eBay for Business Awards One Year On – Genuine Parts

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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 4th of September to submit your entry. As we continue to revisit some of last year’s winners, today we look at Genuine Parts.

Genuine Parts One Year On

Michael and Chris Cleary from Crossgar Co Down, Belfast started their business after returning from their travels around Australia, in a bid to not succumb to the ‘traveling blues.’

To kick off their business they purchased a job lot of automotive parts and listed the items on eBay, as they had previously been customers on the platform. They soon realised that they loved the process and found that they quickly gained sales and customers.

After perfecting their eBay store, they began to expand and grow their business. To do this they contacted local car manufacturers and built relationships with big names like Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Audi and Skoda. Over the first few months, business boomed and the duo made the decision to rent a commercial premises to keep up with all of their eBay orders.

From humble beginnings selling on eBay off their kitchen table, they now have a projected annual turnover of £500k.

Michael and Chris won the Family Business Award at last year’s eBay for Business awards

How did you use the prize money from your award?

We used the prize money we received from winning the eBay award to purchase a new iMac for our packing room! This has been great as we use this specific iMac software for all our invoicing and postage.

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

Just after the awards ceremony we had signed our new lease for an 8k square foot warehouse which was scary at the time but looking back now it was the best thing to date we had done for growing Genuine Parts. It was shortly after the awards night, Chris and I sat down to have a chat about where Genuine Parts was headed in terms of growing and expansion. We soon discussed going to the business full time, in order to make it work only one of us would leave our full time job to see where we could go with it, subsequently I took the risk and walked out of my electrician career to drive the business forward.

Nearly a year later I’m still with the business full time, with many family members part time. In the last year we have learned a lot from managing quarterly VAT payments to Payroll. Since winning the eBay for business award our turnover has nearly quadrupled from 100k per year to 350k per year. Our projected turnover for the next financial year is expected to exceed 500k!

Did the pandemic impact your business?

Whenever the lockdown was announced in March, we were anxious about how this would affect our business as we sold mostly car parts and accessories at the time. With only essential travel allowed demand for these items declined as people were paying less attention to their vehicles. In March we were lucky enough to alter our business model to adapt to these uncertain times, by bringing in a range of DIY and home supplies, the range of which we have updated and still stock today. Due to this decision we actually had our best month In revenue yet during April. Although we were kept occupied during the lockdown period with sales, we had a lot more free time in the evenings and weekends which gave us the chance to bring to life an idea we’d had for a while, our very own line of car care products the very first of which being our House Of Shine car shampoo, which we launched at the start of this month.

Was eBay a helpful lifeline during the pandemic?

We found ourselves very lucky to sell primarily on eBay due to the adaptable nature of the platform. We were able to adapt our business around the needs of consumers during the pandemic. eBay were very helpful during this pandemic as we found ourselves under a lot of pressure getting orders delivered within the specified time frames. eBay were understanding of the fact that a lot of delivery couriers were experiencing backlogs and extended their expected delivery dates which took the pressure of a lot of sellers. We thought it was great that eBay deferred their fees during this time as well as putting an extension on seller protection, relating to seller performance standards. Also their Covid-19 Facebook updates were great to keep in the know as everything was changing so quickly. We definitely owe the thriving performance of our business during the pandemic to eBay and their team for how understanding they have been.

What are you future plans for your business?

In the future we see ourselves with our own brand and a full line of auto care products.

It’s testament to hard work, if you can bring a product to life and have it on shelves in shops all within a 3 month period. House Of Shine has really took off for us, Chris and I are already In talks about bringing our second product to life which may be released just before Christmas if all goes according to plan. We would also like to keep building our online presence and get our warehouse filled to full capacity with stock.

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

Initially when we submitted our application we put in the written speech as well as a professional video which we got made by a local videographer which turned out great! We didn’t really think we met the standard at the time to be classed as one of the eBay for business, runners up let alone award winners. This is something that came as a surprise when we got the invite to the ceremony. It goes to show if you are not in you can’t win!


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