Business in the Spotlight: Vintage Cash Cow
We’ve got a great new business for the spotlight this week: Vintage Cash Cow! Vintage Cash Cow is run a couple of incredible Entrepreneurs, we spoke with David Weaver. They’ve grown incredibly in a short time, employing 16 people full time! A great and exciting business, helping people earn a little extra whilst de-cluttering! Remember if you want to be in the spotlight you can apply here!
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Innovation and disruption are what really motivates me. I get a lot out of watching other companies breaking the norm with what at times seem like simple concepts. It’s the vision, strategy and technical ability behind these big ideas that really inspires me though. Ordering a cab from your mobile felt novel at first to most people but very quickly has become something used daily by millions – it’s this same feeling that gets me out of bed to build Vintage Cash Cow.
Online consumer finance lending is where I began my journey. After being given a chance “to do the marketing” for a consumer finance lender, I took to it with great enthusiasm and started reading and learning from some of the best. While our service provided a solution to peoples’ short term financial needs, it was misused by many, and the industry fast became a target for the media. I had always been looking forward to the time where I could be working on something that’s, let’s say, a bit more positive and this is what I’m doing now.
What is your company all about?
Vintage Cash Cow is the first and only way to make quick and easy money from old unused vintage items. We’ve taken learnings from companies like Music Magpie, Ziffit and We Buy Books. We’ve applied a similar model of theirs to an older audience and much more exciting product range. We are the Vintage Re-Commerce people.
While eBay has become the go-to online portal for selling things individually in auctions, it doesn’t cater to the people that want to have a big clear out without the hassle. Imagine listing on eBay: Two silver plated cutlery sets, 4 toy dolls, 5 old watches, 10 broken watches, 3 pens, an odd 18ct earring and a 9ct pocket watch. It would take days or even weeks from start to finish, you would be packing each piece individually before posting off, and the inbox full of buyer questions would send anyone mad.
With Vintage Cash Cow, we cover the cost of postage or doorstep collection (It’s the customer’s choice), we make them an offer on the entire contents of the box and pay the money immediately. If the customer is less than satisfied with our offer, we send back their box the same day free of charge. After nearly 5,000 offers being made; 1 in 10 have not been a suitable product for us, and 1 in 10 have not been satisfied with the offer – they all had their belongings back at their door within 2 days for free.
There is no doubt about it, this country and the rest of Europe is awash with the product we buy. Pens like the Parker 51 (Just one of their models) had over 50 million produced between 1946 and 1969, these are still purchased from us by private collectors around the world. How much currency do you think is lying around in drawers? Old holiday money, pre-decimal and the commemorative crowns that every schoolchild got given – There is literally thousands of tonnes of it out there in homes.
It’s numbers like this that get everyone involved with the company very excited – each one of the 14 product ranges we buy has tens of millions of pounds in value out there that we want to unlock for our customers. We haven’t even started on furniture, high-end fashion, wine and alcohol, classic cars, vinyl record collections, glassware, china and a whole range of others.
We see ourselves as being one big Hoover – Taking in all these unwanted things from people, saving an enormous amount of time, regaining them some space in their home and generating some cash in the process.
How important is what you do?
As our core audience is over 60, we find that most of these people would not actually want or be able to sell all these things individually. Some are not tech-savvy, and others physically couldn’t handle the workload. Being able to help them and put a smile on so many faces makes what we do so important to me. Over 600 5 star reviews on TrustPilot and a score of 9.6 in our first year doesn’t lie.
As a secondary but also critical role for us, we’re now partnering with charities. Some of these have surplus stock that won’t fit in their shop. Also, there are thousands of others out there who have a donor list and fundraising volunteers, but no retail outlet to collect and sell products through. We’ve got over 20 charities signed up and using the service since starting this experiment. Our top guy (Graham D in Ipswich) has sent in over 18 boxes!
We’re excited to trial a white label approach to our service with selected charities later this year. With many people having items they feel are too good to just give away, this opens up a new fundraising stream for charities. The selected charities will be able to promote their own re-commerce service under their brand. The donor sends in their box to our facility, receives an offer and then has full control over how much of the money they want to donate. We’re expecting this to generate tens of millions for charities over the next few years.
What kind of attitudes do you think people make great entrepreneurs?
A glass-half-full attitude is perfect for driving continuous improvement and makes great entrepreneurs. Striving to deliver a better service to customers and focussing on helping the team grow is needed. Never settling and always making changes to drive improvement can sometimes feel like a never-ending journey. This attitude must be coupled with medium and long-term milestones as once a KPI’s target is met, the focus is to shift elsewhere.
This never satisfied, “I can do more” attitude spills over into views on self-development. Book hoarding, attending conferences and surrounding yourself with the latest news in technology and your industry all contributes towards learning and improving as an entrepreneur.
Why is word of mouth important to you as a business?
Recommendations are important to all businesses. The social proof and increased trust that comes with them typically lead to a higher ROI and loyal following. One challenge some brands face when building an organic following through referrals is that they may begin to lose touch with the customer experience. This dissatisfaction can then spread through the customer base quicker than it grew, causing people to jump ship. The online media company Digg saw this happen when they brought in new features that people hated then had to sit back as their core users mass-migrated to the website Reddit.
We have an additional benefit with our word of mouth referrals. From speaking to hundreds of customers we’ve found that if a friend is also decluttering to use the service, it gets them started quicker. Once one of them has their pay out it also acts as a motivator for the other person to get their box finished. Holding each other accountable is something we will be bringing in more of to our messaging around referrals – Inspiring people to start teaming up together to declutter.