“I’m the kind of person who has a lot of ideas,” Neil Curtis confesses as we sit down in the C4DI hot-desk area. His company, CTOP Limited, reflects his creativity, acting as an umbrella for a vast variety of online projects. Running several affiliate websites, an e-commerce parenting business and even designing his own online course, Neil’s ideas have taken him very far. “You just need to give it a go and see how it pans out; I tend to find that most things work out if you’re serious about them”, he advises when asked about how he keeps up with it all.
Being a member of the C4DI has certainly helped Neil overcome many obstacles when setting up his main project. Kid Transit is an online export/sales business built on Amazon infrastructure that sells car accessories for parents with young children. Having started out sourcing and branding products from China to sell in the UK, the venture has rapidly expanded into other European marketplaces and, more recently, into Japan.
“Being at the C4DI when placing my first order with my Chinese supplier made it feel like a simple business decision,” Neil enthuses. “The main benefit of working in such a collaborative space is being able to chat with like-minded people. It really helps to solidify new ideas and gives me the confidence to push through and make important decisions.”
Starting CTOP without any previous experience in importing, Neil had to learn much of what he knows now from scratch. “I came at this as a complete newbie, so I needed to figure out a lot of things on my own, such as finding a supplier, calculating manufacturing/shipping costs, import duties and taxes, as well as getting the products from the port to an Amazon warehouse.”
Luckily, Neil’s membership at the C4DI has allowed him to receive a lot of advice and he tells us that “being in an environment where everyone is working on their own businesses makes it easier to commit and make decisions.” After his exciting but steep learning curve, he now believes that “most learning is done by just doing it, and refining the process as you go along.”
The future of CTOP and the Kid Transit brand is looking bright. Neil has recently hired a digital marketing intern to kick-start the website through blog content creation, improve the company’s online presence, and make relationships with influential people in the parenting/baby niche.
“I sell the majority of Kid Transit products on Amazon, but I am actively building up my own website. The long-term goal is to drive sales through this in conjunction with Amazon and other channels,” he added with palpable enthusiasm.
Working at the C4DI has allowed Neil to easily collaborate with his intern and he hopes to continue to outsource a lot of projects. “The rest of 2016 is looking pretty busy as I work hard to expand every aspect of the business,” he professes excitedly as our chat draws to a close. “Fellow members can expect to see a lot of me over the coming months, and it’s great to work alongside so many dedicated digital entrepreneurs.”