Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

How We Built it: Jamie Stanford of Liberty Games

  • Give us the elevator pitch. Tell us about your brand .

    Liberty Games is a specialist retailer of games room equipment. The core of the business revolves around the supply of pool tables (the focal point of most games rooms), and we provide a full range of associated products such as football tables, air hockey, table tennis, arcade machines and pinball machines.

    As a company we have an incredible team of skilled workers that allow us to offer fantastic installation services and support to our customers. Although the business services the trade through supply to bars, youth clubs and hotels, it is the supply to private homes that makes up 75% of the business. Our strength is being able to retail such specialist, heavy and complicated equipment with the delivery speed and finesse that a private consumer demands.
  • What inspired you to set up your company 

    After leaving school, my studies had left me with very little direction. Many of my friends were frantically searching for Jobs and pursing their careers, but I could never settle on the traditional paths they were taking.

    By chance I met up with an old friend of mine who was in the business of renting amusement equipment to pubs and clubs in the local area. I was surprised to hear that once a machine or games table had done the rounds, they were regularly disposed of. I asked if I could try and refurbish the old equipment and see if it could be sold on to private buyers through the likes of eBay. 20 years later, Liberty Games is a leading award-winning ecommerce business in the home games market, with an annual turnover in excess of 10 million pounds.
  1. What was your biggest challenge in year one

    The biggest challenge in year one was navigating the crossover from complete self-reliance to taking on employees. I found in the early days and years that as sales grew, all the spare funds they generated had to immediately be used to pay for the next employee to help cope with the demand. It was a very tough cycle and meant that I was unable to draw a salary (for 5 years) if we wanted to survive, and have enough money to keep buying stock. Every penny had be reinvested inwards.
  1.  What would you say has been your biggest marketing success

    Our biggest marketing success has come in the form of our ecommerce website. There is no question that Liberty Games was conceived at a time that internet selling was just starting to exponentially grow, however the relentless reinvestment into the website and its functionality for the end consumer has led to much of the success we see now.
  1. What has been the biggest mistake you made

    My biggest mistake in the early years was recruiting almost anyone that walked through the door looking for a job. When you have a small business, it’s hard to attract employees. This leads to an interview process where, as the business owner, you end up trying to convince the person across the table to work for you. What I failed to do was actually check if these people were capable! After navigating through one full time alcoholic and two part time admin staff that never showed up for work, I learnt that it was better to be patient and diligent about my recruiting decisions.

 Tell us about your plans for the future

In recent years Liberty Games has been recognised as the key player in the home games market. To that end we have become the preferred retailer of some incredible brands that reside in our niche sector. The plan is to continue to build up the partnerships with these incredible suppliers and ensure that Liberty Games provides the very best in terms of quality and value for our customers.

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