Vesta Power and her husband Neil first thought of starting Magellan Stamps just a few years ago; Neil had been collecting stamps since he was 10 years old, having been introduced to the hobby by his father - and the couple regularly travelled to fairs and conventions, to get the best stamp deals.
They spotted a gap in the market for a company that could deliver all priced stamps - not just rare, expensive ones - in order to target buyers of all budgets; as well as offer starter packs, collecting accessories, and collecting advice. “We kept coming across really young stamp collectors and realised that it is a hugely popular hobby for thousands of young people - but they don’t have the funds to go to all the fairs, or fork out for rare items,” says Vesta.
Originally from Lithuania, Vesta was working in banking at the time, and Neil, from Sale, Cheshire, was in IT. “We knew we had a good idea, but we didn’t know where to start,” says Vesta. “Luckily I was pointed in the direction of Warrington and Vale College, where fully funded courses were being offered.
These courses were being offered to startups and new businesses in the region, as part of the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme, which provides fully funded support to pre-start, new startups and SMEs. The programme delivers bespoke expertise and knowledge by signing companies up with relevant delivery partners to supply one to one meetings, workshops, seminars and masterclasses.
"Attending these courses not only gave us the skills to go for it, it also gave us the confidence."
“I did work in retail when I was younger, but we didn’t have e-commerce experience, and had not run a company before,” says Vesta. “I therefore signed up for courses on photography, online design, business management and social media, which has been a huge help in spreading the word.”
Magellan Stamps is building up loyal customers across Europe, as well as in America and Singapore. The couple run their company full time from their home in Hale Village, but are already looking for some sort of external premises and to expand the team. “We would love to recruit an apprentice to help us on the graphic design and photography side of things,” says Vesta. “Our daughter has been helping us with this but she has a full time job in advertising and as we are getting busier we need a dedicated resource!”
Sarah Lee, of Warrington and Vale College, comments: “We were delighted to help Vesta and Neil; they had a solid idea and were passionate about it, they just lacked some of the practical skills to get started. Our fully funded support meant they could turn that passion into a reality and it is wonderful to see their business take off so quickly.”
Concludes Vesta: “Attending these courses not only gave us the skills to go for it, it also meant that we met a lot of people in similar positions and this also gave us the confidence. I would advise anyone thinking of setting up or growing a business to look into the options on this programme.”
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