Running stationery

AFTER searching fruitlessly for a suitable business, Edda Emery decided to start one of her own.

She runs Stationery on the Move, a mobile stationery supply service, selling more than 1,000 stationery products from the back of her Mercedes van.

In just 18 months Ms Emery has developed a base of between 200 and 300 customers.

Last year, the business won the Canning Most Innovative Business of the Year Award.

Ms Emery came to Australia from South Africa where she had run a translation agency.

Her main client there was BMW and her job was to translate car plans into English and Afrikaans but other business included translating pamphlets and market-ing material into the many languages of the region.

But she lost her ardour for the translation business. Much of the work revolved around sitting at a computer for eight to ten hours a day.

“It was a case of finding a new business in a new country,” Ms Emery said.

“Of all the businesses I saw, a stationery shop grabbed me but I felt the owner was asking too much for it.

“It suddenly struck me one day that if you can sell things from a van such as Snap On Tools, then you can do the same with stationery.”

Ms Emery said she had no customers or experience when she started her service.

“It was a lot of cold calling at the start which is something I hated,” she said.

After starting off with one full-time employee, Ms Emery now runs the business by herself, spending the mornings doing bookwork and the afternoons serv-icing customers.

“I started out with one staff member but as the business was growing the cashflow became tighter,” she said.

Ms Emery runs her business from the Welshpool Business Enterprise Centre, using her unit there as a storage facility.

That facility also doubles as a retail outlet, selling to other enterprise centre residents and her nearby clients that need emergency supplies.

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