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Businesswoman makes clearance chic

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Grubb is no one trick pony. She ran homewares retailer OKA and also fronted a management consultancy – AGA – that counted M&S as a client; backgrounds that will serve her well in this new venture.

“I saw that dealing with clearance and liquidating stock was a real issue for retailers,” she says. “There are very few ways of getting rid of stock and actually creating value. I had that problem as a retailer, and I’ve worked out how to solve it.”

Grubb’s new firm, Whatafind.com, launched in October this year. The site teams up with luxury brands to sell off their over-stock and old lines. But unlike TK MAXX or jobbers, these brands actually endorse her site.

“Retailers spend a lot of time and money creating these products, which they ultimately have to sell for next to nothing,” says Grubb. “We uphold their brands, and our discounts are reasonable. In return, we get logos and a positive working relationship with them.”

Whatafind.com is not a retailer in its own right, it’s a middle man. Orders are processed by the site, but despatch and customer service is all handled by the brand. “We only work with high end retailers,” says Grubb. “So their customer service is fantastic. We’re never let down by things not being delivered, or slow response times.”

Offline, the clearance sector is worth some £4bn. Online, it’s no small potatoes either, standing at £1bn – a figure set to quadruple over the next four years. Predicted first year revenue for the site stands between £500,000 and £1m. “At the moment our average basket spend is £400,” says Grubb. “The retailers are coming on in droves.”

And Grubb isn’t remotely worried about the recession either. “Our suppliers are battening down the hatches for the downturn,” she says. “That means clearing their warehouses, which is great for us. And our customers are looking to get more for less.”

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