From selling sweets in the school playground to building his own footwear brand, local entrepreneur Jason West has always been quite the businessman.
When the pandemic hit, the opportunist made the bold decision to quit his full-time job and use his wealth of knowledge and experience to launch his own business venture – ecommerce and digital marketing agency, JMW Digital.
Jason joins us to share more about his authentic start-up journey, why he chose to join the DigitalCity Accelerator Programme and what’s next for JMW Digital…
Could you start off by telling us a little bit of background behind you and your entrepreneurial journey?
It all started from selling sweets in the school playground, the same way every entrepreneur seems to have started out!
It doesn’t matter what business it is, whether it’s a product or service, the whole concept of buying and selling things has always excited me. I’ve tried and tested many different ideas like fixing broken games consoles and mobile phones to sell on eBay, but it was when I started selling trainers that things really took off.
I’ve always been interested in trainers from a personal point of view, so I decided to launch my own business, LUSSO Footwear. It was at that point I started looking at building a website and exploring direct to consumer marketing to sell the footwear online.
How did you go from footwear to ecommerce and bring the two together?
When I launched LUSSO Footwear I was working for a local prestige car dealership as the Marketing Manager before moving to local ecommerce agency Visualsoft to further develop my knowledge and skills around selling online and digital marketing.
Having gained experience in both the agency world and retail world, I decided to take the leap and launch my own business focussing on the markets that I’m most passionate about.
Having been there and done it myself, i.e., selling my own products online and knowing everything else that comes with it (the logistics, finance, buying, purchasing etc.) as well as providing the services that allow someone to sell online through an agency, I have a thorough understanding of our customer’s journey and key pain points.
So, what exactly does JMW Digital do?
We build ecommerce websites and provide digital marketing services to those in fashion, footwear and direct to consumer businesses to help them grow in the world of online retail.
When building ecommerce sites we partner with Shopify and local experts, AeroCommerce – working with Aero means we can really support local retailers in the North East region.
Our digital marketing services include paid social media ads such as Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok, as well as Google shopping and search.
What kind of businesses do you work with?
We definitely don’t have a one-size-fits-all offering. We work with brands that are already established, understand the landscape, and have the budget to spend to get the most out of our services.
The JMW Digital ‘blueprint’ has been developed over years of trial and error and works brilliantly for our niche of fashion, footwear and D2C clients. We have no problem turning away enquiries when we know we aren’t a good fit for the customer. This may be as a result of their industry, or the stage that they are at in their business journey.
We heard that you’ve got some celebrity clients!
Yes, we currently work with Abbie Holborn from MTV’s TV show, Geordie Shore and built the website for her fashion brand, Festigirl and provide continued design and marketing support.
We also work with premium clothing brands such as Kalibre and Madison Kohl.
What was it like launching JMW Digital during the pandemic?
To me, it made sense to launch at that time. Digital and ecommerce are some of the very few industries that benefitted from the pandemic. People were spending more time online and there was a huge increase in online shopping. We noticed a constant trend of online visitors buying every single day during Furlough.
What were your reasons for joining the DigitalCity Accelerator Programme?
I’ve never really been in a corporate environment or structured business with clear processes and procedures, my background is more in sales. Because of that, I wanted to join the programme to plug holes in my knowledge and get a new perspective on how to run a business.
I have a desire to scale and want to make JMW Digital big – the bigger the better for me.
On that note, do you have any exciting growth plans you can share?
The grand idea is to add more services to our offering including fulfilment and internationalisation to help our clients scale.
As for the JMW Digital team, there’s 5 of us in total and we’re looking to hire an Account Manager in the near future.
With the growing team, we have naturally outgrown the office space that we’re currently in and are on the lookout for new premises that has storage space for stock as well as an office space to operate from – somewhere that we can operate a hybrid business model.
Ultimately, I want to build the business to get us to a position where we can acquire other businesses, integrate them and grow them further.
To find out more about JMW Digital and follow their exciting journey visit: https://www.jmw-digital.co.uk/