Julie set up Present Purrfections in 2014 in a shop near her home in Fife. The aim was to create the ideal place to find the Purrfect Gift for the cat or dog Lover in your life, and she has done exactly that, Present Purrfections has been shortlisted for Best Fife Newcomer at the Scottish Business Awards!
Julie’s husband, Mark joined the Army in 1996 and served with the Royal Dragoon Guards until 2006 when he left. Later he rejoined, retrained and served with the Royal Signals because he had IT and communications experience during the 2 years he was out of the forces. He did tours in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. However, due to an injury he did not go to Iraq or Afghanistan and was medically discharged in May 2014. Following Mark’s discharge they decided to open a business together using Julie’s experience in retail, as she puts it: “I had several years’ experience in retail and when Mark was medically discharged last year we decided to do something we could do together where Mark could help out as much or as little as he was able”
After deciding to start the business, there were some obstacles and challenges that they hadn’t expected along the way. The couple found time scales were their biggest issue, and getting everything organised so they had everything in place for opening. Since launching, learning how to market effectively has been their biggest challenge. Julie has learnt how to use social media to the best they can, for example, how paying for advertising on sites such as Facebook can boost the profile of the business beyond the local area. On reflection, Julie’s advice to those thinking of starting up a business:
“Look into everything thoroughly. After we had planned our finances we came across things that we didn’t know about such as having to ay to be registered for using CCTV. We knew we had to have certain signage but didn’t know we had to be registered. Make sure to forecast for everything down to the smallest fees and money for bits and pieces.”
X-Forces were able to support Julie and Mark with their business plan, financial planning and securing a loan to supplement their own personal investment. Their advisor helped to explain how to forecast Present Purrfections finances as they had no experience putting these forecasts together.