Ethical Superstore, an online retailer of fair trade, organic and eco-friendly goods, is forecasting turnover of £2.2 million this year (up from £800,000 last year). We interview co-founder Andy Redfern.
Where did the idea come from?
There are a lot of ethical products, but you couldn’t get them all in one place and many had poor availability. We wanted to bring them all together to deliver maximum benefit to customers with minimal environmental impact.
How did you arrange business funding?
Venture capital. Two years ago our biggest challenge was to convince our backers there was a market for ethical goods. Now all we have to do is convince them we can capitalise on it.
What was your trickiest moment?
Last month the BBC said beetroot juice could reduce your cholesterol. We’re now selling 200 bottles a day, which is quite a challenge because there is not that much beetroot juice out there! We are responding quickly, but it wasn’t in our business plan or cash flow.
How do you set prices?
We’re trying to match the supermarkets, not undercut them, but at the same time we don’t want to be profiteering. If we can get volume, we can drive price.
What’s your philosophy?
Our motto is that it’s much easier to seek forgiveness than to gain permission. I am happy to work on the basis of forgiving mistakes because I know that if people wait for permission then things often don’t get done at all.