MY THANKS to Gareth Mulholland, MD of Eden Interactive, for providing this interview with Anna Bunn, one of Eden’s newest team members; and, of course, congratulations and best wishes to Anna in her new role.
EDEN.CO.UK was launched in July 2004 when a number of our team began figuring out out how to use our design & software know-how to provide access to Christian books and other resources online.
Last week, we celebrated a milestone in our short history as five new friends joined the team taking the total number of people working in the business to over 30. They’ve filled key positions in our digital marketing team and bring experience from businesses including Bing and Waitrose which is already starting to positively impact how we compete with our biggest competitor, Amazon.
I’m delighted that one of these roles has been taken on by Anna Bunn, former Branch Manager at Wesley Owen in Liverpool. As she makes the leap from ‘bricks to clicks’ we thought it might be good to share her story and some observations after her first week at Eden. So, over to Anna…
Well before anyone asks yes, I am Steve Bunn’s daughter and no, you aren’t the first person to make that connection. Having grown up in the Christian trade from a young age – beginning my working career in the STL warehouse picking and packing books after school – I am aware that my surname normally precedes me!
But I also have my own experience of the trade. My story begins with a move to Liverpool to start my degree in 2004 in English Language and Literature. Ever since then I have grown more and more attached to Liverpool, its people and subsequently the Church. So when I returned from my world trip I moved back to Liverpool in 2008 to start working at my local Christian bookshop Wesley Owen. I got to experience the highs of connecting Christians with quality resources. Not only was the purpose of the store to sell product but also to be there to speak to people and engage with them. This came with its own challenges but more often than not real encouragement to see God working in the Church of Liverpool. Throughout this time I was gaining a broad knowledge of product and trying to find ways in which to promote it in store. In the summer of 2009 I was appointed Branch Manager and from there took the helm and tried to find ways to really connect with the customers and give them a personal experience they couldn’t get anywhere else.
But as many of you will know later in the year Wesley Owen went into administration. Our store closed at the end of 2009 and reopened as Living Oasis in March 2010. The plans were big and the vision was huge. But after many months of planning, the store never reopened.
After a few months of other jobs – from selling £500 watches to opening a new charity shop, I am excited to join the team at Eden.co.uk to begin this new chapter.
What is your role at Eden.co.uk?
My official job title is Online Store Manager – this effectively means ‘Branch Manager’ of the site. I’ve joined the marketing team run by Jo Pountney, and I can’t wait to get my teeth into this new role. I’ll be spending time managing the stock, meeting with suppliers, focusing on product and making sure Eden has the best deals, promotions and information to give customers a unique online experience.
It’s great to get up to speed on new products, up and coming authors/bands and to learn the ways in which having a much larger customer base allows the opportunity to promote product in ways I was never able to do before.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot to learn but I’m looking forward to taking my stock knowledge and understanding customer needs to apply to a new skill set as part of Eden. It’s great to get up to speed on new products, up and coming authors/bands and to learn the ways in which having a much larger customer base allows the opportunity to promote product in ways I was never able to do before.
Rather than being given the promotions or having little input into stock choice the chance to plan and prepare promotions is going to be a challenge but with the team support and stock knowledge I’m looking forward seeing it through from start to finish.
How will Eden be a better place?
I bring to the table my experience of selling Christian resources, identifying customer needs and working with suppliers. The need and want for Christian product is thriving, to be involved with fulfilling this need to give the customer exactly what they want, in the way that they want to buy it, is one of the main reasons I wanted to be a part of this team.
Having worked with different reps for a diverse range of suppliers, choosing new product and hearing about their offers and promotions was always a highlight. Now I look forward to developing relationships on a wider and larger scale to promote and get people excited by Christian resources from all areas of the Church.
Week One nearly over – how have you found it, what are your highlights?
I have loved being in an office environment – completely different to what I have done before but it is so refreshing to be working in a team with so many skilled and friendly people.
So far I’ve enjoyed getting my head around the product range combined with learning the different ways in which product and information can be used to give the customer what they want. It’s exciting to be part of such an innovative and supportive team of people who really know their stuff!
What impresses me most about Eden is their desire to help the customer to find the exact product that they are looking for…
What impresses me most about Eden is their desire to help the customer to find the exact product that they are looking for – which is something I thought would be a struggle for an online store. But I was wrong; Eden is about giving the customer what they want with a unique and personal service. It’s a real team effort from the technical to the content to the delivery, each works together to make sure the site is one people want to return to. This is not just about a click and go experience – Eden is so much more.
A box of fresh fruit delivered into the office each Monday morning and the lunchtime game of Uno has been a welcoming atmosphere to join – and I’ve even managed to win a game!
So tell us, what’s your favourite Bible translation?
For personal reading I prefer the NLT but if I were doing more in-depth study I would use the ESV.
Do you have a favourite Bible?
My small and trusty NIV pocket Bible has been round the world with me, most used when I had the most amazing experience teaching in a school in Thailand – on my own, facing complete sensory overload, I was down on my knees seeking wisdom and help for what was to become one of most memorable times of my life. From being read on Thai beaches to opening the Word up in an Australian church, this Bible is a lasting memory of God’s journey with me around the world – one I will never forget.
Least favourite worship song?
It has to be ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ – no question; some things should have been left in the 80s!
My mood normally dictates my choice so sometimes it’s just about turning it up really loud to lose yourself in the music.
My music taste is pretty eclectic, acoustic to hip hop, Brooke Fraser to Mumford and Sons, Damien Rice to Lauren Hill – my mood normally dictates my choice so sometimes it’s just about turning it up really loud to lose yourself in the music.
Definitely milk chocolate caramel digestives – have to be straight out the fridge with a cup of tea, solves many a problem – that coupled with love of staged reality TV – yes I am unashamed to admit I ♥ Made in Chelsea!Follow @edencouk
The links to eden.co.uk in this post are affiliate links: any purchases made via these links will generate a commission that supports the development and maintenance of UKCBD, the UK Christian Bookshops Directory.