We are celebrating our sixth birthday this November. Six years ago, we sold our first product online. It was a steep learning curve when we set up Crimson Tiger, neither of us had any website experience, we could shop online, we were really good at shopping online in fact! But we had never created our own website. I had just sold on a jewellery business I had set up a few years before when my husband was ill, but online sales was a new area to embark upon.
Although it is six years since our first online sale, the creating of the company occurred a year earlier. Many of our first meetings took place in a coffee shop in Cheam, working on what we were going to sell, how the company was going to be set up, the name, which was probably took the most discussions, you can read about that here. Eventually we were registered as a limited company in the March and then we worked on gathering stock, choosing stock from a range of manufacturers and of course, craftspeople as we feel there is so much talent in the United Kingdom, which is the area we continue to expand on.
There have been a few up and downs, like when we paid for a professional to update the website and they cleared the original website completely, leaving us to start all over again. That was a ‘do we continue moment or call it a day’ moment, funnily enough tenacity is a quality we have in abundance thanks to Crimson Tiger and our children!
Since then we have now added our inhouse range of personalised gifts, from jewellery to mugs to flips flops to mirrors. This has proved popular because people can now tell us what they really want and we will create a bespoke gift for them.
If it wasn’t for the amazing support from some good people, in particular Hannah of Talented Ladies Club, Andrew and Pippa who provided us with their knowledge and experience, we would never had got our Crimson Tiger running so we shall be raising a glass to them tonight to say a big thank you.
When we were discussing our 6th birthday on social media, one of our regular customers asked us six questions, one for each year. We thought you will be interested in the questions and our answers!
What has been your bestseller over the years?
This is a tough one to answer, originally it would have been wash bags, but since we started our range of personalised items it would be a tie between chopping boards and flips flops with our customers own images on.
What is your favourite item that you sale?
In the words of Sam McBratney, they are all my favourites but the personalised items are the most fun although the most work to do. We get to take something like a child’s drawing and make a gift that we know is going to be treasured for years to come. Oh! But also the jewellery is really therapeutic to make…. Going back to Sam’s words, all my favourites.
What is the quirkiest sale you have had?
Although the actual items we sold were quite ordinary, scarves, it was the fact that they ordered 15 of them! It was Christmas time, so we have images of everyone they knew receiving a scarf.
What was your first online sale?
The first official item was a cream metal bird feeder, quite romantic in its look. I have tried to find a photograph of it but with the website clearing back a few years ago and a change of office computers, the photographs are well hidden!
Just before our launch we asked about 10 friends and family members to go online order an item or two, have it posted to them, and then follow our returns procedure. They then had to fill out a questionnaire to tell us what they felt worked, what needed changing. Two of our test shoppers liked what they ordered and refused to do the return bit! So, technically our Boris Bottle Opener was the first accidental sale!
What was your first personalised online sale?
First personalised online sale was a beaded necklace. These are popular as they get to choose the length of chain, the charms and the initials to go on a necklace and make a special gift.
What is the furthest you have sent a parcel for Crimson Tiger?
Australia, twice! Although usually when someone is ordering from abroad it is to take advantage of our free Write Wrap and Send service that we offer. It saves time and a lot of money for expats in particular to send gifts to friends and family in the UK.
While we raise a glass to Crimson Tiger’s six years in business, to Hannah, Andrew and Pippa we will also be raising a glass to you, thank you for your support, for your humour and for shopping with us. Cheers to another six years!