With the drastic changes to the world caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many entrepreneurs had to pivot in an unexpected direction to survive, while some had already unknowingly prepared themselves for the coming storm.
To show the ingenuity and inspirational stories behind many entrepreneurs who primarily provide their products and services online, we are shining a light on the talented business owners who are behind some of the best businesses in the growing market of e-commerce.
Alongside our partner Starling Bank, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards takes great pride in recognising and rewarding the innovative entrepreneurs who are taking their businesses online and in-store in the UK. Read on to find out what exciting retail and e-commerce entrepreneurs you should be keeping your eye on in 2022.
Pinaman Owusu-Banahene – ADJOAA
ADJOAA’s founded Pinaman Owusu-Banahene is bringing premium African fashion to the UK e-commerce market. With ethically sourced materials and a focus on social change, Pinaman and ADJOAA expanding into a global platform intended to break down the systemic barriers in fashion all while celebrating the unique and individual designers hosted on their store.
Thomas J. Vosper & James Valbuena – aisle 3
Founded by ecommerce veterans Thomas J. Vosper and James Valbuena, aisle 3 aims to make shopping cheaper, quicker, easier and more joyful by removing the need to open another app or tab to shop. After refusing to adapt to or accept the explosion of tabs that Shoppers face, the global team (ex-Amazon/Lastminute/Farfetch) developed their tech to recognise and match products ahead of launching the UK’s largest aggregated selection of Sneakers in Spring ’22.
Charlotte Stagg & Jessica Lancaster – Coconut Lane
Best friends Charlotte and Jessica always wanted a business together, initially beginning selling art and phone cases, the dream began to come true with Coconut Lane. What was initially a slow scaling startup with essentially no initial investment has grown into a marvellously artistic e-marketplace offering a range of designs for stationary, phone cases, clothing and much more. Combined with a range of sustainable products that are soaring off the (warehouse) shelves, Jessica and Charlotte’s Coconut Lane is definitely one to watch.
Steven Novick – Farmstand
Want a sustainable solution to fresh and healthy meals delivered to your door? Look no further. Farmstand’s founder Steven Novick provides just that with his planet and palette friendly menu. Offering a huge variety of internationally inspired meals packed with a hefty amount of nutrition, the weekly subscription to the premade dishes will cost the planet even less than it costs you, through its use of sustainable sourcing of ingredients and reusable packaging.
Martin Bysh & Paul Dodd – Huboo
With e-commerce seeing a soaring increase, it’s no surprise a few were confused about how to break into the market. That’s where Martin Bysh and Paul Dodd come in, offering an easy to manage ecommerce order fulfilment service with Huboo. Huboo simplifies the steps to sell on the net by allowing businesses to upload their products to the service and have all orders picked, posted and packaged. With an ever increasing market for e-commerce, it’s no surprise Martin and Paul’s Huboo is a big hit that we can only expect to get bigger.
Bryony Elliot & Barny Darby – Hullabalook
Hullabalook was founded by Bryony Elliot and Barny Darby in 2016, the two initially meeting through their work soon realised they wanted to start a business together, using their already extensive experience to get ahead in the field. Hullabalook, despite its small team, has accomplished big things for even bigger brands. Creating and improving platforms for e-commerce, Hullabalook has eased many businesses into what was once the intimidating world of ecommerce and online retail with little to no fuss.
Paul Murphy – Hunt Vintage
Hunt Vintage offers an easy one stop shop for all things vintage furniture. founder Paul Murphy made sure to create a quality platform, where hand-picked décor and furniture pieces are selected not just for their quality, but their sustainability. On top of offering a range of furniture, art, antiques and more in its online store, Hunt Vintage offers a sustainable solution in an otherwise typically eco-unfriendly industry, restoring and regenerating furniture to deliver to its customers.
Vladimir Kholiaznikov, Artur Shamalov & Igor Demishev – Jiffy Grocery
E-commerce experts Vladimir Kholiaznikov, Artur Shamalov and Igor Demishev have extensive experience in the industry. Capitalising on the already huge market of online grocery shopping in the UK, Jiffy offers a unique take on e-shopping for what you’d usually find on supermarket shelves. With no minimum order and free delivery over £10 on over 2500 products, Jiffy is a force to be reckoned with in the e-commerce market.
Daniela Pillhofer – LITTLEWINE
Daniela Pillhofer realised her passion for wine after moving to London and becoming nostalgic over a glass, now she’s aiming to bring together winemakers and consumers alike on her platform LITTLEWINE. LITTLEWINE offers a broad range of wines available to purchase through their online store while also allowing those that might be otherwise intimidated by the culture surrounding it to ease into the world of wine by joining the LITTLEWINE wine club. With a focus on organic wine, LITTLEWINE doesn’t just offer wine, but ensures the stories of winemakers everywhere are told to the world.
Rochelle Humes – My Little Coco
Want to care for your child but also your planet? My Little Coco, founded by Rochelle Humes, was created when Rochelle realised there simply wasn’t what she was looking for on the market. With a baby on the way, Rochelle got into gear and after years of research created a collection of ethically sourced bath, baby and parent products. Ticking the boxes of vegan free and cruelty free, you can feel good while looking good, providing your baby, yourself or even a friend with My Little Coco’s selection of gift hampers, with a healthy dermatologically tested selection of soothing balms and creams.
David Cole – Mythical Canvas
David Cole grew up with a great appreciation for art, initially bonding with his art teacher and visiting many galleries, David started a journey with many twists and turns which would eventually lead to the founding of Mythical Canvas. Mythical Canvas provides a variety of art supplies, aimed at kids, so younger generations can experience the same inspiration David felt when he was a child himself. Providing a canvas in the form of a shoe in their Plimsoll Packs, Mythical Canvas lets children express their creativity and themselves as much as possible.
Sam Jones & Eric Zhang – OOOOO
OOOOO is the unique title for a unique brand, founded by Sam Jones and Eric Zhang, OOOOO is bringing a more personal touch to the world of e-commerce. Allowing brands to reach its audiences through a variety of ways, OOOOO provides a platform where you can truly pitch your product. Products are reviewed by creators in a TikTok-esque form, allowing potential buyers to purchase directly through the viewed videos and presentations.
Paige Gillard – Poppy + Ted
Want to un-benign your canine? Paige Gillard has created a trendy trove of accessories and outfits full of potential for your pooch with Poppy + Ted. Poppy + Ted offers a catalogue of stylish products to spice up your four-legged friend, from collars, leads, harnesses and accessories alongside a selection of grooming products, never worry if you’re having a bad fur day ever again when you order something from this already booming business.
Katie Lopes & Nicola Piercy – Stripe & Stare
If you’re looking for more style in your sustainability, Katie Lopes and Nicola Piercy, founders of Stripe & Stare, have got you covered. The brand is on a mission to make sure you can look good while doing good for the planet. Initially made because of the lack of flair in the sustainable underwear market, Stripe & Stare provides customers with a laundry list of garments, made with sustainable materials and even offering a “knicker club”, a subscription that provides a new pair of underwear every month.
Jamelia Donaldson – TreasureTress
Jamelia Donaldson, a talented young black entrepreneur, had a vision to create a subscription discovery box for black women and women with naturally textured hair. Achieving that goal and creating Europe’s first and largest natural hair product discovery box, Jamelia has used her success in e-commerce to establish a strong community and collection of safe-spaces for black women centred around support and unity. With a selection of natural and unique products delivered to your door monthly, TreasureTress is an impressive concept created by an impressive entrepreneur.