HUSBAND AND WIFE BUSINESS PARTNERS , MICHELLE AND PETER LANSTONE , TOOK THE PLUNGE AND MADE THEIR HOME BUSINESS THEIR JOINT FULL-TIME CAREERS , CELEBRATING THEIR 100,000TH CUSTOMER IN DECEMBER 2016 BY SELLING THROUGH NOTONTHEHIGHSTREET . COM . THIS MONTH , INSIDEKENT ’ S DONNA MARTIN SPOKE TO THEM ABOUT HOW THEY DID IT , HOW FAR THEY ’ VE COME AND WHAT CHALLENGES THEY FACE .
Your story is quite inspirational for other small businesses – tell us a bit about what made you start Auntie Mims , and why you chose notonthehighstreet . com ( NOTHS ) as your outlet , rather than just your own online shop .
Auntie Mims started back in 2008 . Michelle ( Auntie Mims ) originally created textile based items such as personalised toy storage tubs and Christmas stockings whilst working part time as a teacher with young children at home , but it was in 2012 when we bought a laser engraving machine solely to design and make everything for our wedding ( from invitations to table plans and decorations ), and then , when the wedding was over we had to somehow justify the machine ! That ’ s when Auntie Mims really began and started to grow into the business it is today .
Michelle has always had a compulsion to create things , and when the children were small it was fun to share her designs with others ; working from the kitchen table and accessing customers via the relatively new ( at the time !) world of online gift shopping . NOTHS was really the only choice back then – Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish , the founders of NOTHS , were actively seeking creative ' kitchen table ' based businesses and we were lucky to get on board early on .
The marketing power of NOTHS is a key attraction of course – visibility on your own websites is tricky ; traffic is king and with 5,000 partners and their commission , NOTHS has a marketing budget small businesses can only dream of ! That said , you do have to tick the boxes with your products based on what customers want and what NOTHS think they want at any particular time ; not all things can be surfaced with hundreds of thousands of items on site . Search is important and the experience of knowing what NOTHS customers want is really important to partners . We know this better than anyone – we all know what sells .