NIGEL Blake understands that the environmental benefits of energy-saving devices can be a hotly-disputed topic.
But as the success of his Smart Green Ltd brand shows, no-one is debating the money-saving effects.
Nigel launched the business with wife Caroline in November 2008, with the purchase of £2,000 of energy saving gadgets funded by the sale of his motorbike.
Three years later the home-based company is turning over more than £100,000 a year and Nigel has quit the day job to take it on full-time.
“It started when we noticed how much it was costing us just to leave electrical appliances on stand-by – about £20 a month.
“We thought ‘there might be a business in this’ and it’s turned out that way.
“I think people are seeing that their fuel bills and electricity bills are going up and every time it’s announced there’s going to be an increase, we get a little surge in sales,” he said.
A move into business-to- business sales, an improved website and a scheme offering eco-vouchers are all in the pipeline for Smart Green Ltd.
With that in mind, a move into business premises is on the cards, with interest already being shown from potential customers in the business world.
Nigel said tapping into people’s desire for savings on a bigger, business scale, is their aim.
“One of the things I say to people is that you wouldn’t leave your car running all night just to save 20 seconds starting it in the morning, so why do it with electrical devices?” he said.
The company has found success online, with 95 per cent of its sales going through its website – www.smartgreenshop.co.uk – and Amazon and eBay.
A new, revamped website is now nearly ready to go.
It was Caroline who made the application to our Local Business Accelerators competition and Nigel said making it to the shortlist fitted in perfectly with their plans.
“We were surprised but we want to promote our products to local businesses so this is really great timing for us,” he said.