Overcoming new business venture challenges

24th April 2013 by Melissa

Although MOO’s been around for a while, we have a lot of empathy for companies starting out and launching new ventures. When it came to the MOO Shop, we were somewhat newbies ourselves – MOO’s never had a bricks & mortar retail shop before! It’s been a challenging (but fun, of course) experience, and since we’ve been sharing our startup business advice on starting up a business and overcoming challenges, here’s a few things we’ve learned along the way.

Dealing with physical restrictions
the MOO Shop chairs
If you haven’t been lucky enough to come visit the MOO Shop, you might not know, but… BOXPARK is made out of shipping containers! Yup, we’ve literally set up a store in a box, and a small one at that. Despite that, we knew from the get-go that we wanted our shop to be more than just a shop – we wanted it to be a place that our community could come to learn and share business tips with each other. Each week we’ve held Wednesday night talks with a different inspiring expert in their field. Sounds great, but the problem is, there’s not much space for chairs on our shop floor… or in our cupboards for storage. Our solution was to purchase lovely little Dutch By Design rainbow chairs that not only look cute, but they are made of foldable cardboard, so they pack up flat and don’t take up much room when set up either.

Obviously, not all of our worldwide customers can visit the shop in London, so we’ve also been video recording the talks and posting them on our YouTube channel afterwards. We’re really excited about the great compilation of advice we’ll be able to include over the next few months. While we’re being honest and discussing challenges, I must admit they are not slickly shot videos and we haven’t quite figured out how to broadcast high quality video live, but we hope you still enjoy them.

Keeping up customer service standards
the MOO Shop phone
At MOO, we pride ourselves on our customer service. If you’re not happy, we’re not happy. Which is easy enough for our Customer Service team with our internal order system, design software, and printing warehouse at their fingertips. But it’s a bit trickier in the MOO Shop. Most questions our lovely shop staff can answer right away, but what to do when they’re stumped? We decided to install a Customer Service hotline right at the till, so when needed the team back at MOO HQ can be reached just by picking up the big red phone. Maybe not every company can have their own big red phone, but the tip is that when there’s a value or service that’s really important to your brand, try to make sure you don’t neglect it when you try out new ventures/channels.

Do as I do, not as I say
MOO Shop emboss
People ask us all the time about things we don’t offer on moo.com – “do you do a UV coating?” “can I get cut outs in my cards?” “what about letterpress?” In the shop, we have the ability to do things a bit differently and try out new features, so we decided to install an embossing machine. Our designer Felix designed four new Business Card templates with matching embossing plates, so that people can order the cards online, and then come into the shop to hand emboss the matching design onto their cards. Sounds great, right? Problem is, almost no one has come in to use it yet! Understandably, customised embossing is a bit different than choosing from four pre-made embossing plates, but we’re still a bit surprised that after all the requests, the interest hasn’t matched. Fortunately the machine was affordable and we can swap it out with another feature if we’d like – and we know if that if we launch embossing on moo.com we should provide more than just four options. In the meantime though – why not get your own embossing plate made and you’re welcome to bring it into our shop to use on your MOO cards. We get ours from Metallic Elephant, and if you contact them and send them a file to use as a plate in the MOO Shop, they’ll help you make it happen. Just be sure to check out their guidelines before contacting.

Any questions, or tips for us, feel free to leave us a note in the comments. We’re still learning as we go, so happy to hear from you.

Comments (10)

  1. Hannah | Ebury Home & Garden:

    So pleased to hear about the 4 new embossing plates and love the renaissance option.

    For me, designing my own embossing plate would be ideal but unfortunately I couldn’t come into the shop to do it myself.

    I definitely think it will be a very popular choice if and when you can offer a custom plate as an option online!

  2. Andrew:

    Visited the shop to check out your embossing but it is actually clear foiling, which is quite a different thing! So I am working on a Plan B to see if that will work

  3. Andrew:

    Hi Melissa, I understand you comment but you were running it with foil when I visited, so do you run it without foil now? and also it de-bosses so the image goes INTO the card or do you now do it so it stick UP as real embossing? Thanks Andrew

    • Melissa:

      Hi Andrew, technically yes we are pressing into the card, but if we say deboss only the experts like you will have any idea what we mean! We are using a clear foil as MOO is a digital printer, so if we do it without a foil it will likely ruin the design on the card. The clear foil leaves a slightly varnish-like finish to the card.

  4. Lisa:

    I love this insightful article.. Melissa, you were/are a hero. I have now picked up 3 orders and love the free shipping and quick turn around. great work!!

  5. Delberth Hemley:

    Hi Moo. Peeps.

    Where is your shop I would love to visit and say hi, also come to the Wednesday talks.

    My friends, family are always impressed with my mini cards. So thanks for helping my photography business make a positive impact.

  6. Gianfranco Chicco:

    Aha! that’s what that machine was for… I’ll definitely come and play with it sometime next week. If the results are as expected, I might event make a personalised plate.

    Just out of your own experience, how much time would it take to say, deboss 50 cards?

  7. Rag Dolls Rising:

    I can’t help but really like you guys. You share what has worked and hasn’t, makes me see that you are real people and just lay it out there. And I like your cards a lot.

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