Taylor & Hart Investment Round

We’re extremely excited to be launching our third investment round (and 4th Seedrs campaign) since our first round in 2014.

While we expect most of this round to be constructed by institutional investors that can add value in the long term, through their contacts, advice and further investments, we also feel extremely proud to have over 240 existing investors supporting us over the years, as customers, advisors and brand ambassadors.

It is for this reason that once again we’d like to invite you to join us on our journey.

Launchub, the VC that backed us in 2015, has once again committed to helping us grow through an initial investment of £300,000 in this round.

We’re now talking to some of the best-known VC funds and angels in the UK and Europe, and as we make progress with them, we will update you here.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly on the Seedrs campaign discussion, if you’d like to invest or if you have any questions:

https://www.seedrs.com/taylor-and-hart

Exciting times ahead!
– Nikolay

You’re invited on an SEO adventure…

This post is an invitation written specifically for the MDs/CEOs at SEO agencies and/or SEO experts.

Four years ago, we started what was then known as Rare Pink – an online retailer specialising in engagement rings.

At the time I had learnt a bit about SEO and had also learnt the hard way not to trust remote or dodgy SEO agencies, after being burnt by one in India.

So we did our best to produce great content, to get featured in high domain authority media publications and to optimise on-site following list-upon-list of best practice on-site optimisation tasks and suggestions.

We grew our organic traffic to about 10K a month – and while not news-worthy traffic, it was highly relevant to drive sales and most of our sales came from organic in 2015 and 2016. We ranked in the top 3 results for exactly what we offered: custom engagement rings and bespoke engagement rings and we had made progress with many of other engagement ring related keywords.

Then we rebranded to Taylor & Hart in January 2017. Initially, we did not lose much of our organic traffic, but slowly we started losing, a lot, with the floor being about 40% of our previous traffic.

So sought out advice from one agency, and then another, and then another. With each one, we rolled out changes on the website, improved the re-directs from Rare Pink and internally we produced a lot of content. We’ve since started seeing a recovery in the past few months (but it is slow).

At the same time, we got one high domain authority link after the other. We grew our Moz Domain Authority to 52 – and while I realise DA on its own does not guarantee SEO success, I thought it may signal a deeper recovery than what we’ve seen.

Sadly, it has not. 

Some keywords, where in 2016 we were slowly moving closer and closer to page one, we no longer rank for at all and most of the keywords where we ranked have fallen many pages down.

We’re producing 10x content that is long form, with media and keyword optimised. But not winning from this strategy.

Some examples:

https://taylorandhart.com/whats-possible-with-custom

https://taylorandhart.com/ethical-engagement-rings

So now I am trying a different approach.

I believe I have an above average understanding of SEO, but I am not a pro. I am trying to grow the business and as CEO, I am involved in every part of our company. As such, I feel having a “pro” on the team that focusses on SEO, is the best way forward – be it an advisor or an agency.

I am also finding it exceptionally hard to choose the “right” partner. The ones’ who we have been referred to in the past and we’ve tried over the years have not helped us see the kinds of organic growth we believe are possible.

We have the content and technical team to make any on-site improvements needed quickly. We have a backlink profile that is growing through outreach and features in relevant and high authority websites. Our domain authority is higher than most of our competitors who are ahead of us in the rankings.

I believe we should be performing far better in the organic results than we are, but not sure what the missing piece of the puzzle is…

Competitors with SEO performance that surprises us (given what we can see), are:

https://www.stevenstone.co.uk

https://www.diamond-heaven.co.uk

So I am inviting SEO agencies to have a closer look at us (we are happy to provide GA access, or any other access needed so you can have a look under the hood).

If you, like me, feel there is an easy win here, let’s become partners.

We are in the middle of a fundraising round at the moment, after which we will be expected to grow really quickly and have a decent budget to allocate to growth.

We have raised investment twice before successfully and already have £600K committed on our £1.5M round. You can see our investment presentation here, if you’re interested.

We would like to find a partner where our goals align, and who is willing to agree on a performance model with equity and/or revenue sharing from organic growth.

If you have a closer look and find there is low-hanging fruit to be reaped from the Google tree, but not interested in a performance compensation model, make us an offer:

What it would cost to make the improvements needed to see growth in our organic traffic?

We will choose the best partner for us by the 15th of September. Hope to hear from you soon.

Seedrs or Crowdcube – who to chose when crowdfunding?

Having now raised two rounds of investment with the help of Seedrs.com for our bespoke engagement ring brand, Taylor & Hart, I often get asked for advice about which company I would choose (if I could do it all again).

Having not worked with Crowdcube, the question for me really becomes, would I recommend Seedrs and why?

Over the years I have always passionately defended Seedrs and my reasoning was on several different levels.

1. Values – I have heard and read some negative things about Crowdcube from an ethics point of view, relating to how little support small campaigns get and how they over-state the amount of money they helped raised to include funds raised by the companies without their help. Seedrs, from my experience, has values that are more aligned to ours at Rare Pink in terms of their integrity, authenticity and passion for helping each other succeed.

2. Due Diligence  – Comparing campaigns I have seen on Crowdcube and Seedrs, I think Seedrs are more diligent in terms of who they let on to the platform, making it harder for you to launch your campaign… and that’s a good thing. You want to have the best chance of convincing investors and if someone can tell you what needs improving before you’re investor ready, then I see that as value being added.

3. The Underdog – On a personal level, I wanted to work with Seedrs to help them to do well too. I think Seedrs has for some time been slightly smaller than Crowdcube (though not anymore it seems – now ranked number one in various categories of investment).

They both have similarly large number of investors. I believe you will have the same access to funding by working with either of them but I feel Seedrs try harder by having had to play catch up in the past.

What about the money?!

To be completely honest, I do feel that the most important thing everyone cares about is: “will the one platform help me to raise more, faster (or at all)?”

I can’t answer this accurately. Crowdcube has had more high profile successes from what I have seen but I also feel like more campaigns are live at any point in time compared to Seedrs, thus diluting investor interest.

The secret no one tells you when you start…

So let me close this post off with a little secret. We got more value out of Seedrs in what they do after you raise than we got during.

This is not to say they did not do everything they could to help us raise… what I am saying is that there is enormous value in the admin and legal work they do that would otherwise have involved me spending hours trying to learn my way around what is a confusing landscape.

For two years we raised without the aid of paid legal counsel. I DO NOT SUGGEST THIS – we learned on our second round that it is important to get legal advice once your funding round starts to get more complicated (think VCs, accelerators, options, parent-child company structures etc.); and we now have legal counsel.

The benefit of having Seedrs as an ally was huge and as a first time fund-raising entrepreneur you can not know how complicated things can get and how much work there is around the closing of a round.

So yes, I would pick Seedrs over Crowdcube and give them a solid 10/10 in terms of how likely I am to recommend them.