How I built an eCommerce site and got “acqui-hired” in one year

how-i-20120720Dan and Elise Gold have a typical entrepreneur’s story – they grew tired of their jobs and started a business instead. But their conclusion differs in a big way: their baby-themed eCommerce site LadyBub was picked up by group buying company Catch of the Day just months after launching and rebranded as Mumgo.

It’s a story that shows there’s still plenty of opportunity in the Australian eCommerce space. But as they describe, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

So talk a little about your background.

Elise: Basically, Dan and I had been in investment banking. I was at Morgan Stanley, and Dan was at UBS. But we’ve been passionate about eCommerce for some time now, and we’ve been following the trends in the United States. The space has been getting crazy over there, and we couldn’t believe the growth we were seeing.

We also had some history with children; I had worked in childcare while I was in university, and then spent a year working as a nanny. I’ve got a little experience there.

Dan: It was very much this process of connecting the dots. We weren’t overly enthralled with our finance careers, generally unhappy coming home very late at night. So we started researching what we thought we wanted to do, and we were also in that age group where lots of our friends were having children.

When did you both leave your jobs?

E: I left my job September last year to do some groundwork, and then soon after Dan left his as well.

D: Elise was up to her eyeballs with work, but it just became too much. I’ve always been very much into entrepreneurship, and we knew there was an opportunity and so much work involved, but we could do it.

And then when did the site go live?

E: The site went live on March 8.

That’s a fair amount of time – what sort of preparation were you doing in those months?

D: I specifically recall over the Christmas, New Year break we were toying around with development companies and we got stalled because, obviously, some were away. But we downloaded an app which allows you to spec out your own website, and that just meant we had a lot designed by the time they came back.

In hindsight, it was such a great decision to move that quickly. It gave us confidence that we could work and that we could potentially be successful.

This is a really crowded market. What convinced you of success?

E: We saw other players in the market, but we knew that not only could we do it but do it better than them. Part of this market is that the barriers to entry are just so low and we saw that as something in our favour.

D: The other element is that markets are just forward quick moving and these companies move very fast.

So you’re dealing with a very fragmented supplier market, lots of boutique kids and baby clothing manufacturers. Combine that with what you’re doing on the site, using great big graphics and quality photography, the work you put into it really means you’re working on a new event or production magazine every day.

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