Zak Edwards’ drive, vision and compassion have pulled Prezzybox.com through tough times during the recession, as he has developed a multi-million business from the beginnings of a barely furnished, borrowed office with not even a phone to hand, to the vibrant, fun and successful company that it is today. He is using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to promote the products and engage with the customers, but Zak said Twitter is one of his favourite social networks because it helps to connect with other brands and influencers.
Based in a rural farm-house, their offices are much like a home, with a relaxed atmosphere where they are all friends. Zak thinks pets are a great way to get people to stay happy at work and it brings a great relaxing and friendly working environment. This is why he adopted four goats that are living in their offices – Mashy, Pickles, Ben and Billy are all part of their big happy family.
Who is Zak and who are the people behind Prezzybox?
Nothing is far from out of the ordinary with e-business leader Zak Edwards, the founder and managing director of online gift retailer Prezzybox.com.
From being the owner of the world’s largest pork scratching to sitting beside a goat when in the office, Zak, alongside his family, set up the gifts and gadgets site in 2000 and has since encouraged its development into a nationally loved retailer for finding fantastic gifts, which has recently gone worldwide.
What type of gifts you are selling and who are your main customers?
What makes Prezzybox really different are the gifts that we sell. Without our network of top suppliers around the UK, and a buying team dedicated to sourcing only the best in quirky gifts, we aim to provide something suitable for any kind of recipient.
Valuing happiness above everything else, we strive to provide our customers with not only a dependable service but offer them the most unique, on-trend and creative gifts. Reflective of our values, our gifts are fun and colourful and come in a wide selecting of categories, with Gadgets, Homewares, Beauty and a huge selection of Personalised items.
Our favourite items range from the retro vibes of Desktop Arcade Machine, the brilliantly confusing Upside Down Wine Glass, and the vibrant Volkswagen Campervan Toasters!
There are so many competitors out there… What are your unique selling points?
Prezzybox began as a family. From our staff through to our customers we try to include everyone within our journey, from supporting them with a personal customer service and 24hour delivery, to involving people in the fun throughout our social media pages. We befriend people and want them to feel like our family. Establishing a good relationship is paramount to selling, and providing happiness throughout the purchasing process through to the receiving of the gift is crucial to us.
Did you have any remarkable success?
I developed a flexible, non-hierarchical workplace of over twenty staff members, and, as I told to The Guardian when I have been nominated for Guardians Small Business Leader award in 2014, “I want to be the thickest person in the room and to employ really clever people”. My passionate approach has to lead the team to achieve awards in customer service and e-tail over the years, inclusion on the McDonalds Monopoly Campaign and being featured across many media including ITV This Morning, Bloomberg, plus BBC Radio and daily nationals.
The ambition to explore new initiatives has even seen the home-grown business introduce a new scheme for schools called Learn 2 Earn, which rewards pupils’ educational achievements and assists teachers in motivational learning.
How far do you see your business growing?
Recently launching Prezzybox Globally, the expansion means we are now actively able to market into other areas. Achieving 30% of our traffic from overseas, we have only just been able to monetise this and we hope this expansion will excel us to the next level, giving us a larger presence and hopefully encouraging an extra 50% of our business from overseas within 3 years, in an aim to double our turnover.
What motivates you? Do you have any specific routine to keep you stay positive?
My team and our working environment is one of the most motivating things about running the business. I believe it’s better for staff, customers and business if we are happy at work. Based in a rural farm-house, our offices are much like a home.
I encourage a relaxing and creative atmosphere at Prezzybox, offering a games room plus the furry wall of fame for all our Prezzybox pet visits, as well as chilling with our four adopted goats and office pooch Polly. We are more than colleagues, we are friends and we enjoy our time together.
How do you promote your business? What social networks do you use?
We have many avenues to promote our business, being featured in the press and connecting with our customers across social media platforms being two of the most prominent.
Using outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube has grown our online profile and conveys our voice and identity to consumers. I want to keep people up-to-date with the latest trends and giftware, as well as ensure we are personable and friendly to engage with.
We also work hard to ensure people are talking about our brand and our gifts, therefore we feature on lead TV shows, such as ITV This Morning, The Gadget Show and Tipping Point, as well as target online and print features in National and Regional Newspapers and Magazines, interview on BBC and regional Radio stations, speak within Business titles and create imaginative seasonal campaigns to promote our brand and what we do.
What is your preferred social network and why?
Twitter is a great source of generating conversation, you can keep on top of daily trends, connect with other brands and influencers, share your content, get involved in hot topics as well as easily reach out to new customers, finding out their interests and helping by advising them with gift tips and such.
Do you have any business people as role models?
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Never be afraid to just put yourself out there, ensure you have a happy working environment and don’t give up. Keep up-to-date with new platforms, and use social to your advantage, establish who you are and how you want your brand to resonate with people.
Do you have any favourite quote (or book)?
One plus One Equal Three (Dave Trott)
Trust me I’m Lying (Ryan Holiday)