Heritage Gardens UK Dropship Online Garden Centre
This is an excellent opportunity to purchase this easy to manage and unique online garden centre which can be operated from anywhere in the UK. Heritage Gardens is a re-seller to both retail & trade customers of a wide range of gardening products including garden buildings, furniture, and landscaping. Since establishment in 2009 the business has achieved the enviable status of ‘Highly Commended’ in ‘The Good Web Guide Website of the Year Awards 2015’, and the website has a solid reputation for quality and reliability. The business has also been awarded a ‘Best of Houzz Design 2016’ for the large number of product photos downloaded by subscribers. There has also been favourable reviews on The Good Web Guide: - • [REDACTED] • [REDACTED] • [REDACTED] The company does not hold any stock, as all orders are ‘drop shipped’ from a reliable network of 30 quality UK suppliers. Long standing excellent relationships exist with all suppliers, and the main suppliers include household names in the garden retail sector such as Rowlinson, Mercia, Grange and Zest.
Founder and owner Gilbert Stedham has invested a significant proportion of time since 2009 to establish the business, but since the decision has been made to sell the business no new initiatives are being undertaken, and only a few hours a week are needed to be spent on operating the business. The website back office, product loading, minor revisions and updates to the site are done by Gilbert Stedham, and his friend Barbara Johnson, on a part time ad hoc basis. Any website coding or advanced technical issues are outsourced to specialist IT on an hourly rate. Neither Gilbert nor Barbara previously had any computer or website training but have gradually picked up the ability to run the website themselves with very little outside help. Any purchaser with computer expertise and with a desire to invest in online marketing (spend has been zero for the last two years) could quickly capitalise on the potential that obviously exists. With very low operating overheads & the average sale in the region of £150 -£350 even a modest increase in sales would lead directly to the bottom line.
A purchaser is sought for this unique business as Gilbert Stedham is looking to pursue other non-competing interests. The Vendor will give his reasonable time either via email or by phone to answer questions to enable a smooth transition of the business for a period of up to 3 months
2.0 Business Ownership The Heritage Gardens website, brand, associated domain names & intellectual property are owned by Daison Estates Ltd Est.1923 Co. No. 00194706 which in turn is wholly owned by Gilbert Stedham. Currently the Company has bank debt of £11,156. There is also a Director’s Loan of approximately £35k and for this reason the Company is not being sold, remaining in the ownership of Gilbert Stedham. Rather the Company is looking to sell the website, brand, associated domain names, social media presence and all other intellectual property which will be free from indebtedness. The company owns no physical assets.
Please see Appendix 1 for the associated domain names which are included in the sale.
3.0 Trading History Heritage Gardens commenced trading in 2009. Turnover peaked in 2014 (year-end being 31st December) at £62,000 but in recent years the turnover has declined due to lack of investment in online marketing.
3.1 Financial Analysis The table below summarises the key financial data for the least three full trading years trading years (2014 – 2016 inclusive, note - the financial year ends 31st December).
2017 % 2016 % 2015 % 2014 % Sales 15483 19148 25418 61897 Less Cost of Sales 11606 75 14487 76 17929 71 47625 77 Gross Profit 3877 25 4661 24 7489 29 14272 23 Less Administrative Expenses 1904 12 7253 38 9189 36 17494 28 Operating Profit / Loss before interest & tax 1973 13 -2592 -0.13 -1700 -7 -3222 -5
- Figures till 31st August 2017
3.1.1 Notes to Financial Analysis
• Gross profit remains consistent and with a concerted online marketing campaign including greater use of social media it is believed that sales could significantly be increased. By merging this with an existing on line operation the overheads could be reduced significantly.
• The Administrative Expenses for 2014 & 2015 are for full Company accounts for Daison Estates Ltd filed with Companies House. As such the Administrative Costs comprise financial liabilities such as the bank loan, 2 overdraft facilities and business credit cards of £16k now paid off. 2014 was the last year when there was any paid investment in marketing. Additionally there were other incidental admin costs not related to Heritage Gardens in the 2014 & 2015 figures.
• The administrative expenses for 2016/17 ONLY relate to those associated with HG referred to in Para 4.2 of the prospectus.
• The figures for 2016/2017 specifically relate to the running and operation of Heritage Gardens on a debt free basis.
• The administration costs include the following monthly costs – Shopify, Cardnet, Cardstream, Telecoms (Virgin Media landline + Freephone 0800 number). The average combined monthly telecoms bill is £30.00.
Gilbert Stedham considers that the core business of Heritage Gardens has been profitable since January 2014 if one removes all Daison debt & liabilities (all associated with the establishment of the business over the past few years). The bank loan of £15k commenced in January 2012 & now stands at just over £4k). It is estimated that around £65 k has been invested in Heritage Gardens made up of £45k of Gilbert Stedham’s own capital plus £20k of bank debt which is now reduced to £11k.
4.0 Business Operation The web site is hosted by Shopify one of the world’s most successful ecommerce platforms. Customer payments are taken either via PayPal or by credit/debit card through the payment gateway of Lloyds Cardnet. Customers receive free UK delivery as standard procedure and there is a Freephone Product Advice line.
Whilst there are no exclusive supply arrangements in place, since 2009 much time and effort has been spent on developing excellent supply arrangements with suppliers from household names such as Rowlinson, Grange, Mercia and Zest as well as a wider range of smaller garden product companies and importers of furniture. All suppliers are keen to do business with HG because they get paid promptly on a Pro Forma basis. As a result of fostering these business relationships over several years HG benefits from trade prices that would be normally be given to much larger organisations. A start up online retailer would struggle to get an account with companies such as Rowlinson or Mercia as these manufacturers have indicated that they would not really wish to deal with any more small retailers as they also supply Homebase, B & Q, Tesco Direct & many other multiple retailers.
The Heritage Gardens website is PCI/DSS compliant and has a secure https:// protocol giving the highest level of customer security.
As with all internet companies selling physical products occasionally a product is damaged in transit or is defective in some way. HG’s policy is to deal with complaints promptly and reasonably, and currently there are no outstanding customer complaints.
4.1 Business Features
The features of the Heritage gardens web site are: -
Personal prompt service.
Free UK Delivery.
Freephone and Online Product Advice Line.
Website owned and developed by a keen gardener.
Expert monthly Garden Tips.
Relevant detailed blog posts.
Impressive list of Trade Customers.
The business also has an active presence on all the major social media platforms.
The Heritage Garden Club with special discounts could be reinstated together with a comprehensive email marketing campaign.
HG is the only online garden product retailer to be Highly Commended in the Good Web Guide Website of the Year Awards. It would be easy to build on this accolade through the Good Web Guide promotional and marketing opportunities to sell to their highly influential and fairly affluent subscribers.
Website visitors for 2017 and previous years can be analysed through Shopify and Google Analytics. The number of daily visits in 2017 has been between 45 and 250. No marketing or paid promotion has been undertaken for at least two years due to lack of a marketing budget. A PPC campaign could easily bring prompt conversions.
Many products on the HG web site feature on page 1 in a Google search. This has been achieved ‘organically’ and no Adwords campaigns have bene undertaken for several years. There is therefore the potential to increase the Google ranking through online marketing.
The GOOGLE page 1 lists include
A large number of garden products with a “Heritage” prefix are listed on Page 1. Heritage Garden Furniture – a very popular search term with 2 page 1 mentions. Heritage Garden Pottery. Heritage Garden Pots. Solid Teak Patio Furniture. Solid Teak Patio sets. Solid Teak Lutyens benches. The business has an active presence on social media sites and APPS (see Appendix 1) and is featured on Homify and Houzz: - • [REDACTED]
4.2 Operating Costs The monthly overheads are approximately £300 a month. Significant costs include: - • Shopify the website platform charges a fixed 1% of sales together with a monthly subscription of $59.00 • Cardstream the payment gateway charges £23.50 per calendar month. Lloyds Cardnet the Merchant Provider provides a very competitive rate together with a reduced monthly fee if one is a Lloyds Business customer. HG enjoys excellent settlement terms of 1 working day with Cardnet. For example a customer can make a purchase by card on Thursday at 6pm and the funds will be in the company account by 2pm on the Friday afternoon. This makes it possible to handle a sale of £1000+ without the need for working capital to fund it and make immediate payment to the supplier. • There is a longstanding HG PayPal account as an alternative for customers charging 3.5% on purchases with an immediate withdrawal facility. In this way the business is always cash positive.
Domain names forming part of the sale
• [REDACTED] • [REDACTED] • [REDACTED] • [REDACTED]
Other domain names are available which subject to the offer received for the business may be available as part of the sale. • [REDACTED] Heritage Gardens first registered this domain in 2009 & has sold rattan furniture for some years under the brand “The Garden Lover- Contemporary Garden Living”. The branding & copyright photography can be seen on this link & also on the Home Page sliders. • [REDACTED]
Social media presence forming part of the sale • Twitter, [REDACTED] 1670 followers • Facebook, [REDACTED] 265 ‘likes’ • Pinterest, [REDACTED] 42 followers • LinkedIn, [REDACTED] 68 followers • You Tube promotional video, [REDACTED]
Appendix 2 Customer Purchases Luteyns benches purchased by Christ College, Cambridge
Rattan garden furniture purchased by the National Trust
[REDACTED] Appendix 3 Example of Marketing Activities
Presentation of Haddonstone Gothic Urn to competition winner by Toby Buckland supplied by HG as one of main sponsors of Coombe Trenchard Arts & Crafts Festival 2011.
015 Press Release [REDACTED]
£60 per month with a couple of free press releases a year sent out to 100s of journalists. When subscribed HG used to get regular requests for free copy. Up to 30 product images can be uploaded which can searched for by journalists.
AS FEATURED IN MAY 2016 PERIOD LIVING BRITAIN'S BEST SELLING PERIOD HOMES MAGAZINE (PUBSLISHED 27/3/16 ). PAGE 117. FEATURE ENTITLED "SITTING PRETTY". "Add a lovely focal point to your garden with the Rowlinson Rustic Seat from Heritage Gardens. Made from quality stewardship council softwood in a natural timber finish it is pressure treated against rot. Leave it natural, paint or stain it for an individual finish.(01803 391359 [REDACTED]
CHIC BUT PRACTICAL LIFESTYLE HOME GARDEN OFFICE AS FEATURED IN PERIOD LIVING MAGAZINE APRIL [REDACTED] WHAT THEY SAY BELOW. A Flagship Product from Rowlinson Garden who have come up with the chic and stylish designed Connor Cabin which makes for a beautiful focal point in any garden as well as being a highly versatile garden building. Rowlinson have been manufacturing quality garden products at affordable prices since 1926 and this cabin is no exception. There is a sheltered entertaining area with louvre sides and a back panel. The Rowlinson Connor Cabin is an ideal Lifestyle Cabin or Home Office and leisure area not just for the summer months. It is sure to prove popular with friends & family and is ideal for entertaining on a pleasant summer [REDACTED] you are of an artistic persuasion it would make a bijou Artist's Studio (see image) from which to paint the lovely flowers & plants in your garden ! PERIOD LIVING MAGAZINE'S FEATURE "THE GREAT OUTDOORS" COMMENTS : "Spring Chic - Smaller outbuildings can still make a bold statement as major focal points for the home and garden. The Rowlinson Connor Cabin offers an outside area and a charming sheltered inside space making it ideal for the ever-changing Great British [REDACTED] from Heritage Gardens." Attachments area
Contemporary al fresco living: Heritage Gardens delivers the ambience of the Riviera to the English garden Heritage Gardens, UK online retailer of garden furniture and buildings, announces a range of outdoor living products designed to capture the al fresco mood of the Riviera this Summer. A superb range of luxury rattan garden furniture has proved especially popular over the recent unusually hot weeks, according to leading UK garden specialists, Heritage Gardens. The company, which specialise in low-cost, high quality garden furniture, buildings and other garden products, are stocking a range of outdoor living accessories for Summer: Founder, Gilbert Stedham, comments: “By combining a rattan patio dining set with a contemporary chiminea such as the Gardeco Eclipse, a true ambiance of the Cote d'Azur can be achieved in the typical English garden. For those who like to relax in sun or shade a colourful Brazilian hammock from Amazonas will certainly fit the bill.” There is a wide range of garden furniture, gazebos, and more available online from the Heritage Gardens website, catering to everyone from keen gardeners looking for top-of-the-range tools, greenhouses, potting stations and cold frames to families seeking to entertain and relax in the garden. Heritage Gardens stocks superior brands with an impressive selection of garden furniture, from the traditional to contemporary, with rattan furniture, aluminium garden sets and garden benches. There are arbours, arches, planters, pretty summerhouses and garden office buildings such as the contemporary Rowlinson Carmen Pavilion. There are many other products from the long-established British brand, Rowlinson, with its classic summerhouses made using timber from well-managed forests Gilbert Stedham continues, “Traditional garden games are also a popular seller in the Summer months where giant games such as chess, draughts and mega Connect 4 are ideal for keeping both kids and adults occupied.” About Heritage Gardens Heritage Gardens is a fast growing UK online garden centre specialising in garden buildings and furniture that stocks a comprehensive range of upmarket garden furniture, garden buildings, ‘Grow Your Own’ products, exotic plants, roses and garden games. Founded in 2009 by Gilbert Stedham, Heritage Gardens is a website designed by gardeners, for gardeners – providing unique, professional monthly gardening tips and advice through blog posts and social media, as well as supplying low-cost garden products to consumers and the trade. The ethos since the early days has been to offer an unrivalled personal, prompt and efficient service to all customers and provide advice and gardening help to anyone, through the Freephone number or the online live chat
Heritage Gardens comes highly recommended, chosen by The Times Gardening in 2011 as one of 'Six of the Best' and the company is also an authorised supplier to The National Trust, where you'll find its all-weather rattan furniture at Beningbrough Hall and Gardens, near York. A listing in The Good Web Guide 2014 is further endorsement of the Heritage Gardens website as a reliable source for consumers seeking to buy quality garden products online. [REDACTED] Heritage Gardens also supplies to the trade, working with garden designers and landscapers, as well as the hospitality industry including hotels, pubs, holiday cottages and historic houses. Its popular Rowlinson Square planters are situated either side of the entrance to the Millennium Hotel Mayfair in Grosvenor Square and a number of Memorial Benches have been supplied to the Bishop's Palace, Wells in Somerset. Heritage Gardens is associated with the Into Gardens App created by celebrity garden designer and RHS Council Member, James Alexander Sinclair, supplying a Solid Teak Lutyens Bench as a competition prize in 2013, and look forward to further collaboration with Into Gardens.
Financials and traffic
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