was time management. A month after launching TreatHer.com, I married Serina and bought a new house which meant we were suddenly juggling a huge number of tasks (and wedding guests!). I was even checking in every few hours whilst we were out on honeymoon! Fortunately she was very understanding and, in fact, found the business very exciting. When we got back to London, Serina left her career in fashion and joined TreatHer.com to take on responsibility for our buying and supplier relationships. She has quickly become a key figure in the business and her amazing eye for trends and detail has undoubtedly been a catalyst to our growth.
What has your growth been like?
Our growth has been phenomenal over the last 12 months. When we launched in July 2006, we were getting around 100 visitors a day for the first month. This has now increased to 25,000-30,000 visitors per month. Our initial business plan forecasted we would not be profitable until the latter part of Year2 – however, we now expect to be profitable by the end of this year.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We want to branch out to cover a number of other niche markets and become a household name. Our next gift site TreatHim.com will be launching in 2 months and there are a few more already waiting in the pipeline!