Wednesday, 14 September 2011

B&S Supplies - Brenda McKenzie

Along with the national Party Plan businesses, Pennies 4 Parents has come across a growing trend for independent businesses using parties to sell their own products. 
Brenda McKenzie who runs B&S Supplies in Edinburgh tells us how she got started.

I started the business back in 2004 when my husband was running his own karate club here in Edinburgh. I started out with a small budget of around £200, selling Martial arts gear to our students and then branched out to a website and EBay. The business rapidly moved away from karate suits and gum shields and I started to diversify more towards oriental gifts such as buddha’s, oriental candles, feng shui chimes etc and by doing house parties for friends and family. I have tried over the years to listen to what my customers were asking for and build it from there. I now stock a wide range of affordable giftware to suit most tastes but my biggest sellers are the jewellery ranges and the indoor water features.

Up until March 2007 I was working full time as a lab technician with Heriot Watt University and running the business from home in the evenings but then I had my beautiful daughter Stephanie and made the decision that I couldn’t juggle everything so would only go back to work 2.5 days a week. This freed up time to cope with a new baby, run a house and still keep the business running efficiently. I would process and wrap orders when Steph was sleeping then take her with me along to the post office to post the parcels. This has obviously become easier the older she gets as she is in nursery 3 full days and will be starting school next year but I do sometimes wonder where my day has gone. Sometimes especially on the run up to Christmas I’m still wrapping parcels at midnight for posting the next day.

I am extremely lucky that my husband is a bookkeeper and accountant as he keeps on top of all the paper work for me or I would probably get in a right mess as money and figures are not my strong point. He also comes with me to most of the events and house parties that I attend but he stays in the back ground and leaves the selling to me. At the moment I am working really hard using social media to try and push the business forward as I feel the next step would be to open a giftware and coffee shop in Edinburgh. I will hopefully bring this dream to reality in the next few years. Stay tuned..

Twitter: @bssupplies

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