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#SelfStarterStories: From Event Planning to Founding a Second-hand Kitchen Company

This week's #selfstarterstory features Looeeze Grossman, Founder of 'The Used Kitchen Company'.

The Used Kitchen Company is the original and most extensive online marketplace for used and ex-display kitchens. The concept of selling used and ex-display kitchens is the brainchild of founder Looeeze Grossman who created the business over 12 years ago.

She wanted to encourage homeowners and showrooms to recycle their kitchens instead of abandoning them to landfill and it has proved a great success at every level.

#PickYourselfUK caught up with Looeeze to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.

What was your last job?: I was an Event Planner

When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: As soon as I read about #pickyourself last year, I thought it was such a fantastic idea and thought: 'Why wait for anyone else and how great it would be to pick myself!?'

What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: Juggling 3 children under 5, finding something that would be challenging but would work with a young family.

The Hard Thing about Hard Things Book.png

What is your favourite business book and why?: The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz - I like the honesty of this book and it explains the ups and downs of running your own business and how to tackle them. 

Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: Until the last 6 months, I did everything from PR to SEO to Accounts, but as the business is growing I have started to outsource these. 

What is your favourite marketing tool ?: Google Analytics

How do you market your business?: We are now established on Google and get approx. 10,000 hits a week. In addition we post on social media - twitter, facebook, linked in and Instagram. We work hard at our PR and have had a number of articles in newspapers and magazines.

When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: I rang round 100s of kitchen showrooms asking them what they did with their client's old kitchens, they were delighted to discover that I was creating a market for old kitchens which they were just ripping out and dumping on a skip.

The idea of preventing them ending up on landfill, not to mention creating the additional budget for their clients to spend on their new kitchens was a win-win proposition, and The Used Kitchen Company was born.

How did you get your first traffic to your website?: We started by listing the kitchens on eBay, this created an instant following and not before long we created our first £5.99 a month website.

Together with a registration form to start establishing a database and mentions in a number of press articles, we soon had a steady flow of traffic to the site.

The Used Kitchen Company Website January 2018

The Used Kitchen Company Website January 2018

Nominate one person/friend who believed in you from the start, and what would you like to say to them today?: Paul Gee - Thank you for encouraging me to get this show on the road, it has been an exciting journey and never have done without your ongoing support

What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Get lots of sleep before you start. Starting your own business is an extremely exciting concept but be prepared to eat, sleep and breathe your business from day one, you can never put too much time or energy into your own business as watching the results makes it a beyond exciting adventure.

If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Elon Musk. I love the fact that not only is he an extraordinary businessman and entrepreneur but also has a serious interest in the preservation of the future of the human race.

He was voted by Time magazine as being among 100 people most likely to have an impact on the world. I so admire that he has created the Musk Foundation which is dedicated to space exploration and the discovery of renewable and clean energy sources.

This ties in perfectly with what we try to achieve (on a much smaller scale) at The Used Kitchen Company.

To stay up to date with Looeeze's entrepreneurial journey, please find her on Facebook below:

Looeeze Grossman has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2018. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.