Diary of a start-up: Overcoming barriers to entry (Part 5)
OK, one thing I have discovered is that I need to blog ahead. Over half term my efforts at blogging took a bit of a dip and it took me some time to recover. I even used child labour to get something out there. Yes, my eight year old daughter blogged about Timecarpet.com from her perspective. So, where were we?
As I mentioned, we got the logo sorted and we started to rock. It was all really exciting seeing the idea start to take shape with a real product that we could see and not just talk about. My husband continued to do an amazing job of developing partner relationships in the background – Haynes Manuals, DC Thomson and Official Music Charts – all of whom could see an opportunity for license revenue and we continued to ponder and search for other brands that we thought would fit with what we were trying to do (more on that another time).
By the end of December 2009, we had a working prototype which was all very exciting. But, there was a hitch. As I entitled the piece, there was a barrier to entry which was quite key to success; printing the cards.
For a while it was not looking good and we continued to develop and spend on the website, partner investment and branding – looking back, this was a tad unwise but we were in it then and being the eternal optimist I am, I never doubted for a minute that Craig – Mr Printing expert himself don’t forget – couldn’t sort this out.
He came back to us with several proposals which incorporated the cost of printing and postage from different suppliers and the issue was the same with them all. It seemed that the major barrier to us entering the online card market business was that we could not find a printer who was happy to print on demand below a certain level of cards being produced each day.
After many months, Craig hit the jackpot and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief that this part of the puzzle had been solved – by this time it was a BIG sigh as we had spent most of our savings, built a bit of reputation with partners and it really needed to at least work a little bit!
Looking back, the whole process was a tad random as we were actually building two websites and two brands – one Timecarpet.com and one i-recall.com (more about that later as well) – not actually knowing that we could get the thing going (I mean, no cost-effective, quality printing service is in essence the end of your online greetings card business before you even start). Oh well, it has been a bit like on the job training – more about that another time too – but nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.