Online shopping ebay store

Fresh starts, new beginnings and plenty of vigour – the new year beckons with potential. So many people will be thinking about a change in their career or starting a business right now, we thought it would be a great time to introduce one of the amazing entrepreneurs who is growing a business right here at Cookes.

Malik is the owner of Urban Design UK, a retailer with a shopfront on eBay. With a growing range of genuine branded cosmetics, Malik has joined a thriving platform to become one of the 3.4 million sole traders in the UK. His business has expanded from a modest home business to a successful store, taking over three storage units at Cookes. In 2018, Malik plans to increase his online presence on other platforms and with his own website.

Of course, launching your own business is hard work and gaining a foothold on a platform as busy as eBay isn’t easy. Malik began his business some years ago selling mobile phone accessories, before moving into men’s accessories and cosmetics. Over time he refined his range and is moving towards high-end brands such as Max Factor and Revlon.

Tips for selling on eBay

Time, patience and a strong, reliable customer service are the cornerstones to the success of Urban Design. Malik also offers his best tips for selling on eBay:

“You need a good description and pictures. Use your own, so that it’s clear to buyers you have genuine products and make sure the lighting is a natural as possible so that the real colours show up. Avoid sellers who just use stock images if you can’t be sure their products are of good quality.”

Quality pictures do require a good camera, and Malik has invested in photography equipment, and of course, his laptop. However, by selling online he avoids expensive outlays on city centre rental prices. Having a self-storage unit does have its advantages though.

“I started the business from home, and moved into a storage unit after just a few months. It means the house is free from boxes of stock, and I have set business hours. Plus, storage units are not that expensive, I can expand the size of my shop when I need to, and there is no long term commitment, so I feel in complete control of my business,” Malik expands.

Self-storage for eBay businesses

Malik original launched Urban Design UK in London, before moving to the Midlands with his family. He also tried a couple of different storage providers before settling at Cookes.

“Originally I was looking for low costs and a company that took in stock deliveries for me, which most of them do. However, after spending some time in the unit packing deliveries, I quickly realised that I also needed professional level lighting, wifi and, most essential, heating. It can be very cold in some of those units even in the summer.

When I found I was too cold to work, I had to do something about it. The place I was using at the time were a chain and that made them a little inflexible. When I spoke to Cookes they were really helpful and professional, working out the best solution and fitting lighting for me with just one week’s notice. As it’s indoors the building is warmer, even without additional heating. I’ve been here 15 months now and expanded into my 3rd unit recently.”

With plenty of shelving provided by Cookes, Malik can easily access stock for packing and posting.

Urban Design UK sell on eBay under the seller name of Urban Arc. Malik stocks only genuine cosmetics, and only lists anything he has in stock, so it can be sent out quickly. He is also happy to discuss any products or concerns with customers, usually via the eBay messaging system.

“Fake cosmetics are a concern on eBay. Why risk putting something untested on your skin?” he says. “If you are looking at unknown brands, it might be harder to tell. A regular user of a Revlon foundation will easily notice the difference in a fake. Always check the seller feedback and, if you have doubts, don’t buy from them.”

If you are thinking of starting your own online business, then 2018 could be your year. To discuss storage options, just call the friendly Cookes team on 0121 285 5197.



Business Self Storage

December has arrived, and most businesses are gearing up for the busiest few weeks of the year. The 5 weeks of the festive season can account for up to half a year’s revenue for many small retailers. With every retailer – on and offline – in competition for consumers, it’s vital that business owners have prepared in advance.

Small businesses in particular have to juggle a variety of factors over the festive season that can impact on their ability to meet customer needs – staff holidays and sickness, cash flow and holiday pay, delivery demands and increases in theft. And there’s still the Christmas party to organise.

One aspect that’s vital to your sales this December is having enough of every product in place, particularly popular items that make up a large part of your profits. With online shopping, next day deliveries and plenty of options, consumers are not likely to hang around long if you hang up the ‘out of stock’ sign.

The issue many small businesses face is a lack of space. Whether you have a physical shop or sell entirely online, all the additional stock has to be put somewhere while you wait for the orders to flood in.

Stacking haphazardly in corridors and backrooms will likely result in items being damaged or lost, while the time taken to hunt down each order for wrapping and stamping all adds to delays in sending items out and meeting customer demands.

The advantages of offsite business storage

There’s an easy solution to toppling box piles though, and that’s taking advantage of short term business self-storage units. Off-site storage has a lot of benefits for smaller businesses – in fact more and more retailers are using them on a regular basis, or running their business from their storage site entirely.

Here’s why inventory storage could be the solution – and bring you a big increase in profits this Christmas.

  1. Rental agreements are on a short term or monthly basis – no year-long contracts and huge overheads here.
  2. The size of the unit you take is also flexible, so you don’t need to pay for a mass of empty space – just take the unit that meets your needs.
  3. Indoor off-site storage is dry and clean. There’s no need to worry about stock getting dirty or damaged. An indoor business storage facility is often temperature controlled as well – so even food and drink can be stored safely.
  4. With CCTV and often PIN access controls in place, your stock is safe and secure. Some stock storage facilities even offer a reception service, accepting deliveries so that you don’t need to worry about time spent waiting while you could be out working.
  5. If your business is already overflowing with boxes, crates and festive chaos, but you don’t have time to move it all, then the right self-storage providers can even solve that problem. Cookes Storage in Sutton Coldfield will even come and collect your goods for you – so that all you need to do is make sales and see your profits soar.
  6. Once you’ve organised your stock in your unit, you’ll be able to locate individual items with ease and get everything packed and ready for shipping in no time at all – meaning you can pack and shift more in one day and meet more customer demands.

Finally, once the festive season is over you’ll be able to see at a glance what, if any, stock is left over and get it all marked down in time for the January sales before leaving your temporary business premises – until the next seasons demand begin.