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Whybee: All the right components

Rob Bloomfield, managing director of Whybee, shares his advice on building a great rapport with suppliers to find new ways to get the best price…

My name is Rob Bloomfield. Mark Yates, the sales director, and I own Whybee, a car and accessories company based in Lancashire. The idea behind the business was definitely boys’ toys to start with as we are both passionate about cars and did a lot of rallying back in the day – in fact we’re still involved in the rally business.

We started by scrapping crash cars and selling off the parts. The first car we bought and took completely apart was a Peugeot 106. We put a few light bulbs on eBay and things really took off from there. We’d buy a car for £600-800 and sell the parts for a total of £3,000. I always wanted to run my own business, and here we were making a lot of money on a few parts. It was unbelievable for the first couple of years, but then the market became very competitive and we couldn’t scale quickly enough, so we changed tack and started buying in parts rather than salvaging them.

“We’ve experienced our fair share of challenges along the way – by far the biggest was getting some fantastic suppliers on board that believed in us.”

There’s no way you can get into our market now, it’s a race to the bottom if you’re not established. It’s too late for you unless you’re a manufacturer or you have an unbelievable supply chain.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve experienced our fair share of challenges along the way – by far the biggest was getting some fantastic suppliers on board that believed in us. The two biggest racing suppliers, K&N and OMP, both had reservations about us at first. But we smashed it. Eventually, OMP invited us to Italy; as their second biggest distributor in the UK we became hugely important to them. We have £150k of OMP stock in the warehouse right now, and this climbed to around £1m at Christmas.

Being able to scale quickly in an aggressive market was also a barrier for us but Volo played an integral role in igniting our growth journey. From the start, we knew Volo had the capabilities to transform the business by taking care of things like auto-reordering and listings to help us more than double our size. Since implementing the platform, we’ve managed to achieve top ratings across all 11 of our eBay IDs.

The most important lesson I’ve learned since being in business is that the first price you get from suppliers is never the best price. As we work closer with our providers, we’re finding more ways to save on price. If we discover they’re giving other sellers better deals, we negotiate accordingly. It all boils down to having dynamite suppliers. To steal a slogan from Ford: ‘Quality is actually job number two. The first job is how easy the supplier is to work with and how computerised they are.’ Sealey is a very switched on supplier – their raw data is a dream.

Our marketing efforts are also paying off for us. The last year has been the best we’ve ever had. We’ve done promotions, flyers and drops, plus we regularly use email and social – Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. We’re also in the process of replacing a graphic designer as well as recruiting a full-time social media person too.

Even after 12 years the pressure to be profitable is constantly there. I do try to push it out of my mind at times but it is full throttle every day, if you pardon the pun. Although, we can’t complain with how well the business is doing. We used to do £50k a month, now we’re moving rapidly towards £50k on a regular weekend. Christmas 2014, we made half a million.

Thinking about the near future, I think both Mark and I would like to take a step back from the business in a couple of years by giving our staff more management opportunities and autonomy. In the short term however, we want to focus much more on our websites to keep the bread and butter of business moving.

Whybee started small but we’ve grown the business organically, and today we turnover £3m across eBay, Amazon and our websites ybracing.com and ybfilters.com. I don’t think there’s been a crowning moment for Whybee yet – the way I see it is we’re still on a journey, and it’s a series of peaks.

Get your business back on track so it can take to the skies. Start your ecommerce adventure today.
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Go back

Whybee: All the right components

Rob Bloomfield, managing director of Whybee, shares his advice on building a great rapport with suppliers to find new ways to get the best price…

My name is Rob Bloomfield. Mark Yates, the sales director, and I own Whybee, a car and accessories company based in Lancashire, UK. The idea behind the business was definitely boys’ toys to start with as we are both passionate about cars and did a lot of rallying back in the day – in fact we’re still involved in the rally business.

We started by scrapping crash cars and selling off the parts. The first car we bought and took completely apart was a Peugeot 106. We put a few light bulbs on eBay and things really took off from there. We’d buy a car for $1,000 and sell the parts for a total of $4,000. I always wanted to run my own business, and here we were making a lot of money on a few parts. It was unbelievable for the first couple of years, but then the market became very competitive and we couldn’t scale quickly enough, so we changed tack and started buying in parts rather than salvaging them.

“We’ve experienced our fair share of challenges along the way – by far the biggest was getting some fantastic suppliers on board that believed in us.”

There’s no way you can get into our market now, it’s a race to the bottom if you’re not established. It’s too late for you unless you’re a manufacturer or you have an unbelievable supply chain.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve experienced our fair share of challenges along the way – by far the biggest was getting some fantastic suppliers on board that believed in us. The two biggest racing suppliers, K&N and OMP, both had reservations about us at first. But we smashed it. Eventually, OMP invited us to Italy; as their second biggest distributor in the UK we became hugely important to them. We have $225k of OMP stock in the warehouse right now, and this climbed to around $1.5m at Christmas.

Being able to scale quickly in an aggressive market was also a barrier for us but Volo played an integral role in igniting our growth journey. From the start, we knew Volo had the capabilities to transform the business by taking care of things like auto-reordering and listings to help us more than double our size. Since implementing the platform, we’ve managed to achieve top ratings across all 11 of our eBay IDs.

The most important lesson I’ve learned since being in business is that the first price you get from suppliers is never the best price. As we work closer with our providers, we’re finding more ways to save on price. If we discover they’re giving other sellers better deals, we negotiate accordingly. It all boils down to having dynamite suppliers. To steal a slogan from Ford: ‘Quality is actually job number two. The first job is how easy the supplier is to work with and how computerized they are.’ Sealey is a very switched on supplier – their raw data is a dream.

Our marketing efforts are also paying off for us. The last year has been the best we’ve ever had. We’ve done promotions, flyers and drops, plus we regularly use email and social – Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. We’re also in the process of replacing a graphic designer as well as recruiting a full-time social media person too.

Even after 12 years the pressure to be profitable is constantly there. I do try to push it out of my mind at times but it is full throttle every day, if you pardon the pun. Although, we can’t complain with how well the business is doing. We used to do $75k a month, now we’re moving rapidly towards $75k on a regular weekend. Christmas 2014, we made half a million.

Thinking about the near future, I think both Mark and I would like to take a step back from the business in a couple of years by giving our staff more management opportunities and autonomy. In the short term however, we want to focus much more on our websites to keep the bread and butter of business moving.

Whybee started small but we’ve grown the business organically, and today we turnover $4.5m across eBay, Amazon and our websites ybracing.com and ybfilters.com. I don’t think there’s been a crowning moment for Whybee yet – the way I see it is we’re still on a journey, and it’s a series of peaks.

Get your business back on track so it can take to the skies. Start your ecommerce adventure today.
Contact us