Martin Goff tells us how an interest in fossils sparked a passion for rocks from space which segued into a business selling meteorites online, how selling online has helped him grow his customer base, and why knowing your customer is key.
Tell us a little about your business.
My business is based in Rossendale, Lancashire and is called Msg-Meteorites. I sell rocks from space, known as meteorites, and also associated items including books, jewellery, cards, and space-themed gifts.
Around 40 tons of extra-terrestrial material lands on earth every day. It’s blasted off the parent body, such as a large asteroid or planetary body, and occasionally it intersects with the earth’s atmosphere and lands here as meteorites.
I enjoy the history and cultural impact on people and places that these rocks from space leave behind, as well as the science involved. It’s the interweaving of all these different aspects that makes collecting meteorites such a fascinating and engrossing hobby for me. They certainly provide a strong sense of place in this world we live in and show us how insignificant we really are in the scheme of things.
I do tradeshows and also sell to museums and institutions, as well as private collectors and the general public.
How on earth (no pun intended) did you get started with your business?
I started out collecting fossils. Back in 2007, one of the dealers that I bought fossils from had a few small meteorites for sale. I was astounded that you could buy a meteorite! so I bought a small Campo del Cielo crystal (which of course I still have) and that was the seed that started me off.
I am in awe of these rocks from space: just being able to hold something in your hand that is older than the Earth that we live on still blows me away every time. The feeling of wonderment and sense of perspective that this gives you never goes away and in fact only deepens as your knowledge increases.
The transition from collector to dealer was very fluid. I used to exhibit at shows where I would put items out on display and visitors were constantly asking if they could buy them from me. I knew that the interest was there and saw an opportunity to develop it into a business. I started the business in 2015.
I made my very first ad hoc sales of meteorites directly to other collectors through online forums and mailing lists. But my first regular sales were made through eBay. I had used eBay to sell a few things before and I found it easy to set up to sell in more volume. From there I also then sold on other online marketplaces and also set up a web shop on my website.
I scaled my business relatively slowly but surely. I still work full time as a Police CSI so fit the business in around that and my family. However, my plan is definitely to move to run the business full time as I do not have the time at the moment that I need to grow it further.
What channels do you sell your products on?
I sell online via my own website and shop, along with eBay and other online marketplaces. I also sell via social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and at various astronomy and science shows and fairs in the UK and abroad.
I developed my store and business by using social media and using different sales channels. I started with eBay for example but now also sell on ETSY and directly via Facebook and Instagram and other social media. I was well known as a collector within the meteorite community, but those varied sales channels and social media are helping to spread the word further. I am passionate about meteorites and really do enjoy talking to people to spread the word. I find children especially are often fascinated by space and meteorites. So, the science and Astronomy shows that I attend in person really help to showcase my business and I really do enjoy attending them too.
What has helped you grow as a business?
Selling online has been really important for me. It’s been far easier for me to reach a greater number of people through platforms such as eBay than I would have been able to through my own marketing. As I’ve become better known, I will get repeat customers directly through my website, but those customers originally found me via online markets such as eBay.
Having a variety of different avenues for selling also means that when they differ in their sales volumes, I can get through any lulls more easily.
This content was originally published here.