Your Name and Age:
David Finney; not as young as I’d like to be…or think I am (especially when I mix golf trips and ‘shandies’…but that’s another story!!!)…sadly, 53 and not getting younger!!
Tell us about your family:
I have been married to Teresa since 1994 – I surprised her by taking her to Barbados to get married, she didn’t know until we got to Manchester airport where we were going, and didn’t know until a week into the holiday that we were going to get married…luckily she agreed!.
We have 3 wonderful boys…most of the time! – Jack 14 next month, and the inspiration behind Sezitall bookcases, Ben 11, and Max just turned 8. We live in a typically English village, Whitegate, in mid-Cheshire. I love golf and Leeds United! the boys all do karate, we all enjoy walking…except Jack who says “it’s a waste of his life…” and would rather play on his Play Station! We make him come one in three walks, and he just complains the whole time – typical teenager! Camping holidays are the flavour of the month, the boys love it and camp out on the back lawn in all weathers!
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
Before Sezitall, I worked in the building industry for years, and yes there have been challenges whilst making the transition.
How did you get started?
After organizing product manufacture and building my website in 2007, I contacted as many online retailers specialising in kids furniture as I could to find to see if they were interested in promoting the product. Today, I work principally from home and rent a warehouse in Cheshire for stock.
What research did you do before launching?
I arranged a couple of focus group meetings with some mums; one at a school in Crewe, and one at a friend’s house in London. I also did extensive research on the internet and although we knew that there was no other product like it (since we held the copyright to the design), we were keen to see what other bookcases were selling at. Eventually, we set our prices at what we thought the customer might pay for something that is high in quality, personalised, and unique.
To date, it is all self-financed.
How do you promote your business?
I promote the website through other websites. I have some a bit of advertising and I am currently using a PR agency to promote my products. And of course word of mouth has been a great marketing tool!
What has worked well about your business?
Customer feedback has been very very positive and encouraging, and has also had an impact on how we have developed the product range, for example we have a new shelving system specifically designed to accommodate taller books. Providing a fast and reliable service has resulted in repeat orders – I am trying to build a reputation for great quality bookcases, delivered quickly.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
Getting the Sezitall name known!
How do you fit in work with the family?
I work from home so see my family far more than I used to. I can even take my eldest to and from high school while my wife walks the youngest to the village school. However, when I am not at the warehouse, I do spend a lot of time on my laptop and it seems to be 7 days a week!
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Well if they want to set up a shelving business, then please don’t…I don’t want the competition!! More seriously though, I’d encourage all budding entrepreneurs to go for it, it won’t be easy, but you don’t know what you can achieve until you try!