With a vision of ‘global destination for sales online’, Love the Sales processes millions of products on sale from thousands of retailers’ website across beauty, fashion and technology into one place where consumers can shop. We talked to Mark Solomon, CEO of Love the Sales about his passion for digital products and what it takes for young entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a successful business.
First of all Mark, can you tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your entrepreneurial background?
My background is in product management and digital marketing, and I’ve been doing that for around 7 years now. I have experience of working with large websites with millions of users, most recently as a Product Manager for reed.co.uk. I love building new products that people will really benefit from using. During my career I’ve had the privilege of getting involved in a broad range of aspects of digital marketing and product management, which has given me a solid grounding to set up my own digital business – Love the Sales.
In under 50 words, what does Love the Sales do?
Love the Sales is an innovative new way to shop the sales. We list every sale product on the web on one website, empowering shoppers to find the best deals out there. Our motto is ‘Shop more, spend less’ – and that’s exactly what we aim to help people do.
How did you come up with the idea?
My co-founder Stuart was a young dad. He always had to take advantage of the sales to keep up with the usual requirements of parenting young children – pushchairs, clothes, birthday gifts, Xmas gifts etc. After years doing this he realised there was a better way for people to be able to save money without spending hours trawling the net for the best deals. We discussed the idea and believed there was a gap in the market for a service that simplified shopping for sales online, so set about building our team to make it a reality.
How did you raise money?
Up until recently we were entirely bootstrapped, however we’ve now raised our first round of funding which will allow us to grow faster. We worked with Capital List, a company that helps to connect start-ups and investors, and were introduced to our investors through their free service. Capital List is also the official acquisition partner for London Co-investment Fund (LCIF), a £25m fund from the Mayor of London matched by £60m from six selected co-investment partners.
What have been the biggest challenges for your startup? How did you manage those and what did you learn from it?
The biggest challenge is getting every product on the site and making sure they are in stock. We crunch through over 2,000,000 products every day to sift out those reduced in price. Unfortunately lots of retailers have surprisingly poor information about their stock and its availability so we have had to build a myriad of tools to get this as accurate as possible.
Although recently launched, Love the Sales is quickly making headway. Can you tell us a little bit about your secrets of success?
I wish there was a secret! What I can tell you, is that there are no quick wins or shortcuts to success. You have to work hard, and you have to work smart – always making sure you’re focusing on building the right thing. That’s one of the hardest things to do, because it’s very easy to be wedded to a certain idea and build product features that no-one wants to use. Really understanding who your target customers are and what their needs are is key. Having a good business idea is one thing, but unless you know how to execute it it’s worth nothing.
Where do you see your business in 12 months?
Expansion and growth are two things we’re always pushing for and we’re looking to make Love the Sales a global success. Like I said at the beginning, I want to make it easy for everyone to shop the sales – and I mean everyone. That means we need to expand overseas after we cement ourselves in the UK, which we are on the way to doing.
Are there any interesting news from Love the Sales you want to share with us?
We’ve been working on some exclusive deals with some of the major retailers we work with, and we’ve also been talking to some really exciting new retailers that we’re getting on board soon. On top of that we’ve had people registering on the site in droves, so it’s nice to see that what we’re building is being well received by people.
What is the very best advice you can give young entrepreneurs starting their own business?
If you believe you have a great business idea, have done your research and have a credible business plan, then go for it! But make sure you have people you can turn to for solid advice and ensure you are working with people who share your vision and you can trust implicitly. It could be one of the best moves you ever make and even if it fails you’ll probably regret not doing it more than giving it a go and not succeeding. Oh, and get thick skinned quick!