eBay for Business Awards One Year On – Direct Plants

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The 4th annual eBay for Business Awards are open for entries with the grand prize totalling a humongous £20,000 in cash. You have until 11:59:59 on the 24th of August to submit your entry. This week we are revisiting some of last year’s winners and today we look at Direct Plants:

Direct Plants One Year On

Direct Plants is owned by husband and wife Shaun and Karina O’Brien from King’s Lynn Norfolk. It initially began as a small family-run garden nursery selling plants and fish, set up by Shaun’s parents thirty years ago. When the UK recession hit, and the shop was forced to close, Shaun started selling the stock on eBay. A decade on, the business turnover reached a staggering £1.5m in 2019, with their eBay store accounting for 70% of sales. The company now owns five acres of polytunnels, thousands of trees and plants, and employs ten members of staff to fulfil over 500 orders a day.

Shaun and Karina won Specialist Seller at last year’s eBay for Business Awards

How did you use the prize money from your award?

We actually had a staff day out with a BBQ on the Norfolk Broads to celebrate!

How has your business grown in the past year since the awards?

Since winning the award business has boomed, the recognition of winning such a prestigious award that’s UK wide is amazing. It is actually going to help us achieve an amazing 75% YOY increase in 2020! Last year’s 2019 yearly turnover was £1.5M+ and now we are on track to break £2.5m+ for 2020. It’s incredible to think about our journey.

Did the pandemic impact your business?

Our business actually was one of the lucky ones in the pandemic. Due to the perfect spring and summer weather and people focusing on their gardens we’ve seen a huge increase in sales with people ordering plants from home.

Was eBay a helpful lifeline during the pandemic?

eBay has been proactive, passionate & helpful throughout this time, really reassuring sellers and creating a positive experience for sellers and buyers. We were also proud to take part in eBay’s small business campaign during lockdown, the vibe, support and message they gave to sellers and buyers about shopping from small enterprises who might be struggling in such tough times was truly overwhelming.

What are your future plans for your business?

Our future plans are to make our operations in house more efficient in a changing world to keep our high quality and high service level at its current performance of near 100% positive reviews and feedback. Being a small family business, we always aim to achieve growth each year, but we always must ensure our quality and service never come second best to growth!

Do you have any tips for this year’s contestants?

Be truthful, tell eBay what caused that click that made you think about wanting to start selling on eBay. Think about telling the story of what you did before and how selling on eBay has changed your life and business. We’d also suggest that you share with eBay the daily process of your business and how you make it work – that personal detail can go a long way!

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