Martyn and Will Ress noticed that there were not that many people selling wooden worktops to customers, so the father and son team decided to go online and launch their own business. They noted that B&Q and MFI both took dives on the high street, and now there was an opening for an enterprising team. However, at the time they did not have a market to sell their own products so instead they turned to eBay for help. They first ventured onto the auction site in 2009 and today they hold the largest share in the market.
Martyn Rees owned a company that supplied cabinets and worktops to the high street retailers and his son Will specialised in selling skateboards via the eBay auction format. The duo decided to take their strengths and create a new Direct Online Services company. Will Rees stated that they had the best timing possible because they waited until MFI went into redundancy and then immediately purchased the bankrupt stock and since it was his dad’s main customer before the insolvency they already had a full list of contacts to get started with.
It was also the peak time for eBay which made it easy for the pair to start creating worktops that they could sell direct to consumers without any actual physical retail space. Martyn explained that it did not cost them anything upfront to get started and since they only got charged 5-10% once a listing sold it was an easy way to get their items onto the market without worrying about overheads.
The pair have gotten so large today that they even had a feature written about them in the Telegraph detailing how they took advantage of eBay and the disappearance of their rivals to get ahead in the wooden worktop market. They knew that customers were heading online to look for great deals and a great bargain, and so the Rees made sure that they gave it them.
They specialised in creating solid oak products and were able to sell the items at a high margin because even at high profit margins the items were still much less then they would be on the high street. This large profit margin allowed them to quickly scale their business and purchase more and more. Martyn stated that they had no idea that they were quickly going to see such a large return come out of what they thought would be a small private business venture on eBay.
Today their prime customers are still DIY consumers that want to source their own products or fix up their own kitchens. In the recession many people decided to fix up their homes instead of attempting to get credit for a new mortgage, and as a result they have seen a large surge in people looking to save some money with DIY kitchen projects. They built on the success of their solid oak worktops and capitalised on this DIY spirit by adding luxury kitchens, cabinets, and direct to trade products to suppliers.
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