That’s The Spot
I am Rhiannon Kemp-Davies and I own and run That’s The Spot. That’s The Spot’s aim is to make adult products more accessible and less intimidating for women and their partners in Wales. I set up my company after working for a shop in London that did something similar. They were set up in a way that was welcoming to everyone (over 18) but especially for women.
As a worker there, I provided advice on every item that they sold and in that, I was able to educate every person that walked into the shop. It was such a rewarding experience seeing women enter the shop nervously, then after chatting with them and showing them what was what, they would leave with the biggest smiles on their faces! Those smiles were the reason I opened up my own version of it in Cardiff.
Although I would love to have a shop, I’m currently delivering my services through consultations and soirees. I call them soirees because they have a bit more class than a party! They take the style of a party-planning service and are focussed on adult items only (no lingerie). I give my clients the guarantee that they will learn at least one new thing, but the likelihood is that most women that attend my soirees walk away with a wealth of new knowledge and the same smiles as the customers from London! What is great about That’s The Spot’s soirees is that I have demos of each product I talk about and come with stock each evening so whoever buys an item gets it there and then.
My consultations are unique in the UK. This is where I visit individuals or couples and have more of a focussed chat with them. It can vary from just showing them different items that they can take a closer look at or talking about sexual health and providing real advice on questions they are worried to ask anybody else.
I also have an online shop, of course, in case people want to use my service but aren’t able to meet me. I blog every Friday afternoon and post videos on YouTube regularly.
This is a new company so it is just me working for That’s The Spot right now but I can’t wait to employ more women who can start spreading the joy around Wales, then the UK, then the world!
What I did
I entered this business with passion, drive and expert knowledge on the services I wanted to provide but I don’t come from a business background. I was lucky enough to find a part time job which paid me enough to keep me afloat whilst I spent the other half of the week researching and setting the business up.
My first port of call was with the start up service provided by Business Wales and I attended their first 6 business start up workshops over the course of a few of weeks, where I got a good grounding for what to do first. I attended some business networking events to get some advice of others who were business owners, which also helped. I also joined the I Am Woman Business Club - a business club for female business owners, which was great for me, with my business being aimed at women. They hold monthly meetings, which provides us with great networking opportunities and we then get the opportunity to listen to 3 different speakers. Along with this, I received 3 coaching sessions with Cheryl Bass, the owner which helped me get off to a good start.
I made sure to spend plenty of time on my business plan too and asked as many people in business as I could to read over it and I would improve it from their feedback. I used my business plan to apply for a business loan via Business in Focus. My mentor believed it was a strong application however unfortunately I didn’t get it, because of the nature of my business. My business bank, HSBC, were able to provide me with a loan that enabled me to do my first bits of paid marketing. In December I had a 2 page editorial in the free magazine City Life and a half page advert in Diva (the national magazine for gay women)
Having a great website was also important to me. I met up with numerous web design companies and chose Webber Design, who not only could design websites but had a wealth of knowledge on marketing too and could speak Welsh. They did a lot of research and designed a great website for me, whilst helping me out with other bits and bobs, which was launched back in September.
After that it was back to lots of networking and promoting myself wherever I could. Being such a niche business, not only do I have the ‘usual’ hurdles for a first-time business owner to jump but I have the added hurdles that come with having a business focussed on adult products – be that insurers not being willing to insure me right through to people being too nervous to use the service and I am currently working hard on breaking those boundaries.
What I would do differently
I am still very new and am still learning a lot, so time will tell with that! So far though, this is what I would have done differently:
With one of my USP’s being that I have stock available on the night to sell, I had to buy a lot of stock to begin with, and I probably should have bought a lower volume to start off with and seen which items were popular and what wasn’t worth buying more of, and then spend more money on other things like marketing and promoting.
I feel like my biggest learning curve so far has been the way I used my time. I am learning a lot of new things at the moment and have been very busy with the business but it has been difficult for me to recognise whether I have been using my time correctly, especially being a one woman business. When I identified this back in December, I met a business coach called Anthony Tinsley at a networking event and I wish I had met him when I started! Anthony now coaches me, and with his expertise, he has been able to help me prioritise what I do, especially with regards to promoting the business, and along with this, he has given me some direction, accountability and has also helped keep me calm in stressful moments. I would fully recommend getting a business mentor or coach.
My proudest moment in business
It may sound cheesy, but I am in such a rewarding career now. Every time I see that ‘smile of enlightenment’ in women’s faces - when the advice I give them helps light the light-bulb above their heads, or the penny drops in some way- these are all proud moments to me!
Do you use Welsh in your business? If so, how has this helped you
Yes I do. I worked for a Welsh organisation before starting That’s The Spot, which was focussed on encouraging children to use the Welsh Language more often. I developed a new-found pride for my language whilst working there and wanted to be able to give adults the chance to use Welsh in a medium they probably hadn’t before. There is the saying ‘Cymraeg pob cyfle’ which means use your language at every opportunity. I am providing this opportunity. As far as I am aware, I am the only adult product service that provides the option of a Welsh website and Welsh soirees and consultations!
The Welsh aspect of my business is definitely a plus. It gives that local message and is more likely to attract Welsh speakers to use my services rather than my competitors who don’t speak Welsh. I also have loyal customers because of this.
Please state the type of assistance / support both non-financial and financial you have received from Welsh Government / Business Wales, if any
I attended 6 Business Wales start-up workshops and had a Mentor too. Business Wales helped me near the beginning of my journey by sending me any documents they thought could help me as a new business owner. Again, being in the business I am in, I cannot expect anyone to have that much information specific to this sector!
I also signed up to the Business Wales mailing list, and followed them on Twitter, which did prove to be very helpful.
- I was quoted Alan Sugar by a business owner friend at the beginning of my journey and I would like to (paraphrase) quote it again now – “There are 2 things you need to start a business – keep the overheads down and just do it!”
- think really hard about how you will market your business before you spend too much money on it. Seek advice on this if you can
- don’t give up a job for your business straight away – a part time job is a perfect thing to have when setting up a business. It still gives you a bit of financial stability but provides you with enough time to get stuck into the set up. It also is there for when the business takes longer to settle that you may have thought
- if you are going into retail, think carefully about how much stock you realistically need to start with. Although you may stock some items you love, it doesn’t mean that everyone else will. Either carry out some market research or closely observe the trends in your customers habits before you bulk buy, even though it feels like you will save money in the long term by bulk buying, it doesn’t help short term when you need that money!