EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 132 - December 05, 2004 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 8

From Country Cottage to Multi-National Company via eBay

By Mark O'Neill

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How many times have you complained that packing supplies are getting more and more expensive these days? How many times have you caught yourself wishing that there was a cheaper alternative? One UK-based company decided there was money to be made offering a cheaper branded packing solution to eBay sellers. They've ended up as a Titanium Powerseller and multi-national company by selling extremely cheap branded padded envelopes, packing tape and everything else an eBay seller needs.

Liverpool-based "Postal Supplies Direct" (PSD) is a family-run business started in Andrew Dudley's living room.

"I went along to a local supplier of 3M tape and purchased 70 pounds (about $100) worth, which I duly listed on eBay using some very crude HTML," said Andrew. "I will never forget the sound of the very first end-of-transaction email coming into our inbox! We literally ran from the kitchen to find that we had sold 2 rolls of packing tape."

From those humble beginnings, Postal Supplies Direct has mushroomed dramatically into a true eBay success story. PSD now has 15 employees worldwide with eBay shops and warehouses in the UK, U.S. and Germany (called "Verpackungen Direkt"). Plans are afoot to expand by planning eBay shops and warehouses in other parts of the world including India, China, Canada and the Netherlands.

Jiffy Bags are the biggest seller with over 2.5 million being sold since January 2003. According to Andrew, a USPS subsidiary has just placed an initial order for 25,000 Jiffy Bags, which will surely protect his PowerSeller status for some time to come!

PSD was eBay's Powerseller of the Month in July 2004 (http://www.postalsupplies.co.uk/PowerSeller.pdf - this is a PDF file), and they have been interviewed by newspapers such as the Financial Times. So where does all the success come from?

"Our philosophy has always been to recognize that eBayers have the choice to go elsewhere," explained Andrew. "We are exceptionally responsive and reactive to our customers' needs, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We also offer a 100% money-back guarantee on all our products."

As well as selling packing supplies, Andrew and others at PSD have appeared at eBay Live (see their "About Me" pages for a picture of them with Meg Whitman), and they have given talks at the eBay university, something they are happy to do, said Andrew. "eBay has been very good to us and has provided us with an opportunity to build a business around a growing family, so we are more than happy to share our success with others."

Andrew is so confident of his company's future that he predicts that by next year, PSD's sales will surpass those of eBay's current largest seller of packing supplies. "Our UK business alone is now the third largest supplier of packing materials in the world, in that we have received more feedback in the last 30 days," said Andrew.

From there, the sky's the limit!

http://www.stores.ebay.co.uk/postalsupplies PSD UK eBay Store

http://www.stores.ebay.com/packingsupplies PSD U.S. eBay Store

http://www.stores.ebay.de/verpackungendirekt PSD German eBay Store


About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, MakeUseOf.com. He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'Neill.org.


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