We are an online fancy dress company specialising in the student market. Our market differential is our 'Fancy Fresher Pack'- a customisable fancy dress pack for each uni's freshers week parties.
We sell this pack to freshers before they move to university with a simple 'Choose Your Uni' slider on our homepage leading to their universities's bespoke pack which they can then further customise. We are also partners with 9 universities across the UK and we host a stall at these universities during freshers week.
August- September 2015 will be our fourth freshers week. Year round, we sell fancy dress at Halloween and other peak times and we also seek to create a new 'Build-A-Costume' tool as a market differential outside of the freshers period. I also have further plans to offer hen do, stag do and children's bespoke fancy dress websites in the next few years.
In 2009 a few months before I went to university I was working in a bar in Worcester when a friend who had recently graduated asked me if I had my fancy dress costumes ready for the freshers week parties. I was puzzled as I didn't know that would be necessary.
A few months later having arrived at university, every fresher was given a wristband to enable free entry to the official university parties during freshers week and was lead by a team of reps to these parties. As the first themed party- a beach party- was that night I had to make a last minute journey into Nottingham City Centre instead of socialising with my new housemates to get a costume for the party which started 3 hours later.
From this experience a seed was planted in my mind about how a company could offer a bespoke fancy dress pack at a much cheaper price than high street costumes and offer this pack to students before they move to university and at a stall on campus on the days of the parties.The first inception of Fancy Fresher was established whilst I was studying my final year exams at Nottingham Trent University in 2012.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We have grown to offer packs for 83 universities through a team of 40 sales reps and hosted stalls at 9 partner universities across the UK. We had a team of 2 packing at our warehouse and a National Brand Manager to manage our sales rep scheme.
- West Midlands Start Up of The Year 2014
- The Sunday Times (12/10/2014), The Northern Echo, The Cotswolds Journal, Worcester News, Tewkesbury Admag, Malvern Gazette
- Featured Nottingham Trent University Success Story
- Received the 'West Midlands Start Up 2014' award in London
- Chosen to be on a panel of entrepreneurs at 'eFest', sharing a stage with Denys Shortt OBE & Tony Fernandes (AirAsia CEO)
For the freshers period, we have a sales rep scheme of students who engage with incoming freshers and current students. Our reps introduce freshers to student life, explaining to them about the student parties they will be attending and introducing our pack. We have one manager of the scheme and we host stalls at 9 universities during freshers week. We also host Halloween stalls at our partner universities offering a range of Halloween costumes.
Use of proceeds
We plan to scale our sales team up 300% this year. We intend to hire three 'Regional Sales Reps' who will each line manage 40 'Sales Reps'. We think this would enable us to get a much greater volume of traffic and reach per university. Last year we had 40 reps, each marketing to every university. This year we aim to match reps up with their own university and run more customer focused PR campaigns through our reps. We should also be able to host stalls at more universities.
As we have never used any form of paid digital marketing, I have personally taken online courses on re-marketing via facebook and google adwords, PPC vs adbanners and using advanced analytics to monitor and analyse each sales channel. Utilising my knowledge we can target people who use google search to search for freshers week terms and reach a new audience who may not be on facebook.
We already have stock to cater for the first £30,000 of orders and as such none of the proceeds would need to go on inventory.
Our target market is students who are about to leave to go to university. Year round, we target people searching google for costumes as well as students via stalls at universities.
Characteristics of target market
At university freshers week parties in 2009, just under 1.3 million fancy dress costumes were worn. Our potential customers are already excited by the prospect of going to university and attending freshers week events and we can use this momentum to introduce our product in an exciting way.
We reach our target market online with a number of channels utilised. In a 6 week period in freshers 2014, we've seen 90,369 visitors on our website. We also have a blogging team who write articles such as a printable 'What to pack' list for university and '5 Do's and Dont's of Freshers Week'. Our best article received over 766 shares on social media.
Our main competitors are high street fancy dress stores. They are only available for students to use last minute and we also aim to sell our items much cheaper. We have an exciting vibrant website and can reach our customers two months before high street fancy dress stores by using our marketing channels online and ensuring our customers are as excited about our product as we are.