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How the Journey began!
It all started at approximately Easter time in the Costa Del Sol, Spain in 2016. My Family were living in Spain for the previous 18 months and our 4 children were well settled in school and I was commuting over and back to visit as much as I could. At the time I was looking up a number of possible business ideas that would allow me to spend more time with the family and improving their lifestyle but at the same time not have to invest heavily into this business.
Whilst on this visit (after helping the Easter Bunny to deliver his much loved Easter Eggs) one of the girls decided that she would love to get a new or second-hand bicycle to go travelling along the Paseo Maritimo.
It was at this time I started looking online and on local applications and in shops for purchasing. It was also at this time in Spain when one of our family friends was going to Germany to purchase a BMW car to bring back to Spain. I paid €40 for a bike that is still to this day loved and used.
I then decided that this would be a good business opportunity to create a website to allow people to look for items of interest, to sell their unwanted items at home and from my experience in purchasing the bicycle for my daughter, I wanted the site to appeal to both young and old and most importantly be secure and allow users to become trusted.
What happened next!
So I travelled as normal over and back to Ireland with this idea in my head, there was a million different permutations I was looking at. I wanted to get my idea from my head to the drawing board and attempt to make it become a reality. I was asking the questions “Was it just a dream?”, “Is it too much?”, “Will it work?”, “Am I wasting my time?”, “What about money?”, and as I began to see the dream become a reality “What will I call it?”.
I then researched what I wanted to do, looked at various sites already available around Europe, looked at the different lifestyles, climates and culture around each country and came up with a low key business plan and format to proceed along.
Still outstanding was the name, but how that developed I will explain in a few moments.
Following my research, I decided that in order to further the project I would need some advice from someone with large IT and Web Experience. It was at this stage that I approached a company called Silk Web Group and its Director Conor Delgarno and following some NDA jargon and a cup of coffee, I expressed my desire to bring this idea to the market, with as little money as possible and within a decent timeframe. Conor, who had the foresight to visualise my plan, came on board with his knowledge and experience to assist me and so from there my 2 year plan began.
I had already operation and holding companies in place. Everything continued at a nice relaxed pace with regular meetings, we were constantly watching the market trends, countries are coming out of recessions and confidence is rebuilding and as the foundations were being built I was becoming ever more confident that this idea will soon become a reality.
The name, to put it simply was developed on the M1 Motorway in January 2017. I was driving my family back to Belfast Airport to travel back to Spain after their Christmas at home in Ireland and discussing it with my Girls aged 14, 12 and 9 at the time. We discussed what the site would do and basically people would use the site to get rid of their old items and bring in new and so the name refresh was mentioned, and the girls Spanish language took it a step further and so the name “Refresca” was born.
Wheels in Motion
So I had the help I needed, with Conor, We had the ideas, We have the name, and so from there I registered the business name “Refresca” and began trademarking the business and name whilst continually working away in the background. Finances were little and each month we would have informal meetings and in January 2018 we decided to aim for a May Day launch in 2018.
Our stage one development was to develop the site in Ireland in order to adjudicate how we are going, what changes we may need and from there, develop into other markets in Europe as we see fit and from there the world is our Oyster.
We decided that in keeping with the initial plan that we would aim to offer free advertising and commission free purchasing to all registered site users in almost all categories, there would be some charges for highlighting or re-invigorating ads and we would use commercial advertising to fund our day to day operations. It was decided that in our start up period we would offer everyone, that is both registered users and commercial advertisers free advertising to allow us to tailor the site and receive feedback to give our customers one of the best pan-European website bases to sell their unwanted items and purchase items they desire.
One of our Key finishing touches is to develop our logo, and we have been looking at ways that we can get new users to develop, through a competition, a bright, smart and attractive logo for our site. Once we have carried out a number of finishing touches on the site it will be “live” and through social media, press and other marketing tools our project will be there available to all, from a dream to reality.