Billy Griffett was born in North London, and grew up helping out in his dad’s plumbing equipment shop in his free time. Now in his early 20s, Billy runs the company, The Plumbers Merchant, that his father started 28 years ago.
I don’t regret my decision, and now I can go back and tell everyone: ‘I made it, I told you I would'
“I was fascinated by what my dad did for a living and wanted to get involved”, remembers Billy. After leaving school, he jumped straight into the family business. “Everyone in my class chose to follow the conventional path and go to university, but I had my mind set on my family business. It had always been in my heart to take it over and to grow it”, says Billy proudly.
In 2008, The Plumbers Merchant consisted of one small physical store, but Billy saw an opportunity to take the business to another level. He noticed that a few competitors were selling online and decided: “If they can do it, so can we”, so they launched their own website and, in 2012, started selling on Amazon.co.uk.
Digital revolution is the way forward
From a small family shop, The Plumbers Merchant has transformed into a business with a strong online presence, two physical stores and 15 employees. “When I worked in the shop as a kid, running a business looked like a terribly hard job, as everything was completely manual. With the digital revolution, I had to adapt to new ways to grow the business. Selling online was the right way to go.”
The sales on Amazon.co.uk took off straight away. To cope with the increased demand, Billy decided to use Fulfilment by Amazon to dispatch part of the orders, allowing him more time to expand the business further. They also have two employees focusing 100% on their online business. “I recognised that Amazon had good logistics support and an established customer base, which meant we could reach millions of customers and significantly cut the costs of search engine optimisation on our website”, Billy states.
As the founder of the company, Billy’s dad has definitely benefited from this change the most. “Running a business alone is always very stressful. He worked long hours and couldn’t afford to take even one day off for holiday or sick leave. Now the company is bigger and running independently, so he can happily take a break whenever he wants”, says Billy.
Not just a pipe dream
The success of the business makes Billy and his family proud. “When people heard about my decision to join my dad’s company, they were very critical--especially my teachers. They thought university was the path I should take. I don’t regret my decision, and now I can go back and tell everyone: ‘I made it, I told you I would!’”, says Billy with a grin on his face.
As the business continues to expand, the future looks promising. “Our company now has two physical stores, a third one opening soon and a dedicated showroom”, Billy explains. He currently lives with his parents, but when asked where he sees himself in the next five years he responds laughing: “Maybe winning the lottery! But on a more serious note, I want to start a new chapter and live independently in my own flat.” As for the business side: “My dad taught me everything from operating a business to hands-on work. We are a two generation family business now, my brother joined the company over a year ago and I’m training my younger cousin who followed in my footsteps joining the business straight after school. We are all very excited about the opportunities ahead.”