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Success Stories: Maxine and James from Maxjam

Blog - Zenstores stories: Maxine Harrison from MaxJam

Maxine and James run Maxjam.Biz, an online store selling high quality home and garden decorations. 

This is what Maxjam had to say about Zenstores:

Zenstores as a simple and cost effective order management and label processing system which is perfect for small to medium businesses. In addition we have found support from Zenstores to be extremely friendly and efficient with queries answered quickly and effectively. We love Zenstores and are recommending it at every opportunity!

Tell us about your business, why did you start selling online?

We are a husband and wife partnership trading from home, and we have been running our online retail business MaxJam for the past 3 years. My background (Maxine) is in Banking and Insurance Operations, and James is in IT so between us we have many of the necessary skills to run a business but learning about retail and, in particular, online retailing has been a steep learning curve. 

With a busy life, young family as well as two grown up children, we wanted to ditch the daily commute and improve our work/life balance so decided to take the plunge and start our own business from home.

After some research we settled on an online shop and with storage space at a premium our products needed to be fast moving, small and lightweight, so decorative but practical home and garden products were ideal.

What have been your biggest challenges selling online, and how did you overcome those?

Our biggest challenge is keeping the business small enough to continue trading from home whilst profitable enough to sustain us financially but with careful stock management and with a constant eye on keeping overheads under control we have so far been successful. 

What are your top recommendations for people starting out?

Know your market, potential customers and price points by doing thorough research before parting with your hard earned cash to buy stock. Once trading don't be afraid to identify slow moving stock and reduce in price to sell and re-invest in more profitable items.

Quantify your costs and make sure you are making a profit ‚Äď decent turnover is not enough ‚Äď don't be a busy fool!

When selling online, value for money is critical ‚Äď most markets are very price sensitive but selling¬†cheap goods is not necessarily the answer. We find that offering good products, well described and¬†attractively photographed at a value for money price whilst providing excellent customer service¬†equals happy customers. And of course this leads to the all important high feedback ratings which¬†are critical for Ebay and Amazon sellers and these are our main trading platforms.

Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store?

Until Zenstores came along our order management and label printing system consisted of one large¬†spreadsheet, A4 paper and a printer ‚Äď very cheap but a little time consuming! We wanted to take¬†advantage of the new Royal Mail DMO barcoded label system but soon found out that some kind of¬†order integration software would be required and possibly a costly new label printer.

Zenstores has given us the perfect solution. 

We can use our existing printer to produce our postage labels, still on A4 paper, keeping costs to a minimum. Plus we now have the many added time saving benefits which Zenstores offers in terms of easy and straightforward order management and processing.  The price point of £25.00 per month is perfect for our small business budget.

What do you do in your spare time?

In our spare time we can now spend a lot more quality time together and play badminton, golf and we are a big computer gaming family!

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