We turned 18!
A huge milestone for the company and to celebrate we had our annual Summer BBQ. Luckily the rain held off whilst we tucked into some food and drink, followed by a company quiz hosted by our CEO Sujan Shah. Manning the BBQ we had our very own Managing Director, Neil Salva. Let it be known Neil is the BBQ king at our company, so we were lucky to have him in the UK for the celebrations.
The Marketing team took this opportunity to sit down with our CEO to share his insight into the company’s growth over the past 18 years and a look into the future of Carrier Bag Shop.
Marketing: Congratulations on reaching this remarkable milestone of 18 years! Could you tell us about some of the significant changes that have taken place during this time?
Sujan: Thank you! It’s been an incredible journey. Over the years, the landscape of eCommerce has certainly evolved. Back in 2005, we ventured into eCommerce when it was still developing. While the core eCommerce process of shopping and checkout remains unchanged, there have been remarkable shifts in consumer behaviour and technology.
Social media has played a pivotal role in reshaping how customers interact with brands. In the early days, platforms like Facebook were in their infancy; while Instagram didn’t exist, and we heavily relied on organic search and Google Ads (still 3 or 4 years old at the time) to reach our audience. Now, social proof through customer reviews on platforms like TrustPilot have become instrumental in driving purchasing decisions.
Moreover, sustainability and environmental consciousness have gained significant importance. Initiatives like the plastic bag tax have driven us to be more eco-friendly, aligning our practices with the growing emphasis on sustainability.
Marketing Team: It’s evident that Carrier Bag Shop has adapted well to the changing times. As the CEO, what valuable insights have you gained from running this company?
Sujan: One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned is the importance of patience in entrepreneurship. The first 10 years were slow, and it took time to gain traction and see substantial growth. However, the next 10 to 18 years went by quickly. It doesn’t feel like 18 years in – more like 10 years in. Many aspiring entrepreneurs underestimate the time it takes to build a successful business and may give up prematurely. Patience is undoubtedly key in this journey.
Another essential aspect is the value of talented people, as the company has grown throughout the years our team has grown across multiple locations. Learning to leverage diverse skill sets, contribute to the overall success of the organisation.
The period during Covid also taught us the significance of work-life balance and fostering a positive and enjoyable work environment.
Marketing Team: Speaking of the Covid period, how did it impact Carrier Bag Shop?
Sujan: The Covid period brought unique challenges and opportunities. With an increased demand for takeout food and paper bags, we experienced substantial growth in the food packaging sector. However, inflation in 2022 affected purchasing trends.
Fortunately, 2023 has been a year of stabilisation for us, marking a return to a more normal business environment.
Marketing Team: Your insights are invaluable for aspiring entrepreneurs. What advice would you give to those starting their own businesses?
Sujan: Patience is a recurring theme and stands as my first advice. Building a successful business takes time and perseverance.
Being self-aware is also crucial. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses and surround yourself with the right people to complement your skill set. Together, a team can achieve remarkable results.
Stay open-minded and embrace a continuous learning mindset. Every day brings new opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and these incremental improvements can lead to significant achievements in the long run.
Lastly, timing and market fit are essential. No business idea is inherently bad, but success often hinges on aligning the right product or service with the right market at the right time. If the timing isn’t perfect, be patient and explore alternative routes.
Marketing Team: Finally, what exciting plans do you have for Carrier Bag Shop in the upcoming years?
Sujan: We have ambitious plans. Firstly, we’re looking to expand our market presence to other European countries, building on the success we’ve seen in Germany and France.
Secondly, we’re actively exploring the diversification of our packaging product range, aiming to provide even more offerings to our customers.
Lastly, we’re committed to leveraging technology to enhance our website’s user experience and convenience. We’re also exploring the development of mobile apps to facilitate seamless browsing and purchasing for our valued customers.
To you, our customers, a big thank you for the support over the years.