eBay to High Street – The Personalised Party Co.

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My best friend Shazina started off selling on eBay four year ago and this week she opened her first retail outlet. Four years ago she’d just left a full time career in accounting and having two pre-school children needed an income which could work around the school runs.

November 2008 was when she put her first listing up on eBay. Having picked my brains she proved remarkably resourceful figuring out most of how to use the site on her own. I remember a few times she asked a favour like creating a banner for her eBay shop, but in the main she did all the right things on her own initiative and grew her business until it became a major source of income.

Some years later in 2011 it was time for a revamp of her , and Shazina engaged dZine-Hub to create a custom shop front and listing template. Shazina was delighted with the results and certainly the new design lifted her business to new heights. By now her business, Invite Designs Ltd, was growing fast, so much so that employees were needed to manage the workload.

I remember seeing her home office in the early days with just a couple of desks around the outside walls, but by this stage racking was appearing in the middle of the room and by the time she launched her Party Supplies website powered by ekmPowershop in 2009, the garage had been commandeered and racked out to hold stock too.

2012 saw Shazina branch out onto Amazon, and after jumping through the initial hurdles of learning a new marketplace that too has been a massive success. Shazina told me today that “Amazon is much better than I thought and it is proving to be as good as ebay for sales!

Just four years from starting a bedroom business to bolster the family income, Invite Designs trading as The Personalised Party Company opened the doors to their first retail shop in Farnborough on the 2nd of January 2013.

If you visit you’ll find everything from children’s party bag fillers, personalised photo balloons, toys, fancy dress and of course personalised invitations and thank you cards for every occasion, from birthdays, weddings, hen and stag dos, Christenings, parties and of course Christmas.

It’s always good to hear of success stories, but doubly so when it’s a friend of mine. I have to say I’m really chuffed at what she’s achieved and the income she’s generating, not only for herself but for her employees too. Well done Shaz x

If you’re in the Farnborough area you’ll find Shazina in her new shop at 3 Camp Road, Farnborough, GU14 6EN. You can also contact her via The Personalised Party Company, party supplies website or inquiries can be made by telephone (9am-5pm) on 01252 522015.

40 Responses

  1. just has to work. because in todays culture there is a party if the dog farts

  2. Nice to see a new shop in North Camp, its only called Farnborough when your selling your house!!

    I will pop in later today to say hello.


  3. You have to take your hat off to hard working and creative people. I do my best but realise I have marked limitations. Good luck to her and thanks for the inspirational story.

  4. Great stuff.

    Nice to see success stories like this, fed up to the back teeth with all the doom mongers banging on about recessions and the state of the economy, it’s not great but it’s not as bad as they want us to believe.

    Well done and good luck with the new store.

  5. I agree Whirly, the one thing we do know for sure is that if you don’t have a go, you won’t succeed. And even in the bad times clever people can reap the prizes.

    Good luck and best wishes Shazina.

  6. Decisive and persistent maybe. An eye for detail yes. Knowing when to cut a loss and move on definitely. You can be nice and still have these qualities.

  7. It’s all about perception.

    When you do something in your business to someone else, you see it as being busineslike & decisive.

    When someone does the same to you, you call it being Ruthless.



  8. Clearly Shazina has had some success. It would be interesting to hear her take on this ruthless/decisive thing.

    I’m not convinced stock is important. What about those who offer services? What is important for those in a retail environment as I guess most of us are is stock management.

    If you can operate a just in time system then it keeps the value of stock down which is dead money. The ideal business I would guess is one in which stock turns over in 4 weeks or less.

    Having stock in storage provides a comfort factor but this comes at a price. What if you get it wrong and some new lines simply don’t move?

    Or Royal Mail double their prices which makes a lot of your low value stock unsalable? Outside factors can impact any business.

    Ebay constantly changing its rules and fee structure can have a serious impact on a business.

  9. Maybe I’m confused. Are we talking stock levels or stock turnover?

    HMV for example have high levels of stock (DVD’s, CD’s, etc) much of which will never turn over and remain on the shelf forever. They are perceived as a “zombie” company. Market traders work with stock bought in daily that has to be sold that day.

    The most efficient ebay businesses surely are the ones that follow the market trader model and not the HMV model. Am I right or wrong?

    (PS sadly I rank as an inefficient business stock wise but that is another story. Definitely not a zombie business though! One day I’ll whittle the stock down to market trader status but it might take a few years! Still buying stock as it is hard to resist when the £££££ signs start rolling in front of my eyes! I guess many of us suffer from this same syndrome. I am slowly but surely beginning to resist those urges to buy stock but it is a habit that is hard to give up!)

  10. When I was taking a Sales Stand around the Traction Engine Rallies I would often take about 800 books with me. When I stopped attending Traction Engine Rallies I had bought a lot of the stock for that season. So on Garry’s model I am grossly overstocked. Like Gary I still am buying stock. In fact I have a New Year Resolution not to buy any more stock in 2013(and I am confident to break it as soon as the Warehouse I use has some new stock in).

    I am trying to get my stock down to the Market Traders Ideal as per Gary(but I have rarely known any Market Traders who work to those ideals).

    After all I am trying to Retire. I do intend to Retire just not certain when so I can try to sort out my Health.

    Trouble is as well as Selling Books I also collect Books. So I am often buying for my own collection and I need to pad out the order to reach Minimum Order Values. Trouble is I am Weak Willed in regard to Books.

    But some of my stock is now very collectible so selling for much(and I mean a great deal more) than I bought it for.

  11. without stock you dont have a business, unless of course your in the service sector then its your customer list that in effect is your stock, you can never have to much stock if you have bought it with a profit left in it

  12. Good for Shazina. always fascinates me how the same old stuff can be failure or success, depending on that little sparkle of magic the likes of Shazina bring to the table. Party planning has been around for years; and yet here we have a success story . Lets hope the Retail Shop works (but I bet she got a short term lease, with an option to extend and fixed rent reviews tied to the inflation rate-Accountants are good people to know!)

  13. This looks like a great on-line business, but why open a B&M shop with much higher overheads and only serving a small geographical area?



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