Why, Ooh Why? Launching an eCommerce business during a pandemic

By Julie Selby

What was I thinking? Only I would launch an online shop during Covid?

Back in February 2020 we were on the verge of the biggest shake up to the economy since Brexit! 

Like many I was hopeful that it would all pass and by summer it would all be a distant memory.  How wrong I was.

The signs were there as early as January 2020 that businesses, small and large would be impacted by this new and highly contagious virus and it was then that the idea of an online enterprise might be something that could work and keep us in business. 

We had the warehouse and we had the staff and expertise and we were already packing and shipping products for other people through Selby Marketing so I thought, “why not find a product or service of my own that I can sell”?  But what to do? 

I was already busy and stressed out with the core business and how that was going to survive and my daughter had a baby on the way.  I’m a mother hen and I’m naturally over-protective, so I really don’t know what possessed me to launch another business, but I did and it was (and still is) very hard.

Anyway, the brain gets going and the ideas start fizzing and I was starting to get very excited.

I’d been looking online for gifts for Christmas and for a few engagements and weddings that were coming up and I couldn’t find anything that was “a bit different”.  Yes, I could get the mugs and a lot of what was available was personalised which was lovely but there were too many people offering the same thing.  I wanted good quality branded products and I wanted someone else to come up with the ideas. 

Eureka!!  I couldn’t possibly be on my own?  So Ooh-Box.co.uk was born.

The idea was the big decision but now we had to BRING IT TO LIFE.  

Despite being in business for years, and coming from an entrepreneurial mum, I had no idea of the work involved, or maybe I was so invested mentally and creatively that I put it to the back of my mind and developed an “it’ll be great” mentality?

I got a local developer for the Shopify site, found some great UK based independent artisan suppliers and got accounts with some big name suppliers too.  Everything fell into place quite quickly. 

The branding, the products, the photography, SEO sorted and Ooh was off the starting blocks!


I often wonder whether I’ve done the right thing.  I’ve laid out a lot of money and the sales are sporadic, but, after all the stress and effort I’ve decided to just be patient. I’m confident that it’s a good idea, the brand is right and the offering is good, so I’m going to stick with it!

The stress is real but the rewards are great too.  There is nothing quite like the sound of a “kerching” when a sale comes through and I’ve realised that I’m built of pretty tough stuff. 

This last two years has opened my eyes to my own capabilities and where many my age are looking to wind down, I’m winding up!

You can connect with Julie here.

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