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Space to grow

An online retailer presses ahead with expansion

Online retailer GJ Boon goes from strength to strength with a new warehouse purchase bringing storage space and a clearer vision.

Director Tony Arora started his Birmingham-based online retail business, GJ Boon, from his front room in July 2014, and has taken it to a £2.4 million turnover in just four years. 

Today the company offers over 3,000 products via its own website and third-party sites, specialising in giftware and personalised goods. On any given day, they send out between 3,000 and 7,000 pieces of stock.

So when Tony worked to secure funding from Barclays to buy the company’s first warehouse, it provided greater efficiencies and opportunities for business growth. 

He says: “When I started out, I packaged products at my dining table – I never dreamed that the business would grow to this level. The funding will help us to purchase a warehouse to hold our ever-growing stock.”

The right move

As well as providing more space, the warehouse enables Tony and his team of nine to work in the same place, as opposed to being spread across several storage units in their previous set-up. This has brought a clearer focus and vision to the business.

“It now feels like a business – the warehouse has given us that clarity and visibility of doing things the way we want to do them,” says Tony.

Proactive approach

Tony was initially directed to Barclays by Andeep Mangal of Thapers Chartered Accountants: “I knew from my existing relationship with the bank that they were looking to support trading businesses on commercial property acquisitions,” explains Andeep.

A meeting was set up with Barclays Business Manager, Rebekah Tait, to talk through Tony’s business and plans for the new warehouse. 

“What I needed was a Relationship Manager,” says Tony. “Someone who could understand our business over time, and help us when we got to that stage where we needed funding for growth.”

As well as helping to get the funding in place as quickly as possible, Rebekah was also key in driving the warehouse purchase forward and making it as straightforward as possible. 

“Rebekah’s a very, very positive person. Once we told her ‘That’s the warehouse’, ‘That’s the price’ and ‘That’s the solicitor’, she worked closely with me to get all the financing in place. It was great work. She’s very proactive – I trust her immensely,” says Tony.

Looking ahead

The company currently exports to Europe, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, and Tony has plans to expand into the US, Japan, Australia and India in the next five years.

A bigger warehouse is now on the cards to help with this expansion, as long as Tony can find something local. He explains: “It’s very important for me to be loyal to my team, so I can’t just pick up and move somewhere away. We need the space to be either in the same estate or within a close radius.”

Tony’s also looking towards a bright future with plans for manufacturing giftware and a retail outlet. “I think we should look at creating a retail experience where we bring our customers in and create showcases. That’s one vision for us, which could be exciting,” he says.

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