Thursday, December 12, 2013
Barnstaple gifts business Letterfest turns over £1million through online sales
An online business based in Barnstaple has gone from one woman’s bedroom to turning over £1million.
Letterfest, which sells a wide variety of personalised gift items through the website notonthehighstreet.com, is the brainchild of Wendy Harrison, a designer who started selling her items with the help of her husband after moving to North Devon from London five years ago.
Letterfest sells a number of unique items, including engraved pebbles and artistic prints, and has grown from a one-woman operation to a 12-strong team – which more than doubles over the Christmas period. And, this year, they got their own design studio and work shop in Bear Street in Barnstaple.
“I never imagined it getting this big,” said Wendy. “I never wanted to sell through a shop, and I think what we do is something which works across all of England.
“We needed to find an online marketplace that already had a lot of customers and could deal with other things, such as PR and accounts.
“Thanks to Not on the High Street, you don’t feel like you need to have your own detailed business plans, and we never had to get start-up loans from the bank.”
Letterfest is set to turn over its first £1million – one of only six in the country to do so through Not on the High Street – thanks to the popularity of items such as house and pet illustrations, where photographs are transformed into unique, personal gifts.
“You can give gifts which look really thoughtful and are all really affordable,” said Wendy. “I think it’s important to offer people something different and be able to build on that and bring unique things to the market all the time.”
Looking forwards, Wendy hopes to keep introducing new designs and fresh ideas to continue to grow.
“Last week we had our best ever week, with sales up 60% on what we normally see.
“I’d definitely recommend joining a company like Not on the High Street because they give you support and the opportunity to have millions of hits on their website every day. It’s definitely a great way for designers and makers to get their products out there and it means you can live in great places like North Devon, where in the past that wouldn’t have been possible.”