Sometimes, it seems like only yesterday that we pressed ‘Publish to Web’ for the first time and revealed our fledgling e-commerce business to the world. On that day, back in January 2006, Polished Bliss was officially born. Of course, the idea itself had sprung to mind earlier, back in the summer of 2005, but it took six months or so for us to shape it into a reality (chiefly by re-mortgaging our house, investing the proceeds in stock and putting together the first version of our website). Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into!
Our original business plan turned out to be rather conservative in terms of its growth predictions; when we hit all of our year three targets within six months of opening we had to smile. And to be honest, it’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since, with lots of relentless climbs, plenty of sudden drops and some tamer times in between where we’ve been able to catch our breath. However, one thing has remained constant throughout; change. Like gravity, there’s rarely any escaping it, and we’ve had to continually adapt in order to keep moving forward.
Take our business model for example. When we first started out, we spotted a gap in the market (in the UK at least) for combining the sale of high quality car care products with the provision of free detailing advice. Shortly after, we realised that this advice would be better received if it was offered from an expert point of view, so we added professional detailing services to our repertoire. Furthermore, we also started offering these services from an indoor environment, which was almost unheard of back then, in order to raise standards.
Through to our fifth birthday, this business model remained unique. However, in 2011, a number of our competitors took steps to emulate it, and this forced us to innovate once again. Over the next couple of years, free shipping, independent customer reviews, a price match promise, a satisfaction guarantee and trade accounts all helped to reinforce our position as a customer-focused leader in the marketplace. However, these schemes have since been widely copied too, and we find ourselves today looking at a growing need to evolve yet again.
This is actually no bad thing, as the landscape in which we trade has changed significantly over the last ten years, to the extent that a new business model might now serve us better. Detailing has matured a lot during this time, with many enthusiasts now possessing sufficient skills and experience to rival their professional counterparts. Furthermore, social media has made it progressively easier for everyone to share their knowledge collectively, to the point today where the opinion of individual experts is of increasingly questionable relevancy.
Of course, while we are considering how change has affected our business, we shouldn’t overlook advances in technology. When we started, decontamination was done with a clay bar, major correction work required the use of a rotary polisher and last step products rarely, if ever, lasted for more than six months. Roll on ten years and decontamination is now mostly performed with chemicals, rotary polishers have been all but superseded by long throw random orbital machines and silica-based coatings offer durability measured in years rather than months!
Taking everything above into account, it’s fair to say that being a key player in a niche market that has evolved so much over the course of a decade has been an amazing experience, and we’re very proud of the contribution we’ve made to it. We’re also hugely excited by the prospect of what the next ten years will bring. To finish, we’d like to thank each and every one of you who has supported us over the last ten years. Your custom (and, in a great many cases, repeat custom) has kept us going, and for this we are extremely grateful. Cheers!