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Party Without Plastic – Transforming the Culture of Celebrations in UK

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While observing the key to successful business ideas, have you noticed a common thread? The path to successful business journeys often begins with addressing problems that everyone seem to have, with no convenient solutions readily available. Indeed, whether it was Etsy that gave the world a new way to buy and sell handmade goods, or Airbnb that transformed the way people find accommodations, commerce prospers when innovativation addresses unmet needs.

One such need is the climate change imperative. For those listening, warning bells have been ringing, throwing caution to the winds, if not literally, for a future that may not be as pleasant.

Read the inspiring story of Lorraine Allman, UK-based seasoned entrepreneur – who “listened” to the significant waste produced by the the party supplies industry. So she set out to lay the groundwork for “real change” with a YoKart powered marketplace – for a promising future with a business that has promise.

Q1. What was the inspiration behind choosing to start your eCommerce business? How did you come up with this idea?

Ans: For the last 10 years or so, I’ve been working with families and educators, helping them nurture a Can-Do mindset in children through screen-free play. Whilst I’ve loved this work and have seen the positive impact it has had on children, families, and schools, I was feeling increasingly unsure as to the next steps for the business so took time out to think about what I wanted to do next. In particular, I reflected on the legacy that I will leave to help my son’s generation and generations to follow be better able to look after this planet. I realised I wasn’t really doing all that I could and it didn’t take me long to work out just how much of a significant contributor to waste, and plastic waste in particular the party supplies industry is.  So I set about looking at ways to be part of the solution, rather than the problem, and the result is the Party Without Plastic® Marketplace!

Q2. How did you identify your target market?

Ans: Through my market research I identified the size of the party supplies market, and noticed the growth trend in areas such as sustainability. As children are increasingly learning through school about climate change and the damage plastics can do to our planet, I learnt of the struggle parents, and indeed anyone-else organising a celebration has in trying to source genuinely plastic products for their parties. It made sense to bring everything together into one marketplace that is a trusted one-stop-shop for everything plastic-free from tableware and decorations, to party bags, favours, gift wrap and much more.

Q3. How did you finalize the ideal Software? Did you require any additional integrations or customizations?

Ans: I spent a long time assessing all the options for marketplace software currently available including monthly subscription models, but felt the Yo!kart software best suited my needs. A lifetime licence with just one fee payable for such a feature rich system makes it excellent value for money. We did need quite a bit of help getting up and running, including installing the software on our own server, and some adjustments to suit our particular requirements but the FatBit team were very supportive and helped us work this all through.

Q4. What hurdles did you face initially? Can you share how did you overcome these hurdles?

Ans: Initially it was difficult getting the software installed on our server. As a very small business I was fortunate to rely on the goodwill of people I knew to help me with this and liaise with the FATbit team. The system installation and set-up does require a certain amount of technical knowledge, and learning how it all works needed more time than I expected, but once we were up and running, I could see I’d definitely made the right decision.

Q5. What is your vision for the business going forward – let’s say 5 years down the line?

Ans: In terms of my vision for the business, we expect the Marketplace to grow considerably over the next few years and aim to lead the way with a party essentials Marketplace containing only plastic-free products, transforming the convenience culture of celebrations into an easy, ethical choice for everyone. We envision a world where celebrations and gatherings are not only joyous occasions, but also environmentally responsible, revolutionising the way we celebrate, one plastic-free event at a time!

Q6. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs like yourself? Any tips/success mantra that you would like to share?

Ans: The thing about being an entrepreneur is there is no such thing as a typical day! This means you have to be flexible, resourceful, and of course resilient when things don’t quite go to plan. When launching a new business, not everyone will necessarily be supportive of you (for all sorts of reasons) but if you’ve done your market research and absolutely believe in what you’re doing, and have a clear vision for how you want the business to grow, stick with it. Surround yourself with positive thinkers and never be afraid to ask for help – we can’t be good at everything!

Q7. Tell us about your overall experience with Yo!kart team and are you happy with our services?

Ans: Overall, my experience with the Yo!kart team has been a positive one. It was helpful to have a dedicated contact that we could get to know and gave me continuity of support. We couldn’t quite get the marketplace launch over the line for the planned date, but the Yo!kart team always came back to me with responses. There was often a delay due to the 5 hour time difference, but we managed online calls and emails, and nothing was too much trouble.

Q8. What’s the main reason you recommend our product or service?

Ans: I would recommend the Yo!kart software for businesses who want to be in charge of how their marketplace runs but don’t have deep pockets. It is a feature-rich system that has built-in scalability, and does everything the other more well-known generic marketplaces offer. Just make sure you factor in enough time to get everything set-up and get familiar with it!

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