What I learned from loss, business failure and suffering depression

Nicky Story

Nicky Story

Nicky Story, e-commerce expert and owner of a multi-million-pound business empire, shares his journey with Business Leader.

E-commerce Expert and owner of a multi-million-pound business empire shares his story about loss, failure, depression and the lessons he learned to start again and pursue his business vision.

29 year-old Nicky Story, from South Yorkshire, started his business from his garage just 5 years ago. He’s now the proud owner of a multi-million-pound business empire, employing over 100 people and serving over 60,000 customers. As the CEO of; Supplies For Candles, The Soap Kitchen and Glassprints Ltd – this b2b empire, is the go-to for candle and soap making ingredients and products, Nicky is at the helm of the largest online company in Europe within the industry, helping thousands of others become successful entrepreneurs and business leaders too.

Many presume that Nicky’s business has been an overnight success, however, he has experienced failures and loss and wondered why he was getting out of bed each morning – this led to him feeling miserable, lacking in confidence and seeking support from his doctor for depression.

Nicky shares with Business Leader the lessons he learned to start again and pursue his business vision, he said; “I’ve decided to share my story (warts and all) as even if it just helps one person who is struggling to get their business off the ground, then it’s worth it.”

When Nicky graduated in 2012, he set up his first business, from his dad’s garage. Nicky said; “I was on my own, working in the freezing cold, with no support and failing – I was so miserable and felt like I had no purpose. I couldn’t even get out of bed, I couldn’t eat, my parents were so worried about me and I just felt like a failure. I really wanted to give up, I didn’t want to do it anymore – whatever I did, didn’t work and I was getting nowhere.  I’d made relatively big losses and in hindsight, I had no idea about e-commerce or marketing and made tonnes of mistakes.”  Struggling to make things work, and concerns about his deteriorating mental health, Nicky was prescribed anti-depressants.

With no money or motivation, Nicky decided he had to get a job and he ended up working as a Buyer for a manufacturing company in Leeds. This move surpisingly re-ignited his passion and he longed for his business idea to be a success, he still tried to run it on an evening and weekend whilst working full time.

This job enabled Nicky to save up £10,000 from his salary and one year later, he decided he had the confidence to take another shot at running his own business full-time. Nicky said; “I knew I didn’t want to work for somebody else, I wanted to make a success of myself. So, the money that I had saved- which was originally for a deposit on a house, I invested into Supplies For Candles. I quit my job, bought some wax, glass and fragrance and I set that up company in 2016. Only six months later things just started changing, sales started coming through and the next thing I know, I needed a helping hand…” Nicky initially employed his best friend and the business continued to rapidly grow.

“Looking back, it was so painful at the time, but I know that those lessons were crucial in helping me reach my highest potential. My message is keep going! Business can be tough, but it can also be incredible.  I lost £3K in 4 years with my first business but I made £11 million+ in 4 years with my second!”

Nicky’s 5 Quick Top Tips for Turning Business Failure Around

  1. Connect with your why – “That year in employment really helped me to visualise the kind of entrepreneur I wanted to be and why it was so important to me. We often forget about the ‘why’ in pursuit of the ‘what’.”
  2. Understand your market. – “The market I went into initially wasn’t big enough and that’s why it didn’t make money… you really need to understand your market.”
  3. Grow your network and surround yourself with skilled people. “You have to give yourself time to grow your network. I believe anyone is capable of achieving their dreams….but, it helps to have someone in your corner who has learnt a few of the hard lessons! Find yourself a mentor and also know your cheerleaders!”
  4. Don’t be intimidated by failure! “I’ve come to understand that failure is a part of the learning journey, I’m no longer intimidated and I don’t have to be perfect – noone and nothing ever is.”
  5. Turn your failure into ‘fearless.’ – “One of the biggest lessons, second time around, was having the resilience and confidence to just go for it.”