hires for international expansion

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People have been wishing for an eBay “killer” competitor for years and with the possible exception of Amazon (which isn’t really suited for used goods) there hasn’t ever been a serious contender in the UK. That’s still the case, but one site – seems to be making their mark and succeeding because they address a niche market.

Gifts, gifts and more gifts brings together over 2000 small creative businesses that combined sell a wide range of products through a single checkout. Their unique selling point is that all the goods offered are unique or personalised products, which are arranged into gifts for “her”, “him”, “children”, “grandparents”, “birthdays” or “weddings”.

The company was an overnight success when it launched in April 2006 with 16,000 unique visitors to the site on the first day.’s turnover leapt from £100,000 in its first year to £15.1 million in 2010. Currently 40 small businesses a day apply to join with only a small percentage accepted to ensure the best quality.

New senior management

Now have announced three new senior management positions in preparation for international expansion – Jason Weston as Chief Operating Officer, Mark Hodson as Chief Marketing Officer and Maya Moufarek as Director of International Development.

Jason Weston, Mark Hodson, Maya Moufarek.
Jason joins after ten years at Amazon where he was Director of UK Softlines, Mark joins after five years as Marketing Director at PayPal and Maya, who joined the company late spring, was previously at Google for six years where she most recently managed Regional Strategic Partnerships. All three appointees report jointly into co-founders Holly Tucker, Executive Chairman and Sophie Cornish, Managing Director.

The founders Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish

Holly Tucker, Sophie Cornish.
Both Holly and Sophie have worked in women’s magazines, in advertising, and both have run their own small businesses before starting Their aim was to create a place where you could find all those charming, unique and carefully-made things that you sometimes stumble across in cool urban markets, village fairs and tucked-away boutiques. A place that was quick and easy to get to, where shopping was simple and fun, and where you could always find the most inspirational and wonderful things.

I think they’ve succeeded – I’ve just ordered my nephew’s second birthday present from and, whilst he probably won’t think much of it until he is older, my brother and sister in law will love it!

Is it the marketplace for you?

If you supply unique and unusual gift items then you should consider joining as a seller, but bear in mind they probably turn away more suppliers than they accept. Your products need to be great as do your photographs.

I think this marketplace is successful because it is filling a niche. By screening sellers they ensure that only the unique, personalised and beautiful appears on the site. Photographs are encouraged to be lifestyle images and not standard product shots as these increase sales and I have to say for me the site is working. Thankfully they don’t accept PayPal (yet?) or I’d have no money left at all!

8 Responses

  1. appear to be another option that restricts itself to a limited number of NEW only catagories and BIN only listings.

    This is becoming a very full playing field.

    What many of us really need is an alternative to eBay for used items and collectables.

    eBid I hear you shout!

    But eBid don’t have the support in place, the third party service suppliers, or the automation for serious business sellers. Even if they had the buyers not a good option as a result.

    Is any big corporate actually looking at investing in and setting up a serious eBay competitor for the used arena?

    Or has everybody thrown in the towel?

    Can anybody confirm whether Tesco will be offering an auction or BIN site for used items?

  2. “People have been wishing for an eBay “killer” competitor for years and with the possible exception of Amazon (which isn’t really suited for used goods) there hasn’t ever been a serious contender in the UK”

    Reading the story again the opening line says it all.

    What makes eBay unique is that it has no killer competitors for used goods.

    Money raised from the sale of used goods by sellers on eBay is reinvested either in alternative used goods or new.

    Now for used goods where else can you seriously go other than eBay?

    This gives eBay a big advantage and other niche players attempting to muscle in on the eBay business keep failing to recognise this or capitalise on it.

  3. “Currently 40 small businesses a day apply to join with only a small percentage accepted to ensure the best quality.”

    ebay has no worries here

  4. We applied for the site after having many customers ask why we were not on there and I am not exaggerating it seemed in a three month period that everyone that called us asked us!

    We just received a generic email back to say we were not successful, I find it disappointing to not know why…

    But then I think to myself if I put the time I might spend on the site on our own website the sales increase would probably be the same.

    I don’t think this will ever damage ebay!


  5. I’d love to see some serious competition aside from the big river. I must admit I don’t know much about the above company, but sadly, I just cannot see any serious and mainstream competition coming anytime soon. In fact, ever.

  6. I think it’s not on the high street that needs a good competitor rather than ebay, if sellers are turned down they should try selling on, it looks much more refreshing!!

  7. These people took a week to reply to a request to join, then said no. Recipe for success?? Sound more like poor forward thinking by management to me. Potential sellers are also potential customers. Exclusivity means that they are doomed to fail in a market place clammouring to dump ebay. How long before they post a notice to say they have gone bust?



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