Decisions: Nick Jenkins, Moonpig.com

The founder of the online greetings card seller on leaving the City and the perils of poor research.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

MY BEST...

Was to leave my job as a commodities trader in Russia to come back to the UK and set up Moonpig when I was 30. It was definitely time to come home - I'd been there for eight years since I left university - but the added incentive to leave was that I had a death threat nailed to my door. It was from a client who had stolen quite a lot of our sugar and had then got annoyed when I pursued him.

Since founding the business, one of the best decisions I made was to spend six years getting the product and the service right before we spent lots of money on marketing to drive growth much faster.

Another good decision was about three years ago when I stood back from the day-to-day role and promoted our commercial director to MD. When your job is to make sure that everything works, you don't have much time to focus on the strategic side and think about the future. It was a difficult decision to hand over the reins, but it was made easier by the fact we'd worked alongside each other for a year so I knew exactly what I was getting.

MY WORST...

Was when I set up a business with a friend at university selling Jermyn Street quality shirts on the cheap, because we had an overseas manufacturer. Not knowing much about shirts, I ordered some 14-inch necks, some 14.5, some 15, and so on up to 18 inches. As I hadn't taken the time to do the research to discover that nobody actually has a 14-inch neck, I ended up with boxes of shirts that were of absolutely no use to anyone.

Another bad decision was in the early days of Moonpig when I bought a brand-new printing press. Unfortunately, it never really worked properly and we ended up having to buy another one just to cannibalise the spare parts to make the other one work. It turned out only three were ever made - we owned two and MI6 owned the other, and it wasn't keen to share its experience. We got so bogged down with the technical problems that we probably took our eye off the ball of selling cards. The lesson I learnt was not to buy untested technology - I'd rather someone else dealt with the teething problems.

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