Character.com

Origins

The major motivation for Stephen Hewitt in starting the business was looking for a way to combine his online marketing skills gained while being a marketing manager at a bank, alongside his wife and business partner’s love of children’s fashion. As with any new business the early years were tough. Despite initial success, it took two years of hard work and determination to be able to develop enough knowledge of the market and economies of scale to develop a profitable range of products that were exclusive to Character.com. As growth has continued, finding and managing a superb team of people to help grow the business has been the hardest challenge is managing cash flow in a growing business. Character.com has been a fully self-funded business since the outset with all growth financed by sales and with revenue heavily slanted toward the Christmas period but long lead times for garment production, this has often meant extremely careful management of cash flow.

Success Factor

The biggest factor in the success of the business is the great team of staff, all the way from the warehouse team fulfilling orders to the buying team, customer services and marketing teams. Their hard work and dedication have made the founders’ desire to drive the business forward a reality. The firm has also been focused on having superb customer service as online businesses are only as good as their reputation. Character.com is extremely proud of its simple philosophy of delivering great products on time and offer in a first class no quibble returns and exchange policy. It also strives to make sure that in a competitive market, its range is some of the best designed, highest quality and value for money products that a customer can find.

The Future

Character.com continues to expand the range of products it sells and is looking at multiple different sectors for further growth. Its export sales have grown well and it plans further pushes into other overseas markets where it thinks products will be well received. The driver of this will be in making www.character.com a more recognised brand, by increasing advertising and PR activities with the aim of making Character.com the go to destination for character wear in the UK. It has also launched its own brand, Harry Bear (www.harrybear.com) to great initial results and will look to grow this in addition to its licensed business.